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The Master

Every comic you've read in 2017

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Batman/Elmer Fudd: BEST SINGLE COMIC BOOK ISSUE OF THE YEAR. Also best thing I've read from Tom King. Seriously, this was a friggin' riot.

Teen Titans #9 (2016): I hope this book goes where it seems to, because Damian is pissing me off. I would easily read a Titans book without him. Everything else, Raven and Wally's scene, Jackson learning about his parentage, Kori and Gar, all that was fine.

Detective Comics #959: Still good, although some of these comic writers have got to ease up on the word "damn". It loses its meaning when evoked every three conversations every issue.

Batgirl #12 (2016): Decent done-in-one issue that's perfectly harmless. Hearkens back to the Silver/Bronze Age Batgirl stories if I'm being honest. 

Action Comics #982: Solid.

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Cable #2: So dull.

Batman / Elmer Fudd Special: I don't know how they pulled it off, but they made the perfect pulp noir story starring Elmer freaking Fudd.

Comics: 411

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Harrow County v3: A few issues from guest artists thrown in this collection, liked Carla Speed McNeil's more than the other one off in this volume by Hannah Christenson. The main plot brings in Bernice in a way I'd been hoping that the series would for a while. Continues to be amazing and lovely and a thing we will gladly throw money at. 

Redlands 1: Alright ladies, you have my attention. Not sure how this goes up from here, because this is a banger of a first issue. 

Batwoman 4: Margeruite's getting the reins back from Tynion here, and you can tell in the writing shift. Epting looks a bit rushed this issue. Next issue is pure Hans and Bennett, though, which I'm gonna get no matter what. 

Batman/Elmer Fudd Special: HOW IS THIS SO FUCKING GOOD. 

Midnighter v1: The DC You series by Steve Orlando. I liked what I saw (god bless the crossover issues with Dick Grayson), has me intrigued for more. Jim found this on sale at Chicago Comics this weekend. This shifted artists a lot over this volume, though. They're all pretty consistent with the DC house style, but it nags at the back of your head. 

Black Magick 6: *shrug*? It's neat to see Nicola working in black and white exclusviely, with a bit of color here and there, but I'm just not feeling this. 

AD: After Death 3: Maybe this will make sense in collected format, but man, I could not fucking tell you what happened here. Lemire continues to be real good though. 

Single Issues: 183
Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 76
Omnibuses: 3

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Starstruck - I appreciate its existence as a comedic, feminist, creator-owned sci-fi story (especially with how dude-heavy stuff like 2000 AD is). I dig the worldbuilding that goes on. I like the themes. But man, was this hard to follow. Whenever I feel like I gave a handle on the plot, it shifts scenes into something completely different. 

Maybe I just need to read it again, and much closer but this initial reading took me a couple of months, on-and-off. 

As for stuff I loved, I adored just about every single page of artwork. I'm a fan of Kaluta's Madame Xanadu, and this was something a little different but still had a similar feel. Especially with Lee Moyer and Charles Vess doing colors, maaan. 

The Galactic Girl Guide backups were pretty cute. Those were more enjoyable for me on a first reading. 

I will say this though, I'm intrigued about the world. I found the audiodrama version on Spotify, so I'm giving that a listen.

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Midnight Sun - A semi-fictionalized story of an airship crash near the North Pole in the late 1920s.  While I liked it, this could have been so much more.  Felt a little like short vignettes more than a complete story.  Read that it was supposed to be 6 issues and got cut to 3.  It really shows.

Loki: Agent of Asgard - I gave this every chance I could.  I really did. I pushed thru the first trade.  I tried crawling my way thru the second, but I said fuck it and stopped half way.  I think I read probably 7 issues and I have no idea what is going on.  There is new Young Good Loki, but also Old Evil Loki.  But the Old is New and the Good is Evil but Good.  And then I think another Loki shows up?  Maybe. Look, I know things came before, but this in no way helps me out.  Major things are happening surrounding this and I have no idea what those are.  And then I think a couple events happened.  I think.

I picked these up at the library because all three trades were right there.  Same as I did with Hawkeye.  I was able to follow those with a flowchart, google and a 30 minute YouTube video. 

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Heartthrobs #1-#4 from Vertigo. Anthology series featuring twisted love stories. Fun 90s comics that I remember seeing from my childhood, even though these are super adult.

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Edge of Venomverse #1: Huh. This was kinda good, and all kinds of violent. It made me realize there is a really good Venom movie to be made, if it followed the Alien mold.

The Defenders #2: Holy shit, the billy club scene! Several great cameos, too.

Iceman #2: Rather rough around the edges, this one.

Nick Fury #3: A quick, fun read. In some ways, it reminds me of Grayson #1.

Comics: 415

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Suicide Squad/Banana Splits #1: I loved this. Really fun.

Superman #20: slower start than previous arcs in this series, but the art will keep me around a little bit longer.

The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #4: Jesus, this is terrible. I'm so out.

The Flintstones #10: Fantastic, again.Truly one of the best comics going right now.

The Sovereigns #0: a taster of the various characters and stories. Fun. I'm in. Especially excited about Turok and Doc Spektor.

The Visitor How and Why He Stayed #2: so sweet and down to earth )pun intended). Wonderful.

The X-Files #12: A story about Skinner. Cool.

Comics: 668
Trades: 27

Graphic Novels: 18

Omnibuses: 12

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Uber Invasion #5: holy shit. This is really good.

Unfollow #17: mother. fucker. I didn't think they could turn this on its head any more than the premise suggests, but fucking hell, they just did and it changed the whole seires immediately. Total writing clinic here.

X-Men Prime #1: good primer for where the X-books are going. I like the idea of what the young original X-Men are going to do and totaly want to do more. Gold will have my interest with Kitty Pryde as team leader. I like that she'll be calling the shots to Wolverine and Storm. 

X-Men Gold #1: Ok. Besides the anti-semitic stuff layered in that I never would have noticed unless it was pointed out, this was ok. Not great. I'll read another one or two issues before deciding on it. I won't miss Syaf on art. The guy is, and always has been, unremarkable.

Comics: 672
Trades: 27

Graphic Novels: 18

Omnibuses: 12

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Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer - Surprisingly enjoyable. 

Shadoweyes - Decent story in here somewhere, but the pacing is horrendous.  Feels like I'm only reading the even number issues, and those randomly have five pages missing.

Explorer: The Mystery Boxes - Anthology collection about boxes.  As always, hit or miss, but with more hits.

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Spider-Man #18: Okay followup to last issue.

Superman #26: Jon was acting way too much like Damian Wayne in this one. Not sure if that was intentional or if writer Michael Moreci doesn't quite have a handle on Superboy. That said, it was a decent issue; Superman not knowing how to deal with his pre-teen son is a fresh take on the character.

Comics: 417

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Superman #26 (2016): Good issue. I disagree that Jon was too much like Damian because while he was eager and cocky, he wasn't an asshole about it. I really love the dynamic of Superman and a younger sidekick version of himself. The onn thing is that in Action the Kents have moved to Metropolis, but they're still living in Hamilton in Superman. That's gotta sync up some time.

Nightwing #24 (2016): Another good issue.

Deathstroke #21 (2016): Interesting issue that brings a lot of characters together. I love the constant blending in continuities. We get the new 52 Power Girl Tanya and Wally West here, but we also have Adeline, Jericho, and at the end the return of a pretty big character. I've not been following this book, but I am now to see where it goes.

Batman #26 (2016): I think this is a good story, but it's very much in tone like the new 52. Too grimdark for my tastes.

Bane: CONQUEST #3: Love it. Such a fun miniseries.

Spider-Man #18 (2016): This series is picking up nicely. 

Champions #10: Good use of the (remaining) characters during Secret Empire.

Totally Awesome Hulk #20: Interesting story, but all the Ammy bits I loved. Hoping his series survives Legacy because it's been a lot of fun.

Iron Fist #5 (2017): Solid end to the first arc. It's very basic, but the art, as always, makes it.

Ms Marvel #19 (2016): Good as ever, and depressingly prescient. 

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JLA Classified #4-9: Or as it's better known, I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League.

To date, this is the last time Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire revisited their take on the JL. It's a continuation of Formerly Known As the Justice League, outside mainstream DCU continuity, and as such it's a lot of fun that doesn't require a lot of deep investment. The actual story (such as it is) doesn't even start until the third issue; before that it's two solid issues of BWAHAHA; this is by no means a bad thing. Eventually, Booster's general idiocy sends the Super Buddies to Hell or something close enough to it, then an evil Mirror/Mirror dimension, then the story is very suddenly done and you're kind of wondering what happens next. There's an attempt to inject a little seriousness about halfway through (JLI isn't remembered for this, but Giffen/DeMatteis were extremely capable of more than just goofy humor and there was always plenty of drama as well), but it doesn't fit here and feels very out of place. But overall, this is a fun thirty to forty-five minutes.

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Catching up to the half year (6 months)!

Everything We Miss by Luke Pearson: This broke me as a person guys, one of the most emotional books I've read.

The Massive Vol. 1-5 by Brian Wood:  I've been wanting to read some of Brian Wood's stuff for a while now. I had the first trade of this a while ago. I enjoyed it, the climate change apocalypse felt realistic, and it had a great balance of eco-politics, adventure, and a slight tinge of mysticism but it felt a little too episodic for my taste and didn't leave an everlasting impression in terms of characters or emotionality. 

Mark Millar Stuff (MPH, Jupiter's Legacy vol. 1, Nemesis, Supercrooks): All this did was make me ask why I decided to read any Millar in the first place. Loud, brash, dumb, ultra-violent, obvious, and mostly heartless.

Mark Millar Stuff 2 (Chrononauts, Superior): Oh yeah, that's why! A balance of fun core ideas, the delight of adventure, and (in the case of Superior) heartfelt moments.

Mark Millar Stuff 3 (Starlight):  There are time where Millar does go above and beyond the ultra violent movie pitch script or core idea, here Millar in an ode to the adventure serials, provides a timeless story about a man far beyond his prime and his dreams, getting a chance to relive them, truly a fantastic book all around.

The Sixth Gun by Cullen Bunn: I had won a collection of the first 6 trades (which was about half of the series) and started reading them. It's a genre mash with a core of a western with elements of horror, and urban fantasy. It's got a breakneck plot, interesting concepts, and a fully realized world. It's a book the screams fun and interesting, and doesn't take itself too seriously but as a result, it doesn't say anything either, it doesn't do anything really new with the world that it's built. A fun story that was consistently entertaining, and sometimes popcorn entertainment is enough. There's a lot of characters here and many of them are pretty much one dimensional. They try and go further to do something really interesting by the end but it was a little too late for me.  A couple of caveats: I thought the first trade felt like a mini-series that had a complete ending and then Bunn decided to just continue so the story after kind of feels tacked on  for a little while before it finds a groove, also the side stories feel so derivative and unnecessary.

Currently Reading:

Queen & Country by Greg Rucka: I really love Greg Rucka, (I read the full Atticus Kodiak series last year, read his Elektra and Wolverine run the year before, and read his Punisher run the year before that) and I think Queen & Country is my Rucka project this year. I have read the graphic novels before, but without the knowledge of a proper read order (I have the definitive editions, and apparently the novels and the stories in definitive edition number 4 go in between the stories in the other volumes). Now that I have a grip on reading order and have bought all 3 of the novels, I've started on this to read it properly (and fully, it'll be the first time I've touched the novels). I've gotten through quite a few stories, and I absolutely adore the mixture of political drama, office politics, and real life spy work. A lot of internal conflict and pain is portrayed with just quiet panels and with a rotating band of artists, the art is never boring (sometimes certain artists are ill-suited to the story but that's the name of the game). The reading order has helped address some gaps and made the definitive edition stories sit in proper context. I'm currently on the second volume, and am looking forward to read the rest including the three novels.

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Jessica Jones #10: Maybe it's because I'm in a foul mood, but I just don't care about anyone in this book. Jessica is good elsewhere, but she's actively awful in her own series.

Comics: 418

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WicDiv 29: The team's back in form and finally running with the ball after what felt like a bit of a pause story wise. Wonderful, awful puns, and some good silent storytelling in panel details. Looking forward to seeing what happens. 

Bitch Planet Triple Feature 2: This issue seems a bit heavier on the subtle creeping horror, and feels a bit more united in its themes. Particularly like the last two stories. 

Snotgirl 6: Good to see this back, it's been a long pause. Glad to see it switching to bimonthly, though, if it gives them room to breathe. Feels like it's kind of getting its legs back because of the long pause, but it continues to be gorgeous. 

Seven to Eternity 7: Continues the story (which, haven't read six yet, so I'm a bit lost), but with James Harran. 

Zodiac Starforce: The Cries of the Fire Prince 1: Does a good job at catching us up, setting up new storylines, and delivering good comedic beats (Hellboy the turtle!). 

Single Issues: 188
Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 76
Omnibuses: 3

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Oops I forgot a few:

Considering that a spidey movie was coming up soon, I wanted to read a couple of spidey books.

The Fearless Defenders by Cullen Bunn: A overwhelmingly obvious plan to raise stock value on the superheroines of the Marvel-verse, you have this book that just keeps throwing more and more characters into the pot with little consequence. While the core team of Valykrie and Misty Knight is what drew me, they quickly get side-stepped by the crazy amount of characters in here, plots, sub-plots, and villains.

Superior Spider-man by Dan Slott: As interesting (and controversial) as this run started out, it was very difficult to continue reading and moving through. It has aF lot of supporting characters that I don't know and eases it's way in and out some continuity storylines (with some of the other Spidey books) that I'm not privy to, so that made it more of a confusing read than normal. Along with that, I just didn't like the obvious way that Slott would hit upon his themes of "SUPERIOR," and ultimately by the end, along with my confusion, I didn't care all that much.

Superior Foes of Spider-man: Freaking excellent. A fun romp through the D-list superhero world that makes these villains actually engaging and interesting. It's everything that Suicide Squad film wished it was. Probably the best "superhero" comic I've read all year.

Ms. Marvel (Kamala Kham) through The Last Days arc:  Even though I ultimately decided that the book wasn't for me, I notice that this is obviously a fantastic book, and a great way to envelope diversity through the use of humor and regular day teenage problems. I'm a bit removed from the teenage issues that this book addresses, and it was hard for me connect, even if I find Kamala adorable. 

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1 hour ago, elnino14 said:

 

Superior Spider-man by Dan Slott: As interesting (and controversial) as this run started out, it was very difficult to continue reading and moving through. It has aF lot of supporting characters that I don't know and eases it's way in and out some continuity storylines (with some of the other Spidey books) that I'm not privy to, so that made it more of a confusing read than normal. Along with that, I just didn't like the obvious way that Slott would hit upon his themes of "SUPERIOR," and ultimately by the end, along with my confusion, I didn't care all that much.

 

Superior Spider-Man is fun but significantly flawed. The biggest issue for me (aside from implying that Peter would let a little girl die to save his own life) is that for however unsubtle Ock is when he's posing as Peter, there's not enough "Hey wtf?" moments from the cast. Spider-Man shoots a man in the face on live television, and Mary Jane has nothing to say to it. She doesn't start suspecting anything until she hears him say "Toodle-loo" issues later. It's one of those particular points that constantly holds Slott back as being as good as a lot of people want to say he is.

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25 minutes ago, Donomark said:

Superior Spider-Man is fun but significantly flawed. The biggest issue for me (aside from implying that Peter would let a little girl die to save his own life) is that for however unsubtle Ock is when he's posing as Peter, there's not enough "Hey wtf?" moments from the cast. Spider-Man shoots a man in the face on live television, and Mary Jane has nothing to say to it. She doesn't start suspecting anything until she hears him say "Toodle-loo" issues later. It's one of those particular points that constantly holds Slott back as being as good as a lot of people want to say he is.

Yeah the shooting on live tv not ringing any alarm bells was highly suspect.

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Batman: THE HILL: Written by Christopher Priest. Illustrated by Shawn Martinbrough.

Batman and Gordon tackle the drug trade in The Hill, a lower income projects area in Gotham. 

It's not  good. The writing is haphazard where it's hard to follow events from sequence to sequence. The artwork is heavily inked, where everything is in half-dark. But the real problem is that this story purports to tackle race and class in Gotham. To quote Straight Outta Compton, it's an After-School Special at best. Nothing of significance is really highlighted. There's a black drug kingpin who frustrates Gordon because he's so untouchable until the end where Batman scares him. Nothing is said about the social inequities in Gotham or the racial component in how the police see low-end black communities. Batman's almost entirely unsympathetic throughout until the end where he spouts out a few platitudes to demonstrates that he "gets it". It's all very shallow.

Unfortunately, Christopher Priest is one of those guys whose creative mind isn't the best when it comes to speaking about issues that effect the black community like poverty and crime. He's uninterested in enlightening any white kid who might pick this up as a Batman fan, because he's writing this as a Batman fan first and a black author second. To an extent I sympathize, but this was published in 2000, three years after Milestone closed up. Books like Icon, Static and Blood Syndicate ran circles around this when it came to superheroes tackling real world issues. I say this because Priest was part of the initial Milestone planning and was going to be the Editor-In-Chief until the last minute. So this type of storytelling wasn't something that was out of his depth. Joe Illdge was editing the Bat-Books in the early 2000s, (If you read the Bat-Books around that time, they were across the board very diverse. Cassandra Cain's series is the biggest highlight.) so he was pushing for this kind of real world storytelling. He must've been asleep at the wheel with this story. I'd recommend Batman: ORPHEUS for a much better "Black people in Gotham" miniseries. That's much more focused, has more straight-talk, and directly confronts Batman with questions of who he sees as criminals and victims in the realm of crime-fighting. The Hill is too pleased with itself, and is something that is better left skipped.

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God only knows what I've already written about, but I can't sleep because I'm angry at myself for getting half my party killed in Darkest Dungeon.

Man Of Many Faces v1, 2 and Clamp School Defenders v1: Apparently you can put the CLAMP name on any old thing and it'll...yeah. A couple fine fourth wall breaking moments but maybe for complete-ists only, if that.

Satoshi Kon's Opus: Hyper meta, surprisingly funny.

Days Like This: Inoffensive digest sized comic from Oni about a group of black middle school girls getting talented scouted in Motown-era Detroit. Charming.

A Bride's Story v8: I cannot remember for the life of me what happened, but I don't care because Kaoru Mori's shit is beautiful.

The Black Dhalia (comic adaptation): They got a budget European for this and while his style fits the narrative, it does not quite click in the way they hoped it would. Browse through it to see what I mean.

My Brother's Husband v1: An old school Japanese gay porn dude weaves a story of a Japanese man coming to terms with his brother's death and his own homophobia through the vehicle of his brother's husband coming to Japan to see his dead lover's home. One of my favorite things I read this year.

Psycho-Pass v2: Above-average/solid sf police/detective serial. Way more backgrounds than I expected. Someone put time and effort into this tie in.

Moonshine v1: Here's the 100 Bullets team and it's exactly the twisty plot and pitch perfect dialogue you've come to expect from the team. Steady as she goes, this time with werewolves.

MPD-Psycho v11: I bought this because the internet told me there was a Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service crossover. This comic is even more brutal, deranged and terrifying than Kurosagi. I'm happy I read it, but if knew the crossover was so short, I wouldn't have bothered.

My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness: Another staggeringly good manga, this one about a lesbian virgin with anxiety. It's the kind of thing I would've loved to see as a teenager and I'm scared I would've found a way to avoid reading it or dismiss it. She puts you in her shoes.

Beowulf: DAVID RUBÍN IS A GOD WE ARE NOT WORTHY

Black Science HC v1: The art on any Rick Remender project is never the problem. The problem is Remender apparently only has one narrator and that's heavy first person male that hates himself and needs to make up for his mistakes, usually catalyzed by watching his black friends die. This taste of Mr. Remender's work is a sprawling sci-fi multi world thing that resembles a "punk rock" version of wait what was that low budget scifi show where marines go through a portal to other places because reasons? It's like that. I've got a soft spot for Remender, but I prefer the Deadly Class version of his stories.

The Fourth Power: Finally, Juan Giménez's other big big work is collected in a massive oversized hardcover and it's jawdroppingly pretty. It's got jarring tonal problems (the first album is space Akira, but with terrestrial dogfights, fighter pilots and maybe some war comic, but mostly also massive fucking tits everywhere.

Harrow County v1-3: Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook get together to make a southern horror comic that seems so precisely up Dark Horse's alley I'm surprised they're not paying their publisher royalties. Tyler Crook shines, and they work in a cool guest appearance by Carla Speed McNeil.

Blinded By The Ice: A Yuri On Ice!!! (I don't know how many exclamation points are in that shows title and I'm too goddamned tired to look it up) fan doshinji. Cute. That's about it.

Midnighter v1: Steve Orlando nailed the voice of Midnighter, but I could not begin to care about Midnighter or any of his rogues gallery or even Midnighter's friends. I haven't returned to Warren Ellis' Authority, so can anyone tell me if there's a personality to Midnighter beyond "I'm expy Frank The Tank Batman, I wear leather and I quip 'seriously' about rough sex"? ACO's the star here.

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Oh yeah, Batman/Elmer Fudd was fucking great.

I have a lot of thoughts about The Egyptian Princesses, but they boil down to it's another Baranko comic, enjoy the ride.

Shutter v1-4: Yes, well done, one of Image's secret successes.

Long Walk To Valhalla: Nowhere midwest town person gets found by a valkyrie. What happens next is actually surprising.

Edited by jim

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Defenders #3: Loving everything about this book. Luke Cage making The Punisher look like a punk was awesome!

Spider-Men II #1: Do the characters know their realities were merged thanks to Secret Wars (2015)? I thought they didn't, but Peter directly references it.

Comics: 420 (heh)

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Defenders #3: I'm sorry, but Jessica Jones doesn't know who Frank Castle is? Bullshit

Spider-Men II #1: I'm as confused as Mike. This fundamentally changes Miles' character.

Amazing Spider-Man #29 (2015): Not a bad issue.

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Yeah, even with the soft reset of the universe and his origin, everyone knows The Punisher's name. A decorated Marine turned vigilante would be huge news. So, yeah, Jessica being oblivious was strange.

In the Ultimate Universe, Rio Morales was murdered. Does Miles remember that?

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