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Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2
by yo go re

If you think she's weird now, wait until you see her final form!

Isolated from other lifeforms from an early age by Ego, Mantis does not understand the intricacies of social engagement; but she is learning upon recruitment into the Guardians of the Galaxy.

It doesn't take a Master's Degree in Sociology or Asian Studies to see that there are problems with Mantis' depiction in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2. In the comics, she's strong and determined woman who's been capable of fighting Thanos one-on-one; in the movie, she's a meek, servile (space)Asian whose entire life is centered around taking care of the physical needs of her master. Yeah, that's... that's kind of creepy. Like, it's got definite Connotations-with-a-captial-C. Comics Mantis? Beat Iron Man, Thor, Scarlet Witch, Black Panther and Vision by herself. Movie Mantis? Too timid to make eye contact. The movie beats her up and abuses her, even if her "owner," Ego, does not. We already know that she's going to be in Infinity War, so hopefully the other Guardians will be nicer to her, there. Or at least not actively hurtful.

MCU Mantis is the Build-A-Figure for the second series of GotG2 toys, a much better choice than Series 1's Titus. There are seven figures in the series, but you only have to buy six of them to build her: for some reason, Hasbro was more confident in Death's Head II's ability to sell by himself than they were in Ex Nihilo. Go fig!

Mantis was created in 1973, and was only the fourth woman to join the Avengers - and since she was Vietnamese, the first one who wasn't white. The movie did away with her confusing comicbook origin (and her confusing comicbook speech patterns) in favor of making her some kind of semi-insectoid alien, though the initial plan was to make her even more buggy. Her antennae curl gently out of her forehead, and her eyes are solid black, meaning Hasbro didn't have to worry about painting much of a likeness.

Her costume is a big improvement over the comics, where she normally wore something that looked like a grass skirt and a top that had handlebars coming off her boobs. For the movies, her colorscheme is black and green, and the only bare skin is on her hands and shoulders. Her pants and opera gloves (black and green, respectively) have padded stripes running down the outside in the opposite color, and the tails on her coat look a bit like the petals of a plant. You can take that as a subtle nod to her 616 history, if you want - in the comics, she was raised by a sect of Kree monks who worshipped psychic plant-people, which is why she gets along so well with Groot. Her green is dark but metallic, making it stand out from the black pretty well.

Rather than displaying any martial arts skills, movie Mantis just had empathic powers, which basically made her like Deanna Troi with less hairspray. So presumably the fact that her right hand is molded with two fingers pointing forward is more of a "you need to sleep" pose and less of a "I'm going to disable you with nerve strikes" pose. Although why not both? If her mental powers are already a touch attack, think how effective they'd be paired with a little actual physicality, too. The figure has more joints than she needs, with swivels in the biceps and elbows duplicating one another. Plus, it's easy to overlook the swivels at the top of her short boots.

Mantis has no accessories, because she doesn't use any, and no BAF part, because she is the BAF. It's unexpected that they chose to release her this way, instead of as a regular figure, but at least we get her, right? Still, they could have dropped the unwanted loser that is Ex Nihilo, put Mantis in the regular line, and finally given us a Ronan the Accuser as the BAF. Well, either him or Taserface.

Rocket Raccoon | Gamora | Nebula | Star-Lord | Adam Warlock | Ex Nihilo

-- 07/13/19

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