Comics Reviews: Mind MGMT vol 1

September 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

I wrote this months ago when the book first came out, and never posted it for some reason. Just dug it up, and here it is:

God help me, I wanted to like Vol 1 of Mind MGMT by Matt Kindt more than I did. It has an appealing concept—psychic superspies rebelling against each other on the brink of an underground war. It has unique, attractive art: just pen and watercolors, leading to a dreamy, scrambled quality that fits the narrative perfectly. The book itself looks nice too! It’s a well made hardcover with good, heavy paper. For crying out loud, the whole comic is presented in a meta-textual framing device, where the panels are a visual representation of a field report from one of the psychic agents! And there’s a persistent commentary on the action within the marginalia that GETS INTERRUPTED BY A DIVERGENT COUNTER-NARRATIVE!! This is supposed to be everything in the world that I love and hold dear!!!

But, to my infinite despair, Mind MGMT vol 1 never quite pulls it off. Once the plot got moving, each new development left me thinking “Okay, and then what?” Or, more damningly, “So what?” By the time the full arc is finished, the status quo from the beginning of the first issue has been completely restored, leading the reader to wonder what the point of the whole thing was at all.

Then I realized that the guy who wrote the foreword was Damon Lindelof, and there’s an ongoing homage to Lost in Mind MGMT, and things started to come together. I shouldn’t talk too much shit; I’ve never actually watched an episode of Lost. But some of the criticisms I’ve heard of the show—an emphasis on mythology over story, less-than-enthralling characters, a pervasive feeling that the whole show is one swift tug of the curtains away from being revealed as a giant, self-serious load of crap—finds some common berth in Mind MGMT.

Perhaps I just feel let down from the promise of all the tasty elements that had me frothing at the mouth for this series—like I was promised a jigsaw puzzle and got a paint-by-numbers instead. I’ll probably stick with the series, but the expectations are pretty much shot.

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