Comic Review: Mind MGMT #16

Mind MGMT #16
Written by: Matt Kindt
Artwork by: Matt Kindt
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: October 23, 2013
Cover Price: $3.99

In many ways, Matt Kindt‘s Mind MGMT is a rather haunting look at memory, and the damaging manipulations and gaslighting characters have to contend with from external powers. The first six issues alone stand as one of the more compelling mind-fucks in recent memory (along with being a statement on desperation).

In issue sixteen we get a more thorough telling of Julinae, the woman who killed her family, purportedly, and was the subject of Meru’s first book. Her story has been hinted at on the margins (quite literally, and sorry) and discussed some through the proxy Meru’s own tale, but here she finally gets the spotlight, and like many of the threads introduced, her revelations have a vital importance to the primary story.

This third arc from Kindt has dealt heavily with memories of the past, be they manufactured, faulty, or otherwise untrustworthy. At the end of the last arc, “The Futurist,” realizing how much of her life and memory has been tampered with, Meru, had absconded from a battle in which the prize, seemingly, was her and her allegiance. She refused to choose a side in the growing power struggle between The Eraser, who is attempting to rebuild the shuttered Mind MGMT, and Henry Lyme, who is trying to keep the organization dead and gone.

After that tense – and beautiful – issue, the series shifts down a gear to follow the stories of the long past with Meru and Lyme, while picking up a third element: an old Russian program of mental spies used to combat the American Mind MGMT program, which was introduced in issue zero, with The Bear.

And so, we get to Julianne, whose story is one of the more compelling in the book, if only because of the mystery surrounding it. Although it always seemed as if there was more to the story than the real-life parallels, Kindt has made it of special fascination to the current decisions being made by Meru. No SPOILERS or anything, but it will be fascinating to see how Julianne’s story bears on the events to come.

Matt Kindt is a high-concept author, as has been borne out in his previous work, such as Revolver, and so, if the conceit isn’t one that grabs you, I don’t know what to say that will get you to change your mind. On the other hand, I can’t believe you made it ~300 words into a review of a thing you don’t like and are now reading about why you might like it, so.

Anyways: the artwork. Matt Kindt has always had a peculiar style that isn’t really for everyone. In his first book with Jason Hall, Pistolwhip, his pencils were long, wavy, and about as loquacious as that word can be applied to artwork. He’s changed it up since then, opting for a tighter look that’s also hazier, if only due to the water colors, first on Revolver, and now even more so with Mind MGMT.

It’s a style that doesn’t not work for the book, but if you haven’t looked at Mind MGMT recently, you should, because that style has come into itself over the past sixteen issues; it’s simply stunning now, especially when Kindt goes for more complicated layouts and full page spreads. Definitions are sharper, moodier, and the coloring more varied, and none more so than this most recent issue. That’s without mentioning the most recent run of covers, which are spectacular. Even just watching the evolution in the pages, little by little, is a joy, but if the artwork was putting you off before, it’s worth a second glance now.

The next issue, it seems, will serve as a tent-pole for the series, and I’ll be reading to see where it goes. I’m sure Matt Kindt hopes you will too, but he would probably think that regardless of what I had to say on the internet about his latest issue.

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