By: Matt Kindt (writer/artist)

The Story: Meru arrives in China, searching for answers to her amnesia with the bad guys in hot pursuit.

Review: I have a feeling that Mind Mgmt is going to be a hard series to review in single-issues.  That doesn’t mean that the single issues are bad or that “it would read better in trade” or anything like that.  The single issues are very enjoyable but it seems like it might fall into that trap of me saying, “That was another really good issue!” to which the reader of the review could say, “Why?” and I’d just copy and paste what I said last time, “Matt Kindt’s haunting watercolors combined with an intriguing story about conspiracies and memory loss makes for a great issue.”

That could sum it up every time, I feel.  And, it’s hard to figure out how to embellish more without giving a recap (which is boring to read about unless you’re making fun of that material).

A couple of elements that really struck me in this issue were (a) the very well done parallel stories between our protagonist Meru and her pursuers (the Immortals) and (b) the interesting way that the old Chinese man envisioned the Immortals as demons who clawed him to death….until we saw that he was full of bullet holes.  Weird.  Good!  But weird….

About the only part that is slightly falling flat for me is also one of the coolest parts of the comic.  These little Mind Mgmt Field Guide notes in the panel gutters are really nifty: “If you find that you are short of funds in the field, remember that any paper can be mind augmented to perform in the place of real money.”  Every page has a little nugget of this sort.  The only problem is that they don’t incorporate into the flow of the comic book.  When should I read them?  I don’t want to read them before because I’d rather read the events of the comic book.  I don’t want to read them after either because I’m done and I want to think about what happened in the comic book.  I don’t want to read them after each page because they interrupt the flow of the story.  Even though they’re a cool element in the series, I can’t help but wonder if they’d work better in a caption box.

The star of this book is still the art.  I love how much emotion Kindt and wrings out of pretty simple lines and smeary watercolors.  Of course, I mean “smeary” in the best possible way.  It just means that he isn’t really focused on whether he keeps his painting within the lines or whether it even fills the spaces between the lines.  He’s not trying to create a photograph….he’s trying to tell a story and he’s got a clever enough mind to know that sometimes a vague shape with smeared color is more effective than a hyperrealistic image.

Conclusion: Another wonderful issue.  Honestly, if you’re a fan of Vertigo ongoing series, there’s no excuse to not be reading this.

Grade: B+

– Dean Stell

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