What to say…what to say…what to say about issue #2…
I mean, I kind of burnt out a lot of anger last week. Now I just feel dread. Because this is when the event starts getting…weird.
Weird? You mean a comic book about people with magic powers who, in the last issue, were in a space gladiator fight and turned into a giant robot is weird?
One, I don’t appreciate your tone right now. And two, I expect weird when I read comic books. I mean who doesn’t? But in this specific instance I mean the story gets weird. As in the actual narrative storytelling. The book still isn’t bad yet, but the signs are there. We’re getting into the obnoxious word bubbles, the unnecessary dialogue, the bizarre decisions that probably should have been stopped, had an editor been there.
Probably the most egregious thing about this particular issue is that it’s painfully boring.
It’s actually kind of hard to come up with a good intro for this one, to be honest. I mean, last week I was all filled with rage and excitement. I mean here’s the first review, here’s a book I dislike, here’s an issue within that book that I actually really like, and now…
How can I be burnt out already?
Like, what can I say?
I know anyone reading this who has no idea what I’m talking about is probably really confused, but I’m telling you it is just so DULL. I mean, I’ll be honest with you here: it probably took me about a week to get through this issue. To be fair, I was also really busy, and I got reading other things, but that’s kind of the problem. After last issue, I shouldn’t WANT to read other things, right?
Let’s think about the last issue: we were in space. We were on a war world. We were in a gladiator ring. We just saw the Justice League turn into a Megazord.
Well… here goes nothing.
Same thing as last week.
- If this matters to the story, does it account for the stories happening around it, or that have happened before it?
- Is it realistic? Does it get across its intended purpose? Does it flow? Is it consistent to the character speaking? Does it serve a purpose beyond just exposition?
- Does it make sense? Is it easy to follow the sequence of events? Were events properly foreshadowed?
- If there’s a point, is it made and is it made well?
- Is there depth? If not, is there at least some level of intrigue?
- Linework (and Inking)
- How does it look? For inking, is it noticeable? Does it get the job done?
- Do the text bubbles clutter the page, or do they organically work with the art to help tell the story?
- Is it well implemented? Does it fit the tone of the work? Is basic colour theory used? If something experimental is being done, does it work?
- Forms, Proportions, and Perspective
- Do things look the way they should? If not, is this because of a stylistic decision or because of ineptitude?
- Does the artist have a specific style that they like to use, and is it aesthetically pleasing within the context of the work? Is the artist’s style distracting or obnoxious? Dull and bland?
With this in mind, on to the review…
[Oh yeah…spoilers, btw…sigh]
This issue we’re greeted by a huge block of text with a little dash of art thrown in.
And I’m done…
I have to keep reviewing?
Anyway, we’re greeted by lots of dialogue between our heroes and then Alfred chimes in and tells Batman that something’s wrong.
Flip the page and you see a giant mountain in the middle of Gotham city with a giant ass door in it with a weird hourglass symbol on it. They manage to get inside somehow and then discover this weird pod in it with “It’s chasing us. RUN” written in blood on…something. Actually it’s not really clear where it is…
Suddenly some blue soldiers burst in led by a familiar face: Hawkwoman!
She comes in and warns the Justice League that there’s going to be a full-scale invasion. They ask by who, and Kendra says that it’s too dangerous to even speak their names…so I guess it’s Voldemort then.
Skip to an island in the South Pacific with dinosaurs everywhere. Cool.
Kendra drones on about phantom frequencies, metal cores, and disruptions. And she also mentions a Dinosaur Island, which is different from this dinosaur island because this dinosaur island is actually Blackhawk Island.
Ok, I’ll stop doing that.
Turns out Blackhawk Island was the home of Carter Hall, one of the I-don’t-know-how-many Hawkmen DC has. Apparently, she and Carter were stabbed with a freaky weird dagger that threw them into a cycle of reincarnation, making them both immortal. Together, they’ve been studying the substance that made them immortal known only as Nth metal.
Whatever Nth metal is, it’s weird and it defies all logic and science and blah blah. It also apparently “broadcasts” energy.
Carter fought long and hard to study Nth metal, and apparently it caused a rift between him and Kendra. Then Carter disappeared after trying to get to the other side, the side from whence that unholy metal doth come – the Dark Universe.
The Dark Universe is different from the multiverse because it’s dark. It’s explained by using a map of the multiverse we know and just flipping it onto its other side. Which is for some reason pure black… Sure.
And then holy Jesus there’s a lot to read…alright, here goes nothing.
With the League gathered around a table, Kendra explains the building blocks of the universe: matter and anti-matter. But now they’ve discovered a NEW material, which is dark matter (and dark energy). And any fans of Hawking out there are very confused. Because this isn’t actually new…?
Anyway, apparently this dark stuff makes up most of the universe. Which science nerds already know and have known since arguably it was first theorized about since as early as 1884 (or at least since the early 1970s). Now maybe, since Kendra is so old this is new to her…BUT it reads more like Snyder thinks he’s made up an entirely new concept that’s only like…2-5 years old in DC continuity.
Kendra doesn’t bother to explainwhat dark matter or dark energy is, she just talks about how it’s spooky. And somehow the Nth metal is our connection to the Dark Universe because it comes from there. The Flash, whose expression makes him look quite slow, exclaims that it would change everything about everything! Then he asks for proof. And then Kendra just laughs at him and doesn’t offer up any proof.
Instead she goes on a long monologue about what happened to Carter and his crew when they left for the Dark Universe while picking at some scrolls in an ancient language that only she can read…. Thanks bitch…she’s doing a wonderful job convincing the people sheneedsto help her with this shit.
Then she tells them that Red Tornado, who they found in that mountain that destroyed a large chunk of Gotham (which Batman doesn’t seem too bothered about…whatever), sent a warning about some “great dragon”, “a beast that prowled the dark” and the name…
Fuck this is so stupid. Prepare for a tangent.
The name: Barbatos. Which Kendra claims comes from the Greek words barbarus, which means foreign, and aes, which means metal.
Barbarus and Aes. Barbatos. BarBATos.
Where the fuck is the AES.
So I’ve taken English lit, I have taken classes on Old English and Middle English, and I have even taken a couple of classes on Greek and Roman mythology. I have studied words and their roots. Where the FUCK does AES fit into the word BARBATOS? Is it the singular A in the fucking word? Because that’s not usually how words work!
Here’s an example of a name with two words as its roots: Beowulf. Beo, which means bee, and wulf, which means wolf. Translates to “bee wolf”, or “the wolf of bees”, which means a bear, basically. There are other interpretations of what Beowulf’s name means, but this one is pretty well recognized, especially when you consider the fact that it’s highly likely an older, lost version of the Beowulf story depicted him as a warg or shapeshifter which is why he could fight monsters so effectively when other heroes couldn’t.
Here we have another example of two words making one, right? So, using the basics of naming, the two words should come together to form something like Barbaraes or Barbaes. Where the hell is the “tos” coming from?
Now I’ll admit I’m no professor of language like Scott Snyder, but this feels like an awful stretch just to get “metal” into a name he didn’t even come up with… Yeah, cos in case you didn’t know “Barbatos” is the name of the hyper-adapter that Darkseid sent through time to chase Batman to turn him into a walking Omega energy filled WMD when he arrived in the present (aren’t comics fun). Pinkie knows more about this than me, so I’ll leave this here for now, but fuck this feels like such a bastardization of another writer’s work.
Batman even recognizes the name, as he mutters it in the next panel.
Kendra blathers on about a doorway and five metals and prophesy blah blah hero with nightmares collected like an army. Gee, I wonder who it could be.
Then Wonder Woman chimes in that it’s this Barbatos that they must defeat, right? Well yeah, but that’s not the Voldemort-worthy name she was terrified to speak earlier. What she was afraid to say was WAGON.
Well, a name whose root is wagon (like a chariot for a dark god – I’ll give Scott this one cos at least this naming interpretation makes sense). And that name is Wayne.
Superman asks Batman if this is why he’s been busy researching lately (cos I guess that’s something he’s been doing? Last time we saw him, he was fighting in Mongul’s war world. Hmm, wouldn’t it have been nice to maybe see some of that before shit hit the fan? What? It was in a tie-in? I say again, WOULDN’T IT HAVE BEEN NICE TO SEE IN THE ACTUAL STORY BEFORE SHIT HIT THE FAN?).
Then these two Blackhawk soldiers who’ve disappeared from the art for a page and a half suddenly appear and draw their guns on Batman. Then Red Tornado wakes up and starts screaming that the door is open and attacks everyone.
Batman flees during the hubbub, and Green Lantern tells Kendra she’s dumb for trying to catch Batman because he’s always three steps ahead of everyone. Then he says that Batman’s probably the one who woke up Red Tornado…even though none of the art shows him anywhere near Red Tornado’s tank…maybe it happened in a tie-in.
Batman escapes on a pink raptor and calls for Alfred to send his hyper sub to pick him up, and the mysterious narrator returns to wax poetic some more about the events.
Then you get a full page showing Doctor Fate, Plastic Egg, and Steel (that guy from the movie starring Shaq) all sensing the arrival of a dark army of Batman-looking figures. The narrator explains that those entuned to Nth metal get visions of the danger to come, which is what we’re witnessing on this page.
Then we go to the Batcave. The narrator continues, telling us what Kendra already told us, which is that Barbatos wants to get his hands on his wagon, Bruce.
Alfred is with Batman in the cave and pleads with him to tell his friends about what he’s doing. Bruce dismisses Alfred, telling him he’s “too close” and “we’re running out of time” and that “I need to protect them” and other clichéd dialogue. Batman jacked some Nth metal from Kendra when he escaped and is now examining it, having never gotten his hands on the pure stuff before.
He hypothesizes that if they checked in on planets with heavy metal cores, they would see “those damn signs we missed”. Then, after we get a panel cut and pasted from the first issue of a little lizard running across sand with the narrator informing us there will be “nowhere to run”, Alfred and Batman notice a humming. Then we get a panel of bodies and blood and a crashed Wallace and Grommit-looking space ship (Pinkie has informed me this is a reference to Grant Morrison’s Batman run). Then we go to a clock.
The narrator continues, referencing Final Crisis by Grant Morrison, and then talks about how Bruce was of Tribe Bat and is now of Tribe Bird…or something…it’s really unclear. It’s just more foreboding blah-de-blah oooooo “danger Will Robinson danger” crap.
We see the humming is coming from Batman’s study and there’s a glowing batsymbol on the ground. Then Bruce tells us we’re in his study…thanks.
Then the narrator, addressing Bruce, apologizes for everything coming, then talks about how he will explore the dark soon. And here is where we discover our mysterious narrator was Carter Hall’s journal all along. The glowing batsymbol was actually melting the floor to reveal the journal to Bruce. I guess Carter broke into his house sometime to drop it off…
Anyway, Batman, who’s reading the book, gasps about how all of this is true and we get a new mysterious voice.
Turn the page and we’re greeted by Dream from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series (who’s apparently gotten his hair dyed and an updated wardrobe), who tells Batman that the nightmare has only just begun.
Jesus Christ. Zeus. Mohammed. Buddha. Anyone. Help me.
I…I honestly thought it would take me longer to get angry with this book. Fuck. OK.
So, let me start by saying that I’m actually surprised by my reaction upon a second reading. I guess I was still hyped the first time through and I kind of ignored how boring and poorly written this issue is. But…holy shit guys.
I’m going to clarify something I don’t think I established in the last review, and that’s totally my bad. I’m reviewing this issue by issue from the trade volume, and that does have an impact on how I’m absorbing the information. I’m treating the trade and how it’s been put together as DC’s ultimate compilation for how this event should be absorbed by the audience. I have other trades for comic events, so I think I have some grasp on the standard for compilated works in an ongoing series.
If this is how the story was 100% meant to be told…then holy shit guys. Someone needed to tell Scott to EDIT.
This was near incomprehensible. It repeats itself. The stuff it says feels clichéd and confusing and disorienting. The action and excitement established from the previous issue was completely thrown out the window in favour of a painful exposition dump that was SO boring that, while trying desperately to figure out how to summarize it for all of you, I found issues EVERYWHERE.
My points from now on may feel nitpicky to some of you, but fucking hell I couldn’t help but nitpick! All these little things became painfully glaring issues when I had to stare at the same two pages for two hours while I tried to strategize making it easily consumable for you all! And it was horribly frustrating.
When I started this project, I remembered feeling insulted as a reader about halfway into the series. Reading it again, I am honestly gobsmacked by the immediate drop in quality from the first issue to the second.
So…let’s grade this abomination.
I mean, this crap made me go back to Wytches just to make sure my first impression of his writing wasn’t mistaken. I’m glad to say that book is still fantastic, and I can’t wait for volume 2 whenever that comes, but you made me doubt your own talent, Scott!
Now, Pinkie has informed me that Scott Snyder suffers from anxiety – I feel ya, man – and that he has a tendency to worry about what people will think of his work. Apparently he and Greg Capullo are good friends, and Scott would call him up to check with him on story details during their time on Batman together. Basically, Capullo is the Sam to Snyder’s Frodo, which I think is really sweet.
Since they’re working together again, holy crap, did Scott just not listen to Greg this time around? Because knowing that this writer has anxiety explains A LOT about what’s wrong with this issue.
This issue feels like it exists to try and justify the existence of the premise of this event. It uses science-babble, it over-explains and repeats fairly simply concepts constantly, and the incessant dialogue that only really has two voices (the explainee and the one being explained to) despite having a large cast REEKS of someone who doesn’t think readers will buy what they’re selling.
Scotty… Baby… I’m gonna give you some advice. It’s a FUCKING COMIC. Do you know how far out you need to go to make people go “alright, this is dumb”? I mean hell, even AS:BAR has more integrity than this. At least it commits to crazy.
But the idea of a Dark Multiverse is suddenly too much for comic fans to grasp? The idea that there might be evil versions of beloved characters is just ludicrous?
HONEY, THEY DID THAT SHIT IN STAR TREK 50 YEARS AGO, REPRESENTED THROUGH EVIL GOATEES, AND PEOPLE HANDLED IT JUST FINE.
Is it really that fucked up of a concept that there just MAY be versions of Bruce Wayne who came out of the oven a little more fucked up than usual? Coming from the writer who brought us Faceless Joker and Tree Witches who send rabid deer to people’s homes just to bite off their own tongues and bleed to death on the carpet? I DON’T THINK SO.
I mean, people have already accepted the multiverse. Why wouldn’t they accept the concept of a dark multiverse? Actually, I think people would have liked it, just judging on all the Batman Who Laughs merch everywhere.
There are SO many simpler ways to describe the dark universe. Hell, we’re all geeks here, I don’t even think you needed to explain it at all, really! The name IS the explanation: It’s a universe and it dark. End of lecture. I just don’t understand why he had to pick the most complicated, convoluted and strange way to convey this as possible. AND it doesn’t even explain it very well!
Even after all those pages of explaining and explaining, I’m still not even sure what the fuck he envisioned. My brain keeps trying to simplify it instead, and I end up coming back to ideas that are more familiar and sensical that any scifi fan will recognize. All this shit about dark matter and dark energy…like what the actual fuck? And I’m not even a big science person – I mean, at least not when it comes to physics and space stuff – and I knew more about dark matter than the university fucking professor does. At least I knew it’s been a thing for about a thirty-to-a-hundred years! Recent discovery my ass.
It takes sooooooo long to get anywhere, too. Like, there is so little development in this. All of the development happens in like the last 3 pages, and even that feels like it takes forever to get through. It’s because the writing is like this that I was able to nitpick and find shit wrong with the fucking ART. I FOUND THINGS WRONG WITH GREG CAPULLO ART BECAUSE OF YOU.
And to go back to the dialogue, Jebus Chrizzy, it’s fucking awful. I had Pinkie next to me while I read because those two damn pages of explaining had me so fucking stumped during the synopsis. I needed my lab assistant to help me handle the toxic fumes these pages were emitting. I read sections aloud so he could help me summarize, and I gotta tell ya, doing that REALLY exposes how bad it is.
MAD WRITING TIP #1: When writing (be it dialogue for a comic or novel or script, or just a run-of-the-mill essay), make sure that sometime during the editing process you read it aloud. Sometimes things on paper look better than they are. Hearing it out loud can help you catch bad sentence structure, grammar, and even let you know if you’re using the same kinds of words too often!
This one line from Kendra is especially awful:
Carter had a journal, Batman…it’s been lost ever since he followed the challengers into the dark. But I searched the clues he left here and what I found is record of a beastseen in visions. Transmissions through high metals. An original being. Matter. Anti-matter. And now darkness.
Just read that out loud. Don’t mind the people staring, if you’re out in public.
Now, doesn’t it sound off?Isn’t that a strange way to convey that information? What information was even conveyed? What does matter, anti-matter and darkness have to do with transmissions and beasts? Because, based on the other information Kendra gives us two seconds later, and based on what she was talking about before, it means literally nothing! It’s just unconvincing “suspenseful” drivel, I guess? Maybe? I don’t know!
I don’t even know how to describe how bad it is beyond PEOPLE JUST DON’T TALK LIKE THAT!
If you’ve read DN:M, maybe you don’t see anything wrong with the dialogue at all. Good for you.
To me it was clunky, unnatural, and provided nothing but exposition. I couldn’t even tell who the fuck was talking if their voice came from off-panel! The LEAST you could do was make sure each hero SOUNDED like themselves. I couldn’t tell Flash dialogue from Batman dialogue. THAT’S AWFUL.
NOT TO MENTION the fact that the dialogue made our heroes sound fucking braindead. I mean, here’s a room full of some of the smartest, strongest, most talented people on the planet (and Hal Jordan), and these simple concepts – that a nine-year-old comic fan is supposed to be able to understand, by the way – IS TOO MUCH FOR THEM TO COMPREHEND!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?
BARRY ALLEN IS A SCIENTIST. A forensic scientist, I know, BUT HE SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST HEARD OF DARK MATTER BEFORE. CHRIST.
And fuck Kendra for just totally brushing him off when he asked for proof of what she was saying. How about instead of having her pull out some bullshit scroll in a language none of them can read (which for all they know could be an ancient take-out menu), you, idk, SHOW THE FUCKING TRANSMISSIONS FROM THE SHIP RED TORNADO WAS ON? She keeps talking about how they got one last transmission from Carter and his explorers. WHY NOT SHOW IT!?
SHOW DON’T TELL, SCOTT. YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER, SCOTT. YOU TEACH YOUNG PEOPLE, SCOTT.
And I know he’s all proud of the fact that he’s a language professor, but that Barbatos crap is such bullshit. You spent all this time trying to explain stuff out of your field of study, but when it comes to your own goddamn area of expertise you offer up this lame ass explanation to force metal into a name that was meant for a sentient bomb Darkseid sent after Batman????????????
I need to move on…
- Continuity – C+
- Dialogue – D
- Coherence – D-
- Conciseness – R
- Development – D-
What the fuck happened?
Were you bored?
I don’t blame you.
The art is…competent. It’s not Greg Land levels of lazy, or Rob Liefeld levels of what-the-fuck-is-that-a-foot? But it’s by no means Capullo’s best.
Everyone has, like, no expression? They all look faintly bemused, like they finally squeaked off the tiniest of farts while successfully not making anyone around them aware or accidentally shitting themselves. I realize that’s incredibly descriptive, but I don’t know! It’s a really weird expression, considering the circumstances. I’m trying here!
They’re talking about some pretty heavy stuff and everyone has a smile. It’s not a Joker grin or anything, but their mouths are all distinctly curved up, like they’re not at all worried about a dark universe crashing into theirs.
It’s a confident, sneaky expression and, like, EVERYONE has it.
Even Mr. Frowny-Bats doesn’t look all that pissed off. His fucking city got wiped out by a randomly appearing mountain, and he’s just like…meh about it…nice to know he cares if his Batfamily is ok…
To be fair, he probably has vitals on all of them considering Snyder-Bats is paranoid as fuck…but still. What about Gordon? Or Selina? Or Alfred, who’s freaking the fuck out right now? You’d think Bats would at least look after his surrogate father. Then again, maybe that was in a tie-in too.
The backgrounds are so flat and boring. Alan Moore would be ashamed.
I can picture his reaction now: Alan Moore, frilly pink apron still on, cast-iron frying pan in hand, screams wildly at Scott Snyder. He marched all the way from England in order to deal with this himself. He didn’t even finish making afternoon tea. How dare this so-called writer leave an artist without anything to do!
Then Moore turns to an abashed Capullo and takes him in his arms. Petting his head gently, Alan coos at him. The artists buries his face in Moore’s bushy Santa beard, finding comfort in the warm, wolf-like fur.
“It’s not your fault, luv”, Alan mutters, before turning his cold, hard eyes on Scott, whose own are firmly fixed on his feet.
In short, I blame the disgustingly bland backgrounds and lack of any interesting detail on Scott Snyder. I mean, he wrote so much bloody dialogue, I doubt he left any artist notes for Capullo. I’m sure he figured an artist as wonderful as his little Greggy-poo could make the dialogue interesting on his own. However, there are only about a handful of artists in the comic book industry who are good at that…and Capullo just isn’t one of them. At least not without some guiding notes.
And maybe Capullo rushed through this, didn’t bother with details because he wanted to get to the really good stuff later on, but there are some really bad mistakes. Like how Green Lantern says Batman must have activated Red Tornado…and you never see Batman anywhere near Red Tornado ever. Not even under the mountain… That seems like a detail Capullo maybe should have added – either in a background, or remove a certain useless panel showing a close up of some scrolls.
Also, there are two Blackhawk guards who appear and disappear while Kendra is talking. Like, in one panel they’re right next to her, and the next panel, showing her at a similar angle, they’re gone. And then they reappear where they were two pages ago like they were there the whole time…but like…they totally weren’t…
It’s just so…goddammit… It’s amateur.
And y’know, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed half of this shit if I didn’t spend so long staring at the dialogue that almost drowns everything out. It’s kind of nitpicky stuff, but it becomes horribly glaring when you’re bored out of your tits and you’re looking at art from someone who’s well known as one of the comic industry’s best. If I’m bored with the story, is it too much to ask that the art doesn’t bore me as well?
I will say that the letterer did not have an easy job in this, and I don’t blame him for this. Although…the stupid place titles…those needed to go. At least for Gotham and the Bat Cave. I mean…they’re pretty obvious as locations go. But, then again, that’s probably Scott’s fault too.
- Linework (and Inking) – B-
- Lettering – B-
- Colour – B-
- Forms, Proportions and Perspective – A+
- Style – C
If I was Scott Snyder’s professor, we’d be having us a bit of a chat after class. Seriously, how can you let the quality of your work just plummet like that?
Last week’s issue was fun. It had interesting themes. It had great action!
To go from gladiator Mega Zords to non-stop blathering about dark energy shit…it’s fucking pathetic. I’d say get your shit together, but…sigh. Holding my tongue.
This issue is practically unreadable. It’s just a lot of explaining with a teeeeeeeeny bit of action for a page and a half, and…no. That’s about it. That sums it up.
To me, a comic issue should be like a short story. Even if it contributes to a larger story, it should still follow the regular story structure: inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action. By the end of a long running series, you should have a steady string of wiggly lines slowly moving up, and then plummeting down when the conclusion hits.
This has none of that. Well… not true. It has a ghost of that. There is an inciting incident (mountain), there is a rising action (exposition), and that’s kind of it. I mean, unless you want to count Bruce’s escape from Not-Dinosaur-Island as a climax, but that’s pretty weak.
And even if Scott didn’t WANT to follow that structure, he should have done what he did in Wytches: he should have built suspense!
The Dark Universe is a world of nightmares, right? It’s supposed to be horrifying, beyond our imaging. You know what isn’t scary? Explaining science and names for four fucking pages!
You know what is scary? Explaining NOTHING. KNOWING that something is coming for you, watching you, and not knowing when or how it will strike. LIKE IN WYTCHES.
I know he knows how to suspense and horror well, and considering the designs we’ve all seen for The Batman Who Laughs, and the big scary splash page with Doctor Fate, Plastic Egg, and Steel, with all the creepy Batmen…I should be spooked! I should be intrigued! This should be a scary mystery, and it’s just…it’s nothing.
I’m not scared. I’m not intrigued. I’m not interested. I’m not awed. I’m not excited.
I’m not fucking impressed.
Final Grade: C-
Next week we’ll dive into issue #3. Sigh…I haven’t started reading it yet, at this point. I don’t remember it very well. I just remember last time it took me forever to pick it up and read it. Wish me luck.
Also, look forward to some movie reviews coming soon! Tis the season, after all.
Until next time.
- Colours are nice. I like the pink feathered raptors.
- Story development - NOTHING is accomplished in this. NOTHING.
- Art - It's so LAZY. Not interesting to look at, and there are continuity errors.
- Dialogue. Terrible. Truly terrible.