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Kabuki: The Alchemy HC - Limited Edition

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Collecting all nine issues of the acclaimed, Eisner Award-nominated Kabuki: The Alchemy series from Marvel's creator-owned Icon imprint - for the first time ever Readers have been waiting to get the newest Kabuki story in collected form, and this prestige hardcover delivers with loads of extras, including the never-before-seen original ending sequence cut from the single i Collecting all nine issues of the acclaimed, Eisner Award-nominated Kabuki: The Alchemy series from Marvel's creator-owned Icon imprint - for the first time ever Readers have been waiting to get the newest Kabuki story in collected form, and this prestige hardcover delivers with loads of extras, including the never-before-seen original ending sequence cut from the single issues, new pages of art, new design pages, a commentary by David Mack, a "best of" letters column, and more


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Collecting all nine issues of the acclaimed, Eisner Award-nominated Kabuki: The Alchemy series from Marvel's creator-owned Icon imprint - for the first time ever Readers have been waiting to get the newest Kabuki story in collected form, and this prestige hardcover delivers with loads of extras, including the never-before-seen original ending sequence cut from the single i Collecting all nine issues of the acclaimed, Eisner Award-nominated Kabuki: The Alchemy series from Marvel's creator-owned Icon imprint - for the first time ever Readers have been waiting to get the newest Kabuki story in collected form, and this prestige hardcover delivers with loads of extras, including the never-before-seen original ending sequence cut from the single issues, new pages of art, new design pages, a commentary by David Mack, a "best of" letters column, and more

30 review for Kabuki: The Alchemy HC - Limited Edition

  1. 5 out of 5

    David Katzman

    Kabuki is a series about transformation. Yes, it has beautiful art. Yes, it has great writing. And while the central theme of the narrative is transformation, what I found even more powerful is the way the art of the stories transforms from collection to collection, seeming to mirror the character’s evolution. I have met David Mack a couple times at Comicon, and I’ve been meaning to ask him if he always intended from the beginning for the story to be about transformation and to move from standard Kabuki is a series about transformation. Yes, it has beautiful art. Yes, it has great writing. And while the central theme of the narrative is transformation, what I found even more powerful is the way the art of the stories transforms from collection to collection, seeming to mirror the character’s evolution. I have met David Mack a couple times at Comicon, and I’ve been meaning to ask him if he always intended from the beginning for the story to be about transformation and to move from standard comic style to collage. I like to think that it’s something he came up with as he went along, and the writing of the story transformed as he developed it. That the book evolved him as the story itself evolved. On a plot level, the story begins in rather mainstream comic fashion. Kabuki is set slightly in the future, primarily in Japan. The main character, Kabuki, is one of a group of eight female assassins called The Noh who wear iconic masks and stylized costumes. They are a team managed by the government and sent out to instill fear and kill gangsters and various corporate criminals. However...not all is as it appears. A multi-layered conspiracy ensues. Seven graphic novels complete the story. Kabuki Circle of Blood. Mack wrote and drew. Black & white. Has a grim, raw style. The art seems a bit underdeveloped to my eye. Has a Sin City tone but more surreal. With more emphasis on emotions. The story is overall, fairly straightforward to this point. Kabuki Dreams. Mack wrote and drew. Takes a huge leap forward in style and has more of the Mack signature look. Collage style begins, color is introduced. Blends pencil sketching, ink drawings, painting and even photography. This is a book of interior monologue and, as the title would lead you to believe, is trippy. Kabuki Masks of Noh. Mack writes and draws some scenes, but this is primarily guest drawn. The style returns to black & white, but overall more refined, precise and graphic than Circle of Blood. Rick Mays draws a pretty phenomenal Scarab. The various artists seem to be chosen to help represent the style of each of the assassins. This sequence consists of short stories introducing us further to the other members of the Noh. Kabuki Skin Deep. Mack returns to both draw and write. In Skin Deep his incredible artistic skills beginning to shine. He can morph like a chameleon from cartoonish renderings to realist representational paintings to pencil sketches. Kabuki Metamorphosis. Mack writes, draws, letters and designs. For the sheer brilliance on display, I think Metamorphosis is the most beautiful of the series and my favorite. The diversity of techniques is breathtaking. Kabuki Scarab Lost in Translation. An action-packed side-step featuring everyone's favorite assassin, Scarab. Illustrated in graphic black & white by Rick Mays, the coolest artist from the Masks collection. Just as the art harkens to outstanding comic illustration style, it doesn't push the envelope in content or technique. A fun diversion. Kabuki The Alchemy. Mack takes his signature collage style even further, using cut up items and diverse materials including envelopes and letters sent to him from fans of the series to tell the existentialist, inspirational conclusion of Kabuki's epic story. Although visually, I prefer Metamorphosis, I truly admire The Alchemy for showing the potential of comics. Yes, many artists like R. Crumb and Chris Ware have achieved fame for non-superhero stories. But Mack essentially demonstrates the potential before our eyes to move beyond the dictates of the superhero form. A series that begins with ultra-violent superhumans fighting battles for stereotypical reasons ends with artistic explorations of our inner potential as creative beings. Kabuki moves beyond standard comic book “hero” tropes into a story of heroic action as self-transformation, moving beyond the dictatorship of the system, the fear of change and the psychological control of the past. The hero is one who evolves not one who kills everything. And Mack says we each have the potential, regardless of what has come before, to evolve. Perhaps best of all, the transformation that takes place goes much further than within the narrative; it is a transformation of the form of graphic storytelling. Now that is truly inspirational. Highly recommended!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    With this Kabuki story, Mack has almost completely abandoned sequential art. This isn't so much a comic book as it is prose displayed on mixed media pages. While Mack is still a gifted artist, there is very little story here. Most of it is Kabuki writing letters to her friend and waxing philosophical for very long passages of the book. I hate to say it but I was bored to tears by this With this Kabuki story, Mack has almost completely abandoned sequential art. This isn't so much a comic book as it is prose displayed on mixed media pages. While Mack is still a gifted artist, there is very little story here. Most of it is Kabuki writing letters to her friend and waxing philosophical for very long passages of the book. I hate to say it but I was bored to tears by this

  3. 5 out of 5

    Darrell

    The artwork is fantastic as always. Mack uses a variety of styles including stick figures, realistic portraits, abstracts, collages, connect-the-dots, graphing paper, origami, traditional comic book style, photography and children's book. Unfortunately, there isn't really a plot. The characters all just sit around discussing new age philosophy and agreeing with each other. His characters also rant about how the government is suppressing free energy machines and how comic books are a superior med The artwork is fantastic as always. Mack uses a variety of styles including stick figures, realistic portraits, abstracts, collages, connect-the-dots, graphing paper, origami, traditional comic book style, photography and children's book. Unfortunately, there isn't really a plot. The characters all just sit around discussing new age philosophy and agreeing with each other. His characters also rant about how the government is suppressing free energy machines and how comic books are a superior medium to television. He includes more nonsense from the movie What the Bleep Do We Know, specifically the claim that writing positive words on a glass of water makes the water better. Mack has once again forgotten that Kabuki originally took place in the future and instead sets this story firmly in the present. He includes some commonsense self-help advise specifically directed at writers and artists. In fact, most of the characters in this volume are artists and they all share Mack's personal life philosophy. As if basing all of the characters on himself wasn't enough, Mack also makes himself a character. He explains to Kabuki the creative process he went through when he created her. Kabuki then has a dream in which she realizes that she's a comic book character. She writes her life story down and has Mack turn it into a comic book. Mack also includes an autobiographical comic-within-a-comic. I wanted to like this volume, but it was just far too self-referential and self-indulgent.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Derek

    If you know someone going through a rough time, especially with their identity or some childhood trauma, or if they're like me, stuck with their creative endeavours and looking for a little validation, give them this book, they'll never forget the gesture. Do go on, give them a chance to create their own "Self-fulfilling prophesy" Our culture will be so much better because of it. If you know someone going through a rough time, especially with their identity or some childhood trauma, or if they're like me, stuck with their creative endeavours and looking for a little validation, give them this book, they'll never forget the gesture. Do go on, give them a chance to create their own "Self-fulfilling prophesy" Our culture will be so much better because of it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rowansidhe

    This is by far the best graphic novel by David Mack to date. It is a must to start at "Circle of Blood" vol.1 but "The Alchemy" is where I go whenever I get stuck in a rut, need additional motivation or inspiration. The multiple dimensions and realities presented in this volume are built on the foundations of the previous Kabuki stories, but the evolution of the art and ideas of David Mack in "The Alchemy" shatter everything that has gone before - and then move the pieces into place. I find some This is by far the best graphic novel by David Mack to date. It is a must to start at "Circle of Blood" vol.1 but "The Alchemy" is where I go whenever I get stuck in a rut, need additional motivation or inspiration. The multiple dimensions and realities presented in this volume are built on the foundations of the previous Kabuki stories, but the evolution of the art and ideas of David Mack in "The Alchemy" shatter everything that has gone before - and then move the pieces into place. I find something new everytime I read it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mikamae

    i read this book during a dark time of my life after having the good fortune of meeting david mack--it inspired me to believe in myself again as i rediscovered who i was after a series of traumatic events. while i am no heroine, i do believe that the character in kabuki is a great metaphor for what the human spirit can overcome.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marissa

    While the art work is innovative and impressive, the part crimethinc, part Artist's Way new-agey philosophy stuff could be a little bit over the top at times. While I enjoyed the book, it was really just too heavy handed ultimately for me to give it more than three stars. While the art work is innovative and impressive, the part crimethinc, part Artist's Way new-agey philosophy stuff could be a little bit over the top at times. While I enjoyed the book, it was really just too heavy handed ultimately for me to give it more than three stars.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Malinda

    This book is life-changing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Sundt

    Brilliant multimedia visuals, but the plot (which at first seems somewhat coherent) limps along like a wounded cryptid that then dissipates into another dimension toward the end. Stir in conversations involving generous dollops of advice for the artists and writers of the world, and you get this. EH. I'd rather have come into this work with the framing of it being a gallery of sorts rather than a story. Brilliant multimedia visuals, but the plot (which at first seems somewhat coherent) limps along like a wounded cryptid that then dissipates into another dimension toward the end. Stir in conversations involving generous dollops of advice for the artists and writers of the world, and you get this. EH. I'd rather have come into this work with the framing of it being a gallery of sorts rather than a story.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Raven

    Innovative and deep storytelling with layers of symbolic and cultural unpacking available about the process of being an artist. I'm not that kind of artist, but I still found it resonant, and despite my differences with the author on the structure of water, appreciated his many cultural shout-outs, referents, and continuations of a long cultural dialogue. Smart comics! Innovative and deep storytelling with layers of symbolic and cultural unpacking available about the process of being an artist. I'm not that kind of artist, but I still found it resonant, and despite my differences with the author on the structure of water, appreciated his many cultural shout-outs, referents, and continuations of a long cultural dialogue. Smart comics!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

    This isn't something I normally would have chosen to read on my own, but it was required for a psychology class I took. It was an interesting book, and certainly had a lot to analyze. Most of the book was meh, but I did greatly enjoy the last chapter, and thought that it shared many good points, and had a great many quotable moments. This isn't something I normally would have chosen to read on my own, but it was required for a psychology class I took. It was an interesting book, and certainly had a lot to analyze. Most of the book was meh, but I did greatly enjoy the last chapter, and thought that it shared many good points, and had a great many quotable moments.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I bought this used not realizing it was volume 7 but I was able to parse what it was about as i went along. Loved the format and style. Especially the very meta unsure-if-based-on-fact feeling. Such a beautiful book <3

  13. 4 out of 5

    Steen Ledet

    A metafictional labyrinth to conclude the series.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    The labyrinthine story of Kabuki ends with this stunningly crafted graphic novel. A lot of personal touches by Mack bring the story to a full circle.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Patch Hadley

    The Kabuki series opened my eyes to the boundless potential of the graphic novel genre. Not only is the plot the definition of epic, but its gorgeous art style destroys expectations. The core of Kabuki is personal transformation – rewriting one’s identity, history, and culture to live a new narrative. It explores the binary of inner/outer self, with the motif of masks to protect/represent true self. I’ve lost count of all the times I’ve raved about this series to friends. It is an unforgettable The Kabuki series opened my eyes to the boundless potential of the graphic novel genre. Not only is the plot the definition of epic, but its gorgeous art style destroys expectations. The core of Kabuki is personal transformation – rewriting one’s identity, history, and culture to live a new narrative. It explores the binary of inner/outer self, with the motif of masks to protect/represent true self. I’ve lost count of all the times I’ve raved about this series to friends. It is an unforgettable contribution to the “war of art”. CHARACTERS & KEY MOTIFS If you don’t like the story your culture is writing… It’s not enough to say you don’t subscribe to it… You have the obligation of writing your own story… To be a contributing author of your own culture – Kabuki Vol 7. The Alchemy The character of Kabuki is unravelled layer by layer throughout the series. In Vol. 1 Circle of Blood, she is a government assassin, hiding in plain sight as Noh TV’s Big Brother-esque weather reporter (“media as a manufacturer of public consent”). As a child, her identity was defined by her shameful facial scar, referencing her murdered mother the Kabuki dancer. Now, her Kabuki mask is her trademark and a motif vital to her story of transformation. Her narrative of fighting death to rewrite her future is powerfully uplifting to anyone who has lost sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. I didn’t have to be labeled by my scars, my job, my lineage, or my history. Once I learned to free myself on the inside, I became free on the outside as well – Kabuki Vol. 7 The Alchemy Kabuki features a cast of deadly female characters, of whom we only get to the see the tip of the iceberg. In Vol 3. Masks of the Noh and Vol. 7 Scarab, Lost in Translation, each of the Noh operatives are portrayed by a different artist, with the aim to express their individuality through unique art styles. This technique made me mindful of each character having their own private world beyond the main Kabuki plot line. The revolution is the action not the subject. Once the revolution becomes the institution, you have to revolt and revolve, all over again. Stagnation is death. Status quo is death. Celebrity is death. Once a government or agency is set up to worship itself and make itself richer, and forget the ideas it is founded on, it is no longer for the people, or by the people – Kabuki Vol. 7 The Alchemy THE WAR OF ART When I first started reading graphic novels, I held expectations based on genre stereotypes – think panels, speech bubbles, and black and white art. However, the art of Kabuki surpasses my wildest expectations. In fact, Mack makes art like he’s never faced a boundary in his life. While the volumes are congruent as a series, each plays with whatever mediums best communicate the heart of that particular chapter. For example, Vol. 1 is an electrifying theatre of dark and light, while Vol. 2 Dreams… drifts between life and death. Kabuki’s subconscious thought is represented by surreal mixed modal paintings, blending water colour, paper cut outs, photography, and lace. My personal favourite is the very “meta” Vol. 7 The Alchemy, which celebrates as many textures and dimensions as you can imagine. Just as the art goes over the lines, so does the story. When Akemi introduces Kabuki to the “war of art” in Vol. 7, it becomes clear that the series aims to be a subversive, stimulating contribution to culture – blurring reality and transcending the boundaries of traditional storytelling. Each letter is alive and fertile with intent of the idea… That is unlocked and activated when someone reads it … You must accept your role in the energy exchange by passing on your truth or story to those willing to unlock and open… and unfold that in themselves… Part of the global War of Art – Kabuki Vol. 7 The Alchemy As a reader and as a content creator, Kabuki motivates me to look deeply at the world, and see past perceived boundaries to my creativity and identity. Keep Kabuki on your to-read or re-read list for any day you need to stoke your life’s fire. This review can also be found on my blog Paige's Pages.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Magee

    Beautifully written. I've not read any of the other volumes, and I definitely plan to after taking in The Alchemy in one day's time. I am feeling super lucky to attend the same school (Northern Kentucky University) as the author. In fact, I have had the pleasure of viewing the original artwork that is currently on display in Steely library, and it is downright stunning. I saw the artwork before I began to read this collection, so I was baffled as to how it would translate from the wall of a gall Beautifully written. I've not read any of the other volumes, and I definitely plan to after taking in The Alchemy in one day's time. I am feeling super lucky to attend the same school (Northern Kentucky University) as the author. In fact, I have had the pleasure of viewing the original artwork that is currently on display in Steely library, and it is downright stunning. I saw the artwork before I began to read this collection, so I was baffled as to how it would translate from the wall of a gallery-like setting to the pages of a graphic novel. Honestly, it pieces together beautifully, into one of the most gorgeously framed stories I have ever had the delight of reading. I love the mixed media, the story, and how David Mack breaks the typically boxed-in parameters of the graphic novel. So much to love about this volume, and so many quotable lines. This story is a true treasure, a work of art that wins "The War of Art".

  17. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    I think I'm going to buy this for someone. It's been hard for me to connect with the characters in this story until recently. But the main character has put down her blades of war and taken up the pen in the War of Art. The book is full of reflections on what it means to be an artist, creative process, and contributing something positive to the culture instead of just criticizing it. Mack admits to using Kabuki as a metaphor for his own life, but in this he takes off his own mask and shares a li I think I'm going to buy this for someone. It's been hard for me to connect with the characters in this story until recently. But the main character has put down her blades of war and taken up the pen in the War of Art. The book is full of reflections on what it means to be an artist, creative process, and contributing something positive to the culture instead of just criticizing it. Mack admits to using Kabuki as a metaphor for his own life, but in this he takes off his own mask and shares a little of his autobiography. I just really connected with this book. And, judging from the letters page, so did a lot of other people. As always, Mack's art is mesmerizing and constantly pushing boundaries. I'm not even going to try to describe it because it's always growing and exploring.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bria

    The art is undeniably gorgeous, the entire layout and style brilliant. But somehow the message of make-your-art started to feel a little much, and self-absorbed. Going from killing people to the artists' struggle to express oneself and stay motivated seemed a bit.. I don't know, cute? And the idea that getting a message out was so very important, and would have such a great impact on culture seemed a little old-fashioned and naive. And then it started to sway into woo-woo territory at the end, a The art is undeniably gorgeous, the entire layout and style brilliant. But somehow the message of make-your-art started to feel a little much, and self-absorbed. Going from killing people to the artists' struggle to express oneself and stay motivated seemed a bit.. I don't know, cute? And the idea that getting a message out was so very important, and would have such a great impact on culture seemed a little old-fashioned and naive. And then it started to sway into woo-woo territory at the end, and the idea of these apparently mid-20-year-olds being masterfully accomplished in pretty much every field of endeavor that one could imagine sounds appealing was just stretching it a bit too fanciful, while trying to play with the potential nonfictional aspect. Ok, but yes, the art. Let's all look at the pretty pictures.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sonic

    This was not an easy read, but the artwork is so F'n Amazing, that this book deserves 5 stars. Alchemy indeed, Mr. Mack is masterful in any medium and in any style, and he loves to mix media to the level of making meta-art. What was originally a female ninja story, has now been transformed into a virtually metaphysical book of inspiration and advice. At a talk I attended, Mr. Mack said (among other interesting things) that he was happy he had made a book without any violence, and he was proud tha This was not an easy read, but the artwork is so F'n Amazing, that this book deserves 5 stars. Alchemy indeed, Mr. Mack is masterful in any medium and in any style, and he loves to mix media to the level of making meta-art. What was originally a female ninja story, has now been transformed into a virtually metaphysical book of inspiration and advice. At a talk I attended, Mr. Mack said (among other interesting things) that he was happy he had made a book without any violence, and he was proud that the story still had drama. Well as cool as that is, I felt that the story was kinda plodding, in fact I am not sure how much of a story it is, so for me, I felt the "drama" was pretty minimal ... but again it was saved by the gorgeous art!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    David Mack is the artist I go to for rejuvenation. I bought Kabuki: Alchemy after meeting him at a con, and his assurance that it represented a good swath of his style and concerns was well-founded. You don't need to read Kabuki's whole series to understand the issues he's tackling in this gorgeous book; if you're ever created anything, or are just a human being interested in examining how you live, The Alchemy's for you! David Mack is the artist I go to for rejuvenation. I bought Kabuki: Alchemy after meeting him at a con, and his assurance that it represented a good swath of his style and concerns was well-founded. You don't need to read Kabuki's whole series to understand the issues he's tackling in this gorgeous book; if you're ever created anything, or are just a human being interested in examining how you live, The Alchemy's for you!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    In the final act there is further exploration into sense of self, purpose and place in the world. I want to go back to this one again and soak it in some more. Another beautiful piece of art/storytelling that not only makes you interested in the outcome of the main character, but makes you think about your own place in the world and how you fit into it. Comics rarely do this for me, and I love this series even more so because of it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dani

    This book was incredible! It took me forever to find a copy that wasn't ass amounts of money but it was well worth the wait. This volume literally brings everything together for the final storyline. The conclusion is solid and I felt like I learned a little about the author and myself after reading this book. If you've read all the other volumes, definitely get a hold of this! I rate it equal to the ending of Breaking Bad - for those of you that know me know that is a high honor. This book was incredible! It took me forever to find a copy that wasn't ass amounts of money but it was well worth the wait. This volume literally brings everything together for the final storyline. The conclusion is solid and I felt like I learned a little about the author and myself after reading this book. If you've read all the other volumes, definitely get a hold of this! I rate it equal to the ending of Breaking Bad - for those of you that know me know that is a high honor.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    I actually have these in pamphlet form, so I'm not sure how it's laid out in HC. The cool thing about the individual issues is the question and answer section featured in each. Not to mention the stunning watercolors, collage, drawings, and lyric writing. An awesome setting for two rad female protagonists. Great series! I actually have these in pamphlet form, so I'm not sure how it's laid out in HC. The cool thing about the individual issues is the question and answer section featured in each. Not to mention the stunning watercolors, collage, drawings, and lyric writing. An awesome setting for two rad female protagonists. Great series!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ula

    I first read this in March 2010. It's a great and inspirational read to start the new year. It's a beautiful work of art and you don't even have to read the other books in the series (though it helps). I picked this up not knowing anything about it at the library and it's one of my favorite books. I first read this in March 2010. It's a great and inspirational read to start the new year. It's a beautiful work of art and you don't even have to read the other books in the series (though it helps). I picked this up not knowing anything about it at the library and it's one of my favorite books.

  25. 4 out of 5

    jesse mabus

    it ends with a kiss, a shared electron. like maus, or promethea, the invisibles, or persopolis at their best, it is beyond expectation, it a love letter in the form of a personal philosophy unfolding and creating the change we are. beyond highly recommended, this is the summum bonum. in a word: magick. the drink you are thirsty for.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Randy

    I never comment on books I've read - but this is a big WOW. I recommend it to all of my artist friends! The imagination and creativity are stunning, and then there is the Art of War - Wow - Read it! Randy I never comment on books I've read - but this is a big WOW. I recommend it to all of my artist friends! The imagination and creativity are stunning, and then there is the Art of War - Wow - Read it! Randy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    This is one of the most amazing and inspiring works of art I have ever seen! Every issue blew me away when they came out, and having them all together in this beautiful hardcover blew my mind! Pure Genius!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    Whether or not you follow the Kabuki series, this volume has some of the most fascinating narrative forms I have seen in ages; the art and story are wrapped up in a perfect package. Anyone interesting postmodern storytelling techniques should take a gander at Mack's work. Whether or not you follow the Kabuki series, this volume has some of the most fascinating narrative forms I have seen in ages; the art and story are wrapped up in a perfect package. Anyone interesting postmodern storytelling techniques should take a gander at Mack's work.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I've ordered the paperback copy of this and can't wait for it to come in!! I've ordered the paperback copy of this and can't wait for it to come in!!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Yesyoucandy

    Wanted to give it five stars but haven't finished yet. Love it though. I can't wait to read all of them - am hooked. Wanted to give it five stars but haven't finished yet. Love it though. I can't wait to read all of them - am hooked.

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