Because each issue of Matt Kindt’s monthly series overflows with interwoven narratives, a standard review just doesn’t cut it. This column will provide in-depth analysis and help you navigate the overlapping plots as the series winds down.
It’s tough to say for sure with all the fur, but I believe this puppy’s left eye is swollen. The collar also features a pair of detonators, foreshadowing the final scenes.
The Main Story
The first panel opens with a caption noting the location as Guangzhou, MIND MGMT’s new headquarters. According to #19p15, the Eraser had been building the HQ on the site of a former Flux House in Hong Kong. Could this be an error? No, it’s actually a subtle payoff for readers who were paying close attention. During the Magician arc, the Second Floor backup stories followed Bill and Meru as they visited lots of Flux Houses. Then, in #29p12, the Eraser mentions that all of the safe houses they visited were destroyed by Meru’s abilities. Hence, when Meru visited the construction site in Hong Kong in #19, she removed the special properties provided by it’s location on ancient ley lines, forcing the Eraser to relocate to Guangzhou.
In #31p24, Dali claimed he wanted to film in Greenland, but the Pipe Kid says the movie set was in Casablanca. It’s worth noting that Dali said in #32p24 the other things he had asked for in #31 were part of a test, so perhaps the location was as well. The Casablanca location fits with the map of Europe from the back of #28.
The Pipe Kid mentions Imhotep’s Forgetting Temples, which (as far as I can tell) are completely fictional. Imhotep was an Egyptian architect who lived in the 27th century BC who was deified after his death. He probably wasn’t associated with any incarnation of MIND MGMT, but this marks the oldest reference to mind powers.
When the Magician casts here spell at the bottom of the page to make her allies look more ferocious, the letters can be rearranged to spell “Kill the Fuckers”.
In the space of one panel on page 8, Meru’s team is reduced to the same core group she started with in the second arc, minus Dusty. Considering how long and hard she’s fought to recruit people to her cause, this quick event takes on a stronger, poignant meaning.
The setting on page 13 matches the Blade Runner-esque visuals from #30, which flashed back to the Eraser’s past. This even extend’s to Duncan’s clothing. Between panels, his shirt changes to match the one he was seen wearing in #30p14, albeit with some color variation.
Links claims he and Duncan cancel each other out, but the only time they’ve fought (#21p6-7), Links was too strung out to use his powers at all. Links has tried to use his powers twice before (#12p14 and #17p29), and both times he was cancelled out by Meru. He seems prepared for her this time, dosing the heroes with a hallucinogen before they realize what’s happening.
Links’ past was first explored in the Second Floor of #9. This is mostly a straight re-telling, down to the repeated phrase of being chewed up and spit out. One major difference is how Links was separated from the agency. Here he says he was kicked out and left on the street. Way back in #9, he’s described as going AWOL. Since the Second Floor stories are supposed to be the official agency stance, it’s possible the AWOL description is a whitewash of MIND MGMT’s drug experiments.Continued below
A second major difference is the prediction he makes. In #7, he predicted Reagan would be shot a year before it happened. That’s pretty amazing, since Reagan was shot only 69 days into his first term. Links didn’t just predict the shot, he predicted the election results. Here, he guesses that Nixon will take a bullet. That never happened, BUT! Robert F Kennedy, one of the candidates running against Nixon, was assassinated. It would seem that Links was making an accurate prediction, he was just a little off the first time.
During his explanation, Links confirms he was the junkie who delivered the assassination letter to Meru in #7p4. Here he makes it sound like that was an odd job, still unaware the Eraser was the one who hired him to send it. Since he was in her inner circle during the fight at Shangri-la in #12, she must have recruited him shortly after his encounter with Meru in #7 (maybe even using said encounter as leverage to recruit him…).
Using animals to deliver bombs is an idea first explored in the Second Floor and the Mind Memo of #4, but this is the first time it’s been directly relevant to the main plot.
The true purpose of Triple Indemnity becomes clear this issue with the reveal of Imhotep’s Forgetting Temple – the entire thing was a set up to erase the lead actor/investigator from history and protect MIND MGMT. He must have made quite a bit of progress in exposing the group to make this level of response necessary, but it underscores both the resources and the ruthlessness of the agency.
The commercials he ends up producing for them are the “Wake Up” tapes used on the Homemaker in the third arc. The inspiration he’s mentioned to get from the destruction of the set led to the Persistence of Memory painting, which was done in 1931. Oddly enough, he was inspired to make that 1931 painting while making a sequel to Double Indemnity, which was filmed in 1944 – over a decade later!
The Second Floor
This month’s look at MIND MGMT files focuses on Chuck Joy, based on the Charles Joy who reviews for >Unleash the Fanboy. The real Charles has been promoting “MIND MGMT” through spoiler-free reviews since the series’ inception and sharing it with others through social media.
The fictional Chuck Joy has a Mind Mitt bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Infinity Gauntlet. This glove has four stones, granting Joy control over Light, Film, Television, and Sound. The close up of the gems shows Meru in the Eraser’s fantasy world, an alien who looks like somebody found in the Mos Eisley Cantina, and and Silver Surfer.
The Letter Column
Not much worth noting from the letters page this month, aside from a reminder that the arc is titled “The Immortals”, and the immortals have played only extremely minor roles so far.
The Back Cover
The best part of this ad is “Flesh Flavor” being trademarked.
In Other News
Are you reading “Archie Vs Predator”? It’s a surprisingly clever book that manages to remain true to both of it’s influences, but there’s another reason you should check out issue 3 – Jugghead’s uncle, Henry Lyme, drops by in a one page backup feature to make sure Juggy’s management training is still in sleeper mode.
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!