(originally posted on tumblr)
Ever read a story so fascinating, bold and well-written you can’t put it down? Well I had the pleasure of being able to read all three books in the Legend of the Mantamaji series by eric dean Seaton and I was riveted. (I lost DAYS reading these, I swear).
The storyline focuses on upwardly mobile, self-centered Assistant District Attorney Elijah Alexander who discovers he is a last living descendant of a group called The Mantamaji. A select group of superhuman warriors who have protected the Earth for over 3,000 years. The Mantamaji’s ancestors were humans who mated with The Enlightened, who were almost like Gods to them, (think Asgardians with more POC). The Legend of the Mantamaji’s world seamlessly blends the timelines of an epic mythical past with a gritty, corrupt urban environment. This story has everything: sentient armor, magic, time travel, adventure, elementals, suspense and enough backstory to make a prequel series.
Thousands of years ago, the Mantamaji didn’t have guns or tanks but their main weapon, a metaphysical Ankh was just as powerful. An ancient form of protection, the Ankh is linked to the wielder’s mind and spirit and can transform into whatever form of protection they need (kind of like Green Lantern’s ring constructs). Their organic armor can sense danger (think of Spawn’s cape, or Ghost Rider’s chains) and is incredibly powerful, but in order to wield the Ankh effectively, the Mantamaji’s mind must be focused. Elijah’s mind becomes his biggest obstacle as his character is thrust into a parallel universe that operates with different laws than his own. He must learn to simultaneously navigate his powers, contend with his enemies, and protect his loved ones. In the Legend of the Mantamaji, Elijah experiences love, suffers great loss and endures extreme physical conditioning and near fatal injuries on his quest to save what he cares about most.
I am a big fan of secondary characters a because I feel that their strengths can round out the main character’s arc and give the story more depth, and Mantamaji doesn’t disappoint. There’s Noah, who is to Elijah what Obi-Wan was to Luke, Sydney, Elijah’s savvy detective girlfriend, Brother Hope, a powerful spiritual leader with questionable motives and my personal favorite, Cornerstone, who, like Elijah, is a descendant of a sect of Mantamaji companions called “Sanctuants” who have elemental powers in the form of focused “biogenic energy”. In fact, I am such a fan of the Sanctuant storyline I think they deserve their own series! (Are you listening Eric Dean Seaton?)
One of the things that I absolutely LOVE about this story is that there are SEVERAL strong female characters in it. Sydney is Elijah’s sounding board and biggest supporter and is also a competent cop who navigates the office politics and bias built into her position with practiced ease. Cornerstone is not just a Sanctuant, but also their leader and strategist. The most important secondary character, in my opinion, is actually Mariah Alexander, Elijah’s mother. As a single mom, she found a way to raise, teach, defend, protect and train her only child, without him even being aware of it.
The main bad guy in Mantamaji is Sirach, who feels like a mix between Eobard Thawne, Mr. Glass and Creflo Dollar all rolled into one. If Elijah is a Jedi, think of Sirach as a Sith Lord and the Four Horsemen are his Minions. Then there are The New World Knights, a notorious gang made up of combat-trained mercenaries, affiliated with Sirach and quickly taking over the east coast’s criminal underworld. They have never been arrested and, because of their masked visages, their identities have remained unknown. In other words, they could be anyone, including someone you know.
What I Really Think
Seaton has helmed 38 different shows, 195 television episodes, 18 music videos, 2 pilots for Nickelodeon and 2 pilots for Disney XD. These TPBs read like intricate storyboards and I believe that comes from Eric Dean Seaton’s extensive TV background and his creactive team’s expertise. Mantamaji is an “All Ages” series that I feel is for teens-and-up because of mild violence, death of a major character and some darker themes, but it in no way gets to Game Of Thrones levels of crazy. If you follow this blog at all you’ll often see me tag things with #blackheroesmatter and The Legend of the Mantamaji is one of those heroic stories. The epic world-building and beautiful artwork will grab your attention, the plot twists and character development will keep you reading and – if you have kids – the life lessons will give you something to discuss with them.
Seaton filmed a short for the Legend of the Mantamaji which is currently in post-production. If you can’t wait, you can watch the BTS series here. If that’s not enough, check out the Mantamaji website, it’s stuffed full of info, is easy to navigate and there are action figures.
Eric Dean Seaton – Writer, creator
tumblr – ericdeanseaton
twitter – @ericdeanseaton
Brandon Palas – Artist
tumblr – brandonpalas
twitter – @BrandonPalas
Andrew Dalhouse – Colorist
tumblr – adalhouse
twitter – @adalhouse
Deron Bennet – Letterer
tumblr – deronbennett
twitter – @deronbennett
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