Welcome back to Minding Mind MGMT, the monthly column focused on the Dark Horse series “Mind MGMT” from Matt Kindt. Why a special column instead of a regular review? Because each issue is crammed with story, requiring no less than two reads to fully absorb everything Kindt packs into it. Each month, we try to piece together the clues Kindt is hiding throughout the book, and speculate on what may happen next. This is a spoiler-heavy column, so turn back now if you don’t want major plot details revealed.
This month’s cover is a little more plain than the previous ones. It features the talking dolphin from issue three, casually making waves to ask for help. I can’t put my finger on exactly what Kindt did, but he managed to make the dolphin look intelligent.
This issue picks up almost immediately after last, with Meru and Lyme talking on Lyme’s boat. It immediately cuts to flashbacks as Lyme narrates his time in training at Mind MGMT. We get a decent introduction to the facility and some of the courses offered to students.
We learn some of Lyme’s better talents, such as mind control, mentally changing his appearance, and remote viewing. It turns out Lyme had a crush on Natasha, one of his teachers, who looks suspiciously like Meru. She has feelings in return, and becomes his handler when he begins going into the field.
We get some glimpses into the activities of Mind MGMT, which are more positive and less conspiratorial than I expected. Of course, this is being narrated by Lyme, so we can only trust he is being completely honest. Lyme proposes to Natasha in one of the most stunning splash pages I’ve seen in a long time.
The next few pages, I believe, will be very important later in this series. After this exhaustive use of his abilities, Lyme remembers discovering his abilities as a child and being sent to Mind MGMT. The first panel after the flashback is the man snapping his fingers to awaken Lyme, who is with Natasha in a different location, being told how important he is at the same time he begins to have doubts about their relationship. This shift corresponds to a change in the Field Guide text, which I’ll get to soon.
The final two pages of the main story return to the present, with Lyme and Meru on the boat, and the immortals and Bill still closing in.
The Field Guide
The first page consists of three panels zooming closer on Lyme’s mirrored glasses and their reflection of Meru. The guide tells us any reflective surface can be used for Hypno-Memory retrieval and disposal. Whether Kindt is telling us Lyme is returning previously suppressed memories to Meru, or disposing of his own, I don’t know. I could also be looking too hard.
Field guide 4.3 and 4.4 hint Lyme’s memory of events, or his telling of them, may not be completely accurate, especially concerning Natasha. Unreliable narrators are one of my favorite storytelling devices, and Kindt is wielding it well here.
Field guide 4.7 warns agents to be wary of maps, as they can be used for crude brainwashing attacks. The only map on the page, and in the whole book, happens to be a map a Dealey Plaza. You know, where JFK died. Or did he?
On page 9, we’re told a candle can be a focal point for when someone wants to alter perception of the environment. That inspired me to go back through previous issues and hunt for any candles in previous scenes. There aren’t any. Environmental manipulation is revealed to be an advanced technique, and one of Lyme’s specialties. Only he and another unnamed agent are allowed to use it on large populations. I’m sure that won’t come up again. It’s extensive enough to require up to three days of recovery. If an agent doesn’t take time to recover, they may be subject to Mind MGMT cleansing. These guides appear while Lyme is using the technique on a large population, and correspond to his childhood flashback and doubts about Mind MGMT.
It’s at this point the Field guide changes, and the guide text is interrupted by all caps messages directed at “you.” I believe these are from Lyme, directed at Meru. Among other things, he tells her she’s not the first, and this isn’t the first time. He warns her to escape, and take Bill with her.
This month’s case file connects and expands several plot lines. We’re introduced to young, red headed Ella Jean, who is excellent at communicating with animals. She was also handled by Natasha, who must have retained at least part of her role teaching after becoming Lyme’s handler in the field. She was involved in the Animal Black Ops program introduced in this month’s ‘Second Floor’ and is the person who taught the dolphin from issue three to talk. She was friends with Lyme, and the two of them eventually freed the dolphins in the Pacific (to be captured by China in time for issue 3). Lyme tells Ella she reminds him of his daughter, who is about her age. Since this Memo is from 1989, I’d be willing to bet Meru is Lyme’s daughter.
The Second Floor
This issue introduces Sera, a Tibetan monk who was the first Animal Black Ops specialist in 1959, and the Mind MGMT insurance agency. In contrast to Lyme’s less controversial work for Mind MGMT shown in the main story, this reveals the darker side, where Sera sends a cat packed with C4 to blow up the Chinese defense department, and the insurance agency’s threats against agents who get cold feet. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lyme was previously unaware of these actions, and his discovery of them led to his defection and the Amnesia Flight.
The Back Cover
This month’s ad is for XES hair gel, urging you to take control of your head. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but when I turned the ad upside-down to hunt for the code number, I laughed out loud.
If you spotted something I missed, had a different conclusion, or have any other questions, comments, or concerns, please leave them in the comments below. As user Red pointed out last month, I’m not catching everything.