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Welcome back superhero geeks, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! Can’t get enough of Mantra? There is a lot to look forward to in my latest review of the Mantra monthly series of the 1990s under the creative leadership of Mike W. Barr.
In Mantra #8, the male soul in the lady’s body had an encounter with Boneyard’s soldiers in a fantasy-themed amusement park which was a very intriguing setting considering the mysticism the series often used. Will there be another intriguing event that awaits Mantra? Find out in this look back at Mantra #9, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Terry Dodson.
The story begins with Mantra arriving home from battle during the evening. Using magical powers, she instantly changes her clothes to become Eden Blake. As she approaches the entrance, she thought to herself, “It’s hard to believe I’m really a man, wearing the body of Eden Blake. I hope I don’t have to live her life much longer.”
Suddenly a ball of light arrives and Mantra senses it to be an attack. After instantly changing into her armor, she strikes the ball with the sword of fangs, zaps it and watches it fly away. She instantly changes back to Eden Black and enters the home.
Upon entering, she gets a surprise hug by Eden Blake’s old roommate Lila and guy named Jim. Lila reveals that she and Jim are going to get married, and Eden will get to be their maid of honor.
Lukasz, who has been living in Eden’s body for some time now, finds the situation uncomfortable…
This one has a truly intriguing story about Lukasz struggling not only with being a mother in the body of Eden Blake, but also with dealing with one of Eden’s closest friends in life. It is very cleverly written by Mike W. Barr and the core concept of the story really developed Lukasz/Mantra in a rather refreshing way. In many ways, Lukasz does not find himself trapped by Boneyard’s armed soldiers nor by monsters, rather he finds himself trapped by remnants of Eden’s past (imagine him pretending to remember Eden’s old friends) while dealing with all the pre-wedding preparations. If you expect the usual spectacle of action and sorcery, you will find them here. Who exactly will Mantra fight, that you should find out yourself and there is something here that will convince you to go back reading issue #1.
When it comes to the art, I find it baffling that this one was credited to Terry Dodson. The art here is cartoony in style and Dodson’s art in the first few issues of the Mantra series were more realistic in style, especially with the way people were drawn.
For its story concept alone, Mantra #9 (1994) is an engaging read. I also enjoyed the way this issue connects itself to key details in issues #1, #3 and #5 which encourages re-reading that ultimately will help readers understand the series concept even more. There is also a nice mix of action and drama, and the way the battle concluded is pretty satisfying. Furthermore, the continued development of Mantra is a must-read.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #9 (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 newsstand edition costs $26.
Overall, Mantra #9 (1994) is recommended.
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