First thing’s first. You should be reading this series. If you have not been reading Mind MGMT, this is a pretty great spot to jump on. You don’t meet the entire cast of characters, and you don’t get all the details of the story, but you get the idea. This issue chronicles the tragic life of Henry Lyme, psychic agent of Mind Management. (I suppose the use of “tragic” in that last sentence counts as a minor spoiler for the first 23 issues of the series.) After the events of the last issue (#23), the team of agents that we have been rooting for (still not sure I’d call them the good guys) were beaten and separated. Rather than begin to put the pieces back together, this issue looks at the life of the man who may have the most responsibility for breaking them.
We don’t spend any time watching as Henry Lyme learns about his powers or struggles to fit in at school. The closest this issue comes to being an origin story is spending some time with Lyme before his personal issues started (figuratively) tearing the world apart. We see him as a successful agent of Mind Management, a happily married man, and then a tragic force of chaos who is desperate to find some redemption.
The story in this issue is fragmented and scattershot, like memories of a dream. If you have read the rest of the series (and you should), you will recognize almost all of the scenes here. This time, we see them from Lyme’s perspective. You can almost feel the layers of guilt that keep piling on the man, as he tries to do the right thing and fails again and again. I won’t go into his many crimes and mistakes, but all the ones chronicled in this issue predate the events of the series. The main focus of this issue is his early relationship with Meru, a rare survivor of Lyme’s most devastating failure.
The art in this issue is phenomenal. The loose watercolors and sketchy inks don’t look like anything else on the racks. I love the way Kindt plays with perspective as things spin out of control and the art twists on itself. Then, when things seem calm and peaceful, it settles down into beautiful and clean images. There isn’t enough subjective illustration in comics these days.
My favorite thing about Matt Kindt’s Mind MGMT isn’t that it is a great idea, well written, or has beautiful art. Those are all true, but this comic is also interesting. I know that there are a lot of comics that are doing some original things that we don’t often see in comics *cough*Saga*cough*. The thing is, every issue of Mind MGMT does something new. This series takes more risks than many publishers do, and they all seem to work. This issue is an extended flashback that shows the tragic life of a man who has done far more harm than good, but you feel for him. He wants to do the right thing, but he sucks at it. If you haven’t read a single issue of this incredible series, this is a fine place to start. Just go back and read the others once you’re done.
Five Cases of Lyme Disease out of Five