Posts tagged Swamp Thing

The death of a Man, the rebirth of a Thing.

The first week of the month is always small, but also packs one hell of a punch! As usual, the only books I’ll be taking a look at this week come from the ‘dark’ area of the New 52 titles, Swamp Thing and Animal Man. Let’s jump right in!

I’m going to take a moment to say goodbye to Swamp Thing. I started buying and backreading the title when it crossed over with Animal Man for Rotworld, but Rotworld is over. Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette are leaving the title. And so, my friends, am I. As a matter of fact, this final issue is all about goodbyes. The Parliament of Decay dumps Alec at the exact moment he’d needed to be in, in the past, and he was able to stop Anton Arcane from killing Abby. Unfortunately, Arcane is still able to regenerate, so Abby and Alec confront the Parliament, where Abby confesses that she knows the only way to stop her uncle forever…is to become the Avatar of Decay in her own right, as she was supposed to. In order to fo that, however, she needs to die. Alec obliges her, just as Arcane breaks into the chamber of the Parliament. Arcane kills Alec Holland’s human body, but is finally destroyed by Abby, in her visually stunning Avatar of Decay form.

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Wow. Unfortunately, Abby, in embracing her destiny, has officially lost the ability to ever be with Alec again. She is purely decay now, and he is made entirely of the Green. So they say their goodbyes, and Alec gets ready to take his place among his Parliament, his tenure as Swamp Thing over. But the next avatar isn’t ready yet, and Alec still has some fight left in him, so he chooses to continue being their Swamp Thing until they no longer need him. And thus ends the Swamp Thing run of Scott Snyder. All in all, the 20 issues he penned (1 through 18, #0, and the annual) make for an amazing and, ultimately, complete story. Anything anyone else does from here on out is inconsequential to me. Just as Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing was considered the definitive story for the character pre-reboot, Scott Snyder’s Swamp Thing is the post-reboot zenith for the character, at least to me. Well done, Mr. Snyder. You crafted a hell of a tale.

You may recognize the cover of Animal Man #18. It’s a direct homage to not one, but two Flash covers:

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Ah, cover homages. Gotta love ’em! In any case, where Swamp Thing was a proper ending for the Green side of the Rotworld storyline, Animal Man is more of a continuation. Rotworld has ended. Buddy and Alec both stopped the Rot before it began, and both lost someone in the process. Alec lost both the chance of a future with Abby, and his own human body, and Buddy lost his son. Remember how, last week, I said that I was sick of seeing kids die? Well, that feeling hasn’t faded. Cliff, Maxine, and Ellen Baker have been used as author tools to fuel Buddy’s resolve, to give him strength through grief. And now is no exception. In the reboot, DC has been all about breaking up marriages, but damnit, I was really rooting for the Bakers. If Cliff’s death doesn’t shatter this family, I’ll be more than relieved, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

And that was this week in comics! In case you missed them, the new issues of Fionna and Cake and Glory also came out this week. Be sure to pick them up, if you have the chance! I’d like to say that I’ll be looking at cheerier comics in the future but, uh, see you back here next week with Batman, and Batman and Robin. 

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Rotworld: Come children, gather in my Parliament!

There are only two books on the menu today, and whoa! They’re interconnected! 

Today, the Rotworld finale began in Animal Man and Swamp Thing. It’s taken 17 issues to get to this point, and it all ends in…time travel. I’m going to admit, I was sort of looking forward to how Snyder and Lemire would be writing a world almost completely devoid of life, but yeah, this makes a bit more sense. Which is funny, as time travel was the solution the last time Buddy’s family was killed. To rewind a bit, Buddy and Alec finally unite on the battlefield, just in time to face Anton Arcane and his beloved horrors head-on. I was truly frightened by Hunter Maxine’s appearance, and the Abbys? Forget it. Not even touching that. Nightmare city. On a lighter note, the Parliament of Rot actually seem to be pretty good guys, I hope they don’t turn out to be, y’know, not. Anyone else notice that the Parliament of Rot is entirely made up of human faces?

I cannot apologize enough, but I’m really sick. I started out the day with a sore throat, but it just got worse and worse. I’m typing this laying on my stomach, with my head on a pillow so I can see my screen. I literally cannot continue on right now, and I am so sorry. The second issue of Fionna and Cake came out today, and I recently started reading Vaughan and Staples’ Saga, which, three issues in, has proven itself to be as amazingly awesome as everyone has said it is. Next week, we’ll be looking at the finale of Death of the Family in Batman, and possibly the new Batman and Robin issue. For now, I’m Touch of Grey, I’m sick, and I’m going to bed.

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Rotting good fun, unless you’re alive.

My sincerest apologies for the late post, I was a bit distracted by my own hair. Got a bad haircut Tuesday night, and have since transformed myself from Dorothy Hamill to Molly Ringwald circa Breakfast Club. As I’ve decided to stop picking up the Death of the Family issues that I wouldn’t already be buying, we’ve got a grand total of two books to look at today! Ha, I remember the days where the second week of the month would have six books or more. On one hand, I can afford to eat lunch regularly. On the other hand, I could stand to drop some weight, if it meant that I was reading good comics.

The following reviews contain MASSIVE SPOILERS for both Rotworld books.

We’re deep into Rotworld now, with Alec making his way to Gotham, finally, at the end of the last issue. Only one person has the Man-Bat serum injected into them, sadly, and that person is Barbara Gordon. I actually applaud Snyder’s use of Babs here; she’s the only vigilante left to watch over the remaining citizens of Gotham, who’ve taken up residence in Arkham Asylum. Some of the other inmates had apparently been spared of the Rot infection either by their connection to the elements, or their total isolation from life. As far as I can tell, three of the presumably four Arkham inmates left to help guard the population are Mr. Freeze, Killer Croc, and the Fluoronic Man. Okay, Freeze and Woodrue I get, because one is connected to the Green, while the other cannot survive outside of his suit, and hasn’t taken it off in years, but why Killer Croc? The guy just had a skin condition, until he was warped over in Batwoman. He’s not connected to any elements, or to the Red. He just…looks cool? Okay, I guess that works. Kind of. Anyway, before he bit the bat-dust, Bruce was working on copying Alec’s restorative formula, and was pretty close. So Alec completes the formula and weaponizes it, giving it to the citizens of Gotham to fight the Rotlings coming their way. Of course, this wouldn’t be a Scott Snyder comic without a shocking ending, so let’s talk about Abby Arcane. She’s, uh. Well, she’s pretty dead, folks. Very dead, I’d like to say. Arcane ripped her head off, spine included. There’s not really a good chance of surviving that.

Over on the Red side of Rotworld, our band of misfits gains a very strong new ally, but possibly loses their only full human. Man, John Constantine just cannot catch a damn break! I think this was the first issue of Animal Man that I haven’t been completely on board with, mainly because of  all the time that was spent on Buddy and his gang, instead of the (arguably) more important Maxine plot. Though, speaking of that, I do see a possibly loophole for Maxine becoming the third Hunter. It’s been shown that she’s able to leave her body and grow a new one out of a nearby animal…so what if she left her body before she was bitten, and jumped into Socks? It would certainly explain how the older Maxine we saw in an earlier issue exists. Something to think about.

I feel bad that I’m posting a late review, for only two books, and it’s this short. However, I do have an event announcement! If you live in South Florida and have a house full of nerdy junk, roll on down to Tate’s Comics today to sign up for a table at next month’s Swap and Sale! For only $25 you get: A guaranteed spot in the parking lot to set up and sell your wares, and a commemorative t-shirt! I’ll personally be in spot #10 with action figures, trades, manga, card games, t-shirts, and of course, a buttload of comic books! If you choose not to get a space and just want to come to the event, it’s February 18th.

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Rottingly good comics!

Before I get to this week’s comics, I’d like to take a second to talk about what it means for Vertigo comics now that Karen Berger has left as an editor. Vertigo has been in a bit of a decline for a while. Not in quality, oh god no. American Vampire, which has just gone on a hiatus while Scott Snyder gets ahead on his other books, never fails to be one of my favorite comics to read all month. Sweet Tooth, which ends this month, has always been a fascinating read. It’s the main reason I was so excited to see Jeff Lemire on Animal Man! Punk Rock Jesus, the six-issue mini series I’ve been recommending (while not reviewing, because it would just be a paragraph of me flailing about how good it is), also ends this month. And then there’s Vertigo’s longest-running book, Hellblazer, which ends in March in order to bring John Constantine into the DCnU proper. While Fables and its spinoff Fairest are still going pretty strong, what else is there? I’ve read that the series Voodoo Child hasn’t been the best seller, but neither is The Unwritten. The Unwritten, however, has a very strong presence on bestseller lists as a collected trade rather than a single issue comic, the same may prove true for Voodoo Child. Still, Vertigo used to be a proving ground for new creators. If you could make it there, then by damn, you could make it anywhere! So, what happened? Well, if I’m going to be perfectly honest, my big theory involves money. Mainly, how non-cape books just don’t as well as cape comics. DC used to have an imprint called Minx. Graphic novels for girls! Yeah, that ended after 12 books, and a sequel to one of them, The New York Four, was published in single-issue format under the Vertigo banner. And now that many of the big character names are traveling into the DCnU, what will become of this formerly proud imprint? Something to think on.

It’s almost over! I’m not saying that happily, not really. Minutemen has been a pretty good part of Before Watchmen. The best part, really. After all, the original Watchmen book didn’t really touch on them at all. I don’t really have much to say about this fifth issue, other than, wow. Looks like we’re going to learn what ended up happening to Hooded Justice next issue.

Detective Comics is perfectly skippable. You’re not missing any important Death of the Family info. I just wish I’d known that before I blew $4 I didn’t have buying it.

The journey of Alec Holland continues! After fighting William Arcane, Alec loses Boston to the Rot…sort of. Deadman possessed William, giving Alec the chance to get away and head towards Gotham. Sadly, he’s a bit too late to reach Batman, though just in time to meet Barbara Gordon all Bat-serum’d up, a true Girl-Bat! The more interesting portion of this issue, to me, are the sections with Abby Arcane. What was her final fate in this world of the Rot? Actually, a better question would be, why is her uncle so determined to keep her under his control? He’s seen what her powers can do when she lets loose, and frankly, she’s more powerful than he is. It just makes no sense.

HOLY CROW! No, seriously. I’m sorry, Francis Manapul. I love you to death. But the opening pages of this month’s Animal Man were the best use of gorillas in the New 52, hands down. Aside from Grodd and his warriors, Mallah and Brain are used! They still exist! Oh, you’ve got no idea how pleased that makes me. I don’t know much about DC’s version of Frankenstein, but the second I saw him riding into battle with his patchwork army I thought to myself, yeah. That makes sense. The guy made of corpses is either going to be the most powerful Rotling of all, or completely immune. While Alec Holland is heading to Gotham over in Swamp Thing, Buddy and his Red Team are headed for Metropolis. And…they make it in one issue. Wow, go Team Red. Seriously, you get so much more done when you’ve got a necromancer’s army chauffeuring you around. I don’t want to spoil the big reveal at the end, but let me say this: I don’t recognize the guy. That means I’m going to be spending a bit of time on Wikipedia and Comicvine until I figure out just who our mystery hero is! On the flip side, we’ve got what could be the end of Maxine’s story. When last we saw Buddy’s Little Wing, she had just met up with William Arcane. Dang, that kid gets around! In any case, the little shit played his role quite well, leading her into a trap by the Hunters Two. What has become of her?! Well…let’s hope the world doesn’t end, because I’d like to find out next month!

And that’s this week in comics. On the Marvel side, the fifth issue of Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye is out today. It’s a great series, and I really do recommend it! Hope to see y’all back here next week when I tackle…well. It’s all Bat-books next week! Batman, Batgirl, Batman and Robin, and Suicide Squad for Death of the Family, and the new Ame-Comi Girls issue, starring Duela Dent!

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Rotworld’s the word!

Welcome to the ToG Blog, where everything is made up and the points don’t matter.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am done with Green Lantern. Finished. Completely. Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: New Guardians, Red Lanterns, all of it. Congratulations, DC. You’ve officially put me off an entire franchise. I may not like Superman, but I’m still buying Supergirl. I may not like Batman as a character, but I’m still buying the main Batman title, Batwoman, and Batman Inc. It was a long, hard road, getting off the Lanterns. I really wanted to like Green Lantern Corps, but it was dull as hell. I really wanted to like New Guardians, but it was just…kind of stupid. And don’t even get me started on Red Lanterns. In fact, until it started being more of the Hal Jordan Show again, I very much enjoyed the main Green Lantern title. Guy Gardner, Saint Walker, and Thaal Sinestro are my three favorite Lanterns, of any Corps, and I was honestly hoping that their stories would not, ultimately, be terrible. Whoops. This is what I get for wanting things.

In other news, guess who has the Swamp Thing Annual and a new issue of Swamp Thing?! This lass right here.
Alright, so. The annual is basically a little done-in-one story about how Alec and Abby first met back when he was still a student. It’s cute, and with Becky Cloonan on the art, well-drawn, but it’s not really much to write home about. What’s interesting, though, is that it’s a story that Alec Holland forgot from his time as a human, partly because the Rot willed him to. The central focus of the story is a plant called the Flower that grows in a radiation-riddled land and secretes a substance that promotes memory loss. Alec went to this land to see if he could grow more plants there, but met Abby and the Flower, and was then almost killed by Anton Arcane. Luckily, he was saved by an ancient of the Parliament and, oddly enough, a young Jason Woodrue. The end of the issue was pretty much the same as the end of issue #13, with the Parliament telling Alec that Abby was dead, and that there was nothing he could do about it. Issue #14 starts from about there, with Alec and the rest of the Green survivors fighting an army of Rotlings lead by the Teen Titans. All in all, it’s a pretty awesome fight scene, as Alec is able to tap into the full power of the Green for the very first time, turning into…holy crap that is a giant Swamp Thing. No, I don’t think you’re getting this. Alec is several hundred times bigger than Ivy and Boston now. He’s able to crush dozens of Rotlings with his feet. Dang. Of course, once he makes up his mind to go and find Abby who, contrary to poplar belief (get it? Because poplar is a tree and the Parliament is…never mind.), is actually still alive, and most likely being held prisoner by her uncle. How do we know this? From a combination of Alec ‘feeling her presence’ and the other side of the story, where Abby travels to her former home to try and cut the Rot off at the source. Meanwhile, en route to Gotham City…William Arcane! Alive! Ish! And in control of the entire dead ocean. Game over, everybody.

While Alec is off looking for Abby, the remaining defenders of the Red have set off looking for him. I want to know how John bloody Constantine survived. Dumb luck? Or maybe Death just refused to put up with him. In any case he, Buddy, Black Orchid, and Beast Boy are the last living superheroes. I’d include Steel but, uh, he’s not alive. In any case, they get a big fight scene too, with an army headed by Felix Faust, no less! Who tells them that Buddy’s daughter is still alive, and a prisoner. Hm, well, to quote Constantine, “I’d say that was about the most obvious trap ever laid.” Maxine’s story is really quite sad. Her brother infects her mother, who infects her grandmother, and the trio become the new Hunters Three. Maxine and her cat need to run from them, but then, William Arcane! Damn, this kid gets around. I think I’m going to be afraid to get in and out of the shower at night, because you never know when there might suddenly be this creepy-ass kid in your bathroom. Also, that name. Brr. All in all, it’s a satisfying issue. Mainly because, hey, we ended on a Grodd note! Ow, okay. That pun was a little too horrible, even for me.

So, that was this week in comics? Y’know, i do believe it was. I’m going to be frank, I may have to start looking at other companies for books, as DC really doesn’t seem to be doing enough for me these days. Join us next week for, uh, Batman and the new Ame-Comi Girls on-shot starring Batgirl.

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The Rot spreads everywhere unseen…

Welcome, one and all, to the month of five Wednesdays! Yes, this means shorter posts, comparatively, but five Wednesdays means five new entries in the ToG Blog, and this is week one! Boy, my pull list is tiny today. And yet, I’m still rather pleased, as one of my favorite books is on the plate for today. Let’s jump right in!

This is goodbye for Earth-2. I’d been expecting so much from this book, and it turned out to be a grim and gritty version of the Golden Age. At this point, Robinson is just name-dropping to name drop. Oh, and Terry Sloan is apparently evil. I think that was the final straw for me, personally. Farewell, Earth-2. You were just disappointing.

So, uh. Who else was cringing through Green Lantern? Like I’ve said before, Muslim-Americans are an incredibly touchy subject within comics. I’ve seen the phrase ‘terrorist Green Lantern’ thrown around too many times on forums and various comic websites since Simon Baz’s reveal. But you know what it is that bugs me most? No one thinks he’s innocent in the bombing. His own sister doesn’t really believe him to be innocent. She was willing to sell him out to the Justice League. And I guess that’s why I can’t really take this title seriously. I mean, you know Hal and Sinestro are going to come back. You know they are. So, where’s that going to leave Simon? Out in the cold, or dead. Sorry, but that’s what happens in DC now.

Rotworld begins! When we last left Buddy and Alec, they were in the Rot…meanwhile, back on Earth, the Rot was in everything. The last stand of the Green included Poison Ivy, Jason Woodrue, Deadman, and, uh. Yeah. That’s it. And then the Rot got to Woodrue, so a ghost and an eco-terrorist were all that was left to fight for the non-meat living things of the world. This issue is…pretty bleak. It shows how the Rot overtook everything. Killed billions of people. Turned metahumans into rotling warriors. I…kind of want to know why this isn’t playing out in the other books. I mean, Earth was basically destroyed by this mini-event, and it’s being contained to two books. The Court of Owls story spanned over what, ten? Amazing. Anyway, it seems as though Alec and Buddy have parted ways for the time being, as Swamp Thing is going to tell the story of The Green Kingdom, and Animal Man will be telling the story of The Red Kingdom. Speaking of which…

SPOILER ALERT

Didn’t the Baker family already die once? Seriously, even the Earth’s Dragon Balls wouldn’t bring them back again. It’s a solid story, though. Technically speaking, Cliff is the weakest member of the Baker family. He has no powers of his own, nor the strength of a grown person. Of course he’d be the first infected. Next would be Ellen, who is too good of a mom to have any real self-preservation instincts, when her kids are involved. But, poor Maxine. God, she wouldn’t be able to fight her mom and brother, she’d try to make a run for it, if the idea came to mind. So, the last stand of the Red are Beast Boy, Steel’s consciousness in an armored shell, and Black Orchid. Eh, they’re doing better than the Green, at least. And of course fucking Constantine is still alive. You couldn’t off that guy with the gun that could kill any man. Once again, though, how have traces of the Rot not shown up in other books?! This is sincerely distressing me. Are the Swamp Thing and Animal Man books not part of the main DCnU? Is this a universe-next-door Vertigo thing? I. Don’t. Understand. And now, with the end of the world, and also the Flash Annual having dashed my hopes of Mirror Master being Evan McCulloch, I’m fairly certain our favorite gap-toothed Rogue won’t be showing up to lend a family-restoring hand this time. Ohh, it’s going to be a long month.

That was this week in comics! I’m pleased with what I picked up, personally. I mean, between you, me, and the wallpaper, I bought Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and Fairest. Which, by the way, if you’re not reading Fairest, read Fairest! It’s a pretty cool side-series to the long running Fables book, and I like it quite a bit more than the other side-series, Jack of Fables. In any case, I’m ToG, I’m hungry, and I’m fairly sure I’m not out of eggs. See you next week, when we wade though Suicide Squad, Superboy, the Ame-Comi Wonder Woman one-shot, and Batman. Goodnight!

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Zero Month begins!

Welcome one and all, to the first week of Zero Month! I’ve decided to skip over issue #0 of Earth-2 for my own health. You see, the less I know about the Earth-2 trinity they better. Going to leave it at that. So! We’ve got a bit of controversy on the reading list today! I’m speaking, of course, of the third issue of Silk Spectre. I hear it’s gonna be…trippy. Let’s get started, shall we?

I’ve never done acid. I’ve never done acid, smoked pot, or popped pills. I’ve never even gotten so drunk I can’t stand. So I’ve got no personal experiences to compare to the opening pages of Silk Spectre #3 to. I have, however, woken up next to a loved one that had to be rushed to the hospital. I really feel for Laurie, which is an entirely new emotion for me. My reactions to her in the original Watchmen book usually involved exasperation, frustration. She wasn’t a character I liked, or could identify with. Here, I sort of can. She’s young. Idealistic. She does what she feels to be right, even if it may in fact make things worse. Bringing the Comedian into the picture was something I didn’t exactly see coming, but I still like it. We only got to see the Comedian in flashbacks in the original Watchman book, and what we saw, we didn’t really like most of the time. He was a violent jackass with about as much honor as Dollar Bill had personal dignity. Here, he’s…about the same. Still, he came running when Sally called. He went to find their daughter and bring her home. He may have destroyed Laurie’s world by doing it, but he did it with her best interests in mind. I’m not reading the Comedian’s Before Watchmen book, and I don’t like the way he’s being presented in Minutemen, but I like him here. We get to see that he clearly still cares about Sally, in some way or another, as he was willing to drop what he was doing to go find Laurie. And I like that.

Do you ever read something and wonder if you should be offended? That’s how I feel about Green Lantern #0. People of Middle Eastern descent, and of the Muslim/Islamic faiths, are still a touchy subject in America, and American comics. If they’re villainous, it’s racist. If they’re heroic, they’re some sort of exception to the norm, and their very existence will bring people with negative thoughts on them out of the woodwork. No matter what, they’re news. I still remember the stink some people at my LCS made when Nightrunner was made the Batman Inc representative of France. But enough about people who aren’t Simon Baz. This story, this origin, reminds me of the Power Girl mini-storyline from last year, We Can Be Heroes. In it, a metahuman Arab-American man named Rayhab Mazin was mistaken for a terrorist while saving a plane from crashing…from the inside. Our new GL was mistaken for a terrorist when the van he was stealing happened to contain a bomb, that blew up the factory where he used to work once he crashed it into the side. Feeling uncomfortable yet? It gets better. Simon is then taken to a Guantanamo-esque facility and, when the agents assigned to him are unable to get any damning evidence out of him, prepare to torture him for information. And then the ring finds him, and gets him out of there. End story. Actually, not end story. Hal and Sinestro make a one-page guest spot where they…aren’t dead? Yay? Ah, well. For a first appearance, it’s not incredibly, irredeemably awful. It makes the American government look like assholes but hey, what doesn’t these days? I’m the worst person to be talking about this, yeek. I’ll miss Sinestro, but I guess I’m going to keep reading Green Lantern anyway. I want to see what happens.

I don’t know much about Swamp Thing. I’ve only recently begun to read the Alan Moore run, and started to buy the New 52 issues, so I’m learning. But as it is? If I was picking up an issue of Swamp Thing for the first time, not knowing any of his history at all, this would work for me. We get a brief backstory on the Red, the Green, and the Rot. We’re introduced to Arcane. And then we meet Alec Holland, see the beginnings of his transformation. All in all, this issue does exactly what it’s supposed to do, exactly as DC promised. Scott Snyder and Kano hit it out of the park.

Animal Man is a great book. I’d go so far as to say it’s the best book in the reboot. Lemire and Pugh take the story of a common superhero and twist it so that he’s something more. Something greater. Superman can save the world all he wants, but Animal Man exists so that his daughter can someday save life itself. The origin issue, like Swamp Thing, delivers exactly what it’s supposed to. Buddy’s alien abduction origin is given new roots to the Red, we briefly meet the previous avatar, and we get to see some of the exploits of Animal Man prior to the birth of the new true avatar. It was a good issue. Simple, yet intensely complex in its simplicity. Interesting. And still one of the two books I look forward to the most every month.

That was this week in comics. Next week, we’ll be tackling Batman, Suicide Squad, Superboy, the final issue of the Shade, and the first issue of the new Team 7 series. Now if you’ll excuse me, the weather is horrible and I must journey home.

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