Wednesday, 6 June 2012

On Matt Kindt's "Mind MGMT": Reader's Roulette 2:3

There's a great deal to admire about Matt Kindt's Mind MGMT, so it feels discourteous not to enjoy it more. "My goal is to make the perfect comic - the comic that would be my favourite book if I went to the shop and picked it up." he's said, and Mind MGMT is self-evidently the work of a gifted creator doing everything he can to fulfil that ambition. Yet Kindt's storytelling is so idiosyncratically distracting, so often soporifically deadening, that the reader's left feeling as if they're experiencing someone else's dashed-off thumbnail summary of a comic called Mind MGMT rather than the book itself.

The story's an intricate conspiracy yarn featuring, in Kindt's own words, "a secret espionage organisation that is unconventional to say the least". In terms of the opening beats of the plot, it's a ruthlessly well structured starting point. It kicks off with what may, or may not, be a dream sequence splashed with Molotov cocktails, exploding skulls and severed jugulars. That's followed by a flashback to the mystery of why all but one of the passengers and crew of "Amnesia Flight 815" lost their memories while the plane was mid-air some two years ago. Then, having snared the reader with both hallucinogenic bloodletting and a tragic enigma, Kindt introduces us to his point-of-view character Maru, a true-crime writer whose struggles to follow up a best-seller have inspired her to investigate the Amnesia Flight. As Maru attempts to track down 815's missing passenger, who's tellingly named Henry Lyme, a web of surveillance and murder begins to close around her. It's a tale which in theory sounds entirely compelling, and the fact that the comic's "jam packed with secret messages, codes, riddles, and bonus stories ... which won't be included in the trade", as Kindt promises, makes it all the more confusing that it feels such an unsatisfying read.

But so much of what makes Mind MGMT an obviously distinct and promising experience works in the end to undermine its appeal. Kindt's art is undeniably sincere and distinctive, and yet his storytelling is hard to be moved by if the reader doesn't immediately warm to his style. It's certainly refreshing to see an artist who's set out to use such a wilfully naive approach. But that too contributes to the sense of homogeneity, for Kindt's work has been so simplified that it seems to reuse the same basic components over and over again. What's charming when encountered in a row of panels or even on a single page can soon become tiring and monotonous. The faces of his characters often display confusingly interchangeable and indistinct emotions, his panels have a tendency to repetitively present events as mid shots and medium close-ups which lack dynamism, while the washes of watercolour on newsprint ultimately create an air of tired sameness which fails to exploit the variety of locations on show.

Especially when seen as anything other than close-ups, his figures seem to be careless roughs rather than anything of the finished item, and that general sense of incompleteness conspires with a lack of character in the script to leave events feeling flat and uninvolving. Even the most kinetic of incidents can be reduced to a demandingly obscure and occasionally confusing sameness, with the reader left to bring events on the page to life based on the little information that's there. It's a process which for the unconvinced feels as if Kindt is expecting us to collaborate unduly with him in creating a sense of clarity and transparency and emotion in the work. Without that investment of energy on the audience's part, Mind MGMT repeatedly reads as if it were a sequence of roughs for a proposed series, or first-thought/best-thought storyboards for a film where a great deal of the preparatory work is still to be done.

A comic-book that's regrettably less than the sum of its laudable aspirations, Mind MGMT alienates the reader who can't instantaneously buy into its creator's purposefully guileless, determinedly personal style. As such, it may be that it's a comic whose appeal will stay limited to folks who can buy into Kindt's art as a pleasure in its own terms regardless of its narrative strengths and weaknesses. That's a shame for those of us who aren't capable of being so beguiled, because it's impossible not to admire the idea of the book, applaud the passion of its creator, and want to be a part of its audience.

Readers Roulette ruling; Mind MGMT is a comic-book I'd recommend to everyone. If Kindt's art strikes a chord, then it's well worth the sampling. And if it doesn't, then there's a great deal else to enjoy, and you'll learn alot about what it is that you do like by contrast. Or at least, I did. But for me, it's a story whose form can't bear the weight of its content, or at least, can't do so yet.



  1. He does get bonus points for naming the pan-psychic after Moon director Duncan Jones - which I managed to prompt him on on Twitter.

    We've already discussed this Colin, so I knew this was coming - still I think it's too early to call it on this book. Your critique, however, is as always even-handed and fair.

    1. I think that the problem is that new comics only get that first issue buzz to grab readers. If they don't manage it their chances of lasting long enough to build a readership diminish dramatically. For me this read like thumbnails for a by the books Hitchcock homage and I won't be back.

    2. Hello Emmet:- I think the attention to detail, including the deliberate attempt to encourage readers to have fun even with the names of characters, is part of the book's strength.

      I understand your statement that it's too early to call. Yet that's what a review of a first issue ends up doing, I guess, in that a comment about it inevitably passes as that of a first chapter of a book does. If that doesn't work, the implication of pointing it out is that the rest of book may not be worth it. My feeling is that if a book doesn't grab a reader's attention in the first issue, it's going to struggle to hold their attention.

      But Mind MGMT has received almost universal good reviews. In fact, mine is the ONLY negative, if I hope respectful, one to be found. So it ought to be noted, I'm the odd one out here. Which wouldn't be the first time, he typed, sighing ....

    3. Hello Peter:- I'm pleased to note that Mind MGMT has received such a buzz from alot of places, including celebrity endorsements. There's obviously so much work and ambition invested in this and I always want to see that rewarded.

      But for me, that "first issue buzz" didn't survive the reading of the comic and, in a similar manner to you, I'm more and more doubtful whether I'll be back. There's so much to read, so much that's good; it's sad, but a first issue has to win a reader over, doesn't it?

  2. I enjoyed the watercolors, but I think Kindt's work does work better in black and white - or I should say single tones, because his best work is shaded with brown, usually. The watercolors actually heighten his weaknesses and dampen his strengths - the colors make the fact that he's not the greatest artist with faces more obvious, while they tend to make his fluidity a bit less obvious. It's odd that he chooses to use colors, even though, as I noted, I do like the fact that they're washed out a bit. It does work better on something like 3 Story, one of his previous graphic novels.

    Kindt has never done a monthly comic before, so I wonder if he hasn't figured out the pacing yet, which may account for your disappointment. This reads like the first part of a graphic novel, and when you have it all as a whole, it's easier to deal with the problems that you mention.

    You mention that this is the first negative-ish review you've seen. I think I mentioned in my review that if this is your first exposure to Kindt, it might be a bit odd to deal with. I wonder if the other positive reviews - including mine - are by people who have read Kindt's previous work and know how good he is. We all do this, I think, with comics by people we've seen before - we understand what that creator can do and what he (or she) usually does, and so we're more tolerant. I know that I've read some comics by people I've never read before and wondered what all the fuss was about, and I wonder (again, I don't know) if the positive reviews are based on Kindt's prior work and the knowledge that he has (so far) always come through and turned in a stellar whole work. Beats me, but I do consider it occasionally when it comes to someone like Morrison - if I read Action Comics as my first Morrison comic, would I love his work as much as I do? I seriously doubt it.

    Anyway, if you're interested in Kindt's work in the abstract but don't like Mind MGMT, I'd try Super Spy, his graphic novel from a few years ago. It's still his masterpiece (although he's still early in his career, so who knows where he'll go with it), and it features a lot of what we see in Mind MGMT but is an entire work in one collection, so the early weirdness resolves itself very well. His brown-and-white art works better, too, because it's more dynamic and dark. If you're interested, of course.

    Good review, sir. I disagree with the final conclusion, but don't with many of the details. So there's that.

    1. Hello Greg:- You did indeed say that if this was someone's first exposure to Kindt, then it might disappoint. I very much liked your review, being a fan of your What I Bought columns, and it was well-considered and kept me honest :) By which I mean, I had it in mind as I wrote, because the last thing I wanted to do would insult what was obviously an ambitious and able creator. Indeed, I had more trouble with this review than just about any other, because I was torn between a sense that I really SHOULD be liking this and yet finding that I wasn't, and struggling to explain that in a way that didn't insult the work. I hope I didn't.

      I did have a few lines in the original draft of this saying that I much preferred the two page Sarajevo story, which was of course in black and white. The problem was that it read as if I was trying to escape sounding entirely negative, and no matter how I phrased the point, it sounded as if I was trying to say something good in a teacherly, don't-seem-cruel way. But your words do suggest that b&w + wash might indeed be a form that makes MK's work more enjoyable to the uncommitted.

      I thought the pacing of the piece was fine, actually. As I said, the 1-2-3 start to the book was splendid; action-enigma-POV character. The dialogue in places can lack character and seem overly functional: seeing Meru in her room and her saying out-of-the-blue "Looks like I'll need another ticket.", for example. But the story would've been fine with a different art job. Of course, that's subjective! But you mention a problem with faces and with fluidity which is accentuated by colour; I don't think these are qualities which sit well with the conspiracy thriller, where nuance and clarity are key. Again, I removed a discussion of that because it seemed to be OVER criticising; there was enough to make the point. But as it stands, the form and the content seem to be working against each other. But, again, that's just for me.

      That's a good point about Morrison's Action. And other matters beyond the text itself really can really bring things to life for a reader. And so, I found myself warming to Action in #9, when Morrison was either attacking DC or parodying those who do. The latter seems unlikely, and all of a sudden, I could find a heart and passion to the work which I couldn't otherwise. At last it seemed like something really mattered to Morrison, which raised the work above the largely technical exercise which his recent output too often seems to be.

      I will read Super Spy. I've just spent far too much money for a column elsewhere, but I've have nipped off while typing this and wished-listed it. I have no doubt, as I hope I emphasised in the above, that Mr Kindt is a fine creator.

      You know, if you put your review and mine together, you'd think we'd be in serious - if always civil - disagreement with each other. While we're obviously on different sides of the fence, I don't feel that way, and I do feel that I've got more of an idea of why MK is so appealing to those who've acquired the taste. Somewhere there ought to be a column where folks who tend to disagree but don't tend to have a problem with that actually talk about their differences. You would know if there's a good example of that out there which I'm ignorant of, so if you do, a nudge would be appreciated. That's the kind of process I love to read, and you are the man who knows far more than me :)

      But Greg, how come no British sit-coms in your Top 10? We Brits would probably all go for Frasier and The Simpsons. But what of Fawlty Towers and Rising Damp et al? (I almost joshed you about Dad's Army, but you know, I doubt that would have traveled well :))

    2. On the subject of British sitcoms, I watched a few episodes of Father Ted, and quite enjoyed it.

      This book? It looks like something I'd enjoy, since I do like this drawing style, but I guess I could see how it could lose some clarity. Still, it's nice to see professional books in a "sketchy" style more similar to what a comic by me would look like.

      Btw, have you read Batman: Death By Design? I received it from my brother for my birthday (along with Batman: Noel, which had pretty art but I found silly overall) - but B:DBD has a very interesting take on Batman, looking at Gotham through the perspective of architecture in the city. As interesting as the concept was, the story seemed a bit by-the-books and transparent, but it was still pretty enjoyable, and the art was very nice- mostly monochrome pencils with splashes of color.

      Despite it seeming like I'm barely addressing your column, I'm enjoying your Reader Roulette pieces quite a bit- keep it up!

    3. Hello Historyman:- Crikey mate, you'd better be careful about calling Father Ted "British"! You're not to know, of course, being from the other side of the pond, but best say - deep breath - "funded by British broadcaster Channel 4, written by Irish writers with a predominantly Irish cast". There, we've got you out of that one!

      And "quite enjoyed it". Them's fighting words, them's is!

      I hope everyone will give Mind MGMT a go. It's clearly worth every penny even if the end result on the reader's part is an unlikely "sort of agree with that Smith".

      Batman: Death By Design goes on the list. I hope it's obvious that I'm endeavoring to work through it :)

      I'm glad there's stuff here worth popping over for a free moment. There should be another Reader's Roulette tomorrow, and The Dandy, bless them, have helped me find a copy to review.

    4. Colin: I actually don't know of a place where there are competing reviewers/critics who get together regularly. Some podcasts are good like that, but those are so ephemeral, of course, that's it's tough to find them. I suppose that if people live in different time zones and have wildly different schedules, it's hard to do. Kelly and I did a few last year where we disagreed but had a fun time disagreeing, and I agree with you - it's an interesting dynamic when you're forced to defend your decisions more than you usually would.

      I didn't have any British sitcoms on my list because I'm just not that familiar with them. When I was a kid and lived in Germany, my parents used to watch Fawlty Towers, and I thought it was funny, but I didn't get a lot of it because I was only 7. The only other British sitcoms I'm even remotely familiar with are Blackadder and The Young Ones, and while I love what I've seen of both of them, I haven't really seen enough to judge.

    5. Hello Greg:- Thanks for the feedback on the possibility of blogs or podcasts where folks disagree productively. I guess there's always the mates-in-a-room-hanging-out podcasts. As for an American not being incredibly well-versed in British sitcoms, I think we might say that it's entirely understandable. After all, we've a population of about a fifth of yours. When I look at nations with a population of about fifth of Britain's, I find I don't know a single one of their programmes from any genre. I couldn't tell you a single programme from Belgium, Cuba, Chad or Zimbabwe myself.

      We Brits sometimes forget :)

    6. Oh my, I hit a nerve there, didn't I? I'm sorry for mis-attributing Father Ted - but I rather enjoyed that... (takes a breath) show which was funded by British broadcaster Channel 4, written by Irish writers with a predominantly Irish cast. I realize I'd be offended if someone was like "Oh, Rhode Island? Isn't that where all those Woody Allen movies take place?" and I'd feel like a jerk for correcting them about it.

      I'm glad you're working through your list - I'd imagine you would have difficulty sleeping at night if you weren't. You're working on 10,000 hours of writing about comics, but how many hours do you estimate you've spent reading comics? Do you suppose there's a number at which you start to see the deeper structure and all that stuff, or do you think it comes more from time spent analyzing them specifically? Gah, that's a stupid question, sorry.

      Anyway, my happiness to see books I read & enjoyed on your list is tempered somewhat by the realization that you will most likely have critical things to say about it, and yet isn't a critical stance on something you enjoy a great gift to have, and the reason I come to this blog? Yes, yes it is.

    7. Hello Historyman:- No nerve hit, of course. But it did make me smile to realise how easy it is for somebody beyond the UK and Ireland to understandably say the wrong thing :) By the same token, I don't know anything of the relationship between Rhode Island and NYC, except that one is a different place to the other. I wish I did so. I'd like to be in either place right now, actually. It's been miserable weather for weeks ...

      If we're adding reading to writing time, I've probably spent ... oh, FAR too much time. And it's only now, after more than two years, that I'm starting to produce a few stray pieces which don't make me cringe. That's not a good ratio of hours to achievement, is it :) Still, some of us take longer to get to... either New York or Rhode Island, whichever is better/more appropriate etc etc

      I don't like my being critical myself, I really don't. I think life as a blogger would be alot easier if I was one of those "this is great" merchants. But then, irritating the tiniest fraction of fans is hardly a terrible cross to bear. Sometimes it's quite good fun to wind up a Rumper or two.

      All in name of art, of course!

    8. Oh, the weather's been pretty awful here too, recently. Better in the past few days, but it's only a matter of time till it starts raining again. I should've said something about Rhode Island/Long Island or something, that might've made a little more sense for people to get confused about.

      I know you feel like you've been taking a really long time to produce work that doesn't make you cringe, but I've been enjoying your work with virtually no cringing for the past couple of years, so hang in there!

      I generally find I enjoy being critical for the most part, but I mentally wrap the "this is great!" into the criticism. If there's something I love, I want to dissect it and take it apart and figure out why it is that I love it, and I believe you feel the same way. As they say, the opposite of love isn't hate, it's apathy, and I think the continuum we're working along isn't "this is good/this is bad", but rather "this is interesting to talk about/this is not interesting to talk about."

      With the whole Spider-Torture scene, even though I can tell it was uncomfortable to read, it seems like some worthy discussion came out of it, so it's not all bad, right?

    9. Hello Historyman:- You have no idea how romantic the very names Rhode Island and Long Island sound to a Brit bloke brought up in the 60s and the 70s. I know the reality might not exactly match the impossible pop culture picture of America which is even now, despite every intrusion of reality,burnt into my noggin. But there we go. Those imaginary Americas ...

      Thank you for the kind words! Much appreciated. And I agree that avoiding the apathy is the point. Avoiding apathy, trying to string words into sentences; that's not a bad way of wasting time.

      And I agree entirely about what came out of the torture business. Lots of good chat, different opinions, an illuminating insight into certain areas of the profession; a win-win situation I suspect, although at moments, in the little-league sense, a lil'bit of a white knuckle ride :)

  3. Well, that might be the most negatively-worded endorsement in the history of comics!
    I can't say I agree with your criticisms, but I knew what to expect from Kindt's art going in. So as others have said, this probably isn't a good place to start with his work. I remember reading Superspy, which initially left me cold when I started it. But then the stories started to overlap, nuances in one paid off in another, and a richer complexity began to take shape.
    But then, you didn't disagree with that, did you? Your main point appeared to be about the artwork. I guess I just want you to like Mind Mgmt so much, that I find myself trying to convice you of things that you don't necessarily disagree with! So like it already, would ya?
    Nonetheless, I'm glad you are one of the few to take a non-glowing stance about the work. It's certainly made me think about my own appreciation of it more. Which was the goal of coming to TBTAMC in the first place.

    1. Hello Brian:- Thank you, Brian. I'm feeling incredibly uncomfortable about reviewing these days, because I'm struggling to find ways that say (1) I know this only my opinion and (2) it's only here to disagree with. So it's really kind of you to disagree with me and express that the way you have. I'm sure it didn't look like it, and I certainly tried to make sure that it didn't, but the above review took ages. I could've written several pieces in the time it took. Sounds ridiculous, I'm sure, but there has to be a way to review things which expresses criticism without seeming to be closed-minded and unfair.

      I'm always open to be influenced by good folks and their enthusiasm. So I will be checking out Superspy and I'll read the collected Mind MGMT too. I really am VERY pleased that I read it and I hope I've learned something from trying to review it. (I think I have.)

      I do find myself more and more out of step with the critical consensus about books both from within the so-called mainstream and those beyond it. Sometimes I think that's not a bad thing. It may even add in a very little-league way to the debate. Most times I wonder whether there's any use in being so out of step. Then I recall that just all of my favorite critics were always out of step. So maybe I'd better try harder to be as good as they were.

      It's a pleasure to disagree with you! Anyone who can tell me to "like it already, would ya?" and make me laugh out loud deserves 100 points. They should be in your account as you read this.

  4. Fantastic! Can't decide if I should bank my 100 points, or use them to prepurchase your review of the upcoming Superman: I Don't Wanna Be Super, It's Hard! OGN by JMS. Your review of the previous Superman OGN by JMS was what brought me here, and remains a fond read for me.
    Glad to disagree with you too. And your disagreements are usually well-based in thoughtful analysis, so they're good to read, especially when I think you're wrong (!), or when the rest of the Internet has a different take.
    And also glad to hear I made a man from across the pond chuckle. Not so easy to do, I imagine!

    1. Hello Brian:- I've had to buy the Earth One Batman graphic novel for a piece perhaps elsewhere. It's going to take a tightening of the will to purchase the second JMS EO tale too. Thank you for speaking well of my response to the first one. What a TERRIBLE comicbook that was :)

      I have no problems with being wrong at all. Well I didn't respond all that well to receiving a comment that had about 14 disagreements from all over the place in one lump tonight, but generally - :) - disagreement is a cool thing.

      Your provocation of a chuckle was indeed a welcome thing :) It's always good to hear from you. I look forward to reading Mr Kindt's other work and hopefully finding my reservations dissolving.

  5. Another great review, thanks Colin.

    It's not so much that I disagree with your points, although I think you missed the greatest weakness of the book (namely the vague and unfocused narration) but I did reservedly enjoy the comic. It's surely the most stylistically divisive book I've read in a long while. I'm willing to buy a ticket for the ride, at least as far as the next couple of issues goes, if only to see how Kindt intends to bring that 'added value' to the monthly format.

    I've enjoyed your recent forays into the wider world of comics. While I obviously wouldn't want you to stop writing about superheroes these 'readers roulette' pieces are a welcome addition to your repertoire.

    1. Hello Ed:- Thank you for the kind words. I think it's inevitable that TooBusyThinking will start to range beyond the superhero book considerably more simply because the standard of the cape-n-chest-insignia-brigade's books is currently so low. Even if I wanted to keep to the original, deliberately narrow-focus of the blog, I'd be struggling to find things to talk about as I once did.

      Which won't stop me writing about Rob Liefeld's DC comics, or Journey Into Mystery in the near future. But my tastes have always been wider and the sub-genre isn't offering that much to talk about. Still, there's an endless run of great books out there from everywhere but the superbook, so, no loss.

      I didn't find the narration a problem at all, which just goes to accentuate how strong an influence individual preference is. I assumed that the narration had the function of inspiring enigmas and was serving as a POV which would gradually become more obvious as the story progressed. In essence, I saw it as one more little bonus.

      But of course, now I'll go back and re-read it with your observation in mind. How can I put this? I have been known to miss a problem or two before ... :)

    2. That's a fair point about the intention behind Kindt's narrator and I think you're right to make those assumptions.

      Personal preferences aside, perhaps the narration is a sign that Kindt usually makes graphic novel length books. A mystery narrator who doesn't feature in the opening chapter he/she narrates is not at all unusual in the longer format, but when a chapter is instead published as a single issue it will inevitably read differently and in this case it felt awkward. I should also hasten to add that I pick on the narrator because I enjoyed pretty much everything else about it. Perhaps it's simply that I'm used to a first issue giving me much firmer ground to stand upon.

      It's an interesting comic and I do appreciate some of the little touches (like the bordered paper, the inside-cover strip and the backup story) Kindt has worked into the book. Issue #2 is certainly on my buy list, so in that sense the first issue did its job.

    3. Hello Ed:- I certainly can see how the narration could have been a distraction. I think the point at which we meet is, regardless of our different povs, the fact that the plot itself is a sturdy beast. Discussing the issue with your good self, and the splendid folks above, has resulted in my fully intending to buy the next issue. So I guess Mind MGMT isn't finished with me yet ...

    4. On the topic of confusing narration, one of the most interestingly narrated comics I've seen in a while is Rick Veitch's "Can't Get No" - and, like pretty much all the Veitch I've read, I'd love to get your take on it - the entire story essentially is told rather straightforwardly in pictures, and then the narration is a very dense, almost Biblical-style of narration which seems tied to the events depicted on-panel, but sometimes loosely. It's a really engaging strategy, and definitely adds another layer of strangeness and mystery. Something about the horizontal layout, even the style of Veitch's artwork, is reminiscent of Chick Tracts, and the narration adds to that feeling that you're reading a strange allegory about the modern age with a VERY strange, comprehensive but possibly insane viewpoint. Here's an example:

      I haven't finished it, so I'm not sure how the actual story, which is some sort of commentary on September 11, plays out, but it could surely take some intense critical analysis.

    5. Hello Historyman:- You've not finished it, I've never even heard of it! I seem to have jumped to Army Love without passing Can't Get No, a situation which I will, in the fullness of time, have to put right. (I know it's not cool to quote a long gone run as a favourite example of a creator's work, but the sadly-incomplete RV Swamp Thing time-travel run remains my favourite of his work. It's a quite excellent run of issues, and unfairly disregarded.)

    6. And... I was about to say I need to check out Army@Love, but I just realized I actually did read it, a year or two ago. This is in a somewhat similar vein, taking things that are deadly serious and pushing them in this demented, satirical, bizarre place. Veitch has an amazing way of drawing ugly characters - not ugly like Clowes, but with this ugly expression on their faces that betrays an inner corruption... or something.

      I still need to check out his run on Swamp Thing, too. I know some of the best issues of Hellraiser have that weird, biting American satire (I'm thinking of that one where the ghosts of the Vietnam GIs come back and massacre their own town, thinking they're still in Vietnam), though I'm aware that's Ennis, right? But there's nothing wrong with a creator's first project being your favorite. I'll have you know that my favorite album by band X is their first album!*

      I did also want to mention that Veitch being author and artist helps make the peculiar narration work in a way it might not otherwise. I'd love to see him work with someone like Morrison, who I've heard puts a lot of weight on his collaborator to flesh out his ideas (which is why the Tony Daniels stuff, ah, sucked).

      Anyway, regarding controversy, I found this old post by David Brothers on the Wonder Woman thing a few months back, that I thought you might find interesting, if you haven't read it already. He essentially says it's consistent with Azzarello's noir style, that everybody (with possible exception of the narrator) ends up regressing to their worst natures. And DC, and comics in general, seem to be taking that same approach - and I'd say Cap & Spidey torturing people is definitely consistent with that (see? I brought it all back!).

      * I figured I'd come up with one or two, at least. Interpol. Franz Ferdinand (though I do like 'Tonight', too). Hmm, I thought it would be easier to come up with bands. And I'm still way too ignorant on comics to say whether I prefer a given creator's run on X over Y. But I don't think there's anything wrong with saying it, if you do feel confident in your opinion.

    7. Hello Historyman:- I struggled with Army@Love myself. The problem was that the satire was so broad, and the "enemy" so obvious and unsympathetic, that it hardly seemed worth the bother of reading. When the purpose of satire and the content of satire become one and the same, it's nothing but tub-thumping. I agreed with much of what he appeared to be arguing, but I was looking for a story and not a pat on the head backing up my own beliefs. Now, perhaps later issues were far better, and I hope they were. As I say, I've a great deal of respect for the man's work. It just wasn't a comic for me.

      I'd agree with you about the first X album and the first Franz Ferdinand too :) Gosh. The 21st century really does see generational conflict over music decline, he said, grinning ....

      I have read the post by David Brothers. It's certainly a piece worth considering, isn't it?

  6. Hi Colin,

    You said you were going to give the second issue a chance. Did you opinion change?

    1. Hi Drew: I did, and if you go to the most recent page of this blog as of this evening, you'll note that I've included MM in my list of the best comics of 2013 so far.

      So, yes, my opinion did change :) I never was any good at stubbornly keeping my POV consistent when in truth I've changed my mind.