Mind Mgmt Volume One: The Manager
Dark Horse Comics
Released April 23, 2013
Graphic Novel / Spies / Super Powers
Matt Kindt, the most original voice in genre comics, outdoes himself in this bold new espionage series! Reporting on a commercial flight where everyone aboard lost their memories, a young journalist stumbles onto a much bigger story - the top-secret Mind Management program. Her ensuing journey involves weaponized psychics, hypnotic advertising, talking dolphins, and seemingly immortal pursuers, as she attempts to find the flight's missing passenger, the man who was MIND MGMT's greatest success - and its most devastating failure. But in a world where people can rewrite reality itself, can she trust anything she sees?
This is the most bizarre comic I have ever read, and I could not put it down. It had a weird Fringe vibe if Fringe had involved international espionage and terrorism instead of face-melting and parallel timelines. People with incredible abilities get recruited at a young age into an academy where they learn how to overcome physical harm, manipulate the thoughts of others and hone other creepy useful talents that might be useful to prevent and cause wars, stop rebellions and generally control the world.
The entire first volume tells the journey of Meru, a once-successful true crime writer, who is now lost and directionless. With a push from her publisher, she goes on the hunt for answers behind a flight that landed with all its passengers having lost their memories. This leads her to far-flung South American villages, African towns with mysterious pasts and to a land of talking dolphins (or an aquarium at least). Each clue takes her closer to the truth of what happened on that airplane and what exactly is happening to her. There are immortal thugs chasing her and an odd FBI agent trying to keep her alive. Everything is incredibly bizarre and mysterious. And did I mention the talking dolphins?
In between chapters are short profiles of some of the Mind Mgmt agents that cross Meru’s path, and her path is full of them. Some of these shorts highlight events and things that perhaps will come up in future volumes, but left me seriously intrigued. The entire story is unexpected and surprising, leaving me curious enough that I had a difficult time putting it down. Unfortunately the electronic ARC I had was difficult to read and prevented me from fully getting into this trippy story when I so wanted to drown in all this crazy.
Matt Kindt’s artwork is messy and raw, a beautiful contrast to the sharp, polished perfection of superhero and most mainstream comics. The e-ARC I had was incredibly blurry, which distracted me from truly enjoying the art, but it’s very striking and actively contributes to the mystique of the story. By keeping his art unpolished, it was as if any moment the characters might actually start moving around on the page.
Mind Mgmt was a very pleasant surprise from an author and artist I was previously unfamiliar with. Kindt has a very distinct voice and knack for creating believable twisted versions of our own world. It left me glancing around in public wondering if any of the strangers around me could really be psychic spies or worse. I would recommend this to readers who might want to get into comics but don’t like the capes and tights variety. A very different but enjoyable read.
I received an electronic ARC from Dark Horse via Netgalley in return for an honest review. Thank you to Dark Horse for introducing me to something new and trippy that I might not have found otherwise.