Search Results for two years in the precinct

Two Years In The Precinct…

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The Precinct, Secret Lair Of Great Comics

Excerpt Taken From – ‘In Pursuit Of Precinct1313’

The storm raged tempestuously around us as we made our way through the treacherous and foreboding woodland intent on finding our prize, a long sought after structure of otherworldly power. We had been searching for this mythical edifice since we first heard whispers of its existence years earlier. Pushing ever deeper into the dense thicket, stopping only to cut our way through the tangle of overgrown trees and foliage, which in this storm moved and weaved almost as if attempting to drive us back. Craning my head up into the driving rain and winds, I noticed my colleague, who was a few feet ahead of me, had come to a stop, his gaze transfixed on something ahead.

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“Pete?” I said, placing my hand on his right shoulder, “What’s up dude?,” Pete turned his face towards me, his expression was a mix of both elation and fear, a strange combination to be sure. He motioned a nod forwards and it was then that I noticed, not more than maybe twenty or so feet ahead, a dark and ominous building that strangely felt like it was looking, right back, at me!  “I, uh, think this might be it” I said in a rather flustered tone, I was rattled believe me, the storm had almost immediately stopped as we had, which in itself was extremely unsettling. Pete and I looked at each other and then uniformly moved warily forward into what was now an almost deafeningly disquieting silence. 

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The impressive structure loomed towards us like a brooding nightmare from a Lovecraftian novel. Pete hastened up the stone steps stopping at the entrance portentously, I arrived at his side just as he was reaching for the handle. The large oak doors slowly creaked open, and suddenly, some ‘thing’ from inside, invisible to our eyes, pushed violently through us… “Free,” it uttered, “Free, at last.” Pete, strangely unperturbed by the freakish phenomena, moved forward into the darkened halls ahead, and, with a little more trepidation, I followed…

 

Two years have now passed since that fate filled night, and we find ourselves still trapped here in the vast depths of Precinct1313’s comic crypts. Which overall for you, our loyal Special Agents and readers means we can continue to provide an in depth look at all things DC Comics, be it movies, merchandise or the actual comic books themselves.

DCLine - Edited (1)This year in particular has been an exciting one for this website thanks to release of the one film that we have waited what seems like millennia for… Batman v Superman. Not only did we get to see the two most iconic Superheroes of all time clash in a spectacular battle-royale, we also were treated to the big screen debut of Wonder Woman, and Gal Gadot shone brightly in the role (damn near stealing the movie, to be honest.) Which brings us neatly onto our most viewed post this year, after the furore and misinformation about the film brought on by the “professional” critics we felt the balance had to be addressed on what is the greatest Superhero movie since Watchmen, with an article we titled – Batman v Superman: Dawn Of The Critics. 

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And as the Amazing Amazon continues to wow audiences on the silver screen she also reigns supreme here in the hallowed halls of Precinct1313. Our regular series – Classic Wonder Woman is approaching its fiftieth instalment and continues to be a great source of views, even more so since Gal Gadot’s sterling onscreen performance introduced the Themysciran Titan to a new fanbase. Our trek through the ancient Amazon archives has been filled with great tales of heroism, wonderment and tragedy, and the most viewed of all of these so far has been – Classic Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman (vol 3) #20.

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This year marked the anniversary of the original costumed crimefighter. An astonishing eighty years in print was achieved by Lee Falk’s groundbreaking comic book creation – The Phantom. In honour of this astounding achievement, Precinct1313 became a Phantom Zone, devoting the website for an entire week of posts dedicated to just the Ghost Who Walks.  ‘For Those Who Came In Late’ was the most viewed of these and was also met with an incredible 210 Facebook shares, a new record for the humble Precinct.

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The Phantom Galloped Into The History Books This Year, And Stopped Off At The Precinct For A Week Long Celebration

And so, with another year tucked under our utility belt, we continue unabated as we head full on into an even more exciting second half of 2016 for DC Comics. With the unrated cut of Batman v Superman a mere six weeks from home release and the next movie in DC’s burgeoning cinematic universe – Suicide Squad less than two months from hitting the big screen, not to mention the recent shake-up of their comic book universe with ‘Rebirth’  DC are marching forward into spandex clad dominance. And we shall be there, on the mean streets of Gotham City and the lush paradise island known as Themyscira, to bring you the news and views on the world’s most beloved heroes.

Thank you once again to everyone who has followed, liked, commented and read the posts here in the Precinct, it is you’ who make this entire endeavour worthwhile. batman 

Precinct1313 Recommends: Wonder Woman Historia – The Amazons

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By the glorious gods of Gaea! DC Comics newest entry in their mature Black Label line is an absolutely astounding piece of art from two of the comic-book industries greatest talents, writer – Kelly Sue DeConnick and the superlative artistic talent that is Phil Jimenez, who has spent close to three years perfecting the glorious renderings contained within this exalted manuscript.

Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons’ first issue recounts and adapts the captivating creation of DC Comics’ Amazons, the immortal race of warrior women tasked by the Greek gods with the protection and guidance of Humankind. Borrowing heavily from one of Wonder Woman’s most compelling and predominant contributors – glorious George Perez, whose work on the Themysciran Titan’s 1980’s adventures is still significant in it’s impact on the characters growth in the time since, with much of his benefaction still seen as canon to this day, in fact his beloved work on Princess Diana is seen by most fans as the single greatest take on the character since her original creative team – William Marston and Harry G. Peter, ushered her into existence way back in the early 1940’s.

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Wonder Woman Historia contains, absolutely, the greatest output of beautiful imagery I have ever encountered from talented artist Phil Jimenez, who has been a lifelong fan of Diana, and whose artistic output was heavily influenced by Perez, in fact Phil was the artist/writer for Wondy’s ongoing monthly series throughout the period of 2000 – 2003, and is also seen as one of her biggest ever influences. His work here is a symphonic synergy of magnificent pencils backed ably by the expertise of colourists – Arif Prianto, Hi-Fi, and Romulo Fajardo Jr.

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Historia’s superlative scribe -Kelly Sue DeConnick is another phenomenal talent brought on board to recount the revered history of comicdom’s most beloved fictional females, the Eisner award winning writer is the perfect choice to accompany Jimenez on this astounding odyssey into the atavistic past of the ancestral Amazon race. Together they weave a comic book that stands heads and shoulders above it’s peers, and will almost certainly go down in history as one of the greatest takes on Diana’s beloved sisters.

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Millienia ago, Queen Hera and the goddesses of the Olympian pantheon grew greatly dissatisfied with their male counterparts, and, far from their sight, put a plan into action. A new society was born, one never seen before on Earth, capable of wondrous and terrible things… but their existence would not stay secret for long. When a despairing woman named Hippolyta crossed the path of the Amazons, a series of events was set in motion that would lead to an outright war in the heavenly realms… but also usher in the creation of Earth’s greatest guardian!

Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons #1 is available from your local comic-book emporium right now, and comes highly recommended by this particular Wondy fanatic, Kelly Sue Deconnick constructs an emotional and tumultuous tale recounting the introduction of the immortal Amazons, and Phil Jimenez’s absolutely gorgeous art is a delight to behold, you can certainly see that those three years he spent rendering these immaculate images were worth every single month, as this is literally one of the most exquisite comics I have ever encountered!!

Precinct1313 Recommends: Doomsday Clock – The Complete Collection

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Never was a truer word said Doc… since DC Comics and comic-book author – Geoff Johns – once again returned us to the dystopian landscape of Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons and John Higgins’ original groundbreaking ’80s maxi-series. 

I am a self confessed Watchmen fanboy, it is without a shadow of doubt my favourite comic-book series of all time. When I first consumed Alan Moore’s trailblazing series in 1986, I was blown away, it was a unique and contemporary take on the Superhero genre, a treatise on social anxiety, and a complete deconstruction of traditional Superhero conceptualisation, it was different in every single way possible to everything that came before it, and is almost single-handedly responsible for completely transforming the face of the comic-book medium for future creators, and readers. A veritable masterpiece.

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Since that time we have been regaled with scant few other forays into Moore’s apocalyptic vision, from Director – Zack Snyder’s masterful cinematic adaptation in 2009, a motion comic version of the original series released the same year to coincide with the movie’s release, through DC’s prequel series – Before Watchmen, released in 2012, and more recently, the superb HBO television saga by Damon Lindelof. And though some fans revelled in the new material presented to us (myself included) others believed that the original should have always have been left as a standalone project, with whom co-creator Alan Moore has always sided.

I personally believe that any beloved piece of creation, be it film, novel and comic-book should always be given a chance to grow and re-present itself to a new and modern audience, Snyder’s movie was the first instance of this for Watchmen, opening up the material to new fans, but at the same time being honest and respectful of Moore’s original vision. Watchmen is a world that has so many more tales to tell, and even more lessons to bestow upon it’s readership, and with Geoff Johns’ – Doomsday Clock series, DC did just that, oh and it also marked a return for irascible ink-blot masked vigilante – Rorschach, but not in the way anyone was expecting (I mean, Doc Manhattan did, literally, implode Rorschach at the end of the first series!!)

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Doomsday Clock actually counts as  our first foray back into the pandemonium that is the Watchmen as it’s a direct sequel to the iconic ’80s series, and as controversial as that seems to some fans, as I stated earlier in the post, I personally am more than happy to once again step into the chaotic and dystopian world of the titular Crimebusters. Sequels, movie adaptations, et al, do not dilute the original works, and if done with care and attention to the former work, can add more layers to the existing whole, plus if the idea of a Watchmen sequel is in any way sacrilegious to you, then you can always ignore it and continue to enjoy Moore’s superlative original story in all it’s well deserved glory.

Doomsday Clock is initially set just a few short years after the end of the original storyline, it’s 1992 and the world is still in turmoil after the events set in motion by Ozymandias, but with his scheme now laid bare, the world is once again on the brink of nuclear armageddon. With this premise, writer – Geoff Johns and artist – Gary Franks, effortlessly transport us back to the wonderfully dark and grimy world set up by Moore, stylistically the comic evokes the original material beautifully, from the dialogue set, through to the nine panel grid layout, visually this feels perfectly at home to it’s predecessor.

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Of course, I haven’t even touched upon the cross dimension interaction between the Crimebusters and DC’s regular pantheon of Superheroes, but let’s just say that the Batman/Rorschach team-up is as delightful as you can imagine, with some utterly fantastic dialogue between the two maniacal masked manhunters.

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If you’re fan of Watchmen and can get past the apparent controversy that a sequel to the seminal original exists, then the recently released Doomsday Clock: Complete Collection is an absolute must buy. Johns and co have presented us with an extremely well written dark, but at times amusing return to the world of masked vigilantes, chaos and deep rooted fear and anxiety, and I for one am more than happy to continue my stay in its fatalistic presence. Highly recommended.

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Comic Cover Of The Week: Robson Rocha Tribute – Catwoman #31

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This episode of Comic Cover Of The Week is dedicated to the terrific talent that was Robson Rocha, the DC Comics artist who passed away suddenly on Sunday at the age of 41.

Robson was a force to be reckoned with in the world of comic books, getting his inaugural start at DC Comics in 2010, where he was responsible for the art duties on DC’s New 52 titles that included such gems as Batman/Superman and Birds of Prey. Signing exclusively with DC in 2016, Robson went on to showcase his extraordinary artistic talents on several DC Rebirth titles such as – Supergirl, Green Lanterns, and Teen Titans, and, of course, his almost peerless run on Aquaman. These titles showcased his inordinate expertise in exquisite detail and fine line work, but unfortunately his promising career was cut short by Covid 19 complications on Sunday, June 13, when he was taken from the world at just 41 years of age.

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The lead image from Catwoman #31 is my favourite cover by Robson, with a close second being the above portrayal of a smooching Arthur Curry and Mera from Aquaman #65. His talent and presence will be missed, and our thoughts and best wishes go out to Robson’s family and friends at this time. 

Seven Years In The Precinct – An Anniversary Special

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Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to our sensational seventh year of existence! That’s right, it’s been an ebullient eighty four months since the majestic mansion of mystery materialised unto this plane of existence. Our mission (which we chose to accept) was to provide you with some decidedly delectable DC Comics documentation, whilst behind the scenes we continued to map out the labyrinthian corridors, herculean hallways and colossal comic crypts that encompass this runic and recondite residence. And as we make our way merrily down through the interminable depths of this endless edifice on our way to commemorate at the infamous Halls of Quaffing to celebrate in style, why not join us in geeky remembrance of some of our favourite past posts emanating from the zenith of this arcane abode.

Our first port of call shall be the abstruse anomaly known as The Scrying Chamber, whence sits, upon a single stone table, a stygian black crystal ball, so join me fellow agents as we stare deeply into its sanguine depths and re-live our personal favourite posts from the past seven scintillating years…league of superpets Banner

Ace, Krypto and Streaky Too!

Our most recent and without a doubt most fun to write fictional foray was this post dedicated to the awesome and adorable animals that populate the DC Universe. These super-powered pets include such dynamic delights as flying felines, detective deducing dogs and, yep, even a Bat-Cow! And you can peruse (and pet) this perky post – Right Here.

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Mister Miracle – Tom King/Mitch Gerads Review

Emotional, poignant, groundbreaking are just some of the superlatives we used to describe this phenomenal piece of comic-book fiction by King and Gerads, a fitting return to Jack Kirby’s Fourth World saga, and a superlative homecoming for our personal favourite Kirby created character, the titular Mister Miracle himself. In fact we loved this series so much we hailed it as – The Greatest Comic-Book Series Since Watchmen! – visit the post – Right Here – to find out why.

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Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed Review

As you’re all probably bored of hearing right now, ’cause we never, ever shut up about it (and never shall!) we love Wondy here in Precinct1313, she is our favourite comic book creation of all time! And just recently the glorious gods of Olympus once more bestowed upon us mere mortals yet another thrilling tale of the Themysciran Titan with the fabulous Laurie Halse Anderson penned opus – Tempest Tossed – a sublime celebration of the wondrous one, and you can read our rapturous review of this titanic tome – Right Here.

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The Bat Loves The Cat – Comics’ Greatest Love Story

The Bat most assuredly does love the cat, in fact they’ve been dancing around each other emotionally for the past eight decades! Yep, that’s eighty years of perfect passion procrastination! No character has had a more emotive impact on the Dark Knight’s melancholic life than sultry Selina Kyle aka -Catwoman! Why not re-live their tender tale of romance – Right Here

Phew, thanks for sticking with us as we shared some of our personal favourite posts we have submitted to the WordPress world over the past seven years, and as we near the great Halls of Quaffing for mucho merriment, allow me to say a massive THANK YOU to all of the Precinct’s followers, readers and fellow bloggers… it is YOU that makes this joyous journey worthwhile. Hopefully the majestic mansion will  be here for another seven years, so we can continue to share our love and passion for DC Comics and general geekdom!

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Oh, And As Ever – Make Mine DC!

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The Week In Geek… With Precinct1313

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Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another enticing episode of – The Week In Geek – where we love to share our favourite Comic-Book, Video-Game, and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure. And so, once more unto the geek, dear agents, once more…

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DC Celebrate 80 Years Of Wonder…

Merciful Minerva! can you believe it’s been almost eight decades since the Themysciran Titan was first ushered into existence! That’s right fellow fans of fantastic female fiction, the wondrous one will shortly be celebrating her astounding amazonian anniversary, and DC Comics are inviting you along to partake in this astonishing achievement by releasing a cavalcade of cool comic-book collectables.

First and foremost, a 100 page super spectacular will be released on October 21, which marks the date of Wondy’s first ever appearance in All Star Comics #8. This terrific tribute tome will feature all new stories and artwork by some of Diana’s most accomplished artists and sensational scribes, with a cover by the Eisner award winning artist Yanick Paquette.

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Plus if you’re still craving even more of the Amazon Princess’ astonishing adventures (and let’s be honest, who isn’t) then you’re going to want to head on down to your local comic-book emporium in June to pick up the new six issue anthology series – Wonder Woman: Black And Gold. This limited series forms a major part of Diana’s eightieth celebration, and will include titanic tales of not just our favourite fictional female but also her friends, allies and enemies including Cheetah, Amethyst, and, of course, the ever entertaining Etta Candy.

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Wonder Woman: Black and Gold #1 will have various writers and artists lending their formidable talents to the legend of Themyscira’s favourite daughter including the likes of Amy Reeder, Ryan Sook Becky Cloonan, Ming Doyle and many, many more. There will also be a veritable virtuoso of variant cover to delect and delight in from Joshua Middleton, Yanick Paquette, and the amazing Ramona Fradon!

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Green Arrow Also Celebrates 80 Years Of Bombastic Bowmanship…

Hot on the heels of Diana’s celebrated creation comes the Emerald Archer himself, Green Arrow! Ostentatious Oliver Queen made his dynamic debut in – More Fun Comics #73, in November 1941, created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp. To commemorate the battling bowman’s octogenarian outings, DC will release a 100 page emerald extravaganza to pay tribute to continuing legacy of GA, his allies, and arch-enemies. Similar to Wonder Woman’s own anniversary anthology, Green Arrow’s very own 100 page super spectacular will bring together some of the marvellous mainstays of Oliver’s past and present. Artists and writers include – the marvellous Mike Grell, Tom Taylor, Jeff Lemire, Nicola Scott, Laura Braga, Mariko Tamaki and many more. 

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The main cover itself will be by Detective Comics’ artist – Dan Mora, plus there will be an entire quiver of valiant variants depicting the vaunted vigilante throughout his formidable reign as the worlds greatest bowman – from a 1940’s style illustration by Michael Cho, a 50’s one by Daniel Warren Johnson, with the 1960’s version by the amazing Neal Adams, 70’s by Derrick Chew, 80’s from Gary Frank, 90’s variation by Howard Peter, 2000’s by Jen Bartel, rounding off with a 2010 cover by Simone Di Meo… phew! The Green Arrow Anthology celebrations begin on June 29.

Why Not Join Us Again Next Time, For More Week In Geek!

‘For Those Who Came In Late…’ 85 Years Of The Phantom

“I swear to devote my life to the destruction of all forms of piracy, greed, cruelty, and injustice, and my sons and their sons shall follow me”

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Wonder Woman and Batman have been the cornerstones of Precinct1313 since this website sprang into existence over six years ago. They are as vital to this blog as oxygen is to a drowning man… though, there is another masked man who didn’t originate from the same wellspring as Bruce and Diana, and yet is almost as popular as the titanic two. In fact, it was the ‘Guardian of the Eastern Dark’ that held the starring role in our very first ever blog post here in the hallowed halls of Precinct1313.

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February 17, 2021 marks the astonishing 85th anniversary of Lee Falk’s ground-breaking character – The Phantom. Phantom was the first of what later became a barrage of Superheroes, preceding DC’s Superman by a full two years, and the character was also crucial in the development of The Batman, with the Dark Knight’s co-creator – Bill Finger, citing The Phantom as a major influence on the Caped Crusader’s creation.

It was ‘The Ghost Who Walks’ who originally donned a colourful costume and domino mask and fought an eternal and ceaseless war on crime, injustice, and evil men with just his quick wits, martial skills and a courageous wolf companion named Devil. The Phantom truly is ‘He Who Came First’ in the mega popular world of the Superhero, the template for all the costume clad heroes who arose in his stead.

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The Phantom was created by Lee Falk in 1936, and made his auspicious debut almost to this very day (I meant to get this posted yesterday, Phantom’s actual birthday, unfortunately the internet gods shouted “Nay!”) in a newspaper serial strip. Falk was an american writer and artist who had previously created the majestic mage – Mandrake the Magician, in 1934 before going on to usher into existence The Phantom a mere two years later. Lee Falk was born in Missouri in 1911, and spent the majority of his youth there, he was a gifted writer and pitched his idea for Mandrake to King Features Syndicate, Falk was a huge fan of stage magicians and illusionists, and actually based the look of Mandrake on his very own visage. The Phantom sprang from Falk’s love of myths and legends such as King Arthur, and popular fictional creations Tarzan and Robin Hood.

Kit Walker is The Phantom, 21st in a lineage of costumed crime-fighters that first began in 1536, when the father of British sailor Christopher Walker was killed by the treacherous pirate clan – The Singh Brotherhood. Swearing an oath on the skull of his father’s now slain murderer, he became the first Phantom, beginning a legacy that would pass on from father to son for generations. The outside world though, believed it to be the same man, an immortal, a Ghost Who Walks, fighting injustice from his secret Skull Cave deep in the heart of the Bangalla jungle. Fighting alongside his wolf Devil, and white steed Ghost, the Man Who Cannot Die instils fear into the corrupt and hope amongst the innocent, in his never ending pursuit against the evil that men do.

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The Ghost Still Walks… Happy 85th Kit Walker!

 

The Phantom is copyright – King Features Syndicate.

Precinct1313’s Video-Game Vaults Presents: Dark Souls

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I’ve been a gamer for well over thirty years now, in which time I have watched the respective technology of this immersive medium grow exponentially more complex over the decades, not just the relevant console tech itself but also the inherent maturation of gameplay, graphics and storylines contained within these entrancing virtual worlds. One of the things that defined games of previous generations, such as Sega’s Megadrive, and Nintendo’s SNES, weren’t the less complicated pixel form graphics but the relative difficulty of the actual games themselves, modern games, in stark contrast to their ’80s classic counterparts are rather easy in comparison… until Dark Souls.

Dark Souls released in 2011 from Japanese gaming guru’s From Software, an outstanding action role-play game set in the perilous lands of the ancients, known as Lordran. Technically the second game in the Souls series, a spiritual successor to From’s former sensation – Demons Souls.

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‘Prepare To Die’ are the ominous words that greet the beleaguered player on the box art, and die you shall, again and again, once, twice or thrice more… now, if you’re thinking to yourself at this moment that this doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun, I say au contraire, my fellow gaming buddies, it’s the difficulty itself that makes Souls the glorious gem it is. A tangible sense of achievement and progress is gained from defeating that impossible boss character that has managed to annihilate your anxious avatar fifteen times on the trot, memorising their strategies, or just purely surviving make for a seriously satisfying sense of accomplishment when you finally do manage to best your cyber-space nemesis.

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Difficulty aside, the world and lore of Dark Souls is really rather fascinating, but unlike its peers in the RPG genre, does very little through direct exposition to the player bar the initial (and still rather vague) introductory cut-scene. Dark Souls lore is embedded in its characters, architecture, and items, all vital knowledge and exegesis is derived from multiple conversations with the NPC’s (even then, the ambiguity of their replies require you to dig even further to interpret) or the descriptions that accompany the various weapons, armour and items acquired as you traverse through the treacherous land that is Lordran.

In fact, the narrative is so well embedded that you’d be forgiven for thinking that the creators had decided to not even add one, yet if you’re willing to dig deep and immerse yourself in its perfidious prose you will be rewarded with one of the most cerebral and emotional chronicles that gaming has wrought. But, if plot is of no interest to you, and your only reasoning for venturing into this precarious predicament is for the conflict, then that’s fine, because the combat system in Dark Souls is superlative.

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Dark Souls combat absolutely is its defining feature, weighty, precise and intricate. Though it can initially feel a somewhat shallow fighting system, it slowly forms into one of the greatest combat engines to ever grace an RPG. The substantial weaponry open to your prostate protagonist begins with the player’s choice of class, do you prefer to tread the duplicitous world of Lordran as a steel clad knight, maybe a leather bound assassin, or perhaps sorcery is more your style, whichever role you decide upon, you are guaranteed an expansive choice of weaponry, armour, spells and shields (which are your absolute best friends in Souls) for your perpetually pained paladin.

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Of course, all the entrancing exposition, crazy combat and awesome armour count for naught if there are no memorable antagonists to pit your plucky (though usually plucked!) hero against, and the adversaries in Souls are some of the largest and most unforgiving any persistent paladin has ever faced. From the humble undead, to the terrifying half arachnid- half witch Queelag, the foes you face down are some of the most remorseless and unrelenting you have ever had the ill will to encounter.

The bosses are unyielding in their pursuit of your demise, from the aforementioned Queelag, through gilded knights – Dragonslayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough (the dynamic duo of video-game hell!) your gaming skills and cred will be tested to their utmost limits, but each and every time (many, many times!) you will assimilate a little more of their inherent patterns and weaknesses, until you finally revel in their eventual expiration.

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There is also an extremely popular online PvP mode, where Souls aficionados can test their mettle against other players, whilst invading their worlds or duelling one on one, though this substantive mode rarely interested me personally, though I did enjoy the ability of being able to call upon one of my Dark Souls brethren (hi Dan!) to join me in jolly co-op, and sanguinely slay a boss or two, or to at least share in my torment!

This game has so much depth, intrinsic lore, customisation and complexity that this review could easily become an epic of encyclopedic extravagance, so I will just say this… do you love – Videogames, , fantasy, bloody huge swords, labyrinthine lore and are a little bit of a masochist at heart? then you’ll fall absolutely head over heels with the world that is Dark Souls, just be prepared to die again, and again, and again…

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Precinct1313’s Top Ten Favourite Comic-Book Covers Of All Time: No.07 – The Phantom #1 – Dave Gibbons

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“I swear to devote my life to the destruction of all forms of piracy, greed, cruelty and injustice, and my sons and their sons shall follow me!”

And with that astonishing axiom… The Phantom was born! Welcome back, fellow fans of fantastic fiction, to the continuing countdown of our absolute favourite comic-book covers of all time. In our last entertaining episode we shared the work of the Bat-tastic and inimitable Norm Breyfogle, and his resplendent representation of the Dark Knight on the cover of Batman #465. This time we’ll be exploring the infamous Skull Cave, deep in the heart of the jungles of Bangalla, as we celebrate Dave Gibbons’ ‘phantastic’ Phantom #1 cover which first released in May 1988.

dcs-phantom-mini-series-editedThe Phantom was created by Lee falk in 1936, which makes his dynamic debut an incredible eighty five years ago… cementing him as the world’s original Superhero, a full two years before Superman first soared across the skies! Falk was an American writer and artist who had previously created the character, Mandrake the Magician in 1934, before going on to create The Phantom a mere two years later.

Lee Falk was born in St Louis, Missouri in 1911 and spent much of his youth there, he was a gifted writer and pitched his idea for Mandrake to King Features Syndicate. Falk was a huge fan of stage magicians, and actually based the look of Mandrake on on himself. The Phantom sprang from Falk’s unfailing love of myths and legends, such as King Arthur, plus popular fictional creations including two of his favourites, Tarzan and Robin Hood. (P1313 fun facts: Bill Finger, co-creator of Batman was a huge Phantom fan and used ideas such as the Phantom’s Skull Cave and loyal retainer – Guran, as inspiration for the Batcave and faithful father figure, Alfred!)

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Kit Walker is The Phantom, 21st in a lineage of costumed crimefighters that first began in 1536 when the father of British sailor Christopher Walker was killed by the Singh Brotherhood. Swearing an oath on the skull of his father’s murderer he became the first Phantom, beginning a legacy that would pass on from father to son for generations. The outside world though believed it was the same man, an immortal, a Ghost Who Walks, fighting injustice, piracy and greed from his secret Skull Cave, in the jungles of Bangalla. Fighting alongside his pet wolf – Devil, and his trusty steed – Ghost, the Man Who Cannot Die, instils fear in the corrupt, and hope to the innocent, in his never ending pursuit of the evil that men do!

Why Not Join Us Again Next Time, Fellow Agents Of Precinct1313, For Our Continuing Celebratory Countdown Of Cool And Crazy Comic Cover Collectables!

Precinct1313’s Top Ten Favourite Comic-Book Covers Of All Time: No.08 – Batman #465 – Norm Breyfogle

Welcome back fellow fans of fantastic fiction to the continuing countdown of our absolute favourite comic-book covers of all time. In our last enthralling episode we introduced you to the illustrious illustrations of the sublime Phil Jimenez, with his terrific take on Lynda Carter’s classic Wonder Woman,  this time we shine the Bat signal on one of the of the mediums most defining artists to have ever rendered the Masked Manhunter, the late, great, Norm Breyfogle.

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As I have mentioned many times previously, I have been a fan of the big bad bat since I was a mere six years of age, and looking back on all the wonderful writer/artists that have brought their seminal talents to the bombastic bat mythos over the past eight decades, one compellingly creative combo stands out from the crowd for this particular Bat-fanatic, Alan Grant (the Brit comic-book writer, not the dinosaur dude!) and inimitable illustrator – Norm Breyfogle. Together, this dynamic duo blew this particular fan’s Bat-socks off by creating some of the greatest Batman tales ever put to paper through their long and varied run (six years in fact) on both Batman and its sister publication Detective Comics. Norm’s style suited the dark and surly one to absolute perfection, angular, gothic and almost Germanic in its form, he would go on to set a precedent for how we view the look of The Batman today.

Norm will always be my personally preferred purveyor of everyone’s favourite nocturnal pointy eared vigilante, sadly though Norm was taken from us in October of 2018 after suffering heart failure at a mere 58 years of age. RIP Norm, we’ll always have your absolutely astounding artwork to remember your tremendous talent, and you were destined to make this list, for being quite literally, one of THE greatest comic-book artists of all time, and an outright gentleman to your fans and peers.

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Why Not join Us Again Next Time, Fellow Agents Of Precinct1313, For Our Continuing Celebratory Countdown Of Cool Comic Cover Collectables!

 

Precinct1313’s Top Ten Favourite Comic-Book Covers Of All Time: No.09 – Wonder Woman 77 Special: Phil Jimenez Variant

Welcome back fellow fans of fantastic fiction to our top ten countdown of the Precinct’s absolute favourite comic-book covers of all time. With well over eight enthralling decades of comic-book publishing and literally millions of cool comic cover collectables, it’s been an arduous task picking out just ten (even the 12 labours of Hercules pale in comparison to this epic odyssey!) Our first perennial pick was Bill Sienkiewicz’s haunting variant for Frank Miller’s epic Batman return with Dark Knight III. However, this enraptured episode focuses on one of my favourite Wonder Woman artists of all time, the masterful Phil Jimenez and his esteemed take on the illustrious icon that is none other than sensational seventies superstar, the lovely Lynda Carter, with Wonder Woman 77 Special #1.

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The fantastic Phil Jimenez has been writing and drawing comics since 1991, and has spent a large swathe of his career working for DC Comics and has, over time, created some of their greatest ever storylines with absolutely astonishing paradigms including such gems as – Infinite Crisis, The Return Of Donna Troy and Teen Titans, but it is the Themysciran Titan that Phil’s outstanding oeuvre is still  staunchly synonymous with.

Phil is clearly influenced by his (and one of my) idol the great George Perez, and was delighted when he was taken onboard as the ongoing writer /artist for Wonder Woman beginning in issue #164 in 2001, and would continue in this creative capacity for a full two years, defining that run as one of the greatest in WW’s long and varied history. Phil is also an eternal enthusiast of Lynda Carter and her terrific take on Diana Prince, so was the definitive choice as the cover artist for this WW77 variant, and it is glorious!

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Why Not Join Us Again Next Time Fellow Agents Of Precinct1313 For Our Continuing Celebrative Countdown Of Commendably Cool Comic Cover Collectables!

 

Precinct1313’s Top Ten Favourite Comic-Book Covers Of All Time: No.10 – Dark Knight III, Bill Sienkiewicz Variant

Welcome fellow fans of fantastic fiction to our top ten countdown of the Precinct’s favourite comic-book covers of all time. As we near the end of a rather interminable and excruciating year, let’s relax for awhile and take in some absolutely astounding art from some of the coolest creators in comic history. At #10 stands the bombastic Bill Sienkiewicz’s hauntingly beautiful variant cover for Frank Miller’s mythic return to Batman with – Dark Knight III: The Master Race.

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The original Dark Knight Returns saga by Frank Miller was a defining moment for The Batman, Miller’s alternate take on the much loved Superhero cast the character in an even more extreme grim, gritty and violent setting, with the caped crusader himself a dour and sullen character whose inner demons continually haunt him as the weight of age and a life of brutal violence takes its toll. We follow an ageing Bruce Wayne as he struggles with these psychological demons, and attempts to hold back his rage and inefficacy through alcohol addiction and suicidal abandon of his life through varying extreme motor sports.

Miller’s authoritative 80’s series, alongside classics – Watchmen and V For Vendetta, shook up an atrophying comic book industry and presented a more adult and psychologically emotional depth to Superhero comics, defining the future of the industry in a monumental way.

Miller returned to his raison d’etre in the 2001 follow up mini series The Dark Knight Strikes Again, yet, unlike its groundbreaking predecessor, this was not favourably received by fans or critics alike (myself included) the book was little more than a parody of previous events, and Miller’s artwork had taken a severe downturn in quality.

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Jump forward 17 years and Dark Knight III: The Master Race debuted, the newest chapter in the alternative Bat-verse, and it was… mostly OK, I guess, unfortunately the original series was such a phenomenon that any subsequent take has fared rather badly, unable to match the originals magnificence.

That said, there were some defining moments (mostly visual) in this ongoing series that certainly took the breath away from this particular Bat-fan, and this gorgeous Bill Sienkiewicz variant cover is one of those marvellous moments. It sublimely evokes a man haunted by his past, a broken figure who has ultimately accepted his failing to protect the city and people he loves, yet will fight on even though it almost certainly mean his own demise… this image, to me, defines The Batman irrevocably, and contains more emotional substance than both the second and third chapters of the Dark Knight trilogy put together.

Why not join us again next time fellow agents of Precinct1313, for our continuing countdown of commendable comic cover collectables!

Precinct1313 Recommends: Wonder Woman – Dead Earth

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Precinct1313 is a dilemma within a mystery, contained in an enigma… it has been over six years since this majestic and malefic mansion first welcomed us into it’s darkened ceaseless corridors, herculean hallways and cavernous crypts, yet even now, after all this time we are still discovering new chambers and secreted areas. Recently uncovered is a mysterious room aptly named ‘The Scrying Chamber’ within this portentous place stands a single stone table bathed in ethereal light upon which sits an ominous black crystal ball.

So, gaze deep dear readers, unto manifold destiny through Precinct1313’s mystical crystal ball of wonders towards an apocalyptic future where the Earth itself has been laid to waste, and only one solitary hero can ultimately save humanity from itself…

13wondyDC Comics’ notable recent imprint – Black Label is a line of limited series aimed at a distinctly mature audience that began with the bombastic – Batman: Damned. Building upon the success of that first series DC have regaled us with other classic characters within this more adult format, with this particular superlative series starring our hallowed Hellenic heroine, the Themysciran Titan herself – Wonder Woman!ww de3Wonder Woman: Dead Earth is a four part, forty eight page prestige format mini-series written and illustrated by Daniel Warren Johnson, that initially released in December 2019. 

Princess Diana originally left her home of Themyscira and her beloved Amazon sisters to save the world from mankind itself, yet, after waking from an unexpected centuries long sleep and discovering the Earth has been reduced to a nuclear wasteland, she knows she has ultimately failed in her divine mission. The Earth has been destroyed, and it’s former protectors, it’s pantheon of Superheroes have failed and are long gone. Trapped and alone, in a post apocalyptic dystopia, Diana is tasked with protecting the last human city on the planet from dire monsters that have overrun the Earth, whilst also uncovering the dark secret behind the planet’s demise… and how she may be responsible for it!ww de4Wonder Woman: Dead Earth is sublime and a must have for any fan of the wondrous one. This is my first encounter with writer/illustrator Daniel Warren Thompson’s work and I must say I am now a huge fan, initially the grim and gritty artwork put me off, but in hindsight after experiencing the post apocalyptic landscape that this superb tale resides, the visuals are a perfect match for the mood set by Johnson’s stupendously sombre script. ww de 5To be honest even if you aren’t a fan of Wonder Woman (say it isn’t so…) or comic books in general this still comes highly recommended as a perfect parable about where we, in the real world, are ultimately heading. Climate change, oppression, racism and tribe like mentality are all encompassed in this tremendous tome, with even Wondy herself struggling to stifle the causes of these worrisome traits. Grim, dark and gritty, but ultimately a tale of optimism and mutual respect for the planet that nurtures us and our fellow species. 

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Precinct1313’s Favourite Fearless Fighting Female Furies: Cynthia Rothrock

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Hey there fellow fans of fantastic fighting female furies, and welcome back to our ongoing/occasional series where we strive to acquaint you with some our favourite formidable females from throughout cinematic history. Last instalment we caught up with the magnificent Moon Lee, our absolute fave ever Asian action star, this time around we’ll be introducing you to none other than the bombastic blonde fury herself, scintillating Cynthia Rothrock! of all the action/martial arts stars throughout film, Cynthia has always been our most revered and is, arguably, the most accomplished female martial expert of all time!

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Formidably known in her cinematic heyday as The Queen Of Martial Arts, Cynthia has undeniably lived up to that daunting moniker – starred in over sixty films since her dynamic debut alongside Michelle Yeoh in Yes Madam, attained an astonishing seven black belts with a rank of 8th Dan in varying Chinese, Japanese and Korean martial disciplines, is five times undefeated world Karate champion in weapons and forms, was the first ever female cover star on both Inside Kung Fu and Black Belt Magazine, is the inspiration for two of video-games most popular female fighters – Sonya Blade from Mortal Kombat and King from SNK’s popular Art of Fighting and King of the Fighters series, and, is an inductee in the distinguished Black Belt Hall Of Fame alongside such legends as Bruce Lee… Phew!

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Cynthia Ann Christine Rothrock was born in 1957 in Wilmington Delaware, though her formative years were spent in Scranton Pennsylvania, it was at the age of thirteen that she first developed an interest in martial arts. In 1981 Cynthia won her first world tournament in the forms and weapons classification, this particular martial category deals with fluidity of movement and form and is mostly non combat oriented, and saw both female and male participation, with Cynthia managing to easily outclass both sexes, she would go on to win this title for an astonishing four more years.

In her first thirty eight tournaments she took first place in forms discipline an astonishing thirty two times (again competing against both female and male martial artists) and twelve times in weapons, she was also pronounced Grand-Master (an honorary title given to individuals who excel at their chosen art and are revered by their peers) at five separate championships… it’s safe to say that Cynthia was a martial arts savante from a very young age.

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It was at the height of her tournament dominance that the esteemed martial magazine Black Belt took notice and inducted her into the Black Belt Hall Of Fame as the “Female Competitor Of The Year” she also took the coveted  front cover status on the very same issue, the first ever female in martial arts history to receive that distinguished honour.

1983 was the year that Cynthia would first be propelled onto the cinematic stage after being talent scouted by venerable Hong Kong based fighting film studio – Golden Harvest. It was in 1985 that Cynthia co-starred in her very first movie – Police Assassins alongside the magnificent Michelle Yeoh. The film was a massive box office success and launched Cynthia’s long running movie career, with the rapidly rising star going on to make another sensational seven movies for the studio giant, including my personal favourite – Blonde Fury.

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Cynthia also holds the prominent achievement as the first ever westerner to be billed as the leading actor in Asian fighting movies. Upon returning home to the United States, Cynthia continued her movie calling with titles such as – China O’Brien and its sequel, Guardian Angel, No Retreat-No Surrender, Prince Of The Sun and many, many more.

She eventually retired from acting after the movie Sci-Fighter in 2004, when she returned to teaching martial arts and expanding on her own, already formidable skills, though she still occasionally cameos and guest stars in various television productions including her own YouTube channel where she continues to showcase her incredible agility, and at sixty three years old is still able to out-surpass the majority of her younger martial peers!

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Cynthia Rothrock Movie Recommendations – Blonde Fury, Police Assassins, Righting Wrongs, Prince Of The Sun, The Millionaire’s Express.

Six Years In The Precinct… An Anniversary Special

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Well hey there fellow agents of Precinct1313, it’s fantastic to see you, and we’re so glad that you could make your way over to the majestic mansion of mystery in time to partake in our sixth anniversary celebrations. In a few moments we will wind our way down through the Precinct’s interminable depths as we head towards the infamous  ‘Halls Of Quaffing’ to celebrate in style. 

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Unfortunately our usual anniversary tour guide, the Precinct’s carrion crow of woe – Eldritch won’t be available to usher you through this arcane abode, as he’s still in the dog-house (uhh, crow house?) for leading us astray through a preternatural portal that lead to Raven’s Reach Sanitarium and a padded cell! (For more on that tantalising tale, why not click right HERE

But fear not, oh fellow fans of fantastic fiction, as I am able to stand in as the (distinctly human) Corvidae conductor for this sixth anniversary commemoration. And so, without further ado, let our peregrinations begin…

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The mystical mansion of mystery known as Precinct1313 first materialised unto this dimension in 2014, this paranormal palazzo, oft thought to be a sister building to the sinister House Of Secrets has housed many scribes throughout the countless alternate realities it has dwelled, and in 2014, I discovered it’s many dimensional delights when it revealed itself in terrifying fashion (which you can read about right HERE) and have been trapped within it’s herculean hallways and reality shifting structure ever since. Which actually turns out to be a good thing as it has given me copious amounts of time to relay to you, dear agents, the wonderful world of comic-books, cult movies and general geekery!

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And so, fellow fans of fantastic fiction, thanks to this mythical edifice’s psychokinetic power, we are able to transport you back in time (it doesn’t hurt too much, honest!) to visit our most popular posts of yore…

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As you are more than likely aware if you’ve been an agent of the Precinct for awhile, our absolute favourite comic-book creation of all time is the Themysciran Titan herself the glorious Wonder Woman, I first discovered the dynamic delight that is Diana, Princess of the Amazons when I was a mere nine years of age, and have been a super fan ever since. A myriad of reviews, overviews and gushing posts have ensued from the Precinct since its inception, and looking at the ol’ stats the most popular of these is… Wonder Woman #600

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Another mesmerising mainstay of the Precinct over the years (and my absolute favourite posts to write) has been the – World’s Finest: Interview – series, where each episode we invite one of our most treasured Superheroes, SuperVillains, Costumed Crimefighters, Dimension Dwelling Demons and Super-Pets to answer a quotient of quintessentially quirky questions about life, the universe and cake (’cause everyone loves cake) Such classic characters as Harley Quinn, Circe, and Cheetah, have darkened the Precinct’s media studio and have harassed, bludgeoned, nibbled, and vexed our poor hapless interviewer (why, at one point he was even turned into a worm! an actual worm!!) Checking that ol’ stats page again turns up that the most popular of these was… World’s Finest: An Exclusive Interview With V

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Another character that has helped form the foundings of the Precinct alongside Wondy has been Gotham’s grim guardian, the big bad bat! I have been a fan since the age of six, he was instrumental in ushering in my love of the comic-book medium and my fave company, DC Comics. And just like the Amazon Princess, I have written a multitudinous amount of material on his dark crusade to clean up Gotham and absolve himself of the guilt of his parents death by dressing up as a giant bat and beating seven shades out of crazy costumed villains. And, heading on back to that trusty ol’ stats screen, the most read of all those is… Comic Cover Of The Week: Batman Rebirth #22

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Phew! thanks so much fellow agents for joining us on that timely tour of the Precinct’s past, and as we near the Halls Of Quaffing for many a beer and celebration, may I just say a massive thank you to all of my fellow bloggers, followers and readers for making this blogging odyssey such a fantabulous experience, it is YOU that have made this journey worthwhile… now, beer!!

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