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The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special Finally Showcases Mantis' Combat Skills

Contains spoilers for "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special"

Mantis (Pom Klementieff) might not be the most obvious central character for a "Guardians of the Galaxy" property, but she certainly fits the bill in James Gunn's "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special." The special expands her backstory in an important way as viewers find out that she's actually Star-Lord's (Chris Pratt) half-sister, and ready to jump through all sorts of hurdles to cheer up her bro — even though she hasn't been able to muster the courage to reveal that they share a Celestial father in Ego (Kurt Russell). 

Fortunately, Mantis doesn't need to keep her secret alone. Her connection with Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) is established in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," and has matured into a deep enough friendship that they comfortably share secrets and hatch ill-advised abduction plots together. During their mission to Earth, it becomes clear that all that time being best friends with one of the galaxy's greatest warriors — not to mention the rest of the Guardians — has definitely rubbed off on Mantis, and we finally see her showcasing her impressive combat skills. 

Mantis is bad news for Earth law enforcement

Mantis might be a gentle and well-meaning individual who appears mostly human apart from her vaguely insectoid features, but "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special" gets a lot of mileage from her superpowered alien nature. From seeing no harm in Drax's plan to kidnap Kevin Bacon to the agile and disconcerning horror movie-style way she stalks the actor as he tries to escape, the special makes very clear that Mantis thinks and acts in a very different way than you might assume. 

Still, it isn't until Bacon manages to get to the police that she truly gets her chance to shine. In a few swift and fluid movements, Mantis uses a combination of her own empath powers and her giant yard decoration candy cane to take out multiple officers, showing impressive combat prowess that implies she's spent quite a few hours training with her Guardian teammates. 

Mantis has been pretty powerful since her introduction, but her naive, inexperienced nature that stems from a life with extremely limited social interaction has often rendered her into a joke character role. Her limited screen time in "Thor: Love and Thunder" already implies that her time with the Guardians has made her much more proficient in (and comfortable with) combat, and the Holiday special proves that she now has the ability to fight proudly side by side with the rest of the team.   

"The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special" is now available for streaming on Disney+.