“Mind MGMT #20” concluded with a cliff-hanger ending that was a masterclass in leaving readers on the edge of their seats. Rather than showing us what happened, Matt Kindt decided to let our imaginations run wild as we were forced to read the predictive writing that foretold the demise of Henry Lyme’s team. This was even crueler than showing it on the page because our imaginations could fill in all of the horrible blanks. The words combined with our worst fears can create a picture much worse than what might actually happen. Not to mention that Perrier’s predictive typing ability isn’t a certainty. Rather, it illuminates a probability. By showing what happens next in a “Silent Issue” format, the events that play out in these pages might just result in the best installment this comic book has ever had.
From the moment this issue opens, we are dropped right back into the fray from which we left. Instead of a traditional “silent issue” like the “Pizza Dog” issue of Hawkeye, what we get is the inner dialogue of everyone involved in this fight. It is a remarkably effective choice from the very start. Duncan and Lyme have known one another for so long that even with their situation looking so dire, they both know what to expect from each other in this scenario. The contrast of their deep-seeded bond sided with their attackers focused thoughts of violence make for some of the most insightful scripting in all of comic books. Not to mention the art during the Duncan and Lyme fight is some of the best action this series has presented since the start. In this action, it is Duncan who gets to steal the whole show. We’ve seen glimpses of his abilities before, but they have always been brief and deadly for the other person. Here he is at a disadvantage and has to use every last wit to get himself and Lyme out of this nightmare.
Even more harrowing is what becomes of Bill and Meru. For twenty issues now, Meru has been on the run from The Eraser’s team. Since she is always being chased, it is quite intense to finally see her start to understand what she is capable of in the field. Sadly, what she is ready to do isn’t enough to thwart the Twins. Even more disheartening is her learning moment does not pass without a cost. Blood is shed and things might not ever be the same for her and the team.
What makes this issue most effective is reading the thoughts of Duncan, Lyme, and Meru in real-time. There are so many years of regret, unsaid words, fear, and doubt layered in every sequence that this feels like more than just a brawl. It feels like each protagonist fighting with their own minds as much as their opponents. On top of that, you get an inside look into what makes each of the bad guys their own special kinds of sick. Some of them seem confused or conflicted. Others are just plain evil. And it looks like they have the upper hand.
Where this issue leaves us is at a bloody, ugly crossroads. This is the darkest moment in an already shady, gray-toned story. Will the team be able to survive the attack? Were they even ready to face such a confrontation? Or were they doomed from the start? These are all things that must now be considered. Meru was questioning her own motives months ago. I can only imagine where this defeat will take her. She had a chance to walk away from all of this drama. At least that’s what Bill tried to tell her. Now there is no going back. She has to try and pick up the pieces, get what remains of the team together, and make their own moves.
This series has been at the top of its game for so long it seems like hype service to give it any more praise. But here I am doing exactly that. The art is at its pinnacle and the writing is showing no signs of decline anytime soon. For readers who are craving action in this heady series, you get more than your fair share. For those that keep coming back because of Matt Kindt’s writing, it has never been better. I think it is safe to say that there isn’t a book in the industry that is telling a more complex or harrowing tale than Mind MGMT. This issue is no exception.
“Mind MGMT #20” earns a 10/10