Tag Archives: Bruce Wayne

The Dark Knight Rises – Review!

21 Jul

The Dark Knight Rises is one of those movies in which I’m initially stumped with how to review it.  At times, I enjoyed it, and, at others, it was a confusing mess.  It was a like/dislike relationship.  I wouldn’t go so far as say it was a love/hate relationship because, in actuality, there was nothing to love and nothing to hate.

I saw this film in IMAX because that’s what everyone online said I should see it in.  Unfortunately, the only true IMAX theater in the Pacific Northwest is in Seattle… which I’m 5 and a half hours away from.  I noticed that the audio was slightly better, but the picture quality was minutely clearer.  This upgrade was not enough to justify the price, and I do not see the big deal with IMAX.  Sure, I’ll get around to true IMAX, but it’s not for me currently.

I’m not sure whether or not it was the IMAX or the finished film, but the score was distracting my viewing experience.  Hans Zimmer is talented in making scores for films, I’m not trying to take away from that.  However, I am not a fan of constant scores.  The mixing was too loud for the score particularly when the movie has a lot of mumbling, accents, and weird Bane voices.  I was occasionally lost with all of the noises going on.

The film contains many plot holes as well as too many coincidences.  It builds and builds and builds but only because one thing leads directly to another rather than having multiple issues pan out.  Despite trying to make multiple storylines with almost an absurd amount of characters, the vision remains fairly singular.  Along this path, the film was entirely predictable aside from the few spoilers at the end.  The screenplay relied upon so many classic tropes that there was not much of a new interpretation on anything, just a rehashing of old material into a superhero film.  A lot of the fun was lost when you knew what was about to happen with almost everything.  I’m not sure if that’s because I’m an avid movie viewer, study film, or comic book geek – there just were no surprises.

The technical film making aspect was fairly solid.  There were occasional shots that made me wince, but I was satisfied with most of the presentation.  It’s a good movie when focusing on most of the cinematography.

The action scenes cover up many of the problems with the film with some inspired dirty, hands on fighting.  Not only is Bane fiercely intelligent, he can match Batman in a first fight which makes the fighting imaginative and brutal.  That’s the great thing about Bane in this form, he’s methodical and may be one of the few multi-layered characters in the film.  Christopher Nolan nails the character with an interpretation similar to the introduction of the character in the comics.  Many people have since decided that Bane is purely a brute, but, in actuality, he’s one of the more intelligent comic book villains out there.

The acting was fairly consistent in a film that had many loopholes.  The stand out character in the entire film is Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Officer Blake.  He’s the emotional center, and we see Gotham through his bright, hopeful eyes.  That’s what makes the film so satisfying at the end.  He sticks to his beliefs in right and wrong, and pursues justice and even understanding.  I ended up caring more about Blake over any other character.

Overall, I came out of the film with an okay feeling.  It’s worth seeing in theaters for the experience, but I’m not sure if it demands many repeated viewings.

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Batwoman #0: Review!

2 Dec

As has been clearly stated on this blog, I love me some Batwoman.  So, of course, I was very excited at the prospects of picking up this introductory issue.  Atomic Comic’s Ashley also shared my exuberance.

First off, I was a little disappointed for a $2.99 price tag for something rather brief.  $1.99 would have made this a much more lucrative deal to bring in new leadership.  Sure, it’s a teaser.  So, let it tease – at a small price.

Nevertheless, the most important part of the issue is the art and it delivers.  I mean seriously, how can art from J.H. Williams III not deliver?  Hell, I just read the entire Promethea series!  I know this guy can draw the hell out of things.  The issue is basically split in half with (normally) the top devoted to Batwoman and the bottom to Kate Kane as Batman (Bruce Wayne) tries to figure out if they are related/the same person through various surveillance techniques.  As opposed to Kelly Thompson, I found that the split narrative was quite complimentary to each other and not that confusing to pan out.  Yes, I did just read Promethea, once again, so, basically, anything like 2 page spreads split horizontally seems like child’s play when compared.  So, I may have just been prepped for the game.

J.H. Williams art is gorgeous, but, I have to admit, I hold him to a higher standard.  And, to me, he could have done a bit more.  On the other hand, Amy Reeder’s art seemed pretty darn good.  I’m really excited to see how she draws Batwoman rather than just Kate Kane.  Overall, I like her clean and slick lines with the pixie-esque features.  J3’s art is lifelike while Reeder’s screams life’s vibrancy but it also matches well with the grimmer moments.

Unlike Kelly Thompson’s belief that the costumes of Bruce Wayne are silly, I really liked them.  This guy does have to do surveillance and his costumes, to me, make sense.  However, I do agree with her that Batman – Bruce Wayne – just kind of seemed out of character the whole time.  Also, I just realized that there are absolutely no spoken words or sound effects in the comic.  That’s kind of interesting even though I never read sound effects unless they’re integrated into the art.

Overall, though, the writing was a bit stiff.  And, you can’t look out this comic without thinking about Greg Rucka.  Kate just doesn’t seem as strong in the issue as she was during Rucka’s tenure.  So, we’ll see, I guess.  Nevertheless, it was decent.  Sure, I hate the idea of Bette Kane because I want it to be just about Kate… so, hopefully that won’t be a big part of the series.

Anyway, this was a good introductory course in Batwoman with a little bit of experimental technique.  It’s definitely worth a read and a good buffer into the series.

Batman Inc. #1: Review!

19 Nov

So, Batman has gone global!  Now, Bruce Wayne is traveling the world to recruit other superheroes like him to join his cause.  In this particular setting, it takes him to Japan to recruit Mr. Unknown.

What surprised me most was the set-up of the issue.  There’s a nice variation on downtime and superheroing time.  There’s a nice balance to the whole situation, and you can tell that it will pan out over some of the issues of the series.  I seriously thought that each new issue would include a new location.  So, I’m glad that the comic will linger on each setting for awhile before moving on to the next one.

What also surprised me was in plain sight within the title of the issue “Mr. Unknown is Dead.”  I was still surprised that Mr. Unknown was dead!  Sure, his assistant guy will take over the role, but it was still interesting how it was all played out against each other.

The art is beautiful in this comic.  I love the thick lines and simpler color palette.  Yanick Paquette really knocks it out of the park.  However, here lies my problem with the issue: the depiction of Catwoman.  Now, there’s a decent balance in the writing by Grant Morrison of Catwoman being a sexy, seductive woman while also being fierce and strong with lots of agency.  [oh my god… someone is seriously growling at their computer in the library I’m in right now!  Plus, she’s wearing a pumpkin hat!]  However, I do not believe this fully carries over into the art.  Paquette draws a great Catwoman, but she’s almost always in sexual positions even when she’s in costume.

Now, I just don’t find this very necessary.  In the two page spread that was given as a preview, it looks pretty badass.  Bruce is coming in on his wire with a determined look on his face.  Sure, his codpiece is strangely emphasized, but other than that, he is very strong.  On the other hand, Catwoman is coming in with her back arched, her butt sticking out, cleavage showing, and a pouty, porn star-esque look on her face.  This would easily be forgiven if, in the down-time scene in the hotel, Selina wasn’t prancing around in a thong.  Sure, she’s wearing a sports bra which seems very practical for superheroing, but there’s still something troubling about her depiction.  Even a common swimsuit would be helpful instead of a thong.  I understand this is the common way to depict Catwoman, but I would very much like the writing to reflect the art in this issue.

First, I was unsure about this new direction in the Bat-books, but this new series seems to be off to a good start.  There’s a nice mix that will surely appease a variety of audiences.  It’s definitely worth checking out, and, after the third issue or so, it may just be added to my pull list.

Batman: The Return – Review

19 Nov

This comic started out really neat.  I mean, you get to see bats fighting! Bats!  That’s right, bats in a Batman comic!  Hurrah!  This lovely lead-in to the main feature balanced pretty well.  And then, onto the main feature, we get Bruce Wayne back at his old tricks BUT BIGGER.

Now, this section seemed a bit rushed especially since I figured Bruce’s briefing of the Bat Family would last a bit longer with Red Robin at least getting a few good lines.  Nevertheless, this was about Bruce.  Except, then it went to Bruce and Damian in ridiculous robot costumes.  I couldn’t tell if they were inside the robot or outside or whatever until a decent amount into the scene.  A nearly forgettable character is introduced along with the criminal organization that will face off against Batman Inc.  I’m intrigued but not overly excited.

I suppose my biggest complaint was all of the unnecessary extra content.  It basically goes “oooh… here’s the original pencils!  Now, here are the inked pencils!  Oh, new designs!  Golly gee this is fantastic!  Let’s throw in some of the finalized scripts!  Yipee!”  Now, I’m not going to complain and be like “hey, you should have offered me more pages of art!”  But, at the very least, they could have offered some of the bonus material on their The Source website, cut it out of the comic, and raised the price down a dollar.  That would have made me much more pleased.

Nevertheless, the comic itself was decent, and it functions as a good kickoff to the new era of Batman.

Super HeroiHOT #25: Cassandra Cain

17 Nov

So, last week I covered Miss Cassandra Cain’s mother Lady Shiva.  Well, that got me so energized as to do Cassandra Cain because, sure, you know, I do a lot of Batman related characters.  Nevertheless, she’s quite the worthy character to pit it out against everyone else.

APPEARANCE:

Cassandra’s Batgirl costume has become nearly as iconic as a Batman costume (there are dozens, of course).  It is so slick and simple yet incredibly effective.  When the only things that are not black on the costume is a silhouetted bat symbol and a utility belt (which she hardly ever uses), then you’ve got something very intimidating.

The most noticeable thing on the costume is the face mask.  This has literally been sewn on by Cassandra to cover up her nose and mouth.  Plus, there are special lenses over the eyes to make the face seem completely shrouded.  This fits the entire get up of Cassandra.  She is a deadly fighter that is all about stealth and efficiency.  There are no items on her outfit that are unplanned for or unusable.

Out of costume, Cassandra is the daughter of the Asian Lady Shiva and the Caucasian David Cain.  So, she is mixed race but comes off looking more Asian than anything else.  Most Asian characters are often shown as back up characters, but not too frequently in leading roles.

However, Cassie is no longer Batgirl.  And, as of this month, she was finally shown post-Batgirl in the pages of Red Robin #17.  And, as I said in the interview, I’m really digging this new look.  The majority of it seems completely practical.  The only thing that stands out to me as possibly a problem is the scarf, but that sort of makes up for her no longer having a cape.  Nevertheless, this new look really works and works damn well.  So, I really hope that they keep this good thing going on her few appearances that will probably make the rounds over the next year or so.

Plus, I have to give it to artists: in most cases, Cassie’s body was never really exploited.  Sure, there were some questionable scenes when she was out of costume, but, compared to most other superheroines, there was not a plentiful abundance of dehumanizing images.  With a track record of killer costumes and the refusal to exploit her body, I’ll make the unprecedented move of:

Appearance: 11/10

 

PERSONALITY:

Cassandra is a very determined being.  As shown from above, she keeps fighting even after she’s down or harmed or whatever.  It’s really quite impressive.  Her determination defines her.

So determined she goes after cars… while being dragged behind them with a tension line… and being shot at.

Now, to some, she may be very short answered and curt, but, to those people, I reply with: She was raised for 8 years without a single word ever being uttered to her.  That’s right, to those who do not know, David Cain raised his daughter to understand the language of the body rather than any verbal language.  So, even after a couple of years as being Batgirl, she has yet to learn how to read or write.  She can, however, communicate fairly well talking.

As seen above with Spoiler, Cassandra can be very forward.  Sure, she is trying to protect Stephanie, but she does it by applying a pressure point disabling method.

She can also have a good laugh about the finer points in life.

Nevertheless, you have to give her the benefit of the doubt with all of her occasional problems with communicating.

Personality: 9/10

 

SUPERPOWERS:

Just in case you’re unsure, Cassie’s in black and Lady Shiva’s in orange.

So, all of that being raised by David Cain until she was 8 with absolutely no communication verbally did something quite spectacular for her.  She learned the language of body movement.  Although, she did psychically lose it and had to be retrained by Lady Shiva.  Nevertheless, Cassandra shows the extraordinary ability to know what someone’s about to do whether that’s dodging bullets at close range or disabling someone.  Cassandra always seems to have the upperhand and it is rare to see someone overpower her for long.  Hell, SHE BEAT LADY SHIVA everyone… oh, and this didn’t happen just once, it happened twice – possibly a third depending on who’s counting.

Do you know what this means?  She can go toe to toe with Batman – Bruce Wayne is arguably the most skilled fighter in the DC Universe – and nearly win!  That’s crazy!

On top of this, she’s been trained as an assassin… which, as a child, you know, she actually killed someone.  Ignoring that, she can, as the above picture shows, move without being seen or heard even in broad daylight.  She is essentially a shadow with no owner.

That’s just plain badass.

Superpowers: 10/10

 

SECRET IDENTITY:

There was, at one point, a time when Cassandra actually attempted to have a Secret Identity.  This was when she was living in Bludhaven… then, you know, a big Crisis of the Infinite variety came around and BLUDHAVEN WAS BOMBED… the whole city wiped out.  Way to go Chemo, way to go.

That was basically the only time in which Cassie had a secret identity.  But, we can’t really blame her, she was trained as a deadly assassin from birth and fighting really was the only thing she knew.  So, she never really had much of an opportunity to develop a secret identity.  And, in some cases, she was more devoted to Batman’s cause than he was… at least time wise.

Secret Identity: 9/10

 

Additional Items:

Sometimes, Cassie’s violence and fighting just seemed a little too excessive.  Such as, you know, cracking your mom’s neck to disable her and then hanging her on a hook above a Lazarus pit…  Or, perhaps taking a sword and slicing a main artery in Ravager’s neck that would only give her ten minutes to live.  She’s a hero but she has no real worries about casualties.  If she’s not the one killing or those immediately around her, then it’s okay.  Such would be the case when those really fucking annoying gun-toting twins (totally forget their names) were shooting at her and Robin, and she got them to shoot and kill each other.  That’s a little much.

-2

There was that whole thing with her being drugged, taking over the League of Assassins, being Deathstroke’s plaything, trying to kill the Titans thing… yeah, you know, the one that got fans shitting in their pants with upsetness.  It was a terrible move on DC’s part and did not fit with the character, but that does not mean it didn’t happen.  And, for that:

-2

I don’t have an exact image for it, but I can still tell you how awesome it was: Cassie survived a LAZARUS PIT WITHOUT GOING CRAZY.  Let’s just give the little ol’ example of Jason Todd.  Hey, the guy’s kind of brain dead, let’s revive him in the pit: CRAZY.  Oh, Ra’s Al Ghul seems like a nice gentlemen, oh, he wants eternal life, well here’s a Lazarus Pit: CRAZY.  Yet, Cassandra is revived by Shiva in the Lazarus Pit and Cassie, by her own will, meditates the crazy off and survives not crazy.  No one has never been revived by the Pit without going at least a little bit crazy except for Cassie…. yeah, that’s badass.

+3

TOTAL SCORE:

38/40 or 95%

Cassie lines them up and knocks them down.  Pure badass.

A whole new slew of comic reevus

9 Jun

Well, I didn’t get comics for a month or so… There was a lot waiting for me.

Unfortunately, I forgot to pick up Grizzly Shark and Sea Bear, Return of Bruce Wayne #2, and my LCS still hasn’t received Tales of the TMNT #69.

Overall, I was fairly pleased with my pulls, and I even went out on a limb and bought some Marvel which was, surprisingly, really good.

So, let’s start it off with the bad and move towards the awesome:

Green Lantern #54:

It’s really unfortunate that most of these scenes in this book were sort of seen in others (mostly Brightest Day), and I’m a little tired of Green Lantern.  Honestly, this book is testing my patience.  It looks pretty and Doug Mahnke does his best with trying to make the Star Sapphire costume look not so slutty, but I feel like Geoff Johns is just trying to outdo himself with the next big, cosmic event.  Therefore, character studies are shot down for a rather boring plot.  And Lobo, seriously?  I’m giving this comic three more tries.  If it fails twice in those three times, then it’s out.

The best part of this comic, though, was Dex-Star (the Red Lantern Cat) kicking some ass.

Batgirl #11:

I’ll begin this by mentioning that there isn’t anything inherently wrong with this issue.  I feel like Bryan Q. Miller is doing a knockout job developing a voice for Stephanie.  Sure, Lee Garbett & Pere Perez’s pencils sort of make Stephanie’s boobs fluctuate size on a nearly frame by frame basis, but the art’s overall good.  Everyone’s doing a good job.  My problem is that the comic is doing things that have been done before.  Sure, these are all sort of training exercises for Stephanie, but the stakes are obvious and I don’t feel like there’s any real big threat.  The Calculator is nice, but that’s more so Barbara’s villain.  Is Stephanie going to get any of her own.

As far as dream sequences go, this was one of the more interesting ones out of the thousands out there in comic land.

Girl Comics #2:

I feel like this comic should be longer than it is.  I feel like there should be more stories in it.  Hell, I’m being charged $5 goddamn dollars for it, I might as well get some more stories.  Plus, what’s up with the shipping delay?

Alright, refocus on what’s actually here in the comic.  Unfortunately, it was hit and miss.  I enjoyed the intro again even if it felt like I was rereading the intro from before (I really liked the variation of She-Hulk’s costume).  The Inhumans was kinda bleh.  However, I really liked the hairdressing story because it didn’t really feel like it was shoving the issue of “hey, girls like to get their hair done!” but more so a thing that they do that shows a different aspect of their lives.  I liked the art and coloring on the “Do You Ever?” story even if the script was a bit lacking.  The two page spread of MJ searching for another superhero boyfriend was delightfully taking stabs at the machismo behind many male superheroes which made me pretty giddy.  The Dr. Strange story was a major disappointment.  I just did not understand what was going on.

So, overall, okay, but nothing major.

Batman #700(!):

Alright, I had to dish out the $5 on this landmark issue.  I figured it would probably not be that great, but, strangely, I found it to be pretty gosh darn good.  Now, let me preface it with me walking home 3 and a half miles in the rain worrying about my comics getting wet.  Then, it began pouring – like Puget Sound every day in February pouring – and I sought refuge.  Enter coffee shop and a warm chai.

I opened it up, and found this time-spanning narrative not confusing but, despite being defined by time periods, timeless.  Grant Morrison hit the mark on portraying that, no matter what, there will always be a need for a Batman in comics/the comic world.  Naturally, Frank Quitely’s frenetic energy in his section made a major impression.  It was unfortunate that he couldn’t finish the whole “Today” section.  I feel like they could have simply put a “Tonight” label after the switch to slightly differentiate between the artists and acknowledge the change up.

Now, I’m not a fan of Damien becoming Batman in the future.  Particularly because I think the transition would be too easy for the character… and I don’t like his batsuit.  So, that part was kinda “hmm meh” for me.  However, 2-Face-2 was hilarious as was the final joke.

The “And Tomorrow” section was genius showing off all the different Batmen that have come, gone, or will pass.  I really like the Full masked, silver-emblazoned one.

Overall, this is a pretty good story for a Batman fan with a little bit for everyone.  Sometimes, it didn’t hit the mark.  When it did, though, it was lovely.

Heralds #s 1 & 2:

After reading Kelly Thompson’s review of Her-alds, I decided to give it a try.  And, honestly, I am so glad I did.

Some Superheroes who just all happen to be women get together through an interesting means, and then, all of a sudden, a clones (of scientists and historical figures creating some funny moments with Einstein and later Hitler), Dinosaur, chaotic thing happens.  They bond together over fighting and then come together in the second issue over Frankie Raye and how she plays in the overall importance of recent events.

The art on these issues is amazing.  Some commentators (anonymous comments on other people’s reviews) have said that the art style is too indie or doesn’t differentiate between the women.  I would have to counter this by stating that I am not familiar in any depth with the majority of these characters, and I could tell them apart through facial differences.  Plus, I really like the slim, short-haired She-Hulk.  I mean, she’s lean but with lots of muscle.  Who’s to say the Gamma radiation has to make her bulky just to give her immense strength?

At times, the plot can be a little overwhelming and the dialogue quick, but another read through brings along more enjoyment.  Trust me, the first read is still just as good as you’re briskly trying to read what’s next.  This got me to chuckle aloud, which, as said numerous times before, is a hard thing to do.  Check out the Thompson review to see some pages from the actual book to see the interior art.

Red Robin #13:

Tim Drake-Wayne.  Marriage fake.  Identity.  New duds.  Checklists.  Hard Decisions.  Worth it?

I know that this comic is worth it.  You barely have to be knowledgeable about Tim Drake or this series to still really enjoy it, and the twist is wonderful.  God, I love this comic (and the writer switch – Fabian Nicieza who’s written Tim Drake before – hardly altered anything; a nice transition).

Invincible #72:

Within the Invincible Universe, I feel like Kirkman is at his best with writing violence.  I believe this also probably gives Ryan Ottley much more to play around with.  Anyone noticed the similar attacks Conquest utilizes?  Come on, the frames are nearly the same.

This issue completely surprised me in a good way.  The melodrama’s out of the way, and now it’s just super hard hitting and awesome.  I never knew breathing could be so great!

The Walking Dead #72:

God, does Kirkman know how to nail that final page for every issue.  I mean, it also works really fluidly during the trades, too.  Still, I just love it.

This issue focuses pretty heavy on the adjustment process with emphasis on Michonne, Andrea, and Glenn.  Um, yeah… mostly my favorite characters.  It’s nice to not see any zombies for a bit; although, I’m sure that will change next issue.  This is just such a consistently great comic.

Quantum Leap’s RETURN (in comics… without it actually being Quantum Leap… yeah.)

13 May

Well, wasn’t that a hefty title.

I have a surprise for you all:

I like Batman.

However, the main title sort of disenfranchised me along with Final Crisis, Battle for the Cowl, etc.

So, I’ve just been reading Red Robin, Batgirl, and Batman and Robin within the Bat-verse (well, Detective Comics, but I sort of consider Batwoman pretty separate from all of that stuff).

Neanderthal Smashin'!

Well, The Return of Bruce Wayne #1 of 6 came out yesterday.  I was very hesitant and had to ask Ashley – one of the workers at my local comic shop – whether it was worth it.  I know she’s pretty big on Batman, and she went “ohhh yeah!”  With that, I decided… okay, maybe it’s worth $4.00 aka 25 minutes of my working time.

I have to admit, it wasn’t that bad.  Plus, they provide you with a lot of pages making the amped up price (yeah, a whole dollar means a lot to my wallet and integrity) worth it on a financial level.

So, I knew there’d be a lot of time traveling aspects to the series.  But, come to find out, it’s nearly identical to one of my favorite shows of all time QUANTUM LEAP!

Good god! We're leappppin!

Time travel that you can’t control.  Swiss-Cheese memory.  Hairy Chests.

Bruce Wayne doesn’t leap into other people and have to adopt their lives for a bit nor does he have an equivalent to Al/a hologram who guides him.  He just is himself jumping around through different time eras for fanboys to possibly jack off to, and so far it has succeeded (in my mind, please).

He leaps into a new era and exits with – what I would hope – a little *blip*.

Shirtless Batman Makes Me Drool

Overall, it was a pretty book, and I really have to give a gigantic thumbs up to the colorist because of the meticulous detail to what time of day things are happening at.

It wasn’t super wordy.  It had good art (there’s a really sweet blunt hatchet hit).
But, ultimately, I’ve already seen this done before (Captain America Reborn, perhaps?) and, even if it hasn’t been done with Batman, I’m a little tired of it.

It may not have helped that most of my comic reading experience of yesterday was tainted by reading all 12 issues of Irredeemable – thus finding one of my new favorite series.

While I’m at it.  Here are some other scores from my readings of yesterday:

Batman and Robin #12:

Um, not so big of a surprise for me because I already guessed it and then it was spoiled to me.  Plus, I’m wondering how Joker fit into the Oberton Sexton costume without looking as skinny as he is.  They have two completely body shapes, making me think that – despite claims otherwise – it was not completely decided who he was/supposed to be when first starting the series.

Damian standing up for himself is cute.  Dick torturing people is cute.

Overall, good.

Red Robin #12:

I’ve recently decided that Tim Drake/Robin #3/Red Robin is my second favorite superhero in comics.  This issue wrapped up Yost’s run on the book and a year long storyline.  It was incredibly satisfying.  Marcus To’s artwork is progressively getting better.  There was a sort of sexist quip by Damian, but he’s a dick (one who’s growing on me).  The new costume looks good even though I sort of liked how it was in two parts before and now it’s in one.  Overall, I was really thrilled with it.

I mean, come on, Tim Drake has gone up against Lady Shiva and Ra’s Al Ghul in a year and beaten them both.  Sure, in different ways, but he’s ended up the victor.  That’s goddamn impressive.  Sure, he did get a lot of broken ribs out of the ordeal… oh well.

If I could, I’d give this 4.25, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt with a 4.5.