Doug and Shannon are fighting about Doug's missing watch, originally owned by his grandfather. Shannon thinks that Amie did it, because of the one time she was convicted of shoplifting. Darren and Amie are equally concerned about Darren's missing "Maltese Falcon" prop, and about being asked to use Megan and Clive's hot tub at the block party. Just a typical suburban drama, right? Of course, when it comes to Matt Kindt's twisted mind, nothing is what it initially seems in "MIND MGMT" #13.
After a year's worth of stories spelling out the danger of the dreaded Mind Management organization and the two factions preparing to go to war, it's nice for the book to take this swerve off into new territory and characters. Kindt has promised that "MIND MGMT" #13-17 will all serve as one-off stories before #18 unites them into a greater whole, and it's a perfect jumping-on point for the series. Kindt clearly agrees -- the inside front cover offers up a quick synopsis of what's happened so far, but it's not necessary. This story of jealous and confused couples interacting stands well on its own, the sort of story that you can enjoy even as you start to get hints about a greater story going on with characters being "woken up" that ties into the larger narrative. The new characters are a little simplistic on some level, but Kindt gives them just the right amount of characterization to make them stand apart, and to care about them when everything starts to come crashing down. Those that (presumably) continue on into future issues of "MIND MGMT" have a bit more depth to them, which is a good sign.
For people who have read "MIND MGMT" #0-12 (or the first two collections), Kindt also reassures that everything hasn't come to a screeching halt. There's a fun little series of black and white drawings at the bottom of the first eight pages that shows exactly how "MIND MGMT" #13 ties into the events of the previous issue; it's a clever way to establish that link (although savvy readers will figure it out anyway), and it's that sort of inventiveness with the comics medium that's appreciated from Kindt. Add in a MIND MGMT Enemy Agents closing feature (introducing the dreaded Ice Men created in Siberia), and there's a hell of a lot of content in this issue -- all of it entertaining.
Of course, it almost goes without saying that Kindt's art looks great as ever. His gentle watercolor washes over the pages gives "MIND MGMT" a look unlike any other comic on the market. The lines are attractive, too; just look at that final page, where the character is digging up the garden and then pauses to look to one side. The tight focus on the head is perfect, cutting off just below the character's eyes as readers get that look of suspicion even as the fence and trees are still visible in the background. Kindt uses them to transition to the final panels of the comic as readers see what else is going on when it shifts to another nearby location.
"MIND MGMT" #13 is a fun stand-alone comic, but it also works well as part of a greater story. I, for one, can't wait to see how this and the next handful of issues all come together, but regardless, you're getting a good read here. As Kindt's career continues to explode, it's nice to see that his creator-owned baby hasn't been forgotten. For those that haven't read "MIND MGMT" yet, this is a perfect place to begin.