‘Mind MGMT Omnibus Part 3:’ Trade Paperback Review

I’m embarrassed to admit this: While I’ve owned every issue of Mind MGMT, this is the first time I’ve read what is now the third omnibus in the collection. I have no logical or tangible reason as to why I haven’t. The good news is that now my reaction to the third omnibus isn’t me reflecting on something I read three years ago. This is fresh in my mind, still bouncing around up there.

To summarize the premise: Mind MGMT was a government program that trained people with mental abilities and powers of manipulation to reach political ends. There are characters that, through the written word, can make you believe your own death to the point that you will die; characters that can read the future fifteen minutes in advance based on seeing all of the elements in the room; characters that control other people’s emotions based on their own emotions; characters that can kill you with a touch or that you are unable to kill. Mind over matter takes on an entirely new meaning. At the center of this is Meru, a writer who is driven to write a novel based on a real-life mystery and, in her research, uncovers this secret society and her part in it.

For anyone else, Meru’s story would be unmanageable, but in creator Matt Kindt’s hands, this epic undertaking - this massive story with a complex plot - is flawless. No panel is mismanaged or goes unused. Every element, from the notes written on the sides of the pages to the book ends that tell us of other gifted talents, fill in the world and progress the story.

Mind MGMT should be praised as a piece of high art. In a world in which social media is used to manipulate and push political and social ideologies and agendas, in which fake stories like Pizzagate send armed men on near rampages, and when the messages of politicians actually do, Mind MGMT couldn’t be timelier.

Mind MGMT isn’t simply a clever story; it is an allegory. The incredibly well-developed antagonist, the Eraser, is someone who would wipe the history books clean to serve her own purposes of gaining power, essentially gaslighting the world as she herself was gaslighted by her husband. One can understand her rage, but not her solution. Meru, on the other hand, has the power to nullify other people’s powers. She is who we are. We have that same power. We can choose not to be a pawn of someone’s game.

Mind MGMT is also a psychological game with the reader; elements given structure are suddenly without structure. The nature of these moments and their timing is unnerving and invigorating. Kindt’s artwork becomes ever more cinematic and delicious as the series continues, presenting difficult images in strangely beautiful ways, capturing chaos like it’s a dance. The Philip K. Dick style take on a whole new meaning in this visual world.

It is an emotional and disquieting journey that is both personal for Meru and dangerous for society as a whole. It is a seminal piece of art. You don’t just read Mind MGMT, you experience it.

Creative Team: Matt Kindt (creator, writer, illustrator), Daniel Chabon (collection editor), Brendan Wright (editor), Ethan Kimberling, Matt Kindt (designer)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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