Mind MGMT #7
The last issue of Mind MGMT – a chilling and cerebral tale of psychic conspiracies – ended with a perfect punctuation point; not a full stop but an ellipsis that lead your right back to the beginning of the book. It was clean and self-contained comic writing; it should have been one of, if not the, best mini-series of twenty-twelve thanks in part to that powerful ending, but it wasn’t because six wasn’t actually an ending and this isn’t actually a mini. So here we are a few months later with issue seven: a potentially pointless issue, perhaps the the start of the sequel that spoils all that came before or a riveting revolution that raises the series up above the already sheer ceiling that it had established for itself. Unlike Matt Kindt I am a fan of the occasional unambiguous answer, so I will say this: the later.
While Mind MGMT was already one of the most daring titles on the shelf this second series stretches the boundaries even further. Just when it seemed like maybe I had this book understood, like I was fluent in its language it spins off on another axis entirely. Though the story obviously needed to shift, given that this is the beginning of the series’ second season of sorts, I didn’t expect the structure, the shape of that story, to change as dramatically as it did. The subtle clues and hidden symbols that could be found in each and every issue of Mind MGMT are still here and the pages still printed atop what appears to be official MGMT stationary but they now take on a new form.
Those infamous agent notes are gone, so too the second story schismed across the inside covers. Instead of those supplemental sections, additional layers to the core comic, the issue is now structured as a number of self-contained stories: the core pages of the comic,The Second Floor a one-pager inside the front cover, a case file inside the back, a mystery novel in the side margins and a mini comic along the bottom. That’s not even mentioning the pre-answered questionnaire on the back, because I’m not sure if that will be a recurring thing now that the ads are over and the secret site revealed. There is so much content in each and every one of these single issues that they oft take as long to read and are as rewarding as your average trade.
Reading all of these stories simultaneously might sound confusing but the way that Kindt wields them means that this mass approach is actually quite clarifying to the reader. The monthly format that comics adhere to and its drawbacks, namely the wait between hits and the amount of unrelated material we consume between them. Having a number of different characters appear in each issue this way keeps them fresh in our consciousness and allows the core story to chug on streamlined and uninterrupted. This is no more true than in the Second Floor story that opens the book – that phenomenal pun still putting a smile on my face. Not only does this single page plot give us a glimpse at two of the monks that record all the worlds history but it also works as a ‘previously on’. Nice given that many of us, like Meru, would have forgotten all that has happened before.
It would be remiss of me though not to mention how this is a new start for the story; now that the mystery of MGMT is gone – to an extent – the book named after them needed a new driver and that, fittingly, is the road trip. Rather than repeating his last arc as the story suggested he might, or stretching out the period in which our protagonist is miles behind ourselves Matt moves the story in a direction that is unexpected both for us and the people inside the book who assumed that they were in charge of writing things. Meru is now going on a quest with Lyme to find all of the great ex-agents before someone called The Eraser does. A pair of wheels, the open road and the two most powerful psychics the world has ever seen; sounds like a synopsis to me.
This issue it is an Ad Man, Brinks, that the pair meet with; i won’t say anything more about what happens there but i have to comment on the how. Like the monks, the discussions about dreams and a whole host of other meta-elements within the book Brinks is an agent whose powers both play in perfectly with Kindt’s style and reflect it, commentating on his own creative process in the context of a way out there story. What Kindt does with his brush in the books watercoloured pages is akin to Brink’s ad work. The way that he weaves subtle subconscious clues into all of the scenery – Stop ads as Brink calls them – is brilliant, signifying the kind of conscious effort that few others out there can match.
Mor importantly than that though he too strikes out across the abyss of interpersonal alienation and into our emotional controls, our subconscious, with his strong but simple images; shapes and colours that shape and colour our lives and the world in which we live them. You may balk at the idea of a man who can, with naught but thought, make another person, let alone a crowd of them, laugh, lie, shake or cry; but Kindt himself has that power and that, the emotional pull, more that any of the mental trickery is what makes me so excited each month to read Mind MGMT. I’ve long since Succumbed to his complete control, but if you were somehow resistant this new and improved method may be able to bring you alongside the rest of us on the brink of madness. Get behind Mind MGMT.
(P.S.P.S. (Post-script Potential Spoiler) After reading the first issue I made a crazy guess that this wasn’t the first time Meru had been through her quest. For the sake of continuity I should make another one here at the start of the second arc. Here Goes: Meru is The Eraser, she set this all in motion and then chose to forget it so she could act out her part in the downfall of Mind MGMT. That’s why she had a gun but couldn’t figure out where it had come from… Or something.)