Matt Kindt’s “MIND MGMT” reaches a crescendo this month, and these annotations are here to help you enjoy the action as thoroughly as possible.
This immortal has been around since the very first issue, yet somehow never received a name. Like the other character covers in this arc, she’s in rough shape. The black eye and bloody face are old hat by now, but it looks like she’s had a tougher fight than the others so far – someone burned the side of her head. Interestingly, the scar on her cheek doesn’t have any subliminal messages in the stitching. The scarf she’s wearing is to hide a bullet hole in her neck, courtesy of Bill in #2p3. The background for this image is very similar to (but not the same as) the cover of #28.
The Main Story
The first few pages open with a mostly silent recap of everyone’s positions. It seems whatever airborne agent affected Meru, Duncan, and Perrier in the last room has worn off, because it doesn’t affect Lyme or anyone else who arrives/wakes up. When Eraser steps out of the shadows to surprise Lyme at the bottom of page 3, it’s actually the first time in the series when the two characters interact. Before now, the closest they came to each other was at the end of the Homemaker arc in #17, but they didn’t speak to each other.
It’s fitting Eraser’s first words to Lyme convey a clear misunderstanding of him; at no point did Lyme ever treat Meru as a protege. Her inability to fathom his fatherly protection or need for forgiveness underscores why they were inevitable adversaries. Lyme knows this, which is why he doesn’t even bother trying to correct her.
Page 5 seems rather mundane, but there’s a lot going on behind the scenes here. Links’ surprise at the puppy seems minor because of how mundane he is about it, but it actually shows how tenuous Meru’s eventual victory was. At the end of the last issue, Meru, Duncan, and Perrier were at Links’ mercy, but he let them be so he could hide and ambush Lyme. The pup walked over two panels later, and the element of surprise would’ve been lost if any of the villains had noticed him.
Likewise, Links is very casual about mentioning his blind spot to animals. He and Duncan only encountered each other a handful of times through the series (#12, #21, #34), but Links was always quick to talk about how they were equals and would cancel each other out. He never got a chance to prove otherwise, but Duncan’s demonstrated ability to effortlessly read animals clearly marks him as Links’ better.
The Eraser’s reaction to Links’ death on page 6 marks the first time his first name (Lance) is used in the main story. It had previously been mentioned only once, in the second floor of issue 9.
Ella is the animal kid, first introduced in #4’s mind memo. When Meru tried to recruit her in #18, she decided “we don’t need [Ella].” At the time, Lyme didn’t see her because he wanted to remember her how she had been and assumed she felt the same way. While it’s not spelled out clearly in the book itself, it’s evident Ella did not feel the same way. After Meru’s visit, Ella must have reconnected with society enough to search for Lyme and find him in the Berlin Hospital in #24. (He dreams of Ella on page 18, which is also the page where the side text indicates someone is looking for him.)
The adjectives appearing above Lyme and the Eraser (and elsewhere in the issue) are a call back to the Richard Scary theme of issue #18.
The two page splash on pages 10-11 is worth a few minor notes. First, the African Gray Parrot from #18MM is missing, which seems odd since it would have been a great call back. Second, the goat just above the tiger’s head may be a reference to Valiant’s “Quantum and Woody”. Kindt doesn’t write that particular book, but he has been doing more for the company lately. Finally, despite the large number of bullets the homemaker’s fired and the large number of birds in front of her, none of them are exploding. This is a great show of restraint on Kindt’s part, considering his track record of being mean to birds (See: #1p24, #8p12, and “Super Spy: The Lost Dossiers” p21)Continued below
Meru’s narration, starting on page 16, is a call back to the opening lines of the series (and also of the second arc). The Eraser’s reference to Meru being a warrior princess is a call back to several scenes throughout the series, such as #3p11, #9p6, and #17p28. The Jardin sketch book was commissioned in #29p7. The sketch of Bill was first shown on #29p10.
*see below for notes on the strip comic running at the bottom of pages 17-22.
The fortune cookie messages are from world chess champion Willie Hunter. He first appeared in the Second Floor of #23, and in the story proper in #33p4. Hiding messages in cookies was a trick first seen in #33p8.
The boy from Flight 815 was reported missing in #31p17. At that point, he had been missing for “nearly a year”, which would be close to the start of the Magician arc. That coincides with the early construction of this new HQ building (#19p15).
As the world comes crashing down on pages 26 and 27, several characters’ effects can be seen in the debris. A pair of head phones from Dusty’s Army is near Meru’s left knee. The Pipe Kid’s pipe is centered between her feet. Inexplicably, Lyme’s hair is close to her right hand. I guess he wears a toupee? On page 27, lots of body parts from the Magician’s battle are strewn about and the Homemaker’s gun is on the center right. When the dust settles on page 28, Meru is nestled between two distraction totems.
A short strip comic beginning at the bottom of page 17 and running through page 22 details the designing of the headquarters. It’s based on Mount Meru (#25p16). The blueprints was first shown in #11p11, and the inverted layout appeared in #12p13. On the cover of #12, the document to the left of the cover #11 indicates the agency considered building the facility underground at one point. The boss seems skeptical of the structure being supported by belief, which seems strange considering how many of the agents’ abilities work on the same principle.
The Second Floor
This brief tale puts a more personal spin on the Pipe Kid’s explanation of Imhotep’s Forgetting Temple from #34p21-23. Most of the information is just repeated, except for the re-iteration of the HQ being located in Guangzhou. It was previously shown to be in Hong Kong (#19p15).
The Letter Column
This month, the letter is from editor Brendan Wright. Near the end, he namedrops Greg Rucka as the writer for the foreward in the sixth hardcover. I could be mistaken, but I don’t believe this had been announced yet. He also mentions Kindt’s next solo book, “Dept H”. More on this in a minute.
The Back Cover
Faux concealer. A product that conceals you from your foes. That pun is simultaneously awesome and awful.
In Other News
“Dept H” is coming! Learn a little more about it here. I had previously speculated the lucky numbers provided in #33’s letter column may have been a code for this new title, but apparently I was trying too hard – there were 6 numbers, but this is a 5 letter title.
ITEM! I’m hoping to have a retrospective interview with Kindt about “MIND MGMT” in time for the final issue. If he has time to reply, look for it in about a month.
ITEM! When the first hardcover debuted, I posted annotations for it both for readers who missed the single issues and to cover the material with the benefit of hindsight. I’m currently working on updating and expanding it. Look for annotations on all six hard covers around the release of the ‘The Immortals’.
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!
#18 #19 #20 #21 #22 #23 #24 #25 #26 #27 #28 #29 #30 #31 #32 #33