Review by Karl Verhoven
Throughout Mind MGMT Matt Kindt has used novel storytelling techniques. One chapter of previous volume The Eraser was related as a pulp science-fiction story, there are some film storyboards here, and the opening pages reveal the recaps used to begin preceding books have a greater purpose. It’s clever and encouraging to see the application of so much thought to little details. And where else are you going to read a line like “Penny’s fascination with chemistry led her to ingest large amounts of plasticine, which enhanced her understanding of science, but drove her mad”?
The Eraser filled in almost all the remaining background to what’s gone before, confirming the faith many have placed in Meru to ensure that the Mind MGMT organisation isn’t resurrected from the ashes. It became corrupted in its first incarnation, and the new version proposed by the Eraser starts with an agenda of control. If there’s any doubt about Meru’s intentions, they’re proved in brilliant fashion in the opening chapter as a horror is rectified. Again, the attention to detail is pleasing.
It’s one of several life-affirming and optimistic touches amid a conclusion that surely pans out pretty well the way any follower of the series would like. However, there’s a problem with that, and it kicks in as we hit the final hurdle. Mind MGMT as a series worked by taking the clichés of super powers and giving them a thorough and often sinister twist. Everything appears to have been building to a Fantastic Four vs Doctor Doom battle, and that’s what we get, with Spider-Man stopping by to save the day when the day appears lost. It’s banal and disappointing, and those are two words that could never have been applied to the writing on Mind MGMT to this point. The sentimental postscript is perhaps more excusable, but they’re only a third of the book, and the remainder is the demented, furtive desperation we’ve come to know and love.
At one stage Kindt deliberately misquotes an epigram attributed to Salvador Dali (but disputed) as “Imagination without ambition is like a bird without wings”. It could be his starting inspiration for the series, and he’s lived up to it. A brief step into predictability at the final knockings doesn’t erase the compellingly magnificent plotting it’s taken to reach that point. By this stage any reader will will know where they stand on the polarising effect of Kindt’s art. Anyone who hasn’t been able to move past it may instead prefer to peruse Past Aways with Scott Kolins illustrating Kindt’s plot.