A Guardians of the Galaxy Character Was Briefly a DC Hero
Decades ago, the legendary Steve Englehart, creator of the Mantis character, took the celestial Madonna with him in DC comics, Eclipse, and Image!
The 1970s were a bit of a “lawless” time in the comic world, so unregulated in fact that Mantis of the guardians of the galaxy was actually written into comics under 4 different publishers by its creator Steve Englehart. Mantis, or the “Celestial Madonna”, has always been far more cosmically important in Marvel Comics than in the MCU, so important that Englehart brought her into DC, Eclipse and Image Comics!
Raised in a worshiping religious sect of the Kree called The Priests of Pama, martial artist and superheroine Mantis debuted in 1973. The Avengers #112, presented as a half-Vietnamese, half-German woman with incredible combat skills and a tendency to refer to herself in the third person. Originally created by Steve Englehart, known for his legendary races on Green Lantern, The Avengers, and strange doctorthe author used Mantis as a main character throughout his run on The Avengersand loved the character so much that he decided even Marvel Comics couldn’t contain her.
While the green martial artist characters that Englehart has placed in future comics are never explicitly called Mantis, he has officially confirmed that his intention is that they are all intended to follow Mantis on his journey. of maternity. The end of Englehart’s tenure on The Avengers concluded with the massive “Celestial Madonna” story, portraying Mantis as the destined mother of the “Celestial Messiah”, sired with the Prime Cotati, a plant being with longstanding ties to the Kree and Skrulls. Mantis’ story ended with him leaving with the Prime Cotati who inhabited the body of his ex-Avengers teammate, the Swordsman, to become pregnant and bear his child among the stars. With Englehart’s departure soon after, he apparently decided he wanted to continue the “Celestial Madonna/Messiah” story, which ended decades later in Empyrean, leading to the “Willow” character appearing in DC Comics Justice League of America #142 in 1977. Willow was a green-skinned woman with incredible combat skills, celestial knowledge, and a penchant for referring to herself in third person, telling Aquaman, “This one comes from a place where she must not nameto get to a place no man shall know!“
It’s clearly a not-so-subtle hint from Englehart that Willow is actually Mantis, and can’t say her real name or explain her plot in detail due to copyright issues, and at the end of the issue, Willow already leaves the JLA. She said to the Atom, “People change! The weather is changing! Names and bodies change!” Willow then goes on to explain quite explicitly how she went from a normal Earth human to an encounter with a cosmic entity which she left with and eventually became pregnant, and with this story Willow left the DC Universe and never never came back. Several years later, Mantis starred as Lorelei in Englehart’s Pink Scorpio series at Eclipse Comics, a revamp of a Madame Xanadu series for DC which was cancelled, and she has now given birth to her child (later revealed to be Quoi the “Heavenly Messiah”) and is raising him in a suburban community . Lorelei was later revisited in Image comics’ Coyote Collection #1 several years later, again written by Englehart, ending Mantis’ multiversal journey through the comic world. That Englehart was able to weave Mantis’ “Celestial Madonna” story so successfully across multiple different comic book publishers is endlessly fascinating, and also shows just how important and versatile the underutilized character Mantis is.
Whereas in modern times it’s almost a 100% guarantee that Marvel Comics never allowing a writer to casually bring their creation to DC comics, it’s an awesome piece of comic book history that the legendary Steve Englehart transported decades ago Mantisof guardians of the galaxy fame, across the worlds of DC, Eclipse and Image Comics.
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