Mind Management–A different sort of spy agency

Nothing brings back memories like a familiar smell.  I shared a nostalgia trip today at the local comic book store checking out Matt Kindt’s new book, Mind Mgmt, Issue #0.  It felt a bit lighter than the other new releases, and it only took a second to notice the plume of old-fashioned comic book smell on the inside from that most ancient of printing techniques:   good ol’ newsprint.  So they had me immediately by tempting me with a sense not usually associated with a good read.

Inside I found a neat blend of styles and storytelling imagery.  A bit like an issue of Cracked or Mad Magazine, the fine print advises readers there are hidden messages on the back cover.  (I only found one).  The inside covers tell a story about Mind Management–the premier espionage organization of its time–and its use of Flux Safe Houses.  Flux Safe Houses are those places you see and when you go back they are no longer there.  Like that restaurant you used to want to go to and when you finally get there it is closed.  A very sneaky tool of the Mind Management folks.

The book reprints three of writer/artist Kindt’s digital-only Secret Files stories released now for the first time on paper.  The first story is told by a widow of a former “Mind Mgmt” agent, who died and flashed his entire story to her mind in a matter of seconds at his death, something it took her a long time to deal with.  We get a clue as to the best spy in the agency, likely useful in future issues of the ongoing Dark Horse Comics monthly series.  Mind Management is the battleground place for psychic warfare–“they” are out there and among us.

The second story is told by a journalist who has pieced together commonalities of deaths that only the readers can tell are all linked to Mind Management agents.  She tracks down the madman behind the deaths and code words are repeated.  In the last story a soldier reflects on his World War I experiences with the agency.

Kindt’s art style uses watercolors and a very basic “pen scratch” type of art style with not a lot of detail but enough to tell his story–a bit like Harvey Pekar.   You get the feeling there is more to the stories if you stay around awhile–secrets hidden in panels if you stare enough.  All in, it’s a good entry point into the monthly series.

C.J. Bunce

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