The German/Vietnamese child of Gustav and Lau Brandt, the girl who would become Mantis was given up to the alien Priests of Pama, a sect of the Kree who believed in the "Celestial Madonna", a legendary being who would give birth to the Celestial Messiah, deemed to be "the most important being in the universe." Excelling in her martial arts studies with the Priests, gaining a heightened control over her physiology in the process, Mantis has her memories erased when she becomes an adult and sent back to earth in order to gain life experience. Becoming a barmaid/prostitute in a Vietnamese bar, she meets the Swordsman, Jacques Duquesne, and accompanies him back to the United States after helping him regain his self-respect. Joining the Avengers alongside him, Mantis soon became involved in many of the team's adventures, motivated partially by her growing sexual interest in the Vision. As it was, Mantis was unaware of the Swordsman's love for her, and only realized (and reciprocated) it during his deathbed confession after being mortally wounded by Kang the Conquerer in his own quest for the Madonna. Shortly thereafter, Mantis discovers that she is, as was suspected, the Celestial Madonna, and leaves Earth with the planet's eldest Cotati in order to give birth to the Celestial Messiah.
Bearing the child, whom she names "Sequoia", Mantis (now calling herself "Mandy Celestine") is compelled to give up the child to the Priests of Pama, joining the Silver Surfer in his adventures shortly thereafter, and even beginning a relationship with the former herald of Galactus. Growing increasingly dissatisfied with her life, particularly after her powers began to alter, Mantis is caught in a massive explosion and presumed dead by the Surfer. In fact, Mantis survives the blast, but the stresses placed upon her in recent years literally cause her to fragment into multiple versions of herself, each bearing a different aspect of her personality and fragmentary portions of her memories. One such portion becomes a member of the West Coast Avengers for a time, before leaving the team to raise her son.
Eventually, Mantis manages to recover and merge all the fragments of her personality, leaving her whole once more in time to help the Avengers stop Thanos from killing her son. During this period, she resumes her pursuit of the Vision, but eventually ceases upon realizing that the connection between the Vision and the Scarlet Witch are genuine and strong, despite their estrangement.
Mantis is a Marvel comic books owned character created by Steve Englehart and Don Heck.
She first appears in Avengers #112 released in 1973. Rather uniquely Mantis is one of few characters that has appeared in other comic book publishers books stories ultimately returning to her original publisher Marvels brand. When Mantis creator Steve Englehart left for DC Comics he was allowed to take the character with him. She would appear in DC comic books as Willow. The character would also appear in Eclipse comics as Lorelei.
Major Story Arcs
Guardians of the Galaxy
Traveling the stars once more, Mantis is imprisoned by the Kree, and remains so until the malevolent techno-organic Phalanx, under the command of Ultron, begin their conquest of the Kree Empire. Drafted into Star-Lord's commando unit, Mantis quickly proves herself to be an effective member of the team, freeing the others alongside Gabriel Vargas, the current bearer of the Captain Universe power, after they are captured by the Phalanx. As the conflict reaches its climax, Mantis and the rest of the team attempt to destroy the Phalanx's Babel Spire, but the mission goes horribly awry when Vargas is killed and Star-Lord is captured. Working together with the rest of the team, they manage to free their leader and heavily damage the Spire, only for Mantis to be badly wounded by Ultron in the final act of the conflict.
Mantis, however, survives her close call with Ultron, and now acts as the therapist and councilor to the new Guardians of the Galaxy team, operating from their base at Knowhere alongside Groot and Cosmo. Mantis has foreseen that the team will be betrayed and killed by one of their own nine months in the future, but resists telling them of this fact, for fear of destabilizing the course of the future.
Mantis' role with the development of the team was more than just offering psychological support, however. It is soon revealed after a terrorist attack on Knowhere by a team of Super-Skrulls that Mantis had actually telepathically 'nudged' the team's members into accepting Peter's plans and joining. Mantis undertook this highly unethical action out of Star-Lord's concerns that the dangers to galactic stability were too great to simply wait for the proposed members to come around. Following this revelation, the majority of the team quit, disgusted with Star-Lord's decision, and Mantis became a full-time field agent alongside Groot, Bug, Rocket Raccoon, Star-Lord and newcomer Major Victory.
War of Kings
After an attack on Knowhere due to some failed negotiations with the Inhumans and the Imperial Guard to stop their War of Kings, one of the Guardians prisoners, Starhawk, escaped captivity. Starhawk brought Mantis and a few other Guardians to her future, which was all but destroyed by a rip in space-time known as the Fault.
Once there, Starhawk finally convinces the Guardians of the threat and tells them that King Black Bolt will be the one to cause the Fault. With their time machine destroyed, their only hope is to send a message back to the past to warn the others. They successfully do so, but not before the Fault consumes the remainder of the universe.
Instead of killing them, this causes the team to be adrift in time. This also causes Mantis to be reverted to a baby. They continue to travel through several time lines before ending up in one controlled by the Magus and the Universal Church of Truth. It is here they are rescued by Kang the Conqueror and taken to his headquarters in Limbo.
Kang uses his abilities to return them all to their normal states, which unfortunately leaves a full grown Mantis in the nude in front of everyone. Kang tells them of Adam's transformation into the Magus and that all futures are in peril. He gives Starlord a Cosmic Cube and sends them back in time to the moment before the transformation.
They are unable to stop Warlock from becoming the Magus and Mantis and Cosmo try to combine their telepathic abilities to assault the Magus. It is ineffective, and Magus kills them both. The Magus is stopped by Starlord, but not before the death of Mantis, Cosmo, Gamora, Phyla, Major Victory and Adam Warlock.
But the Magus had only created the illusion of their deaths, taking their souls back to Sacrosanct and remaking them as his prisoners. While attempting to convert them, Mantis organized them as was able to use her abilities to get Phyla back under control of her body. They soon escaped, but not before Phyla's death at the hands of a newly resurrected Thanos. With Cosmo and Moondragon's help (and a Cosmic Cube), they were able to capture Thanos and keep him under control for a short time.
After the Guardians of the Galaxy briefly grew apart after War of Kings, Mantis fell in with other ex-Guardians as the Knowhere Corps, peacekeepers of Knowhere. When a reunited Guardians of the Galaxy crossed their paths, they were ambivalent about being friendly toward them.
It is not known what happened to them when Knowhere was taken over by the Black Order during Thanos’ last will and testament, however, most of them would resurface as mind-controlled members of the Universal Church of Truth. They were eventually saved by the Guardians and helped defeat an army of Drax clones.
One of the Drax clones was left alive so that it could replace the Drax who stayed behind in Warp World to live his best life. Mantis was able to supply memories of Drax for Moondragon to telepathically recreate Drax’s psyche inside the braindead clone.
In the aftermath of the Kree and Skrull empire uniting under Hulkling, the Cotati people, led by Quoi, attempted to wipe out all non-plant life, starting with Earth. He targets the vibranium-enriched soi of Wakanda to plant their secret weapon, The Death Bloom. In an effort to defeat Quoi, Black Panther sent a message to his mother, Mantis, who refused to fight him. Instead, she opted to talk to him, but her plan was ruined when She-Hulk revealed herself to be infected with a plant spore making her a double agent for the Cotati.
She-Hulk was so much stronger now that she could resist Invisible Woman’s force fields and Mantis’ telepathic martial arts. The two decided to combine their powers or else She-Hulk was going to beat The Thing to death. Mantis telepathically blocked Sue’s fatigue receptors so that she could overpower her force fields. This allowed them to overpower She-Hulk’s plant infection and return her to the side of the Avengers.
The Cotati were defeated soon after with Mantis pleading with her son to see the errors of his ways. Instead, he doubled down and gladly accepted his punishment.
Return to the Guardians
With the space economy failing, the Galactic Council did not have the finances to fund a new Nova Corps, so they offered the chance to be the new galactic peacekeepers to the Guardians of the Galaxy, under Nova’s leadership. Needing extra members, Mantis agreed to rejoin the team. On assignment surveilling Ego the Living Planet, who had fallen victim to an old Skrull cult’s blood ritual, she watched as he cracked open like an egg and revealed a planetoid possessed by Dormammu. This forced the team to turn to Doctor Doom for his expertise in magic, eventually exorcizing Dormammu back to the Dark Dimension.
Later, she investigates a planet with Groot for a psychic interference that was causing ships to crash land. Mantis finds a small plant creature that started shapeshifting into various antagonists from her memory. A confused Mantis eventually figures out that this being was in fact her inner child, an aspect of herself she didn’t realize was lost when Thanos previously splintered her identity. By embracing it, she was finally whole and returned to her original human skin tone.
Mantis and the Guardians were building their reputation as official peacekeepers when they were joined by Nebula. She wanted to prove herself and put her probability machine to good use finding problems for the Guardians to squash. One of her first targets ended up being Groot's dying homeworld where he received a god-like ability to cultivate his people, causing him to go feral and attack a region called the Manifold Territories. The Guardians tried to stop him, but they suffered heavy losses, including the death of Moondragon. After being stranded in the Manifold Territories, Mantis felt guilty for not being more empathetic to her team, still reeling from the events of Empyre.
Mantis and the Guardians did their best to protect that people of the territories, nicknamed The Fold. Unfortunately, this often meant evacuating them to a different planetoid within the The Fold. When Quill thinks Groot is communicating with them, he convinces Mantis and the others to try to communicate back. This causes them to be absorbed by Groot and learn the truth, that Groot hasn't killed anyone or destroyed anywhere. It is all just waiting to bloom, and The Guardians vow to protect Grootspace until it can.
Mantis always behaved in an assertive manner, feeling confident in herself and her powers. Initially she was somewhat arrogant at times, telling Swordsman that he was "too weak" for her; however, she repented after his death.
As a result of her upbringing at the Temple, she had an idiosyncratic holistic worldview similar to real-life Eastern philosophy and saw herself as a part of a greater whole. For this reason, she always referred to herself in the third person as "this one" and "she" instead of "I".
Powers and Abilities
Mantis also known as the Celestial Madonna, and by that title trained by the Priests of Pama, aliens of Kree origin. Intense and vigorous training under the Priests of Pana, Mantis had learned to develop "complete control" over her bodily functions and physiology, which essentially granted enhanced agility, reflexes, speed, strength stamina and higher than usual control over her nervous system blood flow, breathing and respiration. Furthermore she is capable of willing herself to recuperate quickly after being injured.
Mantis also has extraordinary ability in the martial arts that have been developed and perfected over thousands of years by the Priests of Pama. These fighting methods place particular emphasis on the manipulation of pressure points and nerve endings on the bodies of one's opponents. Thus, by knowing the right areas of the body to strike, Mantis could stun even a being as powerful as Thor even though she herself had no superhuman strength.
To travel in space, Mantis projected her consciousness from her body, allowing her to travel interplanetary distances. She would recreate a body for herself out of the destination planet’s local vegetation. Her fighting skills remained intact, and her empathic abilities were heightened to a superhuman degree and extended to the planet’s flora and biosphere. She could control the vegetation within her vicinity. Mantis also possesses strong telepathic, telekinetic and pyrokinetic abilities, as most recently demonstrated in the Annihilation: Conquest event, alongside a measure of precognition.
In the Heroes Reborn universe, Mantis was radically altered. Instead of being an Avenger, she was Kang the Conqueror's lover from the 30th century. She and Kang were later killed by Loki.
In the House of M reality, Mantis was a member of Shang-Chi's Dragons organization.
Mantis appears in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, portrayed by Pom Klementieff. This version of the character is not from Earth, and is instead an alien who was raised by Ego, the Living Planet. She acts as a caretaker of sorts, using her empathic abilities to help him sleep. When it is revealed that Ego is planning to assimilate the universe, Mantis sides with the Guardians to help defeat him. At the close of the movie, she becomes an official member of the team.
- Pom Klementieff reprises her role in Avengers: Infinity War. After Gamora is kidnapped by Thanos, the remaining Guardians of the Galaxy travel to Titan in order to rescue her. The Guardians team up with several of Earth's heroes (Iron Man, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange) to try and trap Thanos, hoping to use Strange's Eye of Agamotto (which contains the Time Stone) as bait. During the battle, Strange manages to get Mantis close enough to Thanos to touch him, and she uses her powers to pacify him. She almost manages to subdue Thanos long enough for the heroes to remove the Infinity Gauntlet from his hand, but Star-Lord ends up ruining the plan. At the end of the film, Mantis is one of the many characters who is killed when Thanos activates the newly completed Infinity Gauntlet and uses it to wipe out half of the universe's sentient life.
- Pom Klementieff once again reprised her role in Avengers: Endgame. After the Hulk uses the Infinity Stones to resurrect Thanos' victims, Mantis and the rest of the Guardians are restored to life. She and her teammates take part during the final battle against Thanos' forces.
- Pom Klementieff returns in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. She and her teammates, now including even more Ravagers, are moving into their new headquarters, Knowhere. She recognizes that Quill is in a funk and wants to approximate a Christmas celebration like Quill used to have back on Earth. She also reveals that she is in fact Quill's half-sister as Ego the Living Planet is also her father.
- Pom Klementieff reprises Mantis in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the second sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy and director James Gunn's final MCU film. Pom's future in the MCU has not been confirmed while a few of her cast members have claimed this is their final appearance. She feels lost individually for going from dutiful assistant to Ego to dutiful Guardian and wished to break free and find some individuality.
- Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy - Mantis appears in the episode "Don't Stop Believin'," voiced by Jennifer Hale. This version of the character is a member of a religious minority on Spartax, and teams up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to rescue Star-Lord from J'son's palace. It turns out that Mantis was merely manipulating the Guardians to help her get close enough to J'son so she could assassinate him, but she is defeated and taken into custody before that can happen. As she is led off to her imprisonment, she states once again that J'son is a tyrant, and that the Guardians will soon come to realize this.
Marvel: War of Heroes
Mantis appears in several cards in the mobile card game Marvel: War of Heroes. Her cards are:
- [Celestial Madonna] Mantis
- [Altruist] Mantis
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon
Mantis appears as a playable character in the mobile app game, which is loosely based on the live-action Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
Lego Marvel's Avengers
Mantis is one of the numerous Avengers or former Avengers playable in the game.
Marvel Avengers Alliance
Mantis is a playable character in the game. She can be recruited by completing all the task in the Special Operation 35 "Stare Into The Black Vortex".
Her bio says: Mantis was raised by a secret sect of Kree living on Earth called the Priests of Pama. They trained her in the martial arts and unlocked her psychic potential, believing that she would one day fulfill a prophecy as the Celestial Madonna, the mother to the perfect being. Erasing her memories, they allowed her to return to the outside world to gain real life experience. She joined the Avengers but eventually left Earth to complete the prophecy. Mantis gave birth to a son and allowed him to be raised by the Priests of Pama while she explored the cosmos. She was imprisoned by the true Kree where she met Star-Lord, and together, they set the groundwork for building the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Mavel Future Fight
Mantis is a playable character in the game. She is a Blast type.
Her bio in the game says: Raised in a temple by the pacifist Kree Priests of Pama, Mantis was to become the Celestial Madonna, the mother of the Celestial Messiah. Mantis is an exceptional martial artist as well as a master of meditational disciplines, giving her incredible control over her body. She also has empathic abilities allowing her to sense others' emotions and communicate with plants.
Marvel Avengers Academy
Mantis is a playable character in the game, release during "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" Event. Her Recruitment Quest is "Get Mantis!" She is voiced by Mel Gorsha.
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series
Mantis appears in the game, voiced by Sumalee Montano. She first appears in Chapter 3, where the Guardians find her trapped in a casket on Emnios after she forces them to relive past memories. She states that Star-Lord is the prophesied "Celestial One," and that she is the caretaker of an ancient cosmic artifact known as the Eternity Forge. When the Guardians attempt to open the Forge in Chapter 4, Mantis is attacked by Hala the Accuser, who attempts to kill her. However, Star-Lord manages to save her. At the end of Chapter 4, Mantis leaves the team due to their negative emotions causing her intense pain and turmoil.
Marvel Strike Force
Mantis is a playable character in the mobile RPG game.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Mantis appears in Square Enix's Guardians of the Galaxy video game, voiced by Emmanuelle Lussier-Martinez.
- Mantis received a bobblehead from the Funko POP! line.
- Mantis was included in the "Ravager Attack" Lego kit.
- Mantis was the subject of a Marvel Legends Build-a-Figure wave.
- Mantis was featured in Hot Toys' Cosbaby line.
- Diamond Select released a Mantis Minimate.
- Eaglemoss Publications produced a lead Mantis figurine as part of The Marvel Movie Collection.
Mantis was ranked 99th in Comic Buyer's Guide's 100 Sexiest Women in Comics list.