#1626: Mantis

MANTIS

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)

“Mantis, an evil resident of Apokolips, decides to lead an invasion of Earth after the apparent demise of Darkseid.”

Of all the New Gods characters, I think Mantis may be the least developed.  I mean, he’s always been there, since Jack Kirby created the group in the ‘70s, but Kirby never did much with him, and subsequent creators sort of followed.  Mantis essentially just exists when writers need a New God for the heroes to battle without throwing off whatever’s going on with the New Gods that actually matter.  Despite that, Mantis inexplicably has four action figures.  Who’d have thunk?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mantis was released as part of the amusingly typo-ed “Attack from Apolkolips” 6-pack from Mattel’s Justice League Unlimited line.  That’s the best name I’ve seen since the good old days of “Muntant Armor.”  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  He’s built on the large male body (patterned after the original Justice League Superman), which is a good fit for the character.  He’s got a brand-new head sculpt, and though it’s made of rather rubbery plastic, it’s actually a pretty decent piece, rather deftly recreating Mantis’ design from the series.  Mantis’ “wings” are handled here has a cloth cape piece.  In a line of figures that used almost exclusively sculpted pieces for such things, this seems a little out of place, especially since it’s not a particularly *good* cloth cape.  There’s no hem on the outside, and it’s held in place by some rather obvious clips.  Organic flow is not among this figures strong suits.  The paint work on Mantis is decent enough; his colors all match up well with the on-screen ones, and the greens are nice and complimentary.  There’s a little bit of slop on his face and mask, but he’s otherwise pretty clean, and the detail lines on his costume are quite sharply defined.  Mantis included no accessories, but this was within the norm for the multi-pack figures.  Also, having seen a number of the accessories that were included with the single-carded figures, I can hardly feel like I missed out on anything.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My interest in JLU had largely waned by the time this set came along, so I didn’t buy it new.  This guy was bought all on his lonesome from Yesterday’s Fun, during my family vacation last summer.  He’s not an exceptional figure or anything, but he’s not awful either.  He’s about average for this line, which I guess is about as much as you can expect.

#1595: Mantis

MANTIS

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

“Mantis is a servant of Darkseid, ruler of Apokolips, the planet of ultimate evil, and his power may rival that of his master.  When Darkseid sent Mantis to Earth to locate the Anti-Life Equation, the means to control all sentient life throughout the universe, Mantis schemed to conquer the planet himself instead.  Cursed with an insatiable lust for power, Mantis would be just as happy to see Darkseid defeated as he would to see Apokolips triumph.”

In addition to being very much focused on the odd-ball characters of the DC Universe, DC Universe Classics was also committed to being a recreation of Kenner’s Super Powers line from the ‘80s.  Initially, it was just thematically and somewhat stylistically, but eventually, sub-text became full text, and each assortment was given one direct Super Powers recreation.  Today’s figure is one of those.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mantis was released in Series 9 of DC Universe Classics.  As he was a pre-existing New Gods character who just got a hefty redesign for Super Powers, there were actually two variants of Mantis in this assortment.  The one seen here is, as mentioned above, the Super Powers design, which traded in the somewhat goofy spandex for a cool sci-fi robot thing.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Despite what you might think, being a variant and all, the only parts shared between this and the classic Mantis are the upper arms, upper torso (albeit completely covered by an overlay), and knees, all of which are just the standard medium body pieces.  Everything else was brand-new to this guy, as it well should be.  It’s definitely one of the most impressive sculpts the line had to offer.   It captures the ‘80s figure’s design very well, but also scales it up, adds some extra details, and just generally modernizes the whole thing.  The only real problem I have is actually the re-use; the shoulders just end up looking a little bit out of place with the rest of the figure.  Still, not at all bad for a Mantis figure.  Paintwork on Mantis is pretty impressive as well.  There’s a lot of very bright, very bold color work, so he’ll definitely jump out on the shelf.  He’s also got a whole ton of accent work, including some slight airbrushing to keep things from getting too bland.  He really does represent the line at its peak.  Mantis was packed with the arm of Chemo, the Collect-N-Connect for this particular series, and nothing else.  Not sure there’s really much else you could have given him, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Mantis is another recent addition.  Series 9 suffered from some pretty fierce distribution problems, so I never found a lot of them at retail.  Fortunately, Cosmic Comix recently bought someone’s DCUC collection, so I’ve been able to pick up a lot of the figures I’ve missed.  I actually grabbed this figure back on Small Business Saturday, in an effort to be supportive.  Mantis is definitely a fun figure, and I’m certainly happy to have finally gotten him!

#1520: Mantis & Taserface

MANTIS & TASERFACE

MARVEL MINIMATES

So, beyond Drax and Nebula, who are part of the Toys R Us-exclusive set which I didn’t pick up, there’s only one main Guardian from Vol. 2 I haven’t yet looked at in Minimate form.  As chance would have it, it’s a personal favorite of mine, Mantis, the newest addition to the team.  I’ll be looking at her, as well as her pack-mate Taserface!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Mantis and Taserface are one of the two sets exclusive to Marvel Minimates Series 71.  They’re sort of an odd pairing, seeing as these two characters never once meet during the film, being a part of two divergent storylines and all.  In DST’s defense, they aren’t the only licensee to do this; Lego also packed these two together.  Perhaps it was an early story idea?  Who knows.

MANTIS

This marks Mantis’s very first Minimate, and is in fact her very first action figure in general, since it hit a couple of months before the Legends release.  The figure stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation.  She’s built on the standard body with add-ons for her hair and skirt.  Both of these pieces are new to this ‘mate, and they’re both decent enough.  With that said, I do feel Mantis is the sort of character that would benefit from a unique head, since the antenna being on the hair doesn’t quite look right.  It’s far from horrible or anything, but it’s a little off.  Still, both pieces are nice overall.  The paintwork on Mantis is largely pretty solid.  The detailing and color with on the body is top-notch, and I really dig the metallic green.  The hair is a little sloppier, as are the antennae, but they’re respectable.  Her face is decent, but feels like it has too many lines for Mantis.  She ends up looking way to angular and defined.  I think just losing the cheekbones improves things.  Mantis’s only accessory is a clear display stand, but I can’t think of much else you could give her, so that seems reasonable enough.

TASERFACE

TASERFACE!  It’s metaphorical!  Man, did I love Taserface.  I mean, I didn’t actually like him, but I sure loved everything that went on around him.  And I’m very happy he found his way into this line-up.  Like Mantis, he’s built on the usual body, bit with a unique head, as well as add-ons for his chest cap and wrist bands.  The head adds his top-not, beard, and ears, while still keeping the overall ‘mate thing going on, so that’s  cool.  The rest of the pieces do a decent job translating his film design into ‘mate form as well, though I feel the torso piece is maybe a bit soft on the details.  His paintwork isn’t as clean as Mantis’s, but then it’s not really supposed to be.  It works well enough for what it’s supposed to be doing, but it’s certainly not quite as interesting to look at.  Taserface is packed with a large blaster rifle and  clear display stand, which is a pretty nice assortment, I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s really this set’s fault that I took so long to actually get this whole assortment.  I came out of the theatre knowing I wanted a Mantis figure, and since the Legend was a little ways off, I stopped off at my comic book store to get this set.  Sadly, they were out of stock, and I just never got around to ordering them.  While Mantis isn’t perfect, she’s still pretty great overall, and I’m happy to have another version of her in my collection.  Taserface is pretty solid, and holds some extra value, being the only Taserface figure out there and all.

#1439: Mantis

MANTIS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Of all the things I loved about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (and that’s quite a long list), perhaps my favorite part of the movie was its new addition to the team, Mantis.  I’ve liked Mantis since her earliest appearances, so I was excited to see her move to the big screen, and the movie delivered a version of the character that was just so inherently likable.  I look forward to seeing more of her in future installments.  In the mean time, I’ve got a Marvel Legend version of her to occupy my time.  Let’s see how that turned out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mantis is the eponymous Build-A-Figure from the Mantis Series of Marvel Legends.  I know there was a lot of discussion about why she was chosen to be the Build-A-Figure instead of one of the more sizable figures in the set like Ex Nihilo or Death’s Head II.  Would *you* have gone out of your way to complete either of those figures?  Me either.  And that’s sort of the point, isn’t it?  I mean, here I am, and I’ve bought the whole set, so Hasbro succeeded in their main venture, which is selling all the figures.  More power to them.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and she has 32 points of articulation.  Mantis is, of course, based on her design from the film, which is a nicely crafted merging of all of her main looks from over the years.  The figure’s sporting an all-new sculpt, and it’s…it’s just amazing.  I mean, maybe not quite the same level as Gamora, but very close, certainly.  The head sports a beautiful likeness of Pom Klementieff as Mantis, and it’s one of the best head sculpts Hasbro’s ever put out.  It’s made from three different pieces, used for the hair, the face, and the eyes.  Yes, the eyes are a separate piece; they look the slightest bit off when you look really closely at them, but from a normal distance, they add a ton of depth and level to the figure.  The rest of the figure is very sharply detailed; there’s a ton of texture and folds and such in the clothing.  If I have one complaint about the sculpt, I’d say that her shoulders a perhaps a touch too broad.  That’s really minor, though.  Mantis’s paintwork is solid work all around.  It’s clean, and the colors look quite nice.  I particularly dig that metallic green they’ve used.  There’s a little bit of slop around the edges of her eyes, but that’s really about it.  Mantis, as an accessory herself, includes no accessories of her own.  Honestly, I can’t think of much they could have included with her, so I can’t say it’s a huge deal.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Obviously, I got Mantis by buying all six of the contributing figures in this series, which I found all at once at Toys R Us.  Mantis was my number one want from this set.  I’ll admit to being a little miffed at first that she was made the Build-A-Figure, but aside from one figure, all of the contributing figures were ones I wanted anyway.  Not a big loss on my part there.  Gamora may be the best figure in the series, but Mantis is hands down my favorite figure in the assortment.  Would life have been easier if she’d been a single-packed release?  Maybe, but I’d much rather have gotten her as a Build-A-Figure with a dedicated sculpt than have not gotten her at all or having gotten her in some compromised form.  At the end of the day, I couldn’t be happier with this figure.