With Mind MGMT, we finally get an ongoing monthly series from the likes of creator-owned titan Matt Kindt. The gang at Dark Horse Comics is pushing this one big time, and with good reason. It’s everything you were hoping a Kindt series would be. A glance at the cover lets you know that there’s nothing else like it in comics, and it only gets better from there.
Two years ago, 120 people lost their memories simultaneously while on board a commercial airline flight. The pilots, the flight attendants, and nearly every passenger completely forgot who they were, what they were doing and just about everything else. The only “survivor” of this freak occurrence was a seven-year-old boy, and one man – listed in the plane”s manifest as “Henry Lyme” – disappeared completely.
Cut to present day (or at least, what looks like present day; in this book, we can’t be sure). Meru is a down on her luck crime journalist who had one successful book and hasn’t managed to finish the second one. Using the last bit of good faith (and cash) from her agent, she heads out to attempt to solve the mystery of “Amnesia Flight 815″ and find Henry Lyme. Another freaky memory loss case takes her trail to Mexico, where she realizes the mystery is deeper, and more violent, than she ever imagined.
What I admire most about the first issue of this very, very promising comic is the courage Kindt shows by keeping us in the dark. The term “Mind MGMT” is thrown around a few times, and we understand that it’s some kind of secret organization of psychic-esque people, but it’s not spelled out for us. Nor should it be. Kindt puts us in Meru’s shoes: in the dark, stumbling from development to development, unsure of our footing. And yet you can see the big plans this series is promising developing in the background the whole time. Kindt isn’t blowing any pages on big backstory infodumps or giving away the structure of the series upfront, but he’s good enough at what he does that we trust him anyway. That makes this comic not only a work of true storytelling skill, but a damn fun read.
The art is just as daring. Kindt’s not interested in the “traditional” comic book style, all crisp and slick and muscled. His lines are rough, his coloring a watercolor mashup of realism and dreamy auras. The images themselves sometimes feel like a mind game, and they match perfectly with the story he’s telling.
These two elements combine to create one of the most deeply immersive comics I’ve read so far this year. Mind MGMT seems destined to stand alongside other promising 2012 debuts like The Manhattan Projects and Saga as one of the comics to watch. It’s a strange ride, but it’s one well worth taking.