"What The Fu- -"
Those were the words that rang through the halls of YouAreComic HQ last night. I was happily enjoying a stack of newly acquired back issues when I came over all blue at the events in Mantra #18.
Okay, let's be upfront about it, being befuddled into profanity during the adventures of the Malibu Ultraverse's resident sex-kitten sorceress is not that unusual an occurrence. I mean the very concept of the book is a fricking can of worms all by itself.
Mantra: The story of Lukasz - a mighty, ages-old, sword-swinging warrior who finds himself mystically transported into the body of recently deceased, smoking hot, single mom Eden Blake. A body whose inherent magical abilities are integral to his quest to defeat his ancient, all-powerful enemy (and incidentally geriatric, magical cyborg) Boneyard - y'know when he's not checking out his new body's bazoonkas in a mirror.
Don't get me wrong, I was always a big fan of the Mantra series, what with Lukasz clumsily trying to master his new magical abilities. His trying to keep Eden's life afloat despite his thinly veiled contempt for her kids, mother and ex-husband. His desperate fight not to join in when horny co-workers wolf-whistle at his impossibly proportioned new body. Not to mention all those great 'how do women walk in these gosh-darned things' moments the book shamelessly stole from Tootsie. There were moments of total comic-book joy packed in shoulder to shoulder with all the rampant, barely controlled wack-a-doodle.
However by the time we got to Mantra #18 things had gotten a little far afield. In this issue Mantra returns from her stint in the Godwheel mini-series. There she'd been sucked into another dimension to face the evil of a megalomaniacal blue god with an eye collection, a dude made out of super-powerful discarded skin and a horde of devious little pumpkins bent on world domination. These events had left Mantra changed.
Eden, it seemed was alive, well and back in her own body, Lukasz now had his own body - one fashioned in the Rob Liefeld school of anatomy, and the two of them were very much in love. It's probably best if we just gloss over the fact that the flame of Lukasz's love was kindled while he was living in Eden's body. Ewwww.
Anyway, they get home flush with victory, pack the kids off to mom's place, dress up all glitzy for a celebratory date night and..
Brown Chicken, Brown Cow
As all the world's poets could have told him (were Lukasz not too busy watching Top Gear and reading Guns & Ammo to listen) the course of true love never runs smoothly.
Of course this being a Mantra book, Eden and Lukasz's true love does indeed forego the smooth course and instead chooses the totally bat-shit crazy course of...instant and catastrophic magical pregnancy!
Shoulda Put A Sock On The Pickle
Now you might think that being up the magical duff might be the last stop on this particular crazy train, but you'd be wrong. Mantra #18 has not yet begun to fight. Next the book makes a concerted effort to piss off every female fan who has ever experienced the wondrous journey of pregnancy - as Eden goes from two pink lines to the delivery room in a scant six pages. No time for morning sickness, for wacky cravings, for braxton hicks or even for that gross chocolate flavoured birdseed stuff they give you to eat when you get all constipated, nothing!
Of course things don't go quite so rosy for poor Baby Girl Blake once she's ushered into the world. She gets a few moments of blissful newborn snoozing before suddenly and inexplicably blossoming into instant, busty adulthood in the space of seconds - complete with fetching, spiky, leather S&M ensemble, snake tattoo, the bloody urge to murder mommy and daddy and sporting the name of her mother's slutty, sales-goosing bad girl alter-ego:
What Did Mommy Tell You About Borrowing Her Leather Spiky Thigh Strap Without Asking?
Mazel Tov Everybody! Who's got the cigars?
And that's where we're left, high and dry, confused and trembling, maybe having thrown up in our mouths a little, trudging slowly upstairs to wash out our brains.
Shame on you Mike W Barr, what were you thinking?