A Look Back at Mantra #18 (1995)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! We take another journey into the Ultraverse through the exploits of Mantra whose story and character development got more intriguing since after the conclusion of the Archimage Quest.

Last time around, Lukasz and Eden took their relationship even further The infiltration of Aladdin’s secret facility took place and Mantra even met a certain tycoon (best known for interacting with The Strangers). The events of the last issue then continued into the Godwheel mini-series and into this next Mantra comic book I’m about to review.

Are you excited yet? What do you hope to see with regards to Lukasz and Eden? We can find out what happens next in Mantra #18, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Scott Lee.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a high-tech facility. An executive named Paul expressed that the laboratory will never be operational in time for the new year as a result of what happened previously. Several armed men are on the floor searching.

Suddenly, a pink portal opens with Lukasz (in a male body) and Mantra (now occupied by Eden’s soul) coming out. The two just came back from much struggle in another realm and Eden has not yet fully familiarized herself with Mantra’s body and magic. Noticing Eden/Mantra’s hesitation, Lukasz takes action against the armed men. Eden slowly blasts a few enemies before Lukasz saves her from being attacked from the rear.

Suddenly, someone from nowhere throws a few gas grenades at them…

Quality

The romance weakened by the art style.

Starting with the storytelling, the plot in this comic book can be quite jarring with regards to Lukasz and Eden as this one took place after the Godwheel mini-series. How Eden fully became Mantra (which is her rightful body of flesh in the first place) is fully explained in the said mini-series.

The romance between Lukasz and Eden here is easily the biggest selling point of this comic book. After going through rough action and misadventure in Godwheel, it is in this comic book where the two really express love for each other in the flesh. This is a welcome change considering how long we’ve seen Lukasz occupy Eden’s body followed by Lukasz and Eden being spiritually linked with each other. This one marks the start of a new chapter of the Mantra series. As for what the cover of the comic book showed, that is something you will have to discover for yourselves and it is worth the read.

Sadly, I should state that I found the art by Scott Lee here looking sub-par. There is this cartoony aesthetic to all the characters and there were shots in which their bodies looked disproportionate from certain angles. Lee’s take on visualizing Boneyard, Warstrike, NecroMantra and others all looked cartoony. This is the weakest looking Mantra issue I’ve read as of this writing.

Conclusion

Lukasz in a male body, Eden in Mantra form.

Once again, author Mike W. Barr succeeded in advancing the story and character developments with Mantra #18 (1995) putting the series into another storytelling phase with Lukasz (the long-time Mantra) and Eden as separate, living beings more involved with each other than ever before. The art quality this time went down a lot but the storytelling saved the comic book from turning into a disaster.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #18 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $21.

Overall, Mantra #18 (1995) is satisfactory.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Prime #17 (1994)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! By now, many of you should be familiar with Prime who was one of the main heroes of the Ultraverse as published in the 1990s by Malibu Comics. Many times in comics, Prime fought with lots of thugs, some very notable enemies (check out Prime #5), got involved with other notable ultras as part of a team (check out UltraForce #0 and #1), got involved awkwardly with ladies like Mantra and the mother of Kelly, and more.

Surely, Prime (who is a teenage boy named Kevin under all the muscle) went through a lot. Now how about seeing the overly muscular ultra hero take on a monster about as large as Godzilla? We can all find out in this look back at Prime #17, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones, and drawn by John Statema.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins somewhere on the bottom of the ocean. King Atalon raises an entire island to the surface of the sea claiming it will be new court of his and his people. Doing so, he releases a gigantic monster to the surface and immediately it encounters a ship. The monster grabs two men from the ship and eats them.

In the city of New York, Kevin Green and his mother have a meal together in a first-rate deli. His mother expresses her thoughts about how hard it was for him to move away from California at a short notice, leaving behind his school and his friends. She stressed that something had to be done in response to what happened to their family.

She recalled that Kevin’s father acted so strangely and left them. That being said, she did not want to make the situation worse by smothering him. Kevin thought to himself how could he tell her mother the truth that he and Prime are one and the same, and he went through different versions of his alter-ego each with a different attitude.

As Kevin and his mother traveled via the subway of the city, the giant monster in the Atlantic Ocean continues to create havoc moving towards New York…

Quality

A possible Godzilla reference spotted.

From a storytelling point of view, this comic book felt like the start of a new chapter in the life of Kevin/Prime. The sudden relocation to New York sparked Kevin to look back at the events he went through in the past year which, in my opinion, helped serve as an exposition dump to help readers – especially new ones – catch up with all the details on Prime. It was also interested to learn that Kevin’s mother is from New York and her action on having themselves relocate all the way from the West Coast was convincingly done. I also like the drama that unfolded when the mother brought Kevin to a spot to view the Statue of Liberty from a distance only to be shocked and hurt over the fact that the statue’s head is missing. Through really nice dialogue, you can feel the mother’s pain.

The highlight of this comic book is the uncanny match-up between Prime and the Godzilla-sized monster. While the battle between them was not too long, showing Prime struggle with fighting the monster while thinking a lot about strategizing, searching for weaknesses and even expressing concern for his mother all added a good layer of depth to bother the hero and the encounter.

Visually, I like the work done here by John Statema. His art on the monster was clearly Godzilla-inspired but he gave it a unique look of its own, especially with the way he drew its scaled which Prime found to be very tough. I also enjoyed Statema’s take on the events that happened in Prime’s life as seen in the exposition dump early in the comic book.

Conclusion

The big exposition dump.

Prime #17 (1994) is a fun read and definitely has the look and feel of a new turning point in the life of a superhero. It has excellent dialogue, a pretty nice build-up leading to the big battle between Prime and the monster, and most notably there is a good amount of dramatizing through Kevin’s mother.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #17 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, Prime #17 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Mantra #17 (1994)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

A lot has changed with Mantra since the title character got more involved with the elements (both in character and in plotting) with the different realms which led to a particular quest about her captured leader Archimage. In the last issue, not only were Lukasz (the male soul who occupied the body of Eden Blake and became Mantra) and Eden Blake continued to spiritually interact with each other (going as far as having feelings for each other), the impostor living with Eden’s family was revealed.

Considering the events that took place since then, one has to wonder where would Mike W. Barr lead the Mantra series to next. We can all find out in this look back at Mantra #17, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story by Barr and illustrations done by Jason Armstrong.  

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a secret, high-tech facility of Aladdid. Lukasz (as Mantra) quietly begins infiltrating the place by taking out one of the armed guards and doing what he could to gain more access around. Eden tells Lukasz that she does not the fallen guard to be hurt and that her time is almost over. She reiterates to Lukasz that he has to live her life and take care of her children.

Shortly after wearing the Aladdin guard uniform, Lukasz starts to get involved with the other guards. He witnesses a wetware engineering work in progress which reveals a scientist working on a so-called patient (the subject).

Suddenly, the subject begins to move causing trouble in the laboratory. Realizing that the engineer is having trouble dealing with the subject already moving, the Aladdin guards (including Lukasz in disguise) enter the place. As the two guards fire their weapons against the subject, Lukasz instead uses one of the computers to gain access to classified information…

Quality

Time with Eden’s family.

After going through the mysticism, the intrigue and threads of Mantra’s past in the last several issues, this comic book’s story is a nice change of setting and concept. Instead of the fantasy elements that pretty much dominated Mantra stories, this one has a sci-fi flavor as well as corporate intrigue (which is pretty prominent in Prototype comics and Hardcase comics) and the very concept of this story is pretty good.

Along the way, the story shows the aftermath of the death of a certain uncle named Moe (once occupied by Thanasi, a long-time rival of Lukasz’s), Mantra having a reunion with a key character from issue #1 and even meeting a notable supporting character from The Strangers comics. The good news here is that Mike W. Barr wrote a very strong script that not only resonates with Ultraverse fans but also tell a cohesive story packed with spectacle, character development and something very notable that happened (which I never anticipated).  

Conclusion

Infiltrating a top secret facility.

Mantra #17 (1994) is not only fun and compelling to read. It is also refreshing and, as if the cover was not obvious enough, marked the beginning of a new chapter in the life of Mantra.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #17 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $15.

Overall, Mantra #17 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Mantra #16 (1994)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

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 cover.

Early story

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…

Quality

Pay close attention to the details.

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.  

Conclusion

More interactions between Mantra and Eden.

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.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Mantra #15 (1994)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! As you might have seen in my most recent retro reviews of Mantra comic books, I’ve been following the Archimage Quest which really brought the title character (Lukasz occupying the body of Eden Blake whose soul he displaced) to a several places and situations. She got to be with The Strangers temporarily (The Strangers #13 and Mantra #12) in pursuing the wicked Boneyard, went into the fantasy realm where men and women are divided, and more.

While issue #14 marked the end of the said quest, there is still more to come in the next Mantra issue I recently reviewed. In fact it is the aftermath of the Archimage Quest and we can all find out more in Mantra #15, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Mark Heike.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Mantra surprised by Boneyard while being bothered mentally by Eden who warns that they may end up both getting killed. Appearing in a misty form, Boneyard enjoys the fact that Mantra killed her superior Archimage (whom she thought was Boneyard). As the wicked man fades away, he tells her, “I shall return to take my revenge on our wedding night…”

Right then, Boneyard’s troops arrive led by Notch who at this point of time is very determined to defeat Mantra. Mantra makes short work of the troops until Notch is the one left standing. In response to Notch’s arrogance that he will be brought back to life by Boneyard as before, Mantra tells him that his leader abandoned him and notices him getting fearful suddenly. Mantra kills him successfully.

Mantra and Eden communicate with each other. The armed sorceress tells her that the war will never end until Boneyard is killed and she becomes a man again. As far as Eden is concerned the war is pointless…

Quality

Mantra (Lukasz inside) interacts with Eden Blake.

As before, Mike W. Barr continues to deliver very solid writing. To break it down, the aftermath of the Archimage Quest was done with nice care filled with lots of relevant details to read not to mention the lively portrayal of Mantra making an impact on the people in the fantasy realm especially in the absence of Topaz who, at this point in the story, was on her way to the contemporary world where she was destined to join UltraForce.

The 2nd half of the story is set in the contemporary world. While Mantra spent days in the fantasy realm, a certain Eden Blake returned to the lives of Evie, Gus, Jr. and former husband Gus. The Blake family, combined with Prime getting involved with Mantra in the contemporary world, were also nicely dramatized.

For the most part, Mark Heike’s art is good although his take on Prime looks awkward.

Conclusion

Mantra takes on Notch and other troops of Boneyard.

Mantra #15 (1994) is a fun comic book to read and it is more layered this time mainly due to the settings and the character developments that happened in between. The Archimage Quest, in my opinion, ended satisfactorily and this aftermath added more punch to it.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #15 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Mantra #15 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Prime #7 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and geeks! Today we will take another journey back into the Ultraverse touching on their first major crossover event Break-Thru but told through the exploits of Prime.

For the newcomers reading this, Break-Thru was a 2-part crossover that involved all the Ultraverse characters in multiple ways. There were Break-Thru crossover spinoff issues of Mantra, Hardcase, Prototype, The Strangers, Solitaire and The Solution to name some. This time, we will find out Break-Thru in an issue of Prime.

What exactly happened to Prime in relation to Break-Thru? We can find out together in this look back at Prime #7, published by Malibu Comics in 1993 with a story written by Gerard Jones and Len Strazewski, and drawn by the late Norm Breyfogle.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Prime, wearing a special suit with air tanks, flying into space for a mission on the moon. Even as he is struggling with breaking through the atmosphere, he knows he cannot afford any setbacks knowing that US President Bill Clinton and military officials are counting on him. It has been some time since he was picked up by Colonel Samuels and his team after the big fight with Max-Man. As he approaches the moon, Prime expressed how much has changed over the past few days from attending science class to working secretly for the government.

After struggling long, Prime finally arrives on the moon’s surface albeit roughly. As he flies around searching for clues, a solid structure of rock suddenly rises from the surface leaving Prime no room to dodge it…

Quality

Prime on to something on the moon.

After going through lots of stories about superhero action, misadventures, intrigue and personal struggles as recorded in the first six issues of Prime, this particular story has a more unpredictable story which is refreshing to read. For one thing, this one has a whole lot of twists that actually test Prime’s sanity and keeps the narrative interesting throughout. Similar to what happened in Mantra #6, Prime encounters images of several people he knew while on the moon. This thing happens to be one of the capabilities of the entity on the moon.

As expected from the creative team of Jones and Strazewski, the writing is of high-quality. For his part, Norm Breyfogle continued to deliver striking visuals and in this issue he really showed off Prime’s modified look to the full extent.  

Conclusion

Prime and his thoughts as he travels to the moon.

Prime #7 (1993) is a pretty good comic book to read. Ultimately it is a worthy build-up to the Break-Thru crossover and more importantly it continues to show why Prime is truly one of the major characters of the Ultraverse.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #7 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.

Overall, Prime #7 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Mantra #14 (1994)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Hey comic book fans. Are you looking for more science fantasy stories and concepts within the Ultraverse? There is more in the Archimage Quest storyline told within the Mantra monthly series spearheaded by Mike W. Barr.

To put things in perspective, as recalled in issue #1, Lukasz got killed the last time he was in a male body shortly after the evil Boneyard defeated Archimage (Lukasz’s superior) which led to him getting reincarnated into the body of Eden Blake (displacing her soul). Lukasz-occupied Eden later acquired from Katinya a relic which helped her gain a mystical armor. Before dying, Katinya revealed that it was Archimage’s plan all along to have Lukasz placed in a woman’s body because his long-term use of weapons in fighting Boneyard did not work.

Since then, Lukasz has been struggling not only to stay alive, to keep on beating Boneyard’s forces and other forms of opposition, but also to live life as a woman with the family of Eden. After some time, Mantra temporarily joins The Strangers in confronting Boneyard (told in The Strangers #13 and Mantra #12). Afterwards, Mantra entered into a new dimension where two societies of separated men and women exist. The women are led by their queen Topaz. Together Topaz and Mantra led a group on a mission concerning Boneyard and Archimage.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Mantra #14, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Mark Heike.

The cover.

Early story

The story begin with Mantra and Eden Blake together. Suddenly Mantra’s appearance changes into a man.

In the present, Mantra is leading the group of men and woman in the absence of Topaz. As they try to take Boneyard by surprise, they encounter a caravan of people called the Tradesmen. One of them recognizes her as Lukasz and they met in another place some time ago. Being trade-oriented and very focused on honor, they make a deal which provides Mantra’s group some much-needed assistance in their mission…

Quality

Mantra versus one of Boneyard’s wives.

At this stage of the Archimage Quest, Mike W. Barr really raised the stakes by adding more twists, more intrigue and more references to the past. All of that were achieved backed with very strong writing, resulting a story that was more engaging than the previous issue. Not to be outdone is the spotlight given on the family of Eden Blake on Earth during the absence of Lukasz/Mantra. When it comes to the art, Mark Heike did a good job drawing Mantra and other related characters all of which are recognizable.

Conclusion

A deal made with one of the Tradesmen.

Mantra #14 (1994) is a fun read. At this stage in the life of the protagonist, the stakes were not only raised higher but things also got more complex particularly with Mantra’s interactions with certain enemies she encountered as well as certain characters who support opposition against Boneyard. It should be noted that there are still some fresh new details about Archimage’s organized strategy about having Lukasz contained in the body of Eden Blake. There was a solid build-up for the tension and intrigue, and there was nice pay-off in the end.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #14 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, Mantra #14 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Mantra #13 (1994)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of 1990s comics! This is another examination of the Ultraverse as told through the exploits of Mantra, the pretty armored lady whose body is occupied by the soul of the male warrior Lukasz.

Previously I reviewed Giant Size Mantra, which was a one-shot comic book that was part of the Archimage Quest storyline and it was indeed a well-made Mantra story that fit in nicely with the monthly series. That same comic book is notable for having the debut of Gwendor’s queen Topaz who went on to become a member of the memorable superhero team UltraForce.

With the details made clear, we can find out what happens next in the Archimage Quest in this look back at Mantra #13, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Jason Armstrong.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in an unknown realm. Mantra (wearing her usual mask and armor) and Eden Blake are walking together and talking. After exchanging some words about the displacement of souls, Eden clings to Mantra and apologizes from now realizing what a shock the situation is to Mantra on top of everything else that happened. Eden tells Mantra there is something she wants from her and addresses Lukasz by name.

Suddenly Mantra/Eden Blake/Lukasz wakes up to the call of a technician. She is still in Gwendor and being completely naked, she goes through the process of armoring which is done with highly advanced technology. With her new armor on, Mantra is approached by queen Topaz who brings to her a notable sword to use. They discuss some matters as they walk together.

Meanwhile back in the United States, Eden’s daughter Evie visits a shop and talks to the old lady behind the counter. The young girl asks her about magic…

Quality

In the realm Mantra is in, it’s difficult for men and women to work together.

This is one very unique story of Mantra. Carrying over the elements from Giant Size Mantra, you will get to see the protagonist still spending time in the women-filled Gwendor (note: opposite it is another city filled with men) and starts her alliance with queen Topaz who is a very hands-on type of leader, willing to take risks going into battle. As Mantra does not have her mask and armor, she learns to use the magic power within her to make things happen. This is kinda like seeing Marvel’s Tony Stark adjusting and taking action without his Iron Man suit of armor.

Events aside, this story shows a significant development of Lukasz/Mantra’s personality as she adjusts to the ways of the men and women in their realm. The science fantasy elements of the story gave this comic book a unique style of visual presentation nicely pulled off by the illustrator. When it comes to the Archimage Quest, both Mantra and Boneyard are respectively struggling with disadvantages which is a nice storytelling touch. I should state that in this particular story, the complexities between males and females in the new realm is explored.

Conclusion

Yet another new thing worn by Mantra.

Mantra #13 (1994) is another solid story to read. As it continues the quest for Archimage, it explores more of the science fantasy world Mantra finds herself in as well as the differences between the two local societies separated by gender.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #13 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the variant edition costs $12.

Overall, Mantra #13 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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A Look Back at Giant Size Mantra (1994)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! In my recent reviews of the Mantra monthly series, the events of the Archimage Quest were examined. For the newcomers reading this, Archimage is the leader of the tribe of warriors that Lukasz served for fifteen centuries. As told in issue #1, Boneyard neutralized Archimage’s power and Lukasz died one last time in a male body only to be reincarnated as a woman (displacing the soul of single mother Eden Blake). As it turned out, the transfer of Lukasz’s soul into Eden Blake’s body was planned by Archimage some time prior.

The Archimage Quest lasted several chapters and one of them took place in a one-shot Mantra comic book. With the details laid down, here is a look back at Giant Size Mantra, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Mike Heike (1st half) and David Williams (2nd half).

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Mantra (wearing original costume) waking up in the presence of a lady wearing white. Upon waking, Mantra sees her and recognizes her from some time back at the Moon (refer to Mantra #6). The lady turns out to be none other than Eden Blake whose soul Lukasz displaced.

Mantra, now wearing a new costume, wakes up suddenly. A short time has passed since she left The Strangers during the previous encounter with Boneyard and now she finds herself trapped in dream-like place. Being really the man (Lukasz) inside the body, Mantra does what she can to break out of the place…

Quality

The first appearance of Topaz, the queen of Gwendor.

There is no surprise that Mike W. Barr’s writing remains strongly solid. The story is really engaging from start to finish and by this time, Barr not only knew the characters well but also showed clear signs that he prepared how to portray the characters as the story of Mantra continues. Here are further good news…Barr wrote a pretty expansive story that is worthy of this one-shot comic book that has almost 40 pages of content (told in two portions). While the first half told briefly what happened between The Strangers #13 and this comic book, and had Mantra discovering a brand new science fantasy realm with two cities (one male, one female), the second half was were the narrative really became more fantastic especially since this comic book marked the debut of Topaz (who went on to become a key member of the UltraForce) not to mention the introduction of not one but two different societies separated by gender and city walls. To see Topaz and her society of women comes with vibes of Wonder Woman and Themyscira.

The pace of the story ranged from moderate to fast, and Mike W. Barr carefully took his time with the exposition, the spectacle, the characterization and the sense of discovery with the new realm. This is a story worthy of the one-shot format and as a Mantra story, it clearly stands out and fits in well with the main narrative in the monthly series.

When it comes to the art, Mike Heike and David Williams did good jobs visualizing the script. Most notably, their art really brought the fantasy realm (as well as the two societies and cities) to life.

Conclusion

All those men staring at Mantra do not realize that the soul of male warrior Lukasz occupies her body.

I can say that Giant Size Mantra (1994) is a pretty good comic book to read. Its overall concept and high-quality script made it a very worthy one-shot comic book. While this story is not the conclusion of the Archimage Quest, it serves as a turning point in the life of Mantra and the results can be seen in subsequent issues of the monthly series.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Giant Size Mantra (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, Giant Size Mantra (1994) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Mantra #11 (1994)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back, superhero geeks, comic collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! We are about to return to the Ultraverse through the view of Mantra. Since the story of issue #9 and issue #10, the stakes have been raised as Mantra not only found herself in bigger danger as well as revelations from the past related to the long-time war between Archimage and Boneyard. Not only is Mantra still being targeted by Boneyard (who is so evil he wants to marry Mantra and make love to her body even though he knows the soul of the male warrior Lukasz is occupying it) but also by sorcerers from the Earth’s realm. In other words, Mantra/Lukasz really has trouble in different realms.

Will something unexpected turn out in the next story of Mantra? We can find out in this look back at Mantra #11, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Robb Phipps.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Mantra standing completely naked in the full view of Boneyard, his three wives and the four other thugs (who hunted Mantra). Boneyard states, “Your choices are clear, Lukasz—surrender to me and become first among equals in my harem…or be destroyed by my wives—whose powers now equal yours!”

Suddenly the three wives fire beams of energy towards Mantra who successfully blocks them using magic to create a transparent shield. Very quickly, Mantra sees an opportunity to get the other thugs involved as targets of the three wives so she moves toward her previous attackers. The three wives’ attacks cause the thugs to retreat. Boneyard recognizes one of the thugs as the son of his rival Archimage.

Suddenly, the thugs attack Boneyard’s three wives with energy causing them to fall down on the floor. As the conflict shifted, Mantra begins to realize something.

“I knew the mask enhance the mystic power of this body, but I didn’t realize the mask and armor would have the same effect on Boneyard’s wives as well. Figures he didn’t choose them just for their looks. At any rate…I can’t walk around here like a Playboy centerfold all day! I’m getting cold,” Mantra thought.

Quality

This is the first time Mantra wore a new costume which was carried over to issue #12.

No surprise, Mike W. Barr successfully kept the story engaging not only maintaining the engagement carried over from the few previous issues but by raising the stakes for Mantra personally while pulling off some pretty notable revelations that date back before the events of issue #1. Going beyond Boneyard and his three wives, there is a lot of fantasy related stuff waiting to be discovered which further adds depth to Mantra’s struggle (finding a male body to occupy and the ways to leave Eden Blake’s body). The plot really thickened with the revelations and how they turned out is something that you yourselves must pick up a copy of this comic book and read.

Of course, having reviewed issue #12 recently, it is no surprise that the build-up of engagement and suspense in this comic book contributed to its successor. More importantly, by the time you reach the end of this comic book, you will get a deeper understanding of what has been going and what preceded them. Clearly Mike W. Barr made solid preparations and took his time with the revelations just as he kept on telling the present-day story of Mantra.

Like the previous issue, I enjoyed Robb Phipps’ artwork here. If you were disappointed with the cartoony aesthetic of Terry Dodson’s work in issue #10, you will like the expressions as well as the overall style of Phipps.

Conclusion

With a male soul inside the body of Eden Blake, Mantra quickly analyzes the messy situation to find an advantage.

Mantra #11 (1994) is indeed a pretty entertaining and compelling Ultraverse comic book. There is nothing like watching the spectacle happen in between moments of Mantra realizing answers to her questions, and learning new details (including stuff that emphasized how rotten, how wicked and twisted Boneyard truly is as the major villain of not only this particular series but also of the Ultraverse itself) that deepened the narrative for readers.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #11 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, Mantra #11 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com