Mantis might be a breakout character from the massively successful Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but one person who wasn’t impressed with the translation from comic book hero to movie star? Steve Englehart, the man who came up with the character in the first place.
“That character [in the movie] has nothing to do with Mantis,” Englehart told Polygon. “I will say that I liked the film quite a bit overall, they’re doing good stuff and I enjoyed my night at the movies so long as I turned my brain off to the fact that that’s not Mantis up there. I really don’t know why you would take a character who is as distinctive as Mantis is and do a completely different character and still call her Mantis. That I do not know.”
Englehart co-created Mantis with artist Don Heck in 1973’s Avengers No. 112. That version of the character was a human who would later ascend to cosmic awareness and become the “Celestial Madonna,” the mother of a child who was prophesied to be “the most important being in the universe.” Along the way, she would be trained as a martial artist, and serve as a member of both the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, showing an anger and capability that is, indeed, very different from Pom Klementieff’s onscreen version.
Just because Englehart didn’t recognize his character doesn’t mean that he didn’t enjoy Klementieff’s Mantis, however. “I wasn’t impressed with what they did with [the comic book] Mantis, but the Mantis on the screen was entertaining,” he admitted. “I liked her, but that’s not Mantis.”
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is in theaters now.