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Real Name: Unknown
Occupation: Barmaid, later adventuress, later Celestial Madonna
Identity: Secret
Legal Status: Expatriate Vietnamese citizen, granted special visa to the United States on the request of the Avengers
Other Aliases: The Celestial Madonna
Place of Birth: Unknown village in Vietnam
Marital Status: Married
Known Relatives: Gustav Brandt (alias Lloyd Willoughby, father), Lua Brandt (mother, deceased), Khrull (uncle)
Group Affiliation: Avengers
Base of Operations: Temple of the Priests of Pama, Vietnam; later, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), Vietnam; later, Avengers Mansion, New York City; currently unknown
First Appearance: AVENGERS #112

History: Mantis was the daughter of Gustav Brandt, a German who fought in Indochina as a mercenary soldier, and his wife Lua, the sister of Monsieur Khrull, the leader of a local underworld organization. Khrull despised Europeans and was therefore infuriated by his sister's marriage. He was determined to kill both her and her husband. As a result the Brandts fled from one Indochinese village to another for nearly ten months. Towards the end, Mantis was born, and the Brandts decided to stop fleeing, but to remain in hiding. Nevertheless, Khrull and his men found them and used flamethrowers to set their home ablaze. Lua was killed. Badly burned and blinded, Gustav Brandt escaped with his infant daughter, who was unharmed. They both fled for days until they reached the temple of the Priests of Pama, a pacifistic sect of the humanoid alien Kree who established temples on various worlds to escape Kree persecution. Because he was a soldier, the pacifistic Priests separated Brandt from his daughter so that they could raise her in their more peaceful ways. They tried to teach Brandt their philosophy as well, but succeeded only in teaching him how to "see" despite his blindness, presumably by psychic means. After a number of years Brandt left the temple and made his way to Honolulu, where he became a criminal under the alias of Lloyd Willoughby. Later, he joined the criminal cartel known as Zodiac under the name Libra.

The Priests educated Brandt's daughter, who they knew might someday become the Celestial Madonna, the woman who would mother the Celestial Messiah, a genetically perfect being of great power who would bring peace to the universe. She proved to be especially talented in her studies of the Kree pacifists' martial arts. It was because of her skill in defeating male opponents in combat that she took the name "Mantis" after the insect whose females kill the males. Mantis was also taught to communicate telepathically with the Cotati, an alien race of telepathic plant-beings, one of whom would father the Celestial Messiah. The priests had brought some of the Cotati to Earth. The growth of Mantis's telepathic rapport with the Cotati was the basis for her overall empathic nature.

When Mantis had completed her training, the Priests decided that she should be sent to live among humans so as to learn what it was to be a human. Therefore, on the night of Mantis's eighteenth birthday, two of the Priests took her, dressed in ordinary Vietnamese clothing, to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and left her there. The Priests of Pama had removed Mantis's memories of her life at their temple, and instead gave her false memories of growing up in Ho Chi Minh City as an orphan, struggling to survive.

Within hours, Mantis was taken to Monsieur Khrull; neither knew of his or her familial relationship to the other. Khrull forced her to work in a bar he owned as a barmaid. It was there that she eventually met the Swordsman, a costumed criminal who had come to Indochina because he was wanted by legal authorities through much of the rest of the world, and was now no more than an employee of Khrull's. Disgusted with his life, the Swordsman had become an alcoholic, but Mantis saw a buried nobility in him which made her recognize a similar spirit in herself, and made her dissatisfied with the way she was leading her own life. Mantis continually pleaded with the Swordsman to rehabilitate himself, and encouraged him to lead a life of which he could be proud. Finally, the Swordsman was wounded in an unsuccessful raid on a warehouse belonging to a mob that was a rival of Khrull's. Mantis found him and took him to her flat where she nursed him back to health. Now the Swordsman was ready to take her advice. He decided to reform, to return to America, and to offer his services to the Avengers. Mantis accompanied him, and when the Swordsman was readmitted to the Avengers, she was allowed to stay at Avengers Mansion as a courtesy to him. Mantis accompanied the Avengers on their missions and proved herself to be a valuable ally. However, while the Swordsman was deeply in love with Mantis, she believed she was not in love with him, and her disdain for his insecurities grew.

After the Avengers defeated Zodiac with her help, Libra revealed to Mantis that he was her father and told her how she had been raised in a temple, although he did not explain to her who the Priests of Pama really were. One day afterwards, the Avengers were attacked by their archenemy from the future, Kang the Conqueror, who had determined that one of the women then associated with the Avengers was the Celestial Madonna. Kang knew of the prophecy that the Celestial Madonna's husband would be the "most powerful" being on Earth. It was for this reason that Kang had always attacked the 20th Century. Once he discovered who the Madonna was, Kang planned to father her child, thereby diverging an alternate reality in which he could rule the universe through the powers of his son, who would be the Celestial Messiah. Although Kang was thwarted in his plan, he discovered and revealed to Mantis and the Avengers that Mantis was the Celestial Madonna. In the course of these events, the Swordsman was killed by a stray blast from one of Kang's weapons. As the Swordsman died, Mantis realized that she did indeed love him. He was buried in the garden of the temple of the Priests of Pama, which Mantis and the Avengers had visited after their battle with Zodiac. The Priests were now all dead, having been killed by Khrull and his men.

Later, in the Priests' temple garden in Vietnam, Mantis and her Avenger comrades encountered Libra and the glowing, reanimated body of the Swordsman. It was the eldest Cotati on Earth, which now resembled a large tree in the garden, which animated and spoke through the Swordsman's body. The eldest Cotati told Mantis that she was the Celestial Madonna and that he was to be her husband. He had reanimated the Swordsman's body with part of his life force since he could not mate with her in his tree-like form. Their child would be "a new life form" and would be the Celestial Messiah.

In honor of Mantis, the Avengers unanimously made her an Avenger. Immortus, master of time, officiated at the wedding of Mantis and the eldest Cotati. Once the ceremony was finished, the eldest Cotati (within the Swordsman's body) and Mantis both transformed themselves into pure energy and departed Earth.

Years later, Mantis began a tour the galaxy after raising her child to self-sufficiency. She encountered the alien Silver Surfer and nursed his injuries. Adventuring with the Surfer, the two fell in love. Together, they stopped a plot by the Elders of the Universe to destroy and recreate the universe. In retaliation, the Elders presumably killed Mantis, but in actuality, she projected her consciousness to Earth and found herself slightly amnesiac. She returned to the Avengers to recover from her amnesia, and in the process revived her true body.

She left to return to her child, and soon found Kang pursuing her anew. At the same time, the Coati took custody of the child, to Mantis' chagrin. No longer trusting the Coati, Mantis willed her spirit to leave her body again in order to pursue them and retrieve the child.

The ultimate fate of Mantis' child remains unknown. Mantis reappeared to join the Silver Surfer and others in stopping the mad rampage of the planet-eater Galactus, which ultimately led to Galactus' death. Mantis left to resume her travels through the universe for her own mysterious purposes.

Height: 5 ft. 6 in.
Weight: 115 lbs.
Eyes: Green
Hair: Black

Strength Level: Mantis possessed the normal human strength of a woman of her age, height, and build who engages in intensive regular exercise.

Known Superhuman Powers: Thanks to her training by the Priests of Paine, Mantis had "complete control" over her body. Her agility was as great as any woman without superhuman powers could achieve. She was also capable of willing herself to recuperate quickly after being injured.

Mantis had 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.

Mantis had an empathic ability which enabled her to sense the emotions of others, which she felt as psychic "vibrations."

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.

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