Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wizard 220 - Supergirl's 50th Anniversary

I know that Wizard Magazine is not that comic book media giant it once was. Still, I think the name carries some clout and I think the topics it covers does influence the business.

So I was glad to see Supergirl covered in December's issue. But in some ways I was also sad.

The topic of the article is how Supergirl's 50th anniversary was basically overlooked by DC and pretty much everybody in 2009. Titled "Missing Candles", the two-page piece briefly reviews the storied history of Supergirl and comments on the title's recent revitalization.

But writer Andy Serwin wonders why there was no celebration, no anniversary tags on issues, no specials.

And to be honest, that hit pretty close to home. While Supergirl's anniversary has been mentioned on this blog over the course of the year, I never actually did a 50th anniversary post. And now 2009 has come and gone.

In fact, an Internet search for celebrations had only one major hit. And that hit was the Pima County Library celebration that was the brainchild of a blog friend Gene and was covered here. At the very least, congratulations Gene for doing the right thing. You can look at the Library's celebration here:

I think it is sort of a shame that DC didn't promote this anniversary more. I think it's a big shame that I didn't promote it either.

The magazine also does a Marketwatch piece on some of the bigger issues in Supergirl's history. I suppose one day I will be lucky enough to own a copy of Action Comics #252. All I need is an extra $2600.

Maybe in May I will do a big 51st anniversary post to try to make up for this year's absence.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Review: Superman #695

While we know from the cover of War of the Supermen #0 that Mon-El will be an active character in the DCU for at least another year, Superman #695 gave some clues as to what his ultimate destiny might be. (Of course we know regardless of his thoughts, that he has a thousand year tenure in the Phantom Zone coming up at some point.)

One thing about this title that I think has plagued it has been James Robinson’s ‘tread water’ pacing of the absolute multitude of subplots that he has going on in this book. Some of these plots are dropped and not seen for several months.

At least Superman #695 showed some progress on many of these plot threads while adding a new wrinkle.

Last issue ended with Bizarro and the Parasite descending onto a suddenly powerless Mon-El. With the Science Police too far away to provide any immediate support, Mon-El has to rely on some basic martial arts that the Guardian taught him just to survive.

He adeptly tosses Bizarro into the Parasite. Somehow that contact adversely effects both villains’ powers.

It is an interesting little piece of this issue. I mean … what would it mean to absorb imperfect duplicate powers?

Whatever has happened, it lets the Science Police recapture the Parasite. When captured, the Parasite begs to not be returned to General Lane. What could Lane have done to this super villain to make him that afraid? It makes Lane that much more sinister.

Mon-El's powers returned while Bizarro’s powers have become a muddled because of his contacts with the Parasite. Suffice it to say, Mon-El is able to outmuscle Bizarro, pounding him relentlessly with fists and heat vision.

The beating is so severe that Bizarro flies off, apparently to his home world. But he vows to return ... this time with Bizarro Mon-El.

A Bizarro Mon-El? Now that is an interesting new wrinkle!

Could a Bizarro Mon-El somehow be used to help him with his power issues ... like some sort of antiserum?

But remember, this is a Mon-El that has just recently returned from his time in Project 7734. The rest of this issue deals with his homecoming and people's response to his homecoming.

First, we see a continuation of his conversation with Conner in Smallville. The favor that he wanted from Conner is to have the Fortress repair the Daxamite’s spaceship.

What would Mon-El want to do in space? Return to his home world of Daxam? Or something else?

That is a new and intriguing subplot.

Another thing that I am glad was handled here was the propaganda around Mon-El's return.

Wouldn't Mon-El be able to topple or at least expose Lane’s Project 7734 now that he returned? Wouldn't he shout the truth from the rooftops? Wouldn't the new hero of Metropolis be able to turn the public sentiment?

Well, as usual, Lane is one step ahead of the game. His public relations team has churned out the perfect story to block any attempt to Mon-El would have to expose the military black ops group. He has the media spread the story that Mon-El was brainwashed into believing the military is conspiring in the background. This is of course the truth but now if Mon-El says it he will be labeled insane or compromised.

As always, Lane remains a great character, the perfect "win at all costs" military genius. At least the Guardian seems to believe what Mon-El is saying. And at least Mon-El does his best to clear the name of the Supergirl, Nightwing, and Flamebird.

But there are more subplots to cover... and they keep on coming.

Mon-El returns to the Science Police headquarters where he is greeted as a hero.

As he walks through a phalanx of the officers, he pauses to tell Projectra (in her Wilcox disguise) that he knows who she is.

How does he know?

How does he even know her? Has this Mon-El ever teamed up with the Legion before? Since I don't know how he can recognize her, it is seen that bothered me somewhat. It may just be that I don't know the characters’ current history well enough right now.

And, we finally see that Jimmy is alive and well! It turns out that he was saved by Tellus.

Moreover, Jimmy has been continuing his investigations. He is able to go places and research things that he would be unable to if Lane knew he was still alive. And Jimmy has an insider from Project 7734 working with him … Natasha Irons. In fact, it was Natasha that gave the Parasite he escape codes that he used with Mon-El to get off of Mirabai’s world.

It was really good to finally see Jimmy again. Like many subplots in this title, it feels like this one was lost in the shuffle. It's been at least several months since the Jimmy Olsen special was released. I also like Mon-El telling Jimmy that Superman would be proud of him. But Jimmy's return is cut a bit short because we need to catch up with other subplots as well.

I don't know much about Natasha Irons other than the fact that her relationship with Steel has at times been strained. He or she realizes that she should have appreciated him more.

Like with Jimmy, it was good to catch up with Steel as well. It has been a while since Atlas took him down. He has remained offscreen since then.

However, in an overly dramatic fashion, Natasha’s bedside chat seems to spur John Henry out of his coma. It is a bit too ‘Lifetime movie of the week’ for me.

And as if that wasn't schmaltzy enough, we get this scene showing some post lovemaking cuddling between Mon-El and Billie.

And some of the dialogue was tough to swallow too. “Once you go Dax, you never go back”??

I suppose it was good to see the couple's relationship grow but this scene seemed off to me.

The moment is all too brief as Mon-El is suddenly call to action. This time he has to face off against Nightwing and Flamebird. Remember, Kryptonians are still not allowed on earth.

There is almost too much going on in this book as a whole. With so many pieces to cover, we have an issue with a slew of brief scenes catching us up with all of the moving parts of this title.

Surprisingly, despite this, the book actually flowed well with no jarring transitions. Moreover, the scenes were for the most part very good and moved their individual plots forward. (Only the ending of the Natasha/Steel and the Mon-El/Billie scene were subpar.)

Bernard Chang does a fine job on art with his unique angular style.

Overall grade: B/B+

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Supergirl And The Kryptonite Man

The Supergirl/Kryptonite Man battle I was hoping to see in World’s Finest #3 never really materialized. Turns out the Kryptonite Man’s role in this book is that of a battery.

But seeing the two characters in the same book reminded me of their first interaction, the first appearance of this incarnation of the Kryptonite Man in the DCU. So let’s take a look back at Superman #650, the first part of Up,Up, and Away … the initial arc in the superbooks as part of the ‘One Year Later’ move forward.

Remember, that the chronological push forward of 'One Year Later' was supposed to give readers an easy way to jump on board new titles. This new year started after ‘52’ ended, the year without Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. (It’s funny how that seems to be a recurring theme in DC every few years.)

The Super titles began with their one year later with Superman having been depowered after his fight with Superboy Prime in Infinite Crisis took him through a red sun. That so profoundly sapped him that Clark was powerless for the entire unseen year. And so we begin this story, written by Kurt Busiek and Geoff Johns and drawn by Pete Woods.

The issue starts with Professor K. Russell Abernathy experimenting with Kryptonite. He believes that Kryptonite can be tapped as a powerful energy source. His experiments, of course, go wrong infusing Abernathy with enough Kryptonite radiation to make him a furnace of K-energy. Writhing in pain from his new state and unaware of his power levels, Abernathy begins to cause some property damage in Metropolis.

Clark can’t stand up to Abernathy so instead uses his signal watch to call in Metropolis’ new hero …

Metropolis’ new hero is Supergirl!

I loved that Clark would trust Supergirl to defend his city. And I certainly loved the irony of Clark using a signal watch to bring in the big guns.

And Supergirl’s dialogue shows the maturity of a big city superhero. She tries to calm Abernathy down saying she will get him help if he stops destroying things. That sounds like Superman, doesn’t it.

Not surprisingly, Pete Woods does a great job with this splash page of Kara swooping in from the skies to engage the Kryptonite Man.

Of course, the Kryptonite Man doesn’t exactly listen to Supergirl’s recommendations and instead lashes out. As mature as her opening dialogue was, her next line is much more that of a young hero learning her way. There is something refreshing and a little humorous about ‘excuse me but … ow.’

And the big left hook that sends the K-Man flying is just as refreshing. I especially like how Abernathy is already nearly out of the panel, his body contorted from the blow.

The Kryptonite Man isn’t taken out by that punch and decides to show Supergirl just how powerful he is. He unleashes Kryptonite eye beams that sends chunks of building raining down on the citizens of Metropolis.

Ignoring the Kryptonite Man for the time being, Supergirl instead concentrates on getting the innocent bystanders out of the way. Her regard for life impresses the nearby Clark who recognizes that Kara has prioritized things correctly … rescue first, battle second.

But how will she handle the Kryptonite Man and his energy?

Well, Supergirl has a pretty good plan in mind. She slams Abernathy into a tractor trailer and uses her heat vision to encase him in slag. She realizes that there is probably enough lead in the chassis to help blunt some of the radiation.

A quick blast of super-breath and the Kryptonite Man is immobilized in a chunk of metal. She picks him up and flies him off to S.T.A.R. labs. Supergirl was efficient and effective.

As much as I loved the great Supergirl action here, I equally loved Clark’s inner dialogue watching her. I especially liked this last panel where he notes how much Kara has grown in the last year. You can see how proud he is of her. This is really just a nice scene showcasing the super-cousins relationship.

Now I have to note that this issue came out around the same time that Supergirl’s own ‘one year later’ arc started, the confusing and rather unsatisfying Candor arc. I cannot reconcile the heroic Supergirl seen here in Superman with the angry, tempestuous, and at times selfish Kara that starred in that book … the Kara who got groped by her cousin’s evil twin and then abandoned the rebels in an oppressed city.

I hate to keep going back to that time but it was clear that Geoff Johns and Kurt Busiek had a better grasp of the character than the Supergirl creative teams did. And that understanding directly led to Sterling Gates getting the Supergirl title recommended to him by Johns. And I think it is clear that Gates understands Supergirl just as well.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Review: World's Finest #3

Now that the holidays have passed, it is time to get back to blogging. And what better way to start than by reviewing World's Finest #3, by Supergirl team Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle.

Like the first 2 issues in this mini-series, this issue is fast-paced as Gates needs to have the characters meet, drop them into a mission, move his overall plot ahead, and have each issue end with a satisfactory conclusion. In this day and age of the standard 6-issue arc, it must not be easy. It really makes me appreciate all those 'done in one' issues of DC Comics Presents and Brave and the Bold I read growing up.

And this issue isn't just any team-up ... it's the first meeting of Supergirl and the Stephanie Brown Batgirl.

The issue starts with Oracle waking Supergirl from sleep to immediately activate her as a field agent for an ongoing mission.

Oracle has someone trying to track down Mr. Freeze who (you may recall) escaped capture at the end of last issue.Babs also hears that the Kryptonite Man is also in town. With that much trouble brewing, Oracle needed to call on a 'heavy hitter' so Kara gets the call.

This call is especially urgent since the operative Oracle has on the case, Batgirl, has gone off-line.

This whole scene between Oracle and Supergirl just reads right. The two have a history ... have worked together in the past ... and should be comfortable with each other as colleagues or friends. The conversation makes perfect sense. Oracle needs muscle; she thinks of Kara. Supergirl hears Barbara needs help so she's in.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I don't know if the earliest versions of this Supergirl would be so quick to say yes. I am glad this current Supergirl understands obligation.

I also love how Kara has a sticky note saying 'call Tim' on her laptop, a subtle reminder of her prior connection to the Bat family.

It's a good thing that Supergirl got on the trail right away. Batgirl and Catwoman are both welded to the inside walls of a freight container that is at the bottom of the Gotham river and taking on water. Luckily Supergirl is able to find and hoist the box to dry land and free Batgirl. The introductions are short and sweet. 'Hi I'm Supergirl.' 'Hi, I'm Batgirl.' Kara doesn't seem to be annoyed at the rescue or say anything sarcastic about the fact that Steph needs saving. Steph doesn't seem embarrassed or put off on being rescued.

Batgirl fills Supergirl in on the mission so far, how she and Catwoman both tacked Mr. Freeze and the Toyman to an old warehouse. Batgirl was sent to investigate a radiation leak. Catwoman is there for a bounty. Regardless of motivation, the two were overrun and dumped into the river by Toyboy.

The heroes' operation is pretty clear ... head to the warehouse and shut things down.

In a humorous moment, the two decide to leave Catwoman bolted to the wall, trussed up for the authorities. I love the pause as the 2 heroes look at each other and agree (without saying a thing) to leave Selina there. They are of like minds and already seem to be friends.

And they have more in common. As they enter the warehouse, they both quote the Batman, they both trained with him. It's another small moment that helps explain why the two would become fast friends.

Batgirl explains that the two supervillains had the Kryptonite man imprisoned in some sort of cryo-chamber.

Supergirl downplays the villains threat, figuring what could go wrong during the 'first Supergirl/Batgirl team-up'. I do like Kara's confidence here ... although it may be misplaced.

When the two break in, they are swarmed by malevolent action figures and Kryptonite taloned velociraptors all being controlled by Toyboy.

In my favorite moment in the issue, Supergirl decides to get to one of the roots of the problem. She derisively calls Toyboy 'Pinocchio' and smashes his head. That is awesome ... powerful and take charge.

Not to be outdone, Batgirl disarms Mr. Freeze before he can shoot at Supergirl. The banter and body language here is great, Steph sheepishly saying she wanted to be part of the action while Supergirl reminds Steph that Kryptonians are invulnerable. The art conveys that this is friendly chatter and not bristling with frustration. The two young women just seem to get along and I am happy to see that.

But the mission is far from over. The Toyman is using the Kryptonite Man as the power source for his Superman/Batman robot, last seen in the 'Public Enemies' arc of Superman/Batman. And armed with Kryptonite eye beams, it quickly gains the upper hand, grabbing Steph and blasting Kara.

This is just a great vertical double splash page really showing the power of the robot as it vanquishes the super heroes.

Batgirl signals to Oracle that she has a code black, the highest threat level she can relay. That means that Batman (Dick Grayson) and Superman get the alarm.

This was an excellent issue on all levels.

The writing and dialogue clicked. You could easily sense the budding friendship between Supergirl and Batgirl. No surprise that Supergirl's characterization is perfect in Gates' hands. And like the other World's Finest issues, this one was dense with story and fast-paced without feeling rushed.

As for art, it was great to see Jamal Igle back drawing Supergirl and he draws a heck of a Batgirl too. He is so comfortable with Supergirl, her body language, her expressions, everything. And the whole thing was topped off with a stunning Phil Noto cover.

I can only hope that we get to see more of these two heroes teaming up in the future.

Overall grade: A

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays - Justice League Unlimited #16

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

To help celebrate this time of year, I thought I would review Justice League Unlimited #16, a nice holiday tale that reinforces the ideas of family and forgiveness. The book is written by Adam Beechen and drawn by Carlo Barbieri.

I have always like Barbieri's art and his stuff is simple yet stylish and very smooth. The cover here is perfect with Supergirl as Santa front and center, the other Leaguers wearing Santa hats as well.

So pour yourself some egg nog (or whatever holiday spirits you enjoy) and we look at 'Smashing Through The Snow'.

The book opens cheerily with Kara giving Atom Smasher a kiss under the mistletoe. Seems like Supergirl has really come to enjoy the holiday times on Earth and is really reveling in all things Christmas.

Atom Smasher reminds Supergirl that he is Jewish but I am pretty sure he appreciates the kiss nevertheless.

Turns out that Atom Smasher is a bit down despite the festivities around him. His uncle (presumably Al Pratt, the original Atom) has passed away during the year. Smasher's family used to gather at his uncle's house to celebrate Hanukkah and that isn't going to happen this year.

In fact, the only family he will be near are his fellow Leaguers. It seems the League has a rule where the younger members are on duty during the holidays. Supergirl, Power Girl, Firestorm, and Stargirl are all there with Atom Smasher. At least one 'grown-up' is there ... Hawkgirl is also on duty. With the decorations up, the group hopes to celebrate the holidays together quietly.

The party is put on hold when Blackgate Prison calls, telling the League that Girder has escaped.

And he isn't being to subtle, leaving a trail of rubble behind him.

The group descends on Girder and a brawl ensues. I really like this 2 page spread of the group swarming on him.

Girder is surprisingly tough.

In fact, despite the firepower in the group, he actually is able to incapacitate all of them. With the League unconscious in the snow, Girder runs off.

Atom Smasher comes to first and is able to follow the path of destruction Girder has left in his wake. The trail leads straight into a sleepy neighborhood as Christmas morning first dawns.

The two fight in the streets with Girder crying that he won't be stopped and that he is close to doing what he needs to do.

Fearing that carnage will ensue, Smasher tosses Girder into a cement truck luckily nearby. The cement traps the villain in a block of stone. What poor construction company is forced to poor concrete on Christmas morning?

But Atom Smasher is a bit befuddled. What could Girder have wanted there? After a little bit of snooping, he realizes that Girder was hoping to just get home on Christmas to visit his son.

And feeling the Christmas spirit, Atom Smasher brings the son to Girder who has been put back in prison.

I like both Girder's stunned look (after all why would he expect anyone to do anything nice for him) and the son's happy look at seeing his father.

There is a nice scene to end the book.

Supergirl asks Smasher why he would go out of his way for a 'dirtbag' like Girder. (Maybe Kara still has some things to learn about the holiday spirit.)

He responds that Girder is still a person, regardless of his past mistakes.

And Girder is that boy's dad. And don't all families deserve to be together on Christmas?

It's a nice ending. Being with family and forgiving. That is what the holiday spirit is all about! Hopefully Supergirl understands that sentiment.

I thought this was a great holiday issue for the Johnny DC line with a nice moral and great art.

Overall grade: B+

I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday !! I will probably be away for the next couple of days and will start posting again next week starting with a review of the fun and fast-paced World's Finest #3.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

March Solicits

I usually like to wait for all the DC solicits to come out before I post here just in case I am surprised by something (for example last month's Ame Comi statue). While there are no happy surprises (when is that Landry Walker Batman/Supergirl brave and Bold issue going to come out!), there is a lot going on with 'Brainiac and the Legion of Super-heroes' in March.

Here is the link to Newsarama's post:



“Brainiac & The Legion of Super-Heroes” Part 2! Amidst Brainiac’s assault on New Krypton, General Zod has branded the Legion of Super-Heroes terrorists and imprisoned them! Superboy will do his best to free them, but he’ll have to go through Supergirl first! That’s right, it’s the Super-battle of the sexes you’ve been waiting for! Poor Ma Kent is going to be so disappointed in them...

So this is part 2 of the of the big storyline.

First off, great cover by Middleton with Supergirl using a Brainiac probe as a cudgel. Nice!

But why would Supergirl stop Superboy unless this is some mandate from Alura. I can't imagine Kara not trusting Conner. It has been a while since we have seen Supergirl fighting another hero (something that seemed to happen monthly early on in this series). In fact, we have seen this fight before in Supergirl #2.

Hopefully Supergirl does the right thing here and eventually sides with the good guys.


1:25 variant cover by MARCOS MARZ

The new Superman crossover event “Brainiac & The Legion of Super-Heroes” begins here, in this first issue of a 3-part miniseries! It’s New Krypton’s worst nightmare as Brainiac attacks the planet, determined to recapture the city of Kandor! But General Zod has been waiting for this moment since Brainiac first attacked Old Krypton – he has a plan to save his people, but at the cost of Earth and the future as we know it! So it’s up to Superman, Supergirl, Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes to stop the two madmen before they destroy everything!

Zod versus Brainiac? The future hanging in the balance? Sounds like fun!

As I said before, I trust the creative team brought on board here so I look forward to this.


Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover and 1:10 variant cover by
Gary Frank & Jon Sibal
Superman versus Metallo – for the first time! Witness the origin of one of Superman’s most-feared foes, as an attack by Lex Luthor goes awry and gives birth to the evil of Metallo. Can an inexperienced Man of Steel handle a foe with a heart of Kryptonite? Meanwhile, Lois Lane and Perry White are close to revealing Luthor as the monster that he is – but are they willing to pay for that truth with their lives?

Sigh ... this issue is pushed back to March.

While I usually wail and gnash my teeth about delays, I will look the other way here a bit. This mini-series is sort of outside continuity and so doesn't need to be released in a timely fashion (other than to appease my once-a-month schedule).

That said, shouldn't DC have waited until enough of this book was done so that it could be released monthly? Delays on books is my biggest pet peeve with comics.

But since the quality of this book has been so high, I can wait ... at least a little bit.



“Brainiac & The Legion of Super-Heroes” Part 3! Superman is trapped on Brainiac’s ship while New Krypton burns! Mon-El will need to call upon all the skills he’s learned in the last year if he’s going to have a chance of freeing the Man of Steel! Plus, what secret about Brainiac will the duo learn that may help turn the tide?

New Krypton burning?! I have to think that New Krypton comes out much worse for wear after this mini-series, prompting the events of War of the Supermen'. If New Krypton is razed there may be no place for the surviving Kryptonians to go but Earth.

Hopefully some of the background story about Mon-El (on/off powers, lack of a Phantom Zone to go back to) will be figured out before this story. I'd hate to think his powers would blink off in Brainiac's ship.


Co-feature written by JAMES ROBINSON & GREG RUCKA
Co-feature art by CAFU

In this corner – the already beaten, exhausted and bruised Nightwing & Flamebird! And in this corner – the reincarnation of the all-powerful Kryptonian sun god Rao! Place your bets! (Smart money’s on the sun god.)

I have to say I have come to like the Nightwing and Flamebird characters and I hope that they find a place in the DCU after this year.

Could Rao be what Jax-Ur is working on cloning? I love a good brawl and this one looks to fit the bill.


Co-Feature written by ERIC TRAUTMANN
Co-feature art by PIER GALLO
1:10 variant covers by JOE QUINONES & DUNCAN ROULEAU

ADVENTURE COMICS ships twice this month as this spring’s Superman event “Brainiac & The Legion of Super-Heroes” starts with a prologue in #8 and reaches a boiling point in #9!
Starting way back in “The Lightning Saga,” various clues have been planted about a group of Legionnaires undercover in the 21st century. Who are they and why are they here? And what does their mission have to do with the fate of New Krypton? James Robinson (SUPERMAN) and Julian Lopez (WORLD’S FINEST) may have an answer or two!

Meanwhile, in a tale of the 31st century by Sterling Gates (SUPERGIRL) and Clayton Henry (ADVENTURE COMICS), the Legion of Super-Heroes infiltrates a hidden Legion of Super-Villains base! The horrifying plans Brainiac 5 discovers inside will alter Superman’s life – FOREVER!

Plus, in the co-feature by Eric Trautmann (ACTION COMICS) and newcomer Pier Gallo, learn more about General Lane’s Human Defense Corps – Earth’s best line of defense against the looming Kryptonian threat!

After months of seeing some Legionnaires hanging out in the 21st century, I am happy to see their storyline finally brought to the forefront.

I am an old-time Legion fan and have been looking forward to the upcoming Legion comic. This seems like a great way to kick-start that title (I assume within the Adventure label).

And there are enough mysteries here to get my attention. Why are the LSH here? Why the heck are the LSV here? And what will Brainiac 5 discover?

Like many, I have not liked the re-imagining of some of the Legion costumes. Dawnstar and Sensor Girl stand out as particular' fashion don'ts'.

Still, I am happy to see the Legion being part of a big DC arc.



A thrilling collection of up-and-coming talent tackles Superman and the heroes of Metropolis! Packed with guest stars galore including Bizarro, Lois Lane and many more, these timeless tales of The Man of Steel are destined to thrill!

I don't necessarily know if I am going to pick up this book. It will probably depend on what else is coming out the week it is released. Still, I like Immonen, Henry, and Lopez ... so it will probably end up in my pile.

March seems to be a big month for the super-titles and my two favorite DC creations (Supergirl and the Legion) will have big parts to play. So I have high hopes here!