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Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! This is my first Ultraverse retro comic book review of this new year and it will be about Mantra once again. To put things in order, the Archimage Quest is over and its aftermath has been done. Mantra is back in the contemporary world and, along the way, has communicated spiritually with the soul of Eden Blake (whose body has since been occupied by Lukasz). Quite intriguingly, Lukasz expresses romantic feelings for Eden in the spiritual realm. At the household of the Blakes, a certain Eden Blake returned to the lives of the children and has made moves to remarry ex-husband Gus.
You want to find out more about Lukasz and Eden? Who exactly is that woman in the Blake household? We can find out in this look back at Mantra #16, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Jason Armstrong.
The story begins in California. Mantra started flying into the air leaving Kevin Green/Prime at the front of his home. While flying, Lukasz communicates with the soul of Eden Blake who continues to insist that he should abandon the fantasy of them loving each and other, and simply accept his role living as a woman and living her life. Still clinging on to feelings, Mantra/Lukasz refuses to accept losing Eden.
Mantra quietly enters the Blake household and quickly encounters Evie (Eden’s daughter), whom she has not seen since the Archimage Quest started. Evie does not realize that Mantra is actually her mother’s body in disguise and thus she treats her like a heroic celebrity. Evie reveals to Mantra that her parents are getting remarried.
Just after leaving Evie and the room, Mantra spots the other Eden Blake by the poolside socializing with Gus and a few guests (including a certain old man on a wheel chair). Eden tells Mantra/Lukasz that the said lady is the impostor…
I can say that the story and script were well-written by Mike W. Barr which is not surprising since he really set the overall direction of the Mantra monthly series and he took his time on doing twists and surprises. The theme of this particular issue is identity crisis which reflects Lukasz being in Eden’s body, Eden being in the spiritual realm as a displaced soul and the impostor living with Eden’s family.
When it comes to characterization, Lukasz is still focused on becoming a man again but already he adjusted a lot already filling Eden’s role as a mother as well as an employee of Aladdin. His newfound closeness with Eden’s soul added a lot of new freshness in this series and this is highlighted further now that the Archimage Quest has finally concluded. By this time, Lukasz and Eden are a romantic pair and the male warrior expressed that he has gotten tired of fifteen centuries of fighting and hopping from one body to another, displacing so many souls and ruining their respective personal lives.
As for the plot, this one will remind you about what happened in issue #9. It has a lot to do preparations for a wedding and a conflict between people who wield magic. The plot has a nice surprise which I urge you to find out yourselves.
Mantra #16 (1994) is an entertaining Ultraverse comic book to read. As usual, it has a strong story as well as strong characterization which makes it compelling. Finding out who exactly is the impostor was well worth it
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #16 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.
Overall, Mantra #16 (1994) is recommended.
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