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Monday, January 27, 2020

Measuring Up to Mantis

New Defenders #138 ended in a cliffhanger, as the team witnessed Moondragon in hand-to-hand combat against the former Avenger known as Mantis. An even bigger surprise came in #139, when the New Defenders discovered that they were merely seeing a mental projection of Mantis that Moondragon had created to face some festering resentments.

Moondragon's bitterness harked back to Giant-Size Avengers #4, when she and Mantis were contenders for the title of Celestial Madonna. Both women were well-versed in the martial arts and had unique psionic abilities. Mantis also had a sense of humility that Moondragon lacked, and that absence of humility was the deciding factor that cost Moondragon the title.

Moondgragon handled the disappointment by eventually proclaiming herself a goddess free the moral confines of good and evil. Moondragon's acts of hubris in Avengers #219-220 led the Norse god Odin to hinder her powers with a mystic headband and sentence her to the custody of Valkyrie effective New Defenders #125.

Silently observing from Asgard, Odin determined that Moondragon finally learned humility in battling the image of Mantis; he mystically removed the headband at the end of #139. The lesson was short lived, however, as Moondragon's thirst for power continued.

This image of Mantis comes from The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.

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