So, the choice this time around was between Owen Jones’ ‘The Establishment’, an excellent, non-fiction book that’s similar in tone to some of the other books I’ve recently reviewed on here, like George Monbiot’s ‘Captive State’ or Peter Oborne’s superb ‘Triumph of the Political Class’, or Matt Kindt’s superb comic book series ‘Mind Mgmt’. I decided that the serious book can wait and that I would instead give you my ‘rambling’ thoughts on the comics instead. Yay, comics!
I’ve been a fan of Mind Mgmt since it was first published. I managed to persuade my local library when I lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia to order the first volume and I’ve been hooked ever since. After I moved back to the UK I needed to find the funds to purchase the series, which is published in beautiful hardcover volumes (always a weakness of mine), and eventually I did and now I own them all. When the final volume arrived at my doorstep I knew I had to find the time to read all six volumes back to back, for a series this complex (and excellent) surely requires a complete reread, and once I had I was glad I did. For it is a complex and rewarding read indeed and one that I thoroughly recommend!
I actually find Mind Mgmt actually quite a difficult series to sum up neatly. It’s a spy-romp of a book with stunning art and a complex story that is incredibly rich and rewarding. The first volume focuses on Meru, a writer struggling to find inspiration for her second book, as she investigates a strange occurrence on a flight where the passengers all had their memories wiped. She travels to find the only missing passenger, Henry Lyme, in order to discover the mystery behind the flight but things only get weirder from there as we are introduced to a large and varied cast of characters and their special abilities. Some of them can do things like predict what will happen in the next fifteen minutes or control the world around them, others are immortal and almost impossible to kill and one can locate weak point in a structure or a person and use that to destroy them. One of them can even kill you with just his finger. No, seriously. The story focuses on Meru as she tries to stop the reformation of Mind Mgmt, the organisation that trained all of these operatives.
The series runs for six lovely hardcover volumes and encompasses around 35 issues. The art is in Kindt’s recognisable style and finished with beautiful watercolours and one of the questions that I would like to ask this talented writer/artist is how the hell did he find time to write, draw, colour and finish, and letter this incredible series while keeping to the publishing schedule that he did? There is a truly staggering amount of work evident in it and I am astonished that these books were published so quickly (also, make sure you read all the text written in the margins for it really adds to the experience!). It’s an impressive display of talent and work and the guy must surely deserve a break having now finished the series.
Mind Mgmt is a wonderful series, filled with mystery and character (as well as some brutal deaths of said characters) and something that I also feel that this series judged perfectly is the stopping point. Too many comic runs are dragged on long past the point where they should’ve stopped (I’m looking at you, Fables!) and the ones that I love the most have known just how much space they needed in which to tell their story. Joe Hill’s incredible Locke and Key is the comic that I think did this best (and also had six volumes), giving the story just enough room to breathe and for every thread to be pulled together and resolved, without ever getting baggy. And Kindt judged perfectly how long to tell this tale, while not leaving you feeling like matters were unresolved (for they were not). Also, the final page is the perfect head-fuck to leave you on, especially for a series like this. I loved it!
I’m also astonished by the list of people they got to write the intro’s to these books: Scott Snyder, Brian Michael Bendis, Terry Moore (who’s excellent ‘Rachel Rising’ I will also be reviewing once the final volume is out), Greg Rucka, Darwyn Cooke and Damon Lindelof. That is a damn good list of writers willing to write an intro to the book, which I think tells you something about how well Mind Mgmt has been received by the other pros in the industry. I also need an opportunity to get my lovely hardcovers signed so hopefully Kindt will attend one of the UK based conventions this year. We’ll see.
I previously published an article on this blog that detailed my five favourite, currently running comic book series and that list included Mind Mgmt. Now that this series has concluded and I shall have to revise that list in due course and move Mind Mgmt to the list of my all time favourites. It really is that good! I just have no idea which series it will be replacing so instead maybe it should now be a list of my six favourite comic series of all time. That’s a better plan, I think.
So, if you have any interest in excellent comics, go on and pick up the first volume and give it a go. Eventually, I shall reread Mind Mgmt (including all the little notes in the margins, most of which I skipped over in my reread, wanting as I did to quickly get to the end!) and I feel that it is a series that will really reward further rereads. I suspect I will get something a little different out of it each time I do. If you like complex stories involving fantastic characters that somewhat mess with your head, then I can’t recommend Mind Mgmt highly enough. I for one will be looking forward to whatever projects Mr. Kindt releases in the future (bring on Past Aways!) and looking for the next series like this one, though I fear there will never be another quite like it. At least I have my beautiful hardcovers to enjoy, whenever the mood takes me. Cheers!
My debut novel, ‘Only an atheist can help Godsave the world’, is available now from all electronic retailers. Also check out my other “Rambling” blogs posts for articles on being an indie author, comics, politics, and reviews of books and movies! Also follow me on Twitter @onlyanatheist1. Cheers!