A new issue of “MIND MGMT”, another hunt for codes and Easter eggs in a new edition of Minding MIND MGMT. Because each issue of Matt Kindt’s monthly series is overflowing with hidden clues and interwoven narratives, a standard review just doesn’t cut it. This column will provide in-depth analysis and help you navigate the overlapping plots.
Another straight-forward cover. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but the sudden appearance of another knife in Step 2 made me think “I am not left handed!”
The Main Story
The issue opens with Sir Francis returning to his underwater lair (where’s he been, I wonder?). As he walks toward his chest of supersensory bandages, we see he has several statues, and most of them are half deformed. This may be in memory of Francis’ old friend, Alberto (#0), who had a withered right arm. The umbrella Francis examines belonged to Archduke Ferdinand (#1, SF). The mushrooms that pop out of his head were first referenced in the iO9 strips, although not quite like this…
The story jumps back to Meru on page 7, and since the previous issue, she’s traveled from India to Greece. If you’d like to know more about Socrates’ trial and death, it’s right here. If you follow Matt Kindt on Facebook or Twitter, you may already recognize the meeting between Meru and her fan on page 8 – Matt’s family vacationed in Greece earlier this year, and a tour guide who reads “MIND MGMT” recognized Matt. There have been many archaeological digs around Kardamaniaon Kos, and they’re actually something of a tourist attraction.
The underwater site Meru mentions on page 10 is one of the bases built by Francis and Albert, as seen in #0 p22. The text from #0 is a little vague, and it’s unclear if there was more than one underwater base. Since the Atlantic Ocean base was reported flooded in 1950 (#6 FG 6.2), and since Francis’ current base is near Antikythera in the Mediterranean, this can be seen as confirmation of multiple underwater bases.
Page 11 is presented as a duplicated page from the Monk’s history, but it’s also a duplication of the Second Floor story from issue 3. Since those short stories aren’t included in the hardcovers, this was probably thrown in to get tradewaiters up to speed. Interestingly, the whole story has been re-lettered. Caption boxes are relocated and reshaped, with one alteration. The new version of panel six says he “attained complete and instantaneous enlightened awareness of his body.” The original version was “complete and instantaneous enlightenment regarding his body.”
The talk about danger, the protestors, and the riot police on page 12 are referring to the protests against the austerity measures Greece enacted as a response to the economic collapse. The talk about history repeating itself might be a reference to [insert current news story here].
It’s a little strange that Kostas isn’t worried about his friend Taurus. Taurus is “obsessed” with this site, and has made hundreds of dives there in the last ten years without ever finding anything. Residual mental effects from the protective measures taken by the agency that have affected both of them for this behavior to go unchecked.
The distraction totem Meru sees on page 15 is the same kind created by the Magician in #22, pg 15.
Francis describes himself as being “fatally” driven by curiosity on page 19. That’s an ironic choice of words, considering his curiosity made him immortal. The borderless panels on this page are Francis’ memories. The first two are his discovery of immortality, the third is an inexplicable bull (perhaps related to Kostas’ friend Taurus?), and the fourth is the founder of modern MIND MGMT, Leopold Lojka.
Page 20 provides new insight into the origins of MIND MGMT. Prior to this, the agency was shown as a US government entity, complete with a Soviet counterpart. Here we learn that it was originally an NGO, although it’s unclear exactly when and how it came under a governmental umbrella (probably sometime during or right after WWII). Based on Francis’ narrative, it sounds like the Field Guide was written after MIND MGMT was operated by nations. This explains why Zero follows the Matryoshkas Guide – it was developed independently of the Field Guide. A panel on page 21 shows Francis working with Leopold on a written copy of the Field Guide. This was shown in a bit more detail in the Second Floor Story of #12, which also implied the physical guide was in an underwater base.Continued below
Page 20 is also a fresh take on how to do a “talking head” page. Instead of taking the lazy way out and copy/pasting Francis’ head into all 9 panels, Matt took the time to draw Francis from a different angle in each one, giving us a 360° spin around his head.
Francis’ description of the ‘triconscious’ state conflicts with #12 SF, which specifically says the guide is “ingrained in their…subconscious.” On the other hand, this issue finally answers a question raised in Field Guide 6.22: How do you remember the entire Field Guide?
The Field Guide
The main story doesn’t tell us where Francis has been, but the Field Guide indicates it wasn’t a pleasant trip, where he was. The first three guides explain how the wraps he uses and the music he plays are designed for quicker healing. According to 26.5, he was sending out a mental distress call to Meru.
As Meru meets Kostas, she disobeys the Guide pretty much completely. She tells him too much, accepts his help, and lets several opportunities for escape pass by. Then she handles the umbrella and makes prolonged contact with Francis, who is ingesting mushrooms of “unknown origin.” Thankfully, she comes to her senses and obeys 26.18, which told her not to eat the offered mushroom.
Field Guide 26.19 says to pay attention to speech patterns of enemy agents [Francis]. I’ll be honest – I thought this meant there was a message hidden in his monologue and I spent about half an hour looking for it. I found nothing, and I would like to think this means there isn’t one at all. But, if you caught it, please share it in the comments!
Field Guide 26.23 was presented backwards on page 22. It read “Subliminal: Once you have memorized the Field Guide, you will forget these training sessions ever happened but the knowledge will be your for the remainder of your life.”
Senator Idris is described as “the most popular senator in recent memory.” Considering Congress’ current approval ratings, that’s not saying much! Bu-dum-chish!
Based on his phone conversation, Idris seems to be very aware of MIND MGMT, but it doesn’t sound like he’s actually an agent. Specifically, his word choice of “Hong Kong [having] a leg up on us.” The ‘us’ at the end makes it clear that whether or not he ever had any training himself, he considers himself to be – an American? A Senator? Something before he’s an agent.
We haven’t seen the full extent of a distraction totem’s power yet, but it’s possible Idris’ popularity is due in part to it keeping people from noticing his dirty deeds.
The Second Floor
Sleep paralysis is a real phenomenon, and actually sounds pretty terrifying.
The Letter Column
If you didn’t get it, Keith Silva’s tweet was two messages shuffled together. If you only look at every other letter, it says “Help me Matt Kindt” and “Mind Management.”
The Back Cover
The western hemisphere, slightly distorted. Hawaii’s really far south, the Rocky Mountains look to be in Nebraska, and Florida’s bent toward the Atlantic. The flux safe house in Hawaii was seen in #19MM, the last Bamiyan Buddha was first seen in a Missouri Cavern in #11p10 (referenced again in #24p8), and the first immortal’s camp was first described as being in the Amazon in #3SF. The human hybrid mind melds is something new and slightly disturbing.
And that’s all for this month
If you spotted something I missed, or if you had a different interpretation of events, please share your thoughts in the comments!