At first, I was a little put off by Mind MGMT. It was the style, I think. It’s a very raw artwork that reminds min a lot of ways a ohigh school art student’s colored pencil drawings and the sort of sketches you see in art museums by famous artists before they’ve painted their final masterpieces. It’s an odd style that I didn’t take to immediately but I got used to it. And once I did I was able to get into the story a bit more. I even came to like the way it looked and I appreciate now how different it is from other comics. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like it more if it were smoother and more detailed but still. It works.
Mind MGMT is an science fiction thriller at it’s core. It begins with Meru, a true crime novelist whose success from her first novel has all but worn away and she’s washed up, struggling to find a new story, a new idea. Her moment of inspiration comes from watching a memorial special on a crazy anomaly that had occurred a couple years prior. A commercial airplane landed successfully in LA even after the memories of all surviving 120 passengers and crew members were wiped. To date, no one has regained their memories. And no one knows what happened to the 121 passenger – Henry Lyme.
Desperate, Meru endeavors to find out what really happened and who was and where is Henry Lyme. She travels around interviewing survivors but no one can give her much. And then she gets a lead – Mexico. A village is experiencing a different but yet some how similar cerebral event to the amnesia flight. And it’s there, in Mexico, that things begin to change. Fast. For some reason, the CIA has been following her, hoping she’ll lead them to some answers. Meanwhile there are people running around – some chasing after her – with extraordinary powers. The power to read minds. A legion of individuals with the power of immortality. Sisters who can finish the other’s thoughts.
Ultimately, Meru discovers the truth about Mind MGMT, the government’s use of superpowered individuals as spies and to manipulate the public, and Henry Lyme himself. And now she’s irreversibly intertwined with this narrative as it plays out and all the consequences that come with it.
Basically, this is a really great and sometimes surreal story. I like a lot of the characters and you really feel for Meru. At least I did. She goes from successful to nothing in hardly a moment. She’s washed up and struggling. The only person to really throw her a bone is Henry Lyme and, well, that just takes her out of one world and puts her into a completely different one. And she just sort of has to go along with all of it because what else are you going to do? She set out with a goal and, damn it, she’s going to follow through with it. Even if it leads to something a whole hell of a lot different than she thought it would initially and even if it involves reliving past hells and events she had previously forgotten.
I also really liked Henry Lyme as a character and I really feel for the guy as he explains his history and the history of Mind MGMT. Really, though, the whole history of Mind MGMT is kind of cool. Iti’s almost like Mad Men meets a government owned and operated League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. But Henry Lyme hasn’t had a very easy life and Mind MGMT? Not necessarily as awesome as I would think it would be. He has a good reason to dislike it. It’s a dangerous organization in a lot of ways. But he’s dangerous, too. He’s a really sympathetic character because he never really asked for what all happened to him and at this point in his life he’d like to be left alone.
Another bonus for Mind MGMT? I get to write ‘she’ a lot in this review. Because the main character is a woman. I’m not the sort of hardcore feminist that Therese is but I like having capable female leads in comics, video games, and the like now and again. Not characters that are sexualized beyond reality, either. Meru comes off as a pretty real, average person. Well. Personality-wise at least.
Look, there’s a reason that Mind MGMT was one of the top ten comics the year it was launched and there is a reason that it remains in tons of Top 50 lists across the internet. Don’t just take my word for it. Look around at what other people say. It’s good. It’s a really good story. Granted, for me, the artwork is a bit of a downside. But I can look past that in favor of a really awesome narrative. Plus I guess it really works in the flashbacks because it gives it a way retro look.
Mind MGMT is still on-going and you can hop into the series any time. Might be hard, though, if you don’t know what’s going on. So you can wait for the TPB to come out on April 23rd.