By Matt Kindt
24 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse
I’ve been a fan of Matt Kindt’s comics ever since his big debut with the graphic novel Pistolwhip, so the lure of a new ongoing series written and drawn by Kindt was an instant must-read for me. With just one issue, it’s often hard to get a good grasp on just how a comic series is going to be; that said, Mind MGMT #1 made such an instant impression to me as a reader that I feel safe to say that I know I’ll be reading it for quite some time to come.
Kindt is deliberately vague on what, exactly, Mind MGMT is about. After all, the first issue primarily involves an investigative novelist named Meru trying to discover the secret between a flight that two years earlier had all but one passenger lose their memory, and a second passenger inexplicably vanish from the flight entirely. The thing is, though, this first issue already has so much more going on at the same time that it feels like this incident—which has enough story potential to fuel its own ongoing series for quite some time—is only the tip of the iceberg for something far greater. There’s some sort of mind control going on (and not just from the title, but also a surreal four-page opening sequence that for now hasn’t intersected with the rest of the story), secret agencies, and even hidden messages peppered throughout the comic. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that Kindt has some sort of master flow chart mapping out years of stories, based on just what we’re seeing here.
But even judged solely on what we see here, Mind MGMT #1 is a strong, solid debut. Kindt does a nice job of introducing Meru; you can feel her desperation to get a new book published (or at least money flowing in) even as she’s scraping the bottom of the barrel, and it’s hard to not feel a little bad for her. It’s fun to see her latch onto the special of the mystery of the airline flight, even as her editor instantly calls her out on where her inspiration has come from. More importantly, Kindt never keeps things pat for very long. Before the end of the first issue, even as we’re learning about the mystery of the amnesia flight, we start discovering about strange happenings in St. Teresa, Mexico, and suddenly the circle of influence has expanded a bit. That’s exactly the sort of thing that a mysterious-events story needs to do to avoid losing the readers, and it feels like Kindt has paced it in just the right manner so that it’s neither too quick nor too slow.
If you aren’t familiar with Kindt’s art, it’s great; a sketchy, loose-lined style with what I’m assuming are watercolors on top of the art. The colors are bright and vibrant in places—especially little details like the yellow on Meru’s shirt—but at other moments are (deliberately) washed out and faded. It’s a great overall look, able to handle busy city streets and jam-packed bookstores, but then also open up to wide expanses like the mountains in the background of the small Mexican town. The opening struggle is a clear sign that Kindt can handle action sequences, too; it’s four pages of perfectly choreographed violence that never gets too graphic, but you can follow it easily from one moment to the next.
Mind MGMT #1 closes out with a two-page story about someone with psychic abilities that, at first, seems to have no connection to what we’ve seen so far. But of course, there is a connection that’s hinted at, one that gives us another glimpse into the bigger picture of Mind MGMT. Here’s the thing, though; if we had nothing but two-pagers like the close of the comic (or the one told on the inside front and back covers about the death of the Archduke of Serbia), I’d still be in, 100%. This is a great debut comic, and everything about it—the stories, the art, the promises of hidden bonus material in each issue, the "Mind MGMT Field Guide" notes on the side of every page—makes me want to see more. If you haven’t picked up Mind MGMT #1, do so now. Your only excuse will be if your memory gets wiped, too. Check it out.