Comics

AICN COMICS: The @$Holes celebrate their 11th Anniversary on AICN by doing what they do best…reviewing comics! PUNISHER! DAN THE UNHARMABLE! DEMON KNIGHTS! & MORE!

Published at: May 16, 2012, 8:41 a.m. CST by ambush bug

Issue #1 Release Date: 5/9/12 Vol.#11
Ambush Bug here with another gaggle of comics from your favorite @$$Holes. But this is a special column, marking our 11th year at AICN writing comic reviews, doing interviews with comicdom’s biggest stars, and spreading that special something we call sweet, sweet @$$y goodness!

So I wanted to thank all of the @$$Holes for writing out their insightful thoughts on comics each and every week and the Talkbackers for showing up, supporting, flaming, cheering, trolling, debating, firsting, and lasting in the Talkbacks all of these years.

So let’s get on with the reviews, shall we?


The Pull List
(Click title to go directly to the review)
DAN THE UNHARMABLE #1
GREEN LANTERN #9
THE PUNISHER #11
FRANKENSTEIN ALIVE, ALIVE! #1
DEMON KNIGHTS #9
ROHAN AT THE LOUVRE HC OGN
WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #10
NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS VOL. 2


DAN THE UNHARMABLE #1

Writer: David Lapham
Art: Rafael Ortiz
Publisher: Avatar Press
Reviewer: Humphrey Lee


So, tell me if you’ve heard this one before. DAN THE UNHARMABLE is a story about a fat, hairy, pot-smoking homeless guy who basically chills around a park with another homeless compadre shooting the shit and taking random jobs about town. Why? Because he’s fucking Unharmable (re: indestructible), duh. None of that sound familiar? Good. Me neither. And that’s probably why I enjoyed it so much.

As you can tell by that run on descriptor I used above, DTU is a pretty quirky book. Between the disheveled aloofness of our lead character, a pretty irreverent sense of humor, and a penchant for random sexual situations, I honestly think “The Big Lebowski with superpowers” is an easy out for summing up the book. There’s a pretty big sequence that basically is the middle act of the book where Dan is doing a thing for a coed gal that he describes as “ripe as a peach” to show he’s not above a bit of lechery as well. Basically, some stuff goes wrong and he’s on the receiving end of ball bats to his person, threats at gunpoint and so on, and all he really cares about is his Melvins CD to the point he isn’t really even paying attention to the bad men in front of him. Eventually this leads to fists being put through pelvises and Dan leaping three stories to a slightly discomforting smack down on a car as two of his aggressors splat on the pavement alongside him.

The best part is his complete lack of phasing this life of his seems to find him in and which he basically lays out for his coed chippie upon returning to her for his payment of forty-four dollars. Life happens, shit happens, and he’s just along for the ride. And, for some reason, boobs tend inexplicably fall his way. This story of Dan is also bookended by a pretty graphic (it is an Avatar book, natch) murder mystery that ends up hitting close to home for the Unharmable one, which, along with the emergence of an estranged daughter, adds a nice layer of intrigue to a character that had up until the last two pages seemed pretty unflappable.

After my first reading of this book I thought maybe I enjoyed it so much because it was such a surprise, but looking it over again it’s just an interesting book with an oddly engaging lead and that’s just fun. Which is nice to see given that it’s a nice change of pace but a somewhat familiar writing tone from David Lapham who I feel like I rarely see these days and that when I do is always propagating his kind of “post-modern” noir style. And, honestly, it’s the first time I’ve really cared for an Avatar release in recent history too, as pretty much every time I check out one of their books it seems like it’s the place for writers to come and write every sadistic thing they’ve wanted to put in a comic but never found a home for or were sure that even the more mainstream mature audience like a Vertigo crowd brings would care about. DAN THE UNHARMABLE is its own special brand of indulgent, for sure, but it’s an indulgence that happens to sport a strangely lovable lead character, some absurdly humorous bits, and just enough story turns to keep the mojo going. If this review had you at “Big Lebowski with superpowers” then chances are this is worth your cash for a try.

Humphrey Lee has been an avid comic book reader going on fifteen years now and a contributor to Ain't It Cool comics for quite a few as well. In fact, reading comics is about all he does in his free time and where all the money from his day job wages goes to - funding his comic book habit so he can talk about them to you, our loyal readers (lucky you). He's a bit of a social networking whore, so you can find him all over the Interwebs on sites like Twitter, The MySpaces, Facebookand a blog where he also mostly talks about comics with his free time because he hasn't the slightest semblance of a life. Sad but true, and he gladly encourages you to add, read, and comment as you will.


GREEN LANTERN #9

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Doug Mahnke
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: The Writing Rambler


With some solid (though rushed) revelations about the Indigo tribe coming to light, GREEN LANTERN #9 further expands the mythologies Geoff Johns has created over the past several years. It’s pretty crazy just how deep the background of GREEN LANTERN has become in such a short time (short in comparison to the entire lifespan of the character). We’ve seen the Corps’ ranks grow and have been introduced to an ever-growing cast of fan favorite side characters. We’ve also seen several new Corps come into creation and now, if we’re to believe everything that’s happening throughout the GL family of books, it seems we’re headed for something that may destroy them all.

Johns has plenty of critics, but you can’t deny the positive effect he has had on GREEN LANTERN. Love him or hate him, he has catapulted GREEN LANTERN to the top of the DCU and if it weren’t for Batman’s inability to ever get boring I dare say GREEN LANTERN would be DC’s poster boy (sorry, Superman lovers…I have never considered him even remotely as interesting as Batman or GL…I await your anger). This issue of GREEN LANTERN takes Hal further down the rabbit hole of the Indigo tribes’ mysteries by having him meet one of its creators. Other than the rushed explanation of who created them, how they did it and why ( all told to us by a character who reminded me way too much of Yoda teaching Luke in the Dagobah swamps) I enjoyed this issue as I love finding out more about a book I’ve now invested too many years of my life into to ever turn back from.

I was a little let down that over the past few issues my hopes of keeping the Indigo’s bizarre “Nok” language part of the book disappeared with the choice of instead just translating it to English, but I felt that was coming anyway so it didn’t hurt that bad. The thing that bothered me most here is something that has perturbed me in the past with DC titles, and it’s the choice of using a cover that has nothing to do with the content inside. It happens here in GREEN LANTERN #9 with a cover showing Hal and Sinestro “Drowning in the Madness of Black Hand” though the entire issue is the penultimate moment in the Indigo Tribe storyline. I know the Black Hand story is what’s coming up next, and he does have a brief cameo in this issue, but it makes no sense to use this cover to sell the book. It’s always one of my biggest pet peeves about comics when it’s done, so I shall continue complaining about it here.

As far as artwork, Doug Mahnke owns GREEN LANTERN and there’s really nothing else to say about that.

GREEN LANTERN is a great book, and one of the few major superhero books out there that actually requires knowledge of the subject to read it. It’s probably what makes me love it most. If you haven’t been reading GL for the past few years you’ll probably have no idea what’s going on in this book and that’s what makes it work. This book is a reward for loyal fans as it builds the universe more with each month while staying fresh and exciting with each new issue.

You can follow The Writing Rambler on his blog here and follow on Twitter @Writing_Rambler !


THE PUNISHER #11

Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Mirko Colak
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: The Dean


There once was a time, much longer ago than it seems, in which I vehemently hated The Punisher. I had never read a PUNISHER comic in this time, and I didn’t need to – as a youngster, I simply knew I disagreed with him on a moral level, and that I hated how kids who thought comics were lame still thought The Punisher was cool because at least he killed people. Well, some time after my first customer service gig, I loosened my stance on murder, and began to warm up to the idea of a hero who would go that extra step in ensuring that justice is not only served, but dished out as brutally as the criminal deserved. Lucky for me, this was around 2005, and still early into Ennis’ Punisher MAX run, and The Punisher was soon removed from my list of hated characters (currently only Lobo remains on that list). I was in no way a dedicated PUNISHER reader after that, only picking the title up when internet buzz grew to a fever pitch, but with the run The Punisher’s had lately between Aaron, Remender, and now Rucka, my love for Frank Castle has grown so much that I can now easily envision a future in which I will happily read of his madcap killing sprees “in sickness and in health.”

In THE PUNISHER #11, Greg Rucka takes a break before starting the hunt for the renegade Punishette (don’t worry - not what they actually call her) to tell a reminiscent sort of “I remember this one time when the Punisher did something cool” story from the point of view of NYPD Detective Walter Bolt. I generally like issues like these from writers, as it both satisfies my thirst for the too elusive one-and-dones while also giving new readers a chance to come aboard. THE PUNISHER #11 is the type of story that serves to remind old fans, and prove to newcomers, just how awesome The Punisher can be, filled with great moments that highlight the character’s off the charts level of badassery. As far as long-term storytelling goes, this issue serves as a great examination of the relationship Rucka’s been developing between Castle and the NYPD so far--no matter what good he might actually be doing for the city, as the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information puts it so succinctly here, “The Punisher doesn’t work for the NYPD.”

The artists have been juggled back and forth on this series for a bit, but I haven’t cared much either way, as each of the past ten issues have been an absolute joy to look at, and Mirko Colak keeps it up in number eleven. Things can, and frequently do, get intense when the Punisher’s around, but Colak handles those intense situations well, keeping the action clear and readable throughout. I’m a big fan of the coloring in this issue too, as Dan Brown and Jim Charalampidis do a great job setting vastly different tones where needed, and a lot of Colak’s clarity may have been lost in different hands. As far as the art goes, my only real problem is with the cover. It’s a cool shot, and beautifully done, but the Punisher’s not attacking any soldiers with a chainsaw in this one. C’mon, Marvel! Don’t sell me what ya don’t got!

For me, this has all the potential in the world of living up to the work Aaron and Remender had done in their time with the character. Rucka’s been delivering issue after issue of crazy cool Castle goodness, and with no real misstep in the bunch, I think the best of this run is still ahead as we gear up for what should be a thrilling manhunt (I toyed with saying “womanhunt” here, but that made it sound needlessly sexual). So if you’re not reading THE PUNISHER already, I hope you give this issue a chance. It’s more than worth your time to go back and read the last ten, but THE PUNISHER #11 is a good time to jump onto yet another great series in Marvel’s New York lineup.


FRANKENSTEIN ALIVE, ALIVE! #1

Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Bernie Wrightson
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Reviewer: BottleImp

Bernie Wrightson returns to the character that cemented Wrightson’s status as Horror Illustrator Extraordinaire with this new series, written by 30 DAYS OF NIGHT scribe Steve Niles. Fans of Wrightson’s illustrated version of Mary Shelley’s seminal novel will instantly recognize the distinctive look of his design of Frankenstein’s Monster—the skeletal face with its hollowed nose and sunken cheeks, the mop of black hair, the gangling proportions of the limbs—carried over to this comic, which promises to detail the Monster’s life after his apparent icy death at the close of Shelley’s story. Niles reintroduces the reader to Frankenstein’s creation at a circus operating during the Great Depression. The Monster (dubbed “Frank” by his carny co-workers for convenience’s sake) is the star of the freak show, giving the locals a glimpse of his horror for a nickel a gander.

It goes without saying that most people, even those who have read the original book, have an indelible image implanted in their brains of what Frankenstein’s Monster looks like, thanks to Boris Karloff and make-up artist Jack Pierce. So it’s a nice touch to see Niles poking fun at the near-universal conception. “He’s ‘sposed to have a flat head!” one gawker yells. “Yeah!” another chimes in. “Where the heck’s his bolts?” But here Niles brings “Frank” back to his original personality as envisioned by Shelley. Far from being the lumbering brute of the silver screen, the Monster is intelligent, erudite, and well-spoken. He is less a mindless beast and more a tormented philosopher, musing on the purpose of his own wretched existence. This aspect of the Creature, so integral to the thematic center of the novel, seems to be the driving force behind this comic as well, as Niles and Wrightson take us back through “Frank’s” memories to a time when his only desire was to end his life…a task that seems to be much more difficult that he had anticipated.

Wrightson’s ink work here is a bit sketchier and looser than his original, engraving-like drawings for his FRANKENSTEIN book; fans of his earlier work will find FRANKENSTEIN ALIVE, ALIVE! to be more reminiscent of Wrightson’s work for CREEPY and EERIE magazines. But still very much in evidence is his mastery of dramatic lighting; Wrightson uses the black and white format of this comic to great effect with a variance of tones and textures from solid black inkwork to subtler pencil and wash gradations. There’s no argument; when it comes to black and white, Wrightson is an undisputed master.

What I do have a problem with, however, is the price of this comic book. The cost for this single issue is $3.99—pretty much bog-standard for IDW’s publications. But this issue clocks in at a meager nineteen pages of story and artwork. The remainder of the comic consists of three pages of Frankenstein discussion between Niles and Wrightson and six pages devoted to reprinting the beginning of Shelley’s novel (on the plus side, I will point out that there are no ads in the comic, which was a nice surprise).

Now, I’m not a huge fan of including supplemental material such as this in a monthly serialized format. To my mind, this sort of thing makes more sense for a collected edition—saving up these extras for the trade paperback would give readers of the monthly comic more incentive to drop more dough on the collected edition. For the price of the monthly issues I would rather have more of the story at hand and less of the ancillary information…you know, a comic that would take a little more than the 45 seconds it took to read this premiere issue.

So even though I’m interested in where Niles is going with “Frank’s” story, and Wrightson’s artwork is as darkly beautiful as ever, I can’t honestly recommend this frustratingly quick read for monthly consumption. I’d much rather wait for the inevitable trade paperback—it’ll be a more satisfying reading experience, and at $3.99 an issue, it might even be easier on your wallet.

When released from his bottle, the Imp transforms into Stephen Andrade, an artist/illustrator/pirate monkey painter from New England. He's currently hard at work interpreting fellow @$$Hole Optimous Douche's brainwaves and transforming them into pretty pictures on AVERAGE JOE, an original graphic novel to be published by Com.x. You can see some of his artwork here.


DEMON KNIGHTS #9

Writer: Paul Cornell
Artists: Diogenes Neves & Robson Rocha
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


There’s a cacophony of bitching going on that the New 52 feels anything but new. To those naysayers, I say you are simply not looking hard enough. If your palette of BATMAN, SUPERMAN and other DC staples doesn’t make you feel Summer’s Eve fresh, there are alternatives. Vertigo will always give you something different, but the books are solitary islands lacking the camaraderie that comes with being part of a larger universe. To all of you looking for a book with real universe repercussions, yet remaining unfettered from current happenings, I say look no further than DEMON KNIGHTS.

DEMON KNIGHTS delivers the one-two-three punch of humor, heart and action that nostalgia led me to expect from titles like JLI. Alas, you can never home again--merely hope that you find elements of home in other places. Cornell is my new Giffen and Jurgens; he’s able to lend a gravitas to each issue without it becoming maudlin or morose. DEMON KNIGHTS also satiates an often underserved market in DC comics these days – the fantasy freaks. Setting DEMON KNIGHTS in the time of Arthurian legend has given a whole new perspective on jaded immortal staples like Madame Xanadu, Vandal Savage and Etrigan the demon as we see them in a time when heroes came draped in cloaks instead of spandex. Others join the team as well: a numerologist who wields the primal forces of magic, a horsechick with a heart of gold, one of the first Amazons to leave the island of Lesbos, and an enraged champion of Merlin that lives in a constant state of perceived androgyny. Each team member has their own baggage that Cornell slowly opens with each passing issue, deepening our caring for each character and their personal journey against the backdrop of the grander tale.

Issue 9 starts a new story for this mid-evil team-up, and like the first arc, this new story looks like it will deliver the same tongue-in-cheek humor and high-stakes action of the past eight issues.

Cornell is fashioning his own mythology with DEMON KNIGHTS, and the first step in imbibing this new perception is accepting Camelot as a state of mind versus an actual physical place. Apparently wherever Merlin the famed magician goes Camelot follows in suit, making him more coveted to city royalty than the first NFL draft pick is today.

Picking up after thwarting the evil queen last issue, the team decides to head to a new city, some to settle scores with Merlin, others to merely go along for the ride. Once in the new Camelot, though, they realize Merlin has been murdered. As with most comic deaths, Merlin’s is transitory. Now unlike most common deaths, Cornell has actually established a viable rationale for the transitory state of Merlin’s soul. When great people die, they get the option to live on in a land called Avalon, as opposed to us normal schmucks who merely get the choice of heaven or hell. The royalty of the city offer the Demon Knights a chance at great reward and fame if they travel to Avalon to retrieve Merlin.

There’s a special guest appearance in this issue as well of popular Vertigo creation Lucifer. Given the short time between him and Etrigan at the end of the book, it remains to be seen if any of Carey’s influence is alive and well in this iteration, but I will hold on to this dream until time proves me wrong.

Neves and Rocha do wonderful work with the pencils. While their grand scenes of the city, hell and the travel to Avalon are a site to behold, I was more impressed with their detail work. Sarcasm can only come alive in a comic if you have a top notch talent rendering facial expressions; DEMON KNIGHTS remembers this with every two-shot or zoom.

Yes, I’m enamored with DEMON KNIGHTS. I enjoy the break from science into the mystical, I love the difference in our immortal friends of yore versus their salty and often jaded view of the world in current time, and I can’t express enough appreciation for the fact not one issue has gone by where I have yet to laugh out loud.

Optimous has successfully blackmailed fellow @$$Hole BottleImp into being his artist on Average Joe. Look for Imp's forced labor on Optimous brain child in mid-2012 from COM.X. Friend Optimous on FaceBook to get Average Joe updates and because ceiling cat says it's the right thing to do.


ROHAN AT THE LOUVRE HC OGN

Words: Hirohiko Araki
Art: Hirohiko Araki
Publisher: NBM Comics Lit
Reviewer: Ambush Bug


I’m not a manga guy. I leave that subgenre of printed material in the highly capable and well informed hands of AICN ANIME’s Scott Green, but occasionally something comes my way that piques my interest much like the only manga I have ever followed closely, DRAGON HEAD by Minetaro Mochizuki (an excellent series, by the by). With ROHAN AT THE LOUVRE, though, what stood out and made me notice this hardcover graphic novel was the fact that it is a story about an artist and his art, and that is a type of tale I love to read.

The book starts out with Rohan narrating and describing a certain “power” he has, which is reading a person like a book--literally. This may be an artistic interpretation of how any person can understand aspects of a person’s soul just by looking at them through astute observational power, or it could be a genuine super power. After a brief explanation and an amazing artistic example of how Rohan does this (the faces and hands of the person he is “reading” flip out like pages in a book in such a creative way that I’d love to see it played out either through CGI or animation), the story moves on to following a young Rohan developing his craft as a mangaka, which is a manga artist.

It is at this point where Rohan runs into a girl and falls in love. Though their interaction is fleeting, she becomes his muse, and in a gorgeously beautiful scene, Rohan pulls back his own power to read people out of respect for her. This forces the shy artist to actually get to know this woman in this brief time. When the woman notices that Rohan is an artist, she tells him about a cursed Black Painting painted with the darkest ink in nature from a 100 year old tree. The artist was killed by an Emperor and the painting was hidden in the dark and vast corridors of the Louvre, never to be seen again. Though intrigued by the story, Rohan is more intrigued by the woman and when she disappears, he is forever influenced by this one that got away. As the story slips into the present day, we find Rohan an accomplished manga artist with fans and fame. When he happens to be visiting Paris, he remembers the tale about the Black Painting and sets out to see if it is real.

With its attention to the artistic process of looking and reading all around and the almost INDIANA JONES-esque mystery of an ancient relic, mixed with a little bit of Japanese fairy tale whimsy, ROHAN AT THE LOUVRE is a truly unique reading experience. The pages Hirohiko Araki constructs are amazing as he mixes splash panels with smaller ones, plays around with borders, and generally makes every page a masterpiece in itself. When Rohan finally ventures into the labyrinthine caverns under the Louvre and discovers the cursed painting, Araki draws some of the most surreal imagery as the curse comes to life and attacks those who wish to view it. Bodies are twisted and transformed as past haunts present and the story quickly turns into surrealistic horror by the end.

ROHAN AT THE LOUVRE has all the elements of my type of story: fairy tale whimsy, attention to the artistic process, and an ending bathed in horror. The art is often times beautiful, yet other times absolutely chilling. And seen through the eyes of Rohan, who is cursed with the power to dissect those around him with a simple gaze, ROHAN AT THE LOUVRE communicates how an artist views the world in a manner that I’ve never seen. Even those who are not fond of manga will be pleasantly surprised at this fantastic hardcover book. If you like art, horror, and fairy tale, ROHAN AT THE LOUVRE is a must read.

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/reviewer/co-editor of AICN Comics for over ten years. He has written comics such as MUSCLES & FIGHTS, MUSCLES & FRIGHTS, VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, THE DEATHSPORT GAMES, WONDERLAND ANNUAL 2010 & NANNY & HANK (soon to be made into a feature film from Uptown 6 Films). He is also a regular writer for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND & has co-written their first ever comic book LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (to be released in October 2012 as an 100-pg original graphic novel). Mark has just announced his new comic book miniseries GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK from Zenescope Entertainment to be released in March 2012.


WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #10

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Chris Bachalo
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy


Finally, A Conversation.

So, AVENGERS VS. X-MEN has been…. cool. I’d go with cool. It may not be great or groundbreaking, but it’s certainly been entertaining. Bendis’ tie-ins to the event on Avengers have been good, but Aaron managed to outdo himself, writing an enjoyable and engaging side story to the event while continuing his own well-crafted subplots.

Writing: (4/5) The arrival of Cyclops, Emma, and Magik on the school grounds opens up a number of opportunities for Aaron (seriously, I’ve been wanting to see Scott’s reaction to Wolverine having a pet Krakoa since it became a thing). For the most part, Aaron follows through with the ideas well, especially in regards to the main draw of the issue, a Wolverine/Cyclops debate.

It’s the thing most missing from X-MEN: SCHISM: A concise, equal debate between the two points of view. Both characters are treated with a certain level of respect, even in a book with Wolverine’s name in the title. Cyclops does come off a little monologuey during the course of the issue, but he raises a good insight into Wolverine. For a man so committed to honor, he has forsaken his bonds and waged war on his old allies. Conversely, what gives Cyclops the right to say that? Just because he was one of the first X-Men, does that make him the eternal expert? Ultimately, the X-Men were founded as a school, but the headmaster has been branded a traitor. Aaron has a strong grasp on both characters, and the scenes never feel out of place for either character. There’s a strong respect between the two, which means neither pulls any punches.

Aaron continues with possibly the book’s greatest strength: the characters and their dialogue. Quentin Quire hitting on Magik, the hatred shared between Kitty and Emma, even the tense departure of some Wolverine’s teachers all contain the same care and attention that went into Cyclops and Wolverine.

The only snag really comes in with Genesis. He’s the least interesting of the new students, having turned into your basic “nice kid who could become evil”. I really miss the Clark Kent elements that were present in his introduction over in X-FORCE. Here, he comes off bland. His friendship with Angel is an interesting turn that may become more interesting later, but for the moment, it’s just distracting.

Art: (4/5) I get that Bachalo is one of those love him/hate him artists, and the very reasons someone may despise his work are the reasons someone else will love him forever. I fall in the latter camp, as evidenced by my constant gushing over his work during SPIDER ISLAND. His art is full of personality and creativity, especially when he’s given something interesting to show off. Krakoa springing up around Cyclops looks wonderful, and he always makes Iceman and his never-ending series of slides look fantastic. Some of the smaller moments lose the personality and are too blurred to really be seen clearly, but it’s all coated in Bachalo’s bright and inventive look. Even when it’s not on top, it still looks good.

Best Moment: Going to be honest, I would love to read an issue of X-MEN where Quentin Quire tried to take Magik out on a date.

Worst Moment: The fogginess of some of the scenes, particularly during Angel’s fall.

Overall: (4/5) A very well written issue, looking at the conflict existing within the X-Men side of things.


THE NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS VOL. 2

Writer: Marv Wolfman
Illustrator: George Perez
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: superhero


OK…I reviewed the last NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS and everything I said about that pretty much stays the same for this edition. So if you want to read the review for that edition click here.

Ditto for THE NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS VOLUME 2.

Except…except…for two things.

This omnibus edition has sewn binding as opposed to glued binding. This addresses the one big complaint that fans have had regarding the DC Omnibus collections. Now the pages are secured and open safely without too much fear that pages might fall out if the book if handled too much. Plus the page spread opens quiet nicely. So that's good. You'd think that a Teen Titans fan would be happy, right?

Well, I'm not. Wanna know why?

HEY DC!!! WHERE IS THE "WHO IS DONNA TROY?" ISSUE???? WHERE IS ISSUE NUMBER 38?????

Seriously, seventy-five bucks isn't enough cash for you to include one of the most pivotal issues in the series? Really? The issue run here goes from 21-37 and then jumps to 39-40!!! What the…??? What happened to issue thirty-eight??? Is there an explanation for this? I mean, c'mon, DC! What the f#@k! Is it because you collected Donna Troy's story in some lame paperback collection that you haven't included it here? That's just lame! Bad form DC! BAD FORM! It's an omnibus fer cryin' out loud! I buy these things because they contain classic full runs of series that I love! Now I shelled out for this and you skip ONE OF THE BEST ISSUES IN THE TITLE???? I AM PISSED!!!!

There better be a good explanation for this because as good as this collection is, if I shell out money for an omnibus I better get the full treatment! Don't short change the fans! Give us what we pay for! Fulfill our expectations! You did such a great job with the last TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS--why would you exclude a great chapter in the Teen Titans like "Who is Donna Troy?"???

Honestly, sometimes comics companies just freaking astound me with their stupidity. UGH.

The book is good. Great run of THE NEW TEEN TITANS by Marv Wolfman and George Perez. But it's missing something. Doesn't feel complete to me. I wonder why?

Discovered as a babe in an abandoned comic book storage box and bitten by a radioactive comic fan when he was a teenager, superhero is actually not-so mild mannered sometime designer & cartoonist, Kristian Horn of Los Angeles, California. Some of his work can be seen at www.kristianhorn.com and check out his blog at www.parttimefanboy.com. You can check also out his webcomics at www.babybadass.com and thediplomatics.com, which is currently in development.


Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

Remember, if you have a comic book you’d like one of the @$$holes to take a look at, click on your favorite reviewer’s link and drop us an email.

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Readers Talkback

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  • Without half the fun but with all the foul stupidity and broad stereotypes and bad dialogue At least Englehart didn't need to kill or nullify every single Alan Moore creation Oh and if Johns ever needed to bring out an Englehart concept it shoulda been his New Guardians comic...that thing was so wrong and stupid it was good.

  • May 16, 2012, 9:05 a.m. CST

    Green Lantern...

    by Tom Fremgen

    it's funny, all the reason you, and others are loving this book is why I dropped it. Though I still believe it's one of Johns best books- go fig. IMO the first two years of Johns run was the best. Now it's got bloated with a more characters than the X-men and rather shaky logic behind all the color corps. I did like Black Hand, and the reveal at all the Indigo Lantern were psychopaths, so I might jump back in for this.

  • May 16, 2012, 9:06 a.m. CST

    No Donna Troy!?

    by Tom Fremgen

    Seriously, they left that issue out? In something call "Omibus"?! Talk about a no sale!

  • May 16, 2012, 9:19 a.m. CST

    Judas contract

    by Joenathan

    I bet they never do an animated movie simply because of the inference that Terra and Deathstroke are doin' it the whole time even though she's like 12 and a half and he's 103. Gross

  • May 16, 2012, 9:22 a.m. CST

    Wolverine and the X-men

    by Joenathan

    Great comic. I don't even like Bacchelo and I still love this book. It's fun the way X-men used to be fun.

  • May 16, 2012, 9:27 a.m. CST

    DAN and FRANK...

    by Mikey Wood

    DAN THE UNHARMABLE actually DID sound familiar to me as I read the first few sentences of the review...Sounded like HANCOCK. And I felt the same about FRANKENSTEIN ALIVE, ALIVE! I flipped through it at the store and it's absolutely beautiful. As a fan of Wrightson's illustrated FRANKENSTEIN (the oversized hardcover of which fits in nicely with my HELLBOY library editions) I was excited to see him on the character again. Niles isn't always my cuppa, but it seemed like a fun book and I actually ENJOY backmatter but, yeah...four bucks is pushing it. I'll wait for the trade.

  • May 16, 2012, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Judas Contract was the first Teen Titans story I ever read...

    by Greg Nielsen

    The whole thing and it pretty much was a down hill run from there. It sucks to start with the high point of the series It's a shame that Robin didn't keep the hilarious chain mail speedo

  • 30 seconds of Googling found me this: "This is direct from an e-mail from DC to retailers: "CONTENT UPDATE FOR THE NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS VOL. 2 HC Please note that THE NEW TEEN TITANS #38, originally solicited to appear in THE NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS VOL. 2 HC (DEC110292), instead will appear in THE NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS VOL. 3, along with other issues in the same storyline.""

  • Beautiful art, gripping story. I can't wait for the next two issues.

  • May 16, 2012, 10:07 a.m. CST

    Henry Higgins:Confusing Bachalo with Ramos

    by tikigeo

    While Bachalo has done some Spiderman in the past, it was Humberto Ramos who worked on the Spider Island stuff. Both great artists IMO.

  • May 16, 2012, 10:26 a.m. CST

    Wolverine and the X-Men

    by NightArrows

    STILL my favourite read. So well-written, and just a shit-ton of fun. I love all the little background moments in the school, the little visual or verbal moments concerning the going-ons of the school. I really do love Bachalo's art, he just needs more clarity in his action scenes. What I AM getting tired of is Wolverine getting bested by people he should be mopping the floor with. No examples come to mind at the moment, but over the past while I've seen it happen far too often. And really, Cyclops has become the biggest douche in the Marvel Universe. He's a cunt of the highest order and I'd LOVE if they were to kill his smug, whiny, bitch-ass off at the end of all this AvsX stuff. Oh and Magik is a serious twat. Fuck her.

  • May 16, 2012, 10:33 a.m. CST

    @Nightarrows I like Cyke!!! Oh and Magick is cool too!...

    by Greg Nielsen

    Long live the extinction squad!!!

  • May 16, 2012, 10:41 a.m. CST

    Cyclops

    by Joenathan

    I don't mind him being a hardliner about mutant shit. I mean, his species--one which has long been extremely violently persecuted to the point where most members need to hide their identity from everyday society and often can not even go outside alone most places--was almost completely wiped out and this near-genocide seems to have only served to set a fire under the collective asses of all their usual enemies. All of whom now seem to be tripping over each other in their rush to finish off the job. So, if he takes no shit now, I can understand that and serves as a nice counter to both Magneto's old school Machiavellian villain and Xavier's weird brand of violent altruism. He and Wolverine's stances seem more likely and believeable.

  • I love gingers too

  • May 16, 2012, 10:48 a.m. CST

    Aaron is awesome; AvX

    by Laserhead

    Jason Aaron's the only writer whose Wolverine is interesting. Maybe Remender's. And Cyclops isn't a big douche; Marvel's just trying to make him one, but he can credibly claim bad-ass status, if for no other reason than the women he pulls, and when he cuts loose, Omega-levels get their skin fried off. Still don't understand this feud, exactly: What the fuck do the Avengers think they're going to do? 'Contain Hope.' What's that even mean? We're going to contain Hope, and that will somehow circumvent the giant, planet-eating firebird. Whereas the X-Men, see, they want to 'contain Hope.' If neither side's going to kill her (and there's no sign that would save the planet or anything), then there's nothing to fight about. Let's all monitor Hope and everybody else go into space to fight the firebird. So the whole thing hasn't been credibly sold to me; if there was a clearer agenda being debated, it might feel less forced. Right now, the whole thing is badly shoe-horned-- Beach Blanket Slap-Fight!

  • May 16, 2012, 11:01 a.m. CST

    Kill all Gingers

    by Joenathan

    That's the thing I don't get about AvX though. I'm not sure where this rebirth fanaticism Cyclops and his folk have came from. Yes, traditionally the legend holds that the Phoenix burns up and then rises from the ashes, true... But when has the second part ever happened? Jean Gray? Does that count? I thought it turned out later that Phoenix Jean Gray was actually a clone the Phoenix created and real Jean Gray was in storage at the bottom of the ocean or something. Also: She died first. Died. That first part has always happened. You die. Who has come back? One person out of how many planets worth of people the Phoenix incinerated? One person and that person may not count because of clone bullshit. One person out of billions. So why does Cyclops--who had a front row seat last time--suddenly think that THIS TIME they can control and that THIS TIME the rebirth part is going to be big. Did he forget about the die in a ball of fire part? The ashes part? And even if the answer is: Cyclops has lost his fool mind, how did he convince everyone else? Cyclops: So, do you guys remember the Phoenix? Mutants: Oh, yeah... that sucked, man. Cyclops: It totally sucked. I believe we almost died. Mutants: That was the really sucky part. Anyway, why do you ask? Cyclops: Well, it's coming this way and since we have a redhead here, and we're pretty much center of the universe really, I'm thinking we're the target. Mutants: sucky. Cyclops: Yeah. Really sucky. But hey, guess what, THIS TIME it'll be okay, and it wil give birth to tons of mutants. Mutants: Really? Cyclops: Yep. Mutants: Hooray! How come no one says: Uh... what? Wolverine is the only person who wants to gut Hope like a fish. The Avengers just want to relocate her off planet, JUST IN CASE their Phoenix containment ideas don't pan out... why doesn't that seem reasonable to Cyclops? I just don't get it.

  • May 16, 2012, 11:06 a.m. CST

    joen

    by Laserhead

    Agree, but what's the alternative? I mean, what are the Avengers planning? To take Hope into custody? What's that gonna do? The confusing thing is that Cyclops's fanaticism is a moot point, because nobody's really doing anything, nor can they. Unless they kill Hope, like Wolverine keeps trying to do, they all have no real choice but to wait for the giant firebird to hit, if it can't be stopped in space. That's it. And there's no sign that killing Hope would stop the phoenix anyway, so my whole thing is: everybody really has the same plan, which is kind of 'wait and see' more or less, and Cyclops's fanaticism seems like a surface gloss tacked on to make reader's forget to notice that both sides have the same answer to their current problem.

  • I'd really probably enjoy a crossover where both sides get together. Make a plan and then execute it like any intelligent group would. Doesn't make any sense.

  • May 16, 2012, 11:17 a.m. CST

    Hot ginger women also might be the center of the universe

    by Greg Nielsen

  • May 16, 2012, 11:19 a.m. CST

    The Avengers' plan

    by Joenathan

    Not only are the plans pretty much the same, but they both agree that they don't like Wolverine's plan of just stabbing the teenage girl to death. I think the Avengers believe the Phoenix wants Hope, not Earth, so they want to move her off planet just in case they can't stop the Phoenix and it ends up taking control of Hope and turning everything to shit afterwards, at which point, at least it wouldn't incinerate earth in the process. Which seems to make the Avengers' "wait and see" plan a little more reasonable than then Cyclops' "wait and see" plan. But yeah, it seems like Captain America showed up like: We have a big problem. And Cyclops was like: OPTIC BLAST, MOTHER FUCKER!!!!

  • May 16, 2012, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Avengers and X-men working together

    by Joenathan

    They sat down and talked about Scarlet Witch and even though one side kind of wanted to kill her and the other didn't, they didn't fight. So why fight this time?

  • May 16, 2012, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Hot Ginger women

    by Joenathan

    They certainly are in every comic book universe...

  • May 16, 2012, 11:23 a.m. CST

    @Joen...I'm worried marvel doesn't like Cyke...or Scarlet Witch...

    by Greg Nielsen

  • May 16, 2012, 11:34 a.m. CST

    Stuff...

    by 3774

    I look at the sales numbers for last month (tinyurl can't handle the link, but you can find it at comicbookpage.com > sales charts > any three by month), and wonder how much of those sales consist of 'lifers', who are simply buying because of the momentum built from a lifetime of habit inertia. It baffles me how something with the 'quality' of Justice League has so dramatically out-sold other titles. On the other hand, AvX seems to have gotten overall middling reviews from the start, and it's selling like crazy, so maybe it's all a matter of what gets the support of the hype machine. Justice League International is cancelled as of issue 12, despite numbers that weren't as bad as others. But they haven't said what's going to replace it. That's got me curious. If anyone has heard any rumour, I'm listening.

  • May 16, 2012, 11:38 a.m. CST

    Cyclops and Scarlet Witch

    by Joenathan

    As far as Cyclops is concerned, I actually think they finally figured out what to do with him. The perennial good guy/obediant first student wasn't winning him any contests, now he is the "by any means necessary" defender. He's the face of mutant activism. And I like that he doesn't care if it upsets people. He's trying to create a better world for mutants and he's willing to take action that ensures he will never have a place in that world and that makes him dangerous. It makes him intolerant and fanatical, but at least he's interesting now. And a player in the MArvel U. But when it comes to Scarlet Witch... meh. I think she's lame. Her powers are lame and too undefined. Her costume is even more lame, especially when they go heavy on the gypsy angle. So, I don't complain about her current lack of use at the moment and fear them trying to bring her back to the forefront. But then, who knows, maybe someone will change her from the "always sick, shrinking violet, mystic girl" into something interesting. They did it with Wonder Woman, why not Scarlet Witch, right?

  • May 16, 2012, 11:46 a.m. CST

    Sales Numbers

    by optimous_douche

    What I've observed is a stratifying of the comic audience in the New 52. JUSTICE LEAGUE was written for the noobs and those boobs are buying it in droves.

  • May 16, 2012, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Justice League

    by Joenathan

    I think that books serves that actually pretty large section of comic fans that are all flash and splash, y'know? The undiscerning ones. The ones that get mad at subtlety. They're probably big Michael Bay fans too. Basically, they're there for the big Jim Lee art and the big poses and they "read" that book and they just chortle and chortle and chortle. There's a lot of them out there, man. Look for them during election years, know what I mean?

  • May 16, 2012, 11:55 a.m. CST

    I'm a Michael Bay fan but I don't like Justice League...

    by Greg Nielsen

    I think it fits people who just go for names though. If anything it's a lot like The Expendables big names and no substance. Also, Carlos D'Anda's issue was fun just for Carlos D'Anda.

  • May 16, 2012, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Big names, no substance

    by Joenathan

    That's how I think of late era Bay, but Expendables works for the comparison too.

  • May 16, 2012, 12:01 p.m. CST

    Bay has an odd substance...

    by Greg Nielsen

    It's that sorta weird almost so cynical it's sincere vibe. I think people will literally look back on him as our generations Sam Fuller. He pretty much embodies everything that people consider American right now. Also, Transformers 3...a Victoria's Secret model saves the world by tricking a giant robot. That right there is more substance than anything Geoff Johns has written in 10 years of comic writing

  • May 16, 2012, 12:03 p.m. CST

    I like Johns

    by optimous_douche

    Just not on JUSTICE LEAGUE or any big team book. BATMAN EARTH ONE rocks, he is meant for solitary stories.

  • http ://tinyurl. com/7x3y5gm This on the heels of Chris Roberson. It's funny how the criticism for both was pointed out as... 1.) Quit right away = unprofessional deserter. 2.) Quit after completing work = hypocrite. ...with the question, when is the magical grace period where one is allowed to walk away from corporate comics? I have no 'side in this, but it's fascinating to observe.

  • May 16, 2012, 12:08 p.m. CST

    Hmmm... Johns

    by Joenathan

    I think he's the new Mark Waid. I can't really say he's "bad", he's not really, it's more like we just like comics for such incrediblly different reasons, that it's just never going to work between us.

  • But everything I've ever read by Johns I disliked. I honestly can't think of a single Johns comic where afterwards I thought to myself...boy that sure was good. I've done that with Bendis, Fraction, Gillen, Keatinge, and a million other people I really want to like his stuff. He usually has good artists. Sometimes about his work though is so utterly banal to me that I can't get into it However...since you recommend it I will try Batman Earth One and pray that it's not more Nolan Batman or Batgod crap... Grant Morrison and Adam West Batman are admittedly my favorites

  • May 16, 2012, 12:10 p.m. CST

    Modern day Bay

    by Joenathan

    I just can't enjoy the spectacle. I need more going on in the story. Which is why I don't read Justice League

  • Daredevil and Irredeemable are great reads...I wish Irredeemable had better artists or at least artists with different styles but good reads. Also, Waid I gotta say is appearently a pretty cool dude from the people I know who used to run into him a lot. Admittedly, that may need to be taken with a grain of salt but from what I understand he's a good guy

  • May 16, 2012, 12:21 p.m. CST

    That's fine

    by Joenathan

    Waid may be the nicest guy on the planet. I've always heard John Romita JR. is too. I still haven't liked their work in... a decade or more, at least. If ever.

  • Trying to be positive... Sometimes I feel bad bashing Geoff Johns If it was easy we'd all be doing this job...then again if it wasn't a monopoly and closed culture and extremely difficult to even pitch once you are in we'd all have a better chance No need to be envious though that he gets to do it and I gotta write technical manuals

  • May 16, 2012, 12:25 p.m. CST

    Yorga

    by optimous_douche

    BATMAN EARTH ONE is definitely not Nolan. That's about all I can say w/o breaking embargos. If you want some immediate great Johns satisfaction try SUPERMAN: SECRET ORIGINS.

  • Most of Englehart's ideas have just been dusted off by Johns. I think people feel he's losing steam cause he's pretty much gone through every single Englehart concept except the whole New Guardians thing. Well Englehart and a annual by Alan Moore cause without that there'd be no war of light, blackest night, blah blah blah

  • May 16, 2012, 1:09 p.m. CST

    Sinestro Corp

    by Joenathan

    Yeah, I picked that up off of all the hype... I couldn't finish it.

  • May 16, 2012, 1:25 p.m. CST

    Green Lantern Impenetrable Unless...

    by optimous_douche

    You start with Rebirth... This is why GL along with Batman were the only two to keep continuity. DC simply vested too much into the titles.

  • May 16, 2012, 1:56 p.m. CST

    Green Lantern getting a full reboot would've been great...

    by Greg Nielsen

    It would've at least made it to the point where I want to check it out. I mean did Kenneth Rocafort really need to be on Redhood and the Outlaws?

  • May 16, 2012, 6:50 p.m. CST

    Johns is very hit and miss too me...

    by Tom Fremgen

    like nearly every writer! Some JSA stuff was great, other not so much. Green Lantern Rebirth was great, Flash Rebirth not so much. Blackest Night was pretty cool, Infinite Crisis not so much. He always has cool ideas with a lot of 'geek love' in them. Much like Waid, so I can see the comparison. But even Waid has had clunkers, anyone read his JLA ID story!? (yes I understand Hitch sabotage it) And I still say: Aquaman > Justice League

  • May 16, 2012, 6:52 p.m. CST

    MILLENNIUM was cool...

    by Tom Fremgen

    The New Guardian's aftermath was not :)

  • May 16, 2012, 9:47 p.m. CST

    Congrats @$Holes!!

    by KCViking

    Appreciate the time and effort you all put in here. Hope it continues. I'll go back to lurking now...

  • May 16, 2012, 11:37 p.m. CST

    I wrote that omnibud review like two weks ago!

    by superhero

    And that info about the Donna Troy issue was not available! So, with all due respect, go jump in a lake Rev! Glad to know it'll be in the next omnibus...which I will buy!

  • May 16, 2012, 11:38 p.m. CST

    two weeks ago dammit!!!

    by superhero

  • May 16, 2012, 11:39 p.m. CST

    omnibus review! typing on the runway at LAX

    by superhero

    Sucks!!!

  • May 16, 2012, 11:45 p.m. CST

    oh, and judas contract won't be done as an animated

    by superhero

    Show because they did it on the teen titans show. From the mouth of bruce timm himself.

  • May 17, 2012, 7:04 a.m. CST

    AvX.

    by BangoSkank

    AvX is a mixed bag. I'll be picking up the 4th issue --which is more than I can say about Siege or Fear Itself-- but you'd think out of all those people working on this event, someone could have come up with a better start to the whole thing. I think the return of the Phonix Force is a good set up, but that beach scene with everyone was just plain stupid. I think they're going the right way with Psycolps. With everything he's been through, it makes sense that he'd start to get a little hard-line. A little nutty in his convictions... So why not set that up more. They could have had the Avengers forced into handing Hope over to Shiar, and Psyclops having some sort of further proof for his rebirth of mutants theory...

  • May 17, 2012, 7:09 a.m. CST

    Jesus. Cyclops.

    by BangoSkank

    Need more coffee.

  • May 17, 2012, 8:03 a.m. CST

    Cyclops...a bad-ass?

    by NightArrows

    Pu-lease. And regarding his "hard line stance", so what, he's now the one-eye'd Magneto? That's supposed to make him interesting? Big Deal. We've seen that behaviour before... Uncanny will soon be off the pull list. It's boring and as I said, Scott is a douche and I truly want him to die, so why stick with a book who's main character I hate? Oh, and Cap hitting Scott in the head with his shield would have fucking nearly killed him. Unless it hit his Visor, which if so, wasn't represented well in the art. I'm getting really tired of everyone in the Marvel U having various levels of indestructibility.

  • May 17, 2012, 8:15 a.m. CST

    7 Reasons

    by NightArrows

    This could have been better, but at least someone is thinking right: http://www.bonus-level.com/2011/01/26/7-reasons-why-scott-summers-is-a-douche-bag/

  • May 17, 2012, 9:27 a.m. CST

    You're mistaken

    by Joenathan

    Magneto has long been a classic machiavellian villain who was all about mutants ruling humans. Cyclops is different. For him, it is not about either ruling humans or living in peace with them, as it was for Magneto and Charles, it is about doing whatever is necessary to protect the remaining mutants. Their end goals are different and that makes their stances different. You may not like the character, which is fine (although the vehemence is a bit weird...), but to dismiss him as just a "one-eyed magneto" is to fundamentally misunderstand the character.

  • May 17, 2012, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Not mistaken at all

    by NightArrows

    I used broad strokes for the comparison, but Magneto's goals had good intentions at times (depending on the writing/writer/era). Cyclops is just a tweak away from "Standing up for our rights" to "Screw humans, we are the next evolutionary step". Even Magneto mentions it at one point... It's happened before, and to think that Scott could turn into something worse isn't out of the question.

  • May 17, 2012, 11:43 a.m. CST

    I'm just glad someone said Millenium is cool...

    by Greg Nielsen

    Cause it is. NO ONE ESCAPES THE MANHUNTERS!!!

  • May 17, 2012, 11:44 a.m. CST

    Also, I like Cyke! But yeah...marvel hates him...

    by Greg Nielsen

    Even if he's doing something that is reasonably logical Captain America or Wolverine is gonna come in there and tell us what editorial wants us to think.

  • May 17, 2012, 1:25 p.m. CST

    That's just it

    by Joenathan

    He COULD go that route... but he hasn't... yet. That's part of the character. The difference is the important part. It's what makes him different from Magneto

  • May 17, 2012, 1:54 p.m. CST

    Not yet but...

    by NightArrows

    Reading AvsX et all, it seems he's started tipping past that line. We'll see... I think this whole event has been sloppy anyways.

  • AKA just go ahead and say kill all gingers for me

  • May 17, 2012, 3:47 p.m. CST

    Cap

    by NightArrows

    No, he asked a fellow AVENGER for help, and chastised his wanting to kill the goddamn ginger (albeit in a fucked-up and un-Cap like method...the boot out the Chopper was fucked up).

  • In the South Pole! So, Cap = Douche...also Wolverine really what freaking plan do you think a character who is a one note joke is gonna come up with... They only trot him out to say stuff like I'm the best there is at killing or to have an excuse for random ninja attacks even though it's a comic book and they're all over the place Plus he totally narc-ed on Hope going to the moon so he's an even bigger douche character than he used to be...screw cap and wolverine Long live gingers!

  • May 17, 2012, 7:42 p.m. CST

    Actually

    by Joenathan

    It was Giantman who kicked Wolverine out of the Helicopter, not Cap. Hank Pym is a wife beating douche. Steve Rogers and Logan are awesome... when used right.

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