Fresh Meat: Mind MGMT Volume 3: The Home Maker by Matt Kindt

Mind MGMT Volume 3: The Home Maker by Matt Kindt continues the espionage comic series about a secret government psychic spy program (available June 3, 2014).

Meru and Bill have been reunited in the latest collection of Mind MGMT comics, as they run from both Henry Lyme and The Eraser. Unwilling to be caught up in the battle over the wreckage of the government agency once known as Mind Management, Meru and Bill are searching for answers on their own. Unfortunately, neither Lyme nor The Eraser is willing to let them go, and are ready to wake up all manner of sleeper agents in the fight to recruit them to their sides.

In this Mind MGMT story arc, the main plot, while exciting, takes a backseat to several fascinating origin stories. Matt Kindt delves deeper into the world of paranormal espionage as he continues to explore the pasts of both Lyme and The Eraser, and introduces us to several new agents and agent types. Half of the fun of these books is seeing what new agent classes Kindt’s fertile imagination has come up with, and he delivers this doozy at the end of the very first chapter:

The Ice Men were trained over the course of several years in some of the cruelest training ever documented. They were submerged in tanks of ice water that was gradually made colder every day. Their minds were also honed, even as the training made agents want to die. The thought of death was constantly on their minds while their bodies slowly froze. But they were trained to fight it. To not die. At any time, they could have simply willed themselves to die. They could have just decided to give up. The few agents that survived the training were tough. They were used in the field constantly. A majority did not survive the training. Their ability? They could die at will. Their long proximity to death had enabled them to will themselves dead within seconds. Thus, whenever these agents were caught, they would simply die before giving up any information. Not only were they some of the toughest agents in the field. They were walking cyanide capsules.

Another wonderful thing about the Mind MGMT series is that there’s always a greater underlying theme to each story arc. With a title like The Home Maker, it’s to be expected that the domestic arts are showcased and sometimes parodied, as with the hilarious covers. But while each chapter serves to illustrate the different kinds of homes we make or come from, this collection is really a paean to fiction, whether in the reading or the writing of it. Meru and The Eraser both grew up with books as their most important friends, with The Eraser later going on to find and marry her favorite author, who shared with her the Hemingway-esque reason for his success:

He told me his secret one day. Where all of his ideas came from. When he was fifteen he’d stumbled across this series of obscure science-fiction novels from the 1920s. He’d read them all within a week. He just devoured them. And then he did something strange. He burned those books. Turns out, those books were among the few copies left in print. Priceless. Impossible to find. And then… he never thought about those book again. Until he turned forty years old. And when he turned forty he tried to rewrite those books he’d read once more than twenty years before. He tried to write them word for word, as best as he could remember. But time and age had muddled the stories and the concepts. And so what came out… What he ended up writing—was something completely strange and different. Bending and changing them through the power of time and the haze of memory. Something new and original… A warping of those original stories.

I have to admit that this installment in the series wasn’t quite as mind-blowing as the first two, but it still felt like an important part of the Mind MGMT universe. The subplots only served to raise the stakes for what’s sure to come, as we gain a greater sympathy for the characters. I also loved that the art hearkened back to one of my favorite spreads in the first collection, of Meru as an avenging warrior. Overall, The Home Maker felt a bit like an introspective lull, but when it comes to Matt Kindt, I know this means something spectacular is brewing on the horizon.

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Doreen Sheridan is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C. She microblogs on Twitter @dvaleris.

Read all posts by Doreen Sheridan for Criminal Element.

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