Critically acclaimed comic book artist/writer and the most original voice in genre comics according to Dark Horse Comics, Matt Kindt, has started working on his first ongoing series as artist and writer for Mind MGMT. This Dark Horse Original is promising everything from weaponized psychics, hypnotic advertising and robots to talking dolphins, gorillas and astronauts; all wrapped up in government conspiracies and espionage.
How coherently is all of that subject matter coming across in just the first issue? Aside from the government conspiracies and weaponized psychics, it isn’t doing it much. Understandably so, it’s only the first issue of an ongoing series. If this story made complete sense right from the beginning, it would take away from a lot from the potential of the comic. With that in mind, the near beginning of the comic is especially vague with four people being violently murdered for no apparent reason; each is killed by the person that dies next. This would make no sense if not for the title of this series.
A title like Mind MGMT (management, clearly) gives a bit of an explanation to just about everything unexplainable in this comic before the reader is even presented with it. Through information given throughout this first issue, you just may be able to connect a lot of dots and break through a lot of the mystery into what’s happening. However, the reader doesn’t get beaten over the head with it. So for readers a bit faster on the ball, this may be a bit of a letdown in comparison to those not analyzing everything as much. Still, this doesn’t ruin the story.
The introduction of the protagonist, Meru, is well done in this first issue. A bizarre incident is presented in which she’s investigating. Through this, the reader is given a range of emotions from Meru with a great insight to her situation pre adventure. The reader is presented with a lot of her character in a way that makes not relating to her almost impossible, and from there, the story progresses at a steady pace until the end of the issue. After that, you’re given a two page story about a character seemingly unrelated to what has transpired so far, and like the title does, gives a lot more explanation to what is happening by just being presented as opposed to the information provided.
Despite all this extra information given that might help you make connections to what is going on, it still doesn’t answer why. That’s what makes this a good read; regardless how much the reader may pick up on to explain what, it still doesn’t answer much of any why (if that makes any sense).
As good as the story is, the art isn’t helping the experience, unfortunately. I assume what’s being used here is watercolor, but given the pallet choice, it may be multiple ink washes brought together with inconsistent black lining that doesn’t have any real rhyme or reason. They don’t emphasize moods or change up depending on the situations at hand, and neither does the color scheme. It’s kind of all over the place with grays to identify flashbacks and (from what I assume are) government agents.
Overall, the artwork screams Expressionism; the sort done by the one student who’s a fine arts major surrounded by communication design majors in an illustration class. By that, I mean it seems that’s the direction taken because that’s what Kindt is comfortable with, and not because it helps tell the story. It’s as though he missed the point of the word “sequential” in the phrase “sequential art.” With that said, I will give credit where it’s due. It’s pretty. These are pretty pictures that are pleasing to the eye and very atypical of a comic, which for some will be a pleasant breath of fresh air.
If you’re into most typical comics; this may not be the title for you. However, if you have an artsy/hipster/beatnik friend who tags along with you to your local comic book shop; this is definitely the title for them. This may just be the title that gets them into comic books. As far as comics go, the story is great, and the art is endearing to non comic fans. interest into other kinds of artistic expression. The fact that it’s different works in Mind MGMT’s favor. As always, you can find this title anywhere Dark Horse Comics are sold, or you can find it on Dark Horse’s website, available now for your viewing pleasure