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Avengers: Celestial Quest #2: Review

Dec 2001
Steve Englehart, Jorge Santamaria

Story Name:

Madonna reborn

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers: Celestial Quest #2 Review by (July 17, 2020)
This Thanos is a Thanosi, see my Comments on #1.

As mentioned last issue this series' scribe Steve Englehart was responsible for Mantis' early apps in Avengers. He also wrote her Silver Surfer apps. He seems here to be downgrading her subsequent apps even though he wrote those too apart from Galactus The Devourerer by Louise Simonson. He probably *does* want to forget the Fantastic Four episode where the Cotati were her enemies, which would jar with their friendship in this series. Also in the West Coast Avengers sequence she gave up the plant body she had with the Surfer and regained her human body, but this series will show she still has her plant form.
Last issue I also mentioned that Englehart left Marvel between her Avengers run and the Surfer issues. He also had another time away during which the Galactus story was published.

As mentioned last issue Mantis made a play for Vision in her Avengers days when Vizh was involved with Scarlet Witch. In fact he and Wanda got married in a double ceremony with Mantis and the Cotati (Giant-Size Av#4).

Reptyl is a character from Steve's Surfer run, last seen as 1 of the alien criminals dumped on Earth in Maximum Security #1.
Kid Syn and Raptra are new for this series.

Death has recently been behind the scenes haunting the 1st 17 issues of the 1999 Captain Marvel, for some reason hiding in the body of Marlo Chandler, finally showing up in #18.

Eternity has been popular lately. After Avengers: Infinity #4 he popped up in X-Men Forever (2001) #6.

Lord Chaos and Master Order were invented by Jim Starlin in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2. They tend to go around together and were both last seen in Quasar #50 with fellow cosmic being the Living Tribunal.
However Chaos will show next without Order in Amazing Spider-Man #503, but the partnership will be renewed (if only for a cameo) in G.L.A. #3.

The Priest Of Pama here is not a Pegasusian. The only actual Pegasusian we have met is Sphinxor in Strange Tales #178 and MTIO#63.

The Marvel Fandom Wiki has suggestions for the aliens seen in the passenger starship. Neither they nor I can label the 1st pair on the left, but I believe they have assigned all but 1 of the others from left to right:-
2 Grunds like Grott from Thor An#6 and GS Defenders #3.
2 Kodabaks as in MTIO Annual #2.
A Megan from Godzilla #12-14, Av Spotlight #25 and Quasar #49.
An Yrd from Tales Of Suspense #54.
A Fonabi, the race that (maybe) was inside the Terminus robot.
Then there's a guy with eye-stalks and a big grin that they don't identify but I think may be a Sm'ggani from Hulk #230.
A Kymellian as seen in PowerPack.
A Herm like Klaatu in Hulk #136-137 and #306-307 (but that guy would have been much too big to fit in the liner).


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers: Celestial Quest #2 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Thanos has hunted down and killed 4 out of 5 copies of Mantis on Earth. Now he's fighting the 5th version in Alaska, but she has absorbed the essences of the previous 4 and is now powerful enough to trade energy blasts with him. The 4th copy managed to get a mental message to the Avengers (in this case Scarlet Witch, Silverclaw, Thor and Vision) who are standing back watching the fight, along with Ex-Squadron Supreme member Haywire who just happened to stumble on the scene.

Thor holds the others back for now. He believes that Mantis has regained her status as a goddess (that she gained when she mated with the Cotati plant-being to become the Celestial Madonna in Giant-Size Avengers #4). Thanos certainly considers *himself* a god, of death, and Mantis opposes him as a goddess of life. Although the fight mainly consists of her agilely avoiding his blasts he stops firing and declares it over. She is too powerful to kill easily.

He continues that his aim was to kill all 5 personae *before* she could regain her full power, to avoid her interfering in his true goal which is to kill her half-plant son. The star(s) which appeared last issue signalled that he has reached the age of 18 (even though he was only born 6 years ago) and has matured into the Celestial Messiah, who will be a hindrance to Thanos' plans. He then teleports away to find and kill him.

Mantis asks the Avengers to help her save her son Quoi. Thor agrees on the others' behalf to oppose the mad god who serves the Goddess Of Death, and Mantis says they don't have time to assemble any more of the team. Wanda Maximoff suggests teen Lupe stays behind but Silverclaw won't accept it. Vision tells Haywire it's not his fight, but the ex-Squady seems strangely interested in their being a Goddess Of Death.

Meanwhile (for some value of 'meanwhile', to paraphrase Sir Terry Pratchett) across the universe a passenger spaceship is being chased by 3 pirate craft. It escapes by diving into a 'class 3' nebula where the pirates don't have strong-enough shields to follow. Captain Reptyl wisely gives up. Kid Syn angrily questions his decision, and for having ships that traded shields for speed in the 1st place. The female Saurian Raptra tries to calm them down.

On board the liner a Pegasusian drops his disguise in private to expose a Kree Priest Of Pama whose thoughts remind us that the Priests trained Mantis and reveal that he is the only 1 who knows her son's location. So that's why Thanos turns up to extract the information.

The Avengers are in their quinjet in space, but even with Thor's hammer boosting its power it will still take 3 days to get where Mantis has directed them. Plenty of time to catch up with each other's news, which really means asking their guest where she's been since they last saw her. Mantis says that she herself has only regained those memories since her merging.

Last issue Thor told us of her time with the Avengers which ended (in GS Av#4) with her being declared the Celestial Madonna, the most perfect human, and 'marrying' the perfect Cotati to combine their energies. Mantis now says that she returned several months later with a child of that union who she named Sequoia, or Quoi for short. She didn't contact the Avengers but chose to live as a human mother in Willimantic, Connecticut for a year (at the end of which Quoi was older than that). Then his father took the boy to spend time with the Cotati.

Mantis then left to explore the Cosmos and teamed up with Silver Surfer to stop the Elders Of The Universe from killing Galactus (Silver Surfer (1987) #3-9, with the bit above explained in #4) which ended with the Elders blowing her up. She is able to re-cohere from such a thing but her atoms were so scattered that for a long time she was able to only create what she now calls 'ghosts' of herself. The 1st visited the West Coast Avengers (a tale in SS Annual #1, WCA#37-39 including An#3, and probably SS#20). The 2nd appeared in Fantastic Four #323-325 and a tale in their An#25, where the Cotati wouldn't let her see her son and her enemy Kang from the Celestial Madonna saga was helping them. The last ghost took part in the Galactus The Devourer mini-series where she helped them *kill* Galactus. Mantis says that when these ghosts dissipated they took memories of them away too, and the Avengers present who were involved in most of these issues admit that they can't remember her being there. (But it obviously didn't work completely because I can remember.)

But 3 years ago she incarnated as 5 separate more substantial women (see last issue), and now she has coalesced into her complete self. (Or as Thor jokingly puts it "The Avenger assembles".)

But the fate of the Priest Of Pama is no joke. He's tied down in Thanos' dungeon with menacing goblins in attendance. He expects physical torture but the mad Titan touches a gauntleted hand to his brow and the man goes insane. His mental energy bursts free and Thanos bathes in the madness to break reality ...

... to reach the realm of cosmic entities where he faces Eternity and his sister Death plus Lord Chaos and Master Order. He tells them that he is now a pair like they are with his opposite the Celestial Messiah. But he wants no partner. He has given up killing for love of Death, but now he will kill the Messiah for his own sake. Then he returns to reality. He has the satisfaction of that confrontation and also the Messiah's location from the Priest's mind.

Haywire and Silverclaw feel like outsiders in all this. Haywire says at least Lupe's got a team to belong to. She replies that he's in the Squadron Supreme. She's read about them and he was 1 of the few who fought on the side of democracy when some of them turned fascist and took over their world (in the Squadron Supreme limited series), but his girlfriend died (SS: Death Of A Universe GN). Harry Danforth tells her angrily not to mention Inertia and stalks off.

Mantis consoles the young girl saying that Silverclaw is the new girl on the team as she once was, and she will do her best to support her. Lupe can't help bragging that *she*'s destined to become a goddess (like her mother Peliali as seen in Av (1998) #28-30).

Later Mantis chats with Vision. The synthezoid tells her that since they last met (even including WCA issues) he was taken to pieces and his mind and emotions erased. (He doesn't say that he's got it all back since then.) She lets on that Wanda told her that she and Vision were no longer together, and stressed that Vizh is a good man. He tries to change the subject to their quest to save her son, but she deflects it back to her humanity in need of comfort. The android denies being human, but she says Wanda doesn't believe that, and neither does she. Mantis expresses regret that she never had a chance to love him before because he was with Wanda. Now they can share their aloneness. He protests at 1st but then they kiss.

Jorge Santamaria
Scott Hanna
Jorge Santamaria (Cover Penciler)
Scott Hanna (Cover Inker)
Hi-Fi (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Paul Tutrone.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


Plus: Eternity, Haywire, Lord Chaos, Master Order, Raptra, Reptyl, Silverclaw (Maria de Guadalupe Santiago).

> Avengers: Celestial Quest: Book info and issue index

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