A Look Back at Image Comics’ The Mantle

Image Comics is releasing the final issue of The Mantle this week.  Before it all comes to an end, we are going to look back at how far we have come. 

Mantle_Cover5

Click here for a printable list of what’s new this week -> NewComics_15-09-23We split the list into two pages: new single issues, annuals and reptinrs on one and new Hardcover, Trade Paperback and Graphic Novels on another.

Mantle_Cover1(Issue #1) Meet Jen and Robbie.  One evening, as they head home from a night of clubbing, Robbie is struck by some weird form of electricity and passes out.  He wakes up back home with Jen, and they are surrounded by three superheroes: the strongwoman Kebrah, a medium named Necra who can visit purgatory, and Shadow, who has the ability to teleport the team, but only if they are in darkness. They have come for Robbie and explains that he has been chosen as the new Mantle.  Mantle is the protector of mankind and each time one is killed, a new one is chosen.  They are there to take Robbie to safety because The Plague is coming.  The Plague hunts down each new Mantle and kills them.  Kebrah, Necra and Shadow try to prepare each new chosen one but it seems like they really have their work cut out for them this time.  Shadow transports everyone, including Jen, to a remote island so Robbie can test out his powers.  He can fly, manipulate his energy shield and pretty much do anything he can imagine.  He also learns that there have been more than a hundred Mantles in the past century, thirty-eight in just the last ten years.  Suddenly, The Plague shows up.  Robbie decides to take him on but he is no match.  He is quickly beheaded.  The Plague warns the others not to try and hide the Mantle from him again, leaving Jen to cradle a headless Robbie.

Mantle_Cover2(Issue #2) As the other superheroes try to decide what to do next, Jen ends up becoming the new Mantle. The superheroes want to get Jen to safety, but she rejects them, blaming them for Robbie’s death and instead flies away with Robbie’s remains and heads to a hospital hoping that he can be saved.  The nurses take away the body and place Jen in a room so she can rest and wait for a doctor to examine her.  Exhausted by the recent events, Jen passes out and the nurses call the police.  What else would you do if a girl walks in wearing a costume and carrying a headless corpse? But within minutes, The Plague shows up.  He starts to terrorize the patients and doctors in the ER.  Jen wakes up to find Shadow and Necra in her hospital room so they can take her to safety.  She starts to argue with them but ends up passing out.  So, with an unconscious Mantle, they teleport to a secret location a kilometer underground.  When Jen wakes up, she meets Walter, aka CCTV, who can see everything and can tell if The Plague is on his way.  This seems like a safe spot for Jen to be trained, but before she starts, it is decided that she should meet the previous Mantles.  So Necra takes Jen to Purgatory.

Mantle_Cover3(Issue #3) The first person they run into is Robbie but Necra wants to find Hank, the original Mantle who faced The Plague.  He explains how, in the 1950s, he was just a nameless High School Janitor before he was chosen.  For a decade he was unstoppable, until The Plague showed up. Hank won a harrowing battle and had the opportunity to kill The Plague, yet decided not to go down that path.  The Plague was taken away by the military but he easily escaped and went on a murderous rampage.  Before killing Hank, The Plague killed hundreds of people, including his loved ones.  When Jen pressed on how Hank won the first time, he admitted that he couldn’t remember, because he was drunk.  The only advice he could offer Jen was to say goodbye to her loved ones.  After returning to the world of the living, Jen learns that as long as she doesn’t use her powers, The Plague can’t find her.  But he is relentless and as his patience wears thin, he will start to kill innocent people.  The massacre will continue until the Mantle cannot take it any longer and decides to come out of hiding.  Jen decides to take Hanks advised.  She plans to go home, see her family, have a few drinks and then wait for The Plague in a secluded place.  She tells Shadow to take her home so she can say her goodbyes.  Turns out, all she wants to do is hold her cat, Casper, one last time.  Returning to the underground safe house, Shadow discovers The Plague.  Everyone that was left behind has been beaten to near death.  The Plague will spare them their lives as long as Shadow tells him where Mantle was taken to.

Mantle_Cover4(Issue #4)  We find Jen at a bar with her friends.  She is trying to have a “normal” night out but all anyone wants to talk about is Robbie’s death and where Jen has been for the last few days.  She can’t handle all of the questions and finally heads off to score herself some mushrooms.  Meanwhile, The Plague is beating the heck out of Shadow.  Walt crawls in and shoots The Plague, electrocuting him.  Unfortunately, The Plague is only down, but not out, and before Walt’s gun can recharge, The Plague crushes his head like a grape.  The Plague gives Shadow one last chance to tell him where Mantle is.  As this is happening, Jen is walking along a river.  Out of the depths appears a 50 foot tall manifestation of her cat, Casper.  Mega-Casper tells her that she knows that Jen is scared but she needs to admit what is coming and accept the fact that it is better to go down fighting than run and hide.  Besides, The Plague will kill friends, family and strangers until she fights him, so might as well force a battle now before others get hurt.  The “pep talk” works and Jen turns into Mantle and flies off, knowing that it will signal The Plague and bring him to her.  It works and The Plague senses her and leaves Shadow, Kabrah and Necra behind, warning them not to interfere.  Before leaving the Shadow asks him if he hasn’t had enough revenge yet, The Plague replies, “This has never been about revenge.  It’s about mercy.” Left alone, the three superheroes argue about the virtues of continuing their mission to try and stop The Plague.  Necra tells the others that she is giving up.  She feels that she provides no real value and questions whether their involvement in this issue may be causing more problems than helping.  Shadow and Kabrah go to find Jen and end up in the middle of nowhere.  They arrive just as The Plague makes his appearance and the showdown between Mantle and her nemesis is about to begin.

The fifth and final issue promises “The final showdown between The Mantle and The Plague!  And someone is going to die!”


Have fun picking up your new books and for more on the Adventures of OxenTrot, you can find me at:

About OxenTrot

During the day, I am a mild mannered desk jockey who helps to manage a large IT company.  At night, I am a family man, who is insanely in love with his wife and a proud daddy to an amazing girl.  But in the pre-dawn hours, as most everyone else is still asleep, I am my alter ego.  During that time, I am: OxenTrot. Ox was a call sign bestowed upon me while I was an active duty United States Marine, mainly in tribute to the fact that I was a major gym rat. After 5 years and three tours of duty, I reentered the civilian world.  My call sign was replaced by my actual name but the Ox still lived inside. As I began to adapt to my new life, I also began to take on new adventures, such as starting a family, getting a “big boy” job and taking on endurance sports.
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