Matt Kindt’s “MIND MGMT” is now officially over. The final issue may not contain any clues or hints for the future, but let’s dig into it for references and hidden messages one last time.
In a parallel to the first issue, the final cover is another mugshot of Meru. Putting the two side-by-side highlights just how far she’s come during the series. Obviously she’s taken a beating, but she’s also thinner, paler, and her hair is longer. Oh, and she has all of her brain now.
The Main Story
To go with the new title on the cover, the book gets a new look on the interior. The paper stock is the same, but now the gutters are much whiter.
It’s hard to be sure, but it looks like a monk sitting in the Paris cafe on page one. On page two, the new agency is exercising influence through pictures from the Ad Man and oranges from Jay Harlow’s camp (#32). The book in the third panel, “Llama Land”, is probably something by the Perrier twins. It also shares a name with a mini comic made by Kindt’s daughter, Ella. It’s been available at his table at conventions this year.
The office for Jim and Tana on page 4 is called “Next Big Thing”, a play on Jim’s height and Tana’s fortune telling.
Whatever’s on Dusty’s last CD, it must encourage the listener to take on parts of his personality. The boys who found it were from Hong Kong, but here the last survivor of Dusty’s Army has found his way to Egypt, where Dusty lived.
Lyme has moved back into his old apartment in Zanzibar. His ability to live there specifically, of all places in the city, indicates he’s come along way. Back in issue 8, he refused to even enter the city due to its effect on him.
After his ‘reunion’ with his family, Lyme returns to the bookstore below his apartment. Meru has reopened it in her parents memory. The pictures from Jardin line the walls, and her office is littered with artifacts from various characters throughout the series. To the right of her is one of the Magician’s distraction totems. The table beside her holds a cup of pens from Brinks, a reel of Triple Indemnity, the Maltese Falcon from #13, and Archduke Ferdinand’s umbrella. Next to that is a table with the Homemaker’s machine gun, one of Harlow’s oranges, the Pipe Kid’s pipe, and some candles from Tana. Bill’s Hawaiian shirt hangs in the closet. The owl in the cage is probably a reference to the animal kid, but I like to think Kindt is a Harry Potter fan and it’s a tribute to Hedgewig.
Meru’s finally gotten around to writing another book, titled “Field Guide”. Once it’s published, the Eraser reads it in a bakery. She’s survived, although she’s horribly scarred.
The Field Guide
Guide 1.7 stresses strong personal relationships to avoid paranoia. This is obviously not foolproof, since Lyme’s abilities left him unable to trust his personal relationships.
Guide 1.9 says the individual agent’s health and well-being are of paramount importance. More than any other, this passage highlights the difference between the former agency and what Meru is trying to establish.
The guide pauses on page 18 as Meru is distracted from her writing. It’s completed in the caption on the same page.
The Second Floor
A touching look back at Meru’s parents and how they ended up running a bookstore in Zanzibar. If they hadn’t died horribly when she was young, they would have been proud of what their daughter went on to do.
The Letter Column
A nice goodbye note from Matt. I have nothing to add or parse out.
The Back Cover
Red: If you can read this, congratulations and welcome to the NEW MGMT
Blue: If you can read this, stay where you are and await extraction & correction procedures.
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! Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the forthcoming annotations for the hardcovers, now with hindsight!