‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’: Who Is Mantis?
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will introduce a slew of new names, including the green-skinned Marvel hero, Mantis. The character will be played by Pom Klementieff in the upcoming sequel, as captured in the movie’s recently released trailer. So what else do we know about the comic book figure? Here’s everything you need to know about the latest Guardians of the Galaxy addition.
Created by Steve Englehart and Don Heck in 1973, Mantis made her first appearance in The Avengers No. 112 comic. The half-Vietnamese, half-German daughter of Libra, she was born in Vietnam and raised in a temple of the Priests of Pama, a sect of the Kree. As later chronicled in a long-running story arc, the Kree believe that Mantis is the Celestial Madonna, who is meant to mate with the eldest Cotati (telepathic plants) and become the mother of Celestial Messiah, “the most important being in the universe.”
Trained by the Kree to become the Celestial Madonna, Mantis is highly skilled in martial arts and can instinctively sense weak points in her opponent. A master of meditational disciplines, she also has an unusual amount of control over her body, including autonomic functions like heartbeat, bleeding, breathing, and awareness of pain, which allows her to heal more quickly through sheer force of will.
In addition to her almost superhuman reflexes and reactions, Mantis also has psychic empathy, a telepathic power that allows her to sense the emotions of others (as captured in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 trailer).
Joining the Avengers
Upon reaching adulthood, Mantis is mind-wiped and sent into the world to gain experience. That leads her to work as a prostitute and barmaid in a Vietnamese bar where she meet the Swordsman, who — though formerly a villain, joins the Avengers and brings Mantis with him. As an ally of the Avengers, she faces off against Zodiac, Thanos, Klaw, Solar, Nuklo, and even Ultron. She also relearns her backstory, remembering that her father is Libra.
Her appearances outside of Marvel
After leaving Marvel, Englehart actually took Mantis’s tale with him, bringing her to three other companies. The character appears in DC Comics’ Justice League of America No. 142 under the name Willow. She later also shows up in the Eclipse Comics series Scorpio Rose No. 2, having given birth to a new son and calling herself Lorelei. A lost Lorelei/Scorpio Rose story was later published in Coyote Collection No. 1 from Image Comics.
Her return to Marvel
When she returns to Marvel Comics, Mantis takes the new name Mandy Celestine and focuses her attention on raising her son, Sequoia. But that doesn’t last long. She ends up turning him over to the Priests of Pama and heads off into space alongside the Silver Surfer to battle the Elders of the Universe. By this point, Mantis’s appearance has changed and she is now green-skinned.
Her quest doesn’t end well. She seemingly dies six months later, only to return within a number of months and recur in two separate titles — both of which were written by Englehart before he left Marvel for a second time.
So where do the Guardians of the Galaxy come in? Mantis appears in the 2007 Annihilation: Conquest – Starlord miniseries that eventually leads to the contemporary incarnation of the Guardians. Mantis served as a counselor to the Guardians team for a number of years, using her empathic nature to guide the group off the battlefield. In recent years, she’s distanced herself further from the team, although that likely won’t be addressed in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Her role in the MCU
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Mantis will be played by Pom Klementieff. Though the movie’s version of the character will boast the same powers and some of the same qualities as that of the original source material, viewers can also expect Klementieff’s Mantis to be a little socially awkward.
“She has never really experienced social interaction,” executive producer Jonathan Schwartz told Entertainment Weekly. “Everything she learns about dealing with people, she learns from the Guardians of the Galaxy, which is a very weird group to learn your social intricacies from.”
Case in point? In the trailer, above, she calls out Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) crush on Gamora (Zoe Saldana) in front of the whole crew.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits theaters on May 5, 2017.
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