Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Super Powers Collection #17: Mantis (1984)

It's the night the lights went out in Georgia-- and Tokyo-- and pretty much the rest of the world. All that electricity had been drained away to the remote castle that hosted the Power Pod of the energy vampire Mantis, a disciple of Darkseid.

Meanwhile, three super-heroes watched a shuttle launch from the control room....
"It's a proud day, Martian Manhunter."
"The first moon flight in years, Aquaman."
"We are privileged to observe its launch," added the usurper himself, Red Tornado.

The energy blackout catches the rocket, threatening its astronauts with near certain death. Aquaman objects, "Not if we have anything to say about that. Red Tornado! Manhunter-- do it!" The Manhunter from Mars grabbed hold of the rocket just long enough for Tornado-powers to gently set the crew back on the ground. "I'm picking up an energy beam with my Martian Super-Vision. We must follow it." The hero trio paused only to insure the astronauts safe exit (and receive a bit of gratitude.)

Manhunter assured, "The beam is coming from the east!" Aquaman spotted an island that had appeared just overnight. "And, as the awesome android, the king of the sea, and the alien manhunter speed forward," they were caught on Mantis' security camera. "Company's coming, eh? Very well, let them. One of them is a machine... and I can steal the power from all machines..."

Red Tornado and Martian Manhunter then smashed through the wall, only to turn on one another. "Great Scott! Red's attacking me! He really is controlled by Mantis! Fortunately, I can control my density... and let Tornado's fist pass harmlessly through me." Meanwhile, underneath Mantis' island, Aquaman called on three whales to "ATTACK!!"

Mantis emitted a devastating blast. "Manhunter, your weakness is fire. Nothing can save you. And once I have taken away your very life... you shall know why Mantis is called the energy vampire!" However, the entire castle quaked under Aquaman's assault. Martian Manhunter was on his feet and grinning when he saw what Red Tornado was up to. "Mantis, while you battled the Manhunter, you lost control over me! My Tornado Blast will destroy your power grid!" Having fallen out of grace, the energy vampire was returned to Apokolips involuntarily. "Mantis is disappearing... I guess you can say Darkseid's scheme just ran out of power!"

Ugh... this was probably the stiffest, most generic SP comic of them all. The writer couldn't even work in a "Sovereign of the Seven Seas" or an "Alien Atlas?" The characterization seemed to come off the back of the toy packaging, so no wonder it was cardboard. I'm glad to see Aquaman and Martian Manhunter partnered up, but of course, most of the adventure was spent with the usurper, Red Tornado. At least I can take some solace in a likely Reddie defeat off panel, since Mantis had to step in.

The art was also bland in this one, but what I found interesting was repeated hints of a young Norm Breyfogle (though there's no credits to be sure.) The art was drowning in heavy inks and potentially redrawn faces, though.

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