ADVANCE REVIEW: Mind MGMT #1A comic review article by: Nick Boisson
ADVANCE REVIEW! Mind MGMT #1 will go on sale Wednesday, May 23, 2012.
Let's just face it, comic fans: nowadays, comics are written for the trade. They are never written for those of us monthly comic purists. The ones who go to our shops every Wednesday, have pull lists and talk to our shop owner about why there are no really good superhero video games (a conversation I have actually had with fairly recently at my local comic shop proprietor). Publishers know that they will lose money on the floppies, but make their profit when word spreads about the comic and the trade is released with all those nice quotes from the press and a forward from [insert famed comic creator here]. The only book I can think of off the top of my head that strives for making his title a good whenever the hell the book comes out-ly experience is Paul Grist's Mudman.
But that now brings me to Matt Kindt and his new -- and also first -- monthly series for Dark Horse, Mind MGMT. I had a chance to speak to Mr. Kindt about Mind MGMT recently (having not known anything about it other than the title and creator) and the one thing he noted was his plan to have this book be something that you will have to get monthly to experience the full story. And so far, so freakin' good!
Mind MGMT follows down-on-her-luck investigative non-fiction author, Meru, who -- after the success of her first true-crime book -- has been drifting while searching for the subject of her follow-up. While watching a news special on Amnesia Flight 815 (not to be confused with Oceanic Flight 815) -- a flight to LA where, mid-flight, everyone on the plane but a seven-year-old boy was stricken with amnesia -- Meru finds her new literary subject, calls her agent, scrapes up whatever savings she has left and heads to Los Angeles to begin interviewing the passengers of Flight 815. Why? To find the only passenger who did not get off the plane, Henry Lyme (a character one can only assume is a reference to "Harry Lime" of Carol Reed's 1948 film noir, The Third Man). But when Meru's agent sends her to Mexico to investigate another piece of the puzzle, she finds herself caught up in something that seems not only strange and perilous, but also somewhat... familiar.
It is honestly hard to discuss in any kind of detail without potentially spoiling something. That is how much every line of dialogue, every panel, every bit of narration is important to Kindt's overall story. While the story is but 22 pages, everything seems to be leading to something else. Kindt has set up quite a complex mystery in just one issue and the reader feels in the exact same place as Meru: lost and completely overwhelmed. But, you know, in a good way!
The narration is what truly stands out in this first issue. At first, you assume that the story is being laid out for you by a third-person omniscient narrator, but as the story progresses, you begin to wonder just who is telling you the story of Meru. The reader somehow feels they could be lied to, or just not told the whole story. Honestly, I cannot recall an unreliable narrator being so well contrived in a comic since the Joker in The Killing Joke. You truly have no idea what they are after and for what purpose.
The story behind Mind MGMT is unmistakably Kindt at his best! With just one issue, he manges to creates a world that you immediately get sucked into. Also included outside of the main story are mini-stories about the Mind MGMT organization and the individuals working within it throughout history. On the inside front and back covers is a pre-WWI story that explains the creation of Mind MGMT and in a short two-pager after the main story is a Mind Memo titled "The Futurist", which introduces a character named Duncan Jones who has a unique power that gives him the ability to predict the future.
As a fan of Kindt and his work over the years, it is wonderful to see how much his art has progressed over the years. For fans of his work on Super Spy -- or even new fans that were introduced to his art on The Tooth or in Sweet Tooth's "The Taxidermist" arc -- you will feel right at home. From the opening scene which depicts a dream in which every action in the series leads to a "shocking surprise", you know that you are reading a Matt Kindt book. Is it weird that he manages to find so many different ways to kill people, yet make them all beautiful in brilliant watercolors? Maybe, but I wouldn't want it any other way. Since Super Spy, I have been a fan of Kindt's watercolor artwork for the simple fact that it looks so different than anything else in comics right now. But it is more than that. Watercolors are so often used to render beautiful depictions of nature and people and even gorgeous cityscapes. What is so different -- even unique -- about Kindt's watercolors are that they have been used to show some of the most gruesome visions of man at their darkest and worst moments. We get a bit of that here and I only see more and more of that in the issues to come.
I pick up quite a number of monthly series and I keep telling myself that I need to cut back on the large quantity I bring back home from the local comic shop. But, with all that, Matt Kindt's Mind MGMT has got me for the long haul. If you are a fan of mysteries, if you are a fan of Kindt, if you are a fan of comics: pick this up! But, more importantly, if you have been waiting for the trades and do not see the value in picking up a comic on a monthly basis anymore, do yourself a favor and give Mind MGMT #1 a shot. It very well could be the book that makes you want to go back to the comic shop.
Nick Boisson grew up on television, Woody Allen, video games, Hardy Boys mysteries and DC comic books, with the occasional Spider-Man issue thrown in for good measure. He currently roams the rainy streets of Miami, Florida, looking for a nice tie, a woman that gets him, and the windbreaker he lost when he was eight. He sometimes writes things down on Twitter at @nitroslick.