Mind MGMT is a seminal work of fiction. Regardless of medium, this is one of the finest works of the past decade, and it was all brought to you by Matt Kindt. To take on the jobs of writer, artist, and colorist in something this complex, with this many moving parts, and t keep up with the consistency of excellence that Kindt does, is nothing short of amazing.
Mind MGMT is a secret, government-run training ground in which people with enhanced abilities train and learn to influence the world around them. Much of these gifts are not physiological, but more psychological: psychic powers like precognition, reading minds, affecting emotions, wiping out memories, mere innuendo killing you, or someone who is unable to be killed. It’s a dangerous and subversive world that has been enmeshed with a sort of government paranoia and conspiracy thriller. Imagine if governments had access to these types of powers, and the people they were dealing with were generally inadequate, driven by their own selfish needs and desires, affecting the people in their lives in negative ways.
This, in some way, draws attention to the fact that governments play these games all the time with each other, now through “discourse” on social media, in which the slightest innuendo can set off a maelstrom of escalating ignorant opinions and falsifications, driving people to do things they normally might not do. The Russians call this psychological warfare. It’s real, it’s effective, and Matt Kindt is mining it for all the gold.
The first omnibus introduced us to Meru and the psychological rollercoaster that Henry Lyme (inspiration taken from Orson Welles’ character Harry Lime from The Third Man) has repeatedly taken her on. Meru learns that she has been a pawn in Lyme’s game, with his constant need to have his guilt satiated for a terrible thing he did. In unraveling this mystery, Meru finds herself in the midst of a battle between those who would bring Mind MGMT back and those who would see it never again breach the light of day.
In this second omnibus, Kindt isn’t concerned about A-to-B storytelling. In fact, much of this second volume veers away from our hero Meru to grow the world and, in doing so, makes it that much more dangerous for everyone involved. Kindt spends this time bringing to light a couple other heavy hitters, The Magician and The Eraser. To say that things don’t go as planned for Meru and Lyme would be an understatement. What follows is a series of events that slowly then suddenly get out of their hands with the consequences being pretty great.
Two things I mention above: “consistency of excellence”. In this second volume, you see Kindt’s artistic skills take on a whole new level of confidence. The world becomes far more cinematic than in the first volume, creating twisted landscaped, sometimes making the characters feel like giants on the page, and other times making them feel small and feeble. The second thing is his time spent on the characters’ daily lives. It would be one thing to just have a bunch of people with powers go at each other; it’s another thing entirely to know how these people have lost, who they’ve lost, and how they’d either succeeded or failed at fitting in with the real world. It’s tragic and harrowing. It gives stakes to every character in this book.
Like Sandman, The Dark Knight, or Watchmen, this is one of those series that needs to be read; it needs to be experienced. This omnibus is the perfect way to do so.
Creative Team: Matt Kindt (creator, writer, illustrator), Daniel Chabon (collection editor), Brendan Wright (editor), Ethan Kimberling, Matt Kindt (designer)
Publisher: Dark Horse
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