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MANTIS (Carl Lumbly) TV series

M.A.N.T.I.S.

(Doctor Miles Hawkins)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

M.A.N.T.I.S. was a 1994 TV series – it only lasted one season. Apparently, there were significant creative and marketing tensions about how Black the protagonist and his supporting cast would get to be. M.A.N.T.I.S. is a contemporary of comic book heroes such as Steel (John Henry Irons) and Hardware (Curt Metcalf).

The hero was played by Carl Lumbly. Other genre roles of his include Marcus Dixon in Alias, and voicing the Martian Manhunter. The pilot also had fan-favourite actress Gina Torres, early in her career.

These here notes are from the 1990s, not too long after the show was cancelled. There wasn’t a character profile format back then. So the article is chiefly about the hero’s stats, plus a primer.


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Background

  • Real Name: Dr. Miles Hawkins.
  • Other Aliases: Mantis.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Port Columbia
  • Height: 6’1” Weight: 185 lbs
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black


History

Dr Miles Hawkins, founder of Hawkins Technology Inc., had long been an advocate of racial peace and general good guy. During a riot, however, he was shot by a corrupt cop working for a competitor. That left him paralyzed from the waist down.

With help from his associate and close friend Dr. John Stonebrake, he built the Mechanically Augmented Neurotransmitter Interception System suit. Not only did it grant him mobility, but Dr. Hawkins decided to use it to fight crime.

Over his short career, M.A.N.T.I.S. faced a wide variety of problems : gangs, psychics, aliens, speedsters , evil clones, and petty theft and murder. Officer Leona Maxwell started dating him while enlisting his help ironically in tracking down M.A.N.T.I.S.. When she learned that he was M.A.N.T.I.S., she reluctantly agreed to keep silent.

After those adventures, however, both Hawkins and Maxwell fell prey to an invisible monster that terrorized a nearby forest. A grieving Stonebrake returned home to shut down the lab.


Show intro sequence


Quotes

“This is the scientific journal of Dr. Miles Hawkins, to be published in the event of my death. I know when the truth is known, people will wonder why I felt it necessary to create the M.A.N.T.I.S.. The reality—I never did. The M.A.N.T.I.S. asked his own creation and I could not refuse him.”


Milestone Universe History

It is tempting to imagine that Miles is the uncle of one Virgil Hawkins, a/k/a Static.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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M.A.N.T.I.S.

Dex: 03 Str: 03 Bod: 03 Motivation: Seeking Justice
Int: 09 Wil: 08 Min: 09 Occupation: Entrepreneur
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 08 Resources {or Wealth}: 10
Init: 015 HP: 050

Skills:
Gadgetry*: 09, Scientist*: 10

Advantages:
Buddy (John Stonebrake), Buddy (Taylor Savidge), Genius, Iron Nerves.

Connections:
Hawkins Industries (High), Lt. Leona Maxwell (Low – became a Buddy by the end of the series).

Drawbacks:
CPR (Paralyzed from waist down), CIA (Finding reasons to wear suit), Secret ID, Mistrust.

Equipment:

  • WHEELCHAIR [BODY 04, Running: 02].
  • M.A.N.T.I.S. SUIT [/DEX/ 07 /STR/ 07 /BODY/ 08, R#05, Sealed Systems: 05, Paralysis: 08, Hypnotism: 05, Enhanced Initiative: 02, Jumping: 02, Misc.: Allows Hawkins to ignore his CPR, Limitation : Hypnotism causes extreme paranoia as a secondary effect (it was thus abandoned after a few uses), MPR (become very uncomfortable to wear after a few hours]. Initiative is 023.
  • CHRYSALIS [STR 10 BODY 10, R#02, Sealed Systems: 06, Flight: 05, Radar Sense: 06, Extended Hearing: 06, Directional Hearing: 06, Radio Communications: 06, Running: 07, Insta-Change (from car to flyer), R#05].

By Andrew E. Nystrom.

Source of Character: A very underrated TV superhero show.

Helper(s): John Colagioia.

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