Category Archives: Reviews

DC Dice Masters: Green Arrow and The Flash Review: Barry Allen, Firestorm, and Superman

In September, the latest DC Dice Masters set, DC Dice Masters: Green Arrow and The Flash will be released. Wizkids hooked us up with ten booster packs and after an unboxing video, I’m now going over groupings of the cards to discuss their playability and how they stack up to previous versions of the characters.

Up next, the common Barry Allen, Firestorm, and Superman!

DC Dice Masters The Flash Green Arrow Barry Allen Firestorm Superman

Barry Allen: Super-Sonic Punch (common)

Team: Justice League

Purchase: 5 BOLT FIST

Die – Generic / Bolt & Fist / Bolt & Fist

Level: 1 3 3 / 1 4 4 / 2 7 4

Character Previous Set: None (though The Flash has appeared in both DC Dice Masters: Justice League and DC Dice Masters War of Light)

Synergy -While Barry Allen is active, you may pay BOLT FIST to give Barry Allen character die +2A and +4D (until end of turn). (Synergy abilities can be used while the character is active, any time you could use a Global Ability).

Thoughts: Wow is The Flash expensive in sets. The character at a cost of 5 where you must use a BOLT and FIST to purchase make this not the easiest card to purchase. What I do like about the card is that it really reflects the speed of the character with his ability to act quickly and up his attack and defense. Compared to other Flash dice, the cost is similar and potentially getting a 9A/8D character is solid. Still, when it comes to speedsters, I’d rather get the Justice League versions that can be unblockable and are 1 less to purchase. Still, since this is named The Flash, use both!


Firestorm: Host of the Matrix (common)

Team: Justice League

Purchase: 4 BOLT

Die – Bolt / Bolt and Bolt / Bolt and Bolt

Level: 1 3 5 / 1 4 6 / 2 5 6

Character Previous Set: DC Dice Masters: Justice League, DC Dice Masters: Justice League OP

When Firestorm attacks, deal 1 damage to target character die for each character die in your Field Zone.

Thoughts: We’ve seen Firestorm before and compared to it, this is one of the better versions of the card. The die characteristics are exactly the same, so all that differs is its ability.The ability to deal a high amount of damage in an attack will make this a key character to potentially wipe out tough characters. I myself tend to play a style with a lot of characters attacking, so this will be one I’ll be looking at when putting together a team, especially a Justice League one.

The chance to deal a high amount of damage in an attack will make this a key character to potentially wipe out tough characters and is one way to handle that potential issue. While on its own it’s ok, I can see it being a nice back up character used in certain situations. I myself tend to play a style with a lot of characters attacking, so this will be one I’ll be looking at when putting together a team, especially a Justice League one.


Superman: Man of Tomorrow (common)

Team: Justice League

Purchase: 6 SHIELD

Die – Shield / Shield and Shield / Shield and Shield

Level: 1 4 6 / 2 6 7 / 2 7 8

Character Previous Set: DC Dice Masters: Justice League, DC Dice Masters: Justice League OP, and DC Dice Masters World’s Finest

Superman gets +1A and +1D for each of your active Justice League characters.

Thoughts: This character die is similar cost to previous versions and the stats are the same as the World’s Finest version. The ability is really interesting, first because I think it’d give itself +1A and +1D, so it’d start off stronger than the WF version and slightly better than the JL version. Running just a Justice League team, I can see Superman becoming a beast to deal with easily getting in the double digests for attack and defense. Throw in Overcrush and you can easily see where this one’s going.


Final thoughts: Three interesting possible additions to Justice League teams (and teams in general). All three could be fun playing in casual and I can see some teams being put together for competitive, though the high initial purchase costs will get people to hold off of that. Still, if this set shakes up the meta like I think it will, expect to see all three of these cards of the table. Now, I’m off to go make a Justice League team.

Review: Secret Coders: Paths & Portals

Secret Coders Vol 2Stately Academy is just crawling with mysteries to be solved! In the last volume, Hopper and Eni discovered a robot in the supply closet and programmed him to do mischief. Now they’re trapped in an underground lair, and they must use their new programming skills to escape.

The second volume of the Secret Coders series, Paths & Portals picks up on the mystery laid out and begins asking readers if they did their homework. Yes, Secret Coders is an educational graphic novel that not only entertains but also teaches real world coding skills.

Writer Gene Luen Yang again nails it out of the park in this graphic novel which continues Hopper and Eni’s adventures but also teaches, it’s edutainment and holy crap is it good. Secret Coders teaches coding as the kids must solve problems using robots that run on the instructions they are given. Readers learn basic commands and how computer programming works with more and more complicated commands added as the story progresses.

This isn’t an information dump, instead, a particular command is taught and then used in a practical way for the story to solve some issue. It also asks the readers to participate by writing their own code along to see if what they came up with matches what the team comes up with in the story. It’s a fantastic and utterly brilliant way to get younger kids interested in computer programming.

It’s also not just for kids. Even as an adult, I felt like I was receiving a refresher on things I learned when I was much younger. It’s a great 101 introduction that takes you along on an adventure that’s as fun as it is educational.

Joining Yang is artist Mike Holmes whose art is fantastic. With minimal colors, the graphic novel has a look that’s inviting to people of all ages and what might seem like a dry idea is enhanced by the art which helps bring out the humor in Yang’s writing. This feels like something aimed at kids in look but as I said it’s great for adults too. I personally love the inviting art.

Like the first volume, this graphic novel is absolutely amazing and a must get for parents who want their kids to be entertained and educated at the same time. Even as an adult I found myself learning as Yang masterfully teaches without you feeling like you’re being taught to. Just an amazing accomplishment that has me excited for the next volume to see what I can learn next!

Story: Gene Luen Yang Art: Mike Holmes
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

First Second provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

DC Dice Masters: Green Arrow and The Flash Review: Cosmic Treadmill and S.T.A.R. Labs

In September, the latest DC Dice Masters set, DC Dice Masters: Green Arrow and The Flash will be released. Wizkids hooked us up with ten booster packs and after an unboxing video, I’m now going over groupings of the cards to discuss their playability and how they stack up to previous versions of the characters.

Up next, the common Cosmic Treadmill and rare S.T.A.R. Labs

DC Dice Masters The Flash Green Arrow Cosmic Treadmill Star Labs

Cosmic Treadmill: Antique Shop Discovery (common)

Team: None

Purchase: 4 FIST MASK

Die – Generic / Fist & Mask / Fist & Mask

Level: Treadmill/Treadmill*/Treadmill**

Character Previous Set: None

Reroll up to 2 target dice in your Reserve Pool. For each FIST or MASK rolled, deal 1 damage to target opponent.

Thoughts: On its own, this is an interesting card that I’m still going back and forth about. Doing damage is a good thing, but you’re also rerolling dice, so who knows how well it’d do. Where I can see this being a key is on teams focused on just FIST and MASK energy.

This one really is up in the air as to its usefulness until we see what the rest of the set is like, especially dual energy cards.


S.T.A.R. Labs: Science and Technology (rare)

Team: None

Purchase: 2 BOLT SHIELD

Die – Generic / Bolt and Shield / Bolt and Shield

Level: Test Tube/Test Tube*/Test Tube**

Character Previous Set: None

All your BOLT character dice gain Fast. All your SHIELD character dice get +2D (until end of turn)

*/** Instead, all your BOLT and SHIELD character dice get +2D and gain Fast (until end of turn). (Character dice with Fast deal combat damage before non-Fast characters.)

Global: Pay BOLT SHIELD. Move a Sidekick die from your Used Pile to your Prep Area and field another Sidekick die from your Used Pile.

Thoughts: The ability for the card is good for those using BOLT SHIELD teams and may be a must. What’s interesting to me isn’t the die itself, but the Global which is similar to Prof X in Marvel Dice Masters: Uncanny X-Men. That Global is pay a MASK and move 2 Sidekick dice to the prep area from the Used Pile.

This moves one from the Used Pile to Prep and the other is fielded from Used. While it’s a bit more costly, it also may limit its use by your opponents. Pay a bit more, get a similar ability that works well for BOLT SHIELD teams.

Expect to see some builds featuring this instead of Prof X.


Final thoughts: These are two interesting cards that I can see both getting play. How much will largely hinge on what’s in the rest of the set due to their each focusing on just two energy types. We’ll have to come back for a second look once the full set is out.

Rebirth Review: Comics Released 8/24

Welcome to Graphic Policy’s Rebirth Review where we take a look at the comics released under DC‘s Rebirth banner and try to work out just how accessible they are for new readers, because although Rebirth has been positioned as an apology to long time fans, we were curious to see how accessible the publisher’s comics are to new readers now that we’re seeing a large number of first issues hit the racks. So far, for the most part, the comics have been easy for new readers to pick up – minus one or two here and there that rely heavily on previous events.

Last week we took a look at whether the comics released on 8/17  had been new reader friendly, and proceeded to give each a simple rating of Friendly/Unfriendly based on how easy it was for new readers to pick them up; the ratings are based solely on the issues released in the post-Rebirth ongoing series, with more consideration given for the specific issue being read when it comes to the final rating than the series overall.

Eagle eyed readers may notice that not every comic is covered week to week, and that’s because I have a memory like a sieve and sometimes forget to pick them up, but because we’re focusing on the series’ accessibility I won’t go looking for back issues to fill me in on the stories. When I’ve noticed that I missed an issue I’ll point it out, otherwise I probably won’t mention it.

The comics won’t receive an overall grade out of ten, although some of them may be covered in our weekly Mini Reviews feature (no promises). That said, the quality may be commented on if it directly hampers the ease with which new readers can dive into the story.

Shall we get to this week’s Rebirth comics, then?


AC_Cv962_dsAction Comics #962
Frankly, this Unfriendly comic is fantastic  – it’s just not quite ideal as a starting point for new readers.

Batgirl #2
I missed the first issue and while I wasn’t quite sure what was happening for a couple pages, I was able to follow along with the story quite easily. Friendly whether you’re new this issue or not.

Blue Beetle Rebirth #1
I was a huge fan of Blue Beetle before the New 52… and then for whatever reason I stopped reading. Picking up this issue, I was nervous about whether I’d be able to easily follow along with the story. I shouldn’t have been. This is a Friendly enough comic that new readers can easily pick up and enjoy.

DS_Cv1_dsDeathstroke #1
A direct continuation from the Rebirth special that will be tough to follow unless you read that comic – it’s still possible, but only just. The issue would have been better served being the second, not the first. Friendly, but only just.

Detective Comics #939
There’s some great artistic moments here that are worth seeing, but the story isn’t going to welcome you you with open arms, because unless you’ve been on board for a couple of issues, you’re going to find this issue Unfriendly.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #3
I completely forgot to pick this one up, so I honestly have no idea whether this is freindly or not.

SixPdogW_Cv1_dsSixpack and Dogwelder Hard  Travellin’ Heroz #1
Having never heard of these characters before, I was curious about the comic. It’s certainly one of the more unique comics to come from DC now the New 52 is over, and it’s decent enough – and, yes, Friendly enough – to pull me back for another issue.

The Flash #5
By focusing the first few pages on one of the other speedsters who gained their powers from a Speed Force lightning storm a few issues ago, we get a very well scripted recap/story blend that makes the comic very Friendly for new readers right away. There is also the standard comic style reminders in the narration boxes that give you minor bits of relevant information from previous issues as the story progresses

HLB_cv1_dsThe Hellblazer #1
I’d say that after the Rebirth special I was left with the impression that we were going back to the Constantine we had before the New 52 integrated him into the regular DC Universe, but I honestly wouldn’t know. But if you’re coming to the comic after having watched the short lived television show, you’re going to find this a Friendly place to start out.

Titans #2
Action Comics #962 aside, this was the comic I most looking forward too this week. Much like the previously mentioned comic, it’s very good… it’s just not an ideal starting place for new readers. Friendly, but only if you’ve read at least the first issue.

Wonder Woman #5
The two stories running concurrently in alternating issues lend Wonder Woman more of a monthly release feeling than the bi-weekly schedule we’re actually getting. Both stories have – at least in part – been exploring the relationship between Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor, so despite this being a fairly Friendly starting place, you’d enjoy the series much more if you read some previous issues.



TV Review: The Strain: S3E1 New York Strong

the strain s2 imageIn the third season premiere, the strigoi become faster and smarter; Eph’s son is abducted; Setrakian and Quinlan try to unearth the Lumen’s deepest secrets; and Fet helps the Navy Seals on a deadly mission through the underground tunnels of New York.

If you haven’t been keeping up with The Strain, you might not have to as the third season jumps ahead a bit time wise with the strigoi gaining a greater foothold in the United States.

When the second season ended, I wasn’t sure if we’d be getting a third, and with this beginning it’s clear the creative team has regrouped and decided the best course of action is upping the action and horror a bit.

This first episode is full of it with Seals running around, gun battles, really tense action. It’s really good and a righting of the train so to speak, though the previous two seasons were never bad, just not exciting and great.

We’re getting closer to that great as this first episode kicks us off in a whole bunch of directions, but keeps up the tension and action throughout. There aren’t as many quiet reflective moments, instead bouncing around full of adrenaline.

The episode is also a decent beginning for those who may have missed the first two seasons, something that’s pretty impressive to do. It explains early on where things are, it’s not quite a revamped series, but it’s clearly shifted its focus a bit for the better.

I was hoping we’d get a third season of the show and after this first episode, I can’t wait to see what’s waiting us.

Overall rating: 8.6

TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead S2E9 Los Muertos

fear-the-walking-dead-posterAfter the fall of the compound, Madison, Strand and others forge a tenuous path forward. Meanwhile, Nick is recruited for a perilous assignment.

Fear the Walking Dead splits its story focused on Nick as well as another group featuring Madison and Strand.

Nick’s story is interesting as we get a glimpse of what the world has turned in to when it comes to people trying to survive. There are people who have decided to act as warlords, hording goods to trade.

Then there’s the group Nick is with who has an extension of the outlook of death we see in events like Day of the Dead. They don’t necessarily worship death, but they’re very accepting of it. It’s not quite a death cult, but it’s one that’s too accepting of the world that now exists.

Madison and Strand’s group look for Nick, but give up after a while and decide to seek shelter in a hotel. This story takes a bit more of a traditional route as their antics cause zombies to eventually pay attention and attack. It’s interesting watching this a bit as Madison and Strand drink their sorrows away and we get some more of what they’re thinking. What that results in is so familiar there’s a shot that’s straight up from Shaun of the Dead.

Splitting the episode makes it a bit more hit and miss. Nick’s story is actually interesting as we’ve seen what’s stepped up to fill the vacuum, while Madison and Strand is something we’ve seen before over and over.

For the many steps the show took forward last week, this episode takes quite a few back.

Overall Rating: 7.85

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 8/27

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.



AC_Cv962_dsAction Comics #962 (DC Comics) A fantastic ending to the first arc – this is honestly some of the best Superman I have read in a very long time (but then I don’t read much Superman so that doesn’t mean much). The conclusion to the Doomsday fight is fantastic, with the villain feeling like a genuine threat to Superman’s life – which doesn’t happen often. The first five issues in this comic post Rebirth are easily one of the better biweekly titles DC are putting out right now. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Conan The Slayer #2 (Dark Horse) I’m really enjoying the writing in this series – not the plot direction, although that is also very good, but the words that Cullen Bunn is using; his narration style is a throw back to Robert E. Howard’s writing style, and it makes this series so much more entertaining. This is classic Conan at it’s finest. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Kingsway West #1 (Dark Horse) A solid first issue that throws you into the story with little preamble. I enjoy feeling like I’m playing catch up in a new world when said world feels like it’s worth reading about. Greg Pak’s supernatural western looks like it’ll be worth it. Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Northguard #1 (Chapterhouse Comics) I really wanted to like this, but something just didn’t click for me. I have a feeling it’s because the comic spins out of the main Captain Canuck series, there’s a lot of back story to the character that in’t really covered here. Agent Northguard is at best a reluctant hero, and at worst an outright dick; I’m sure that there’s a reason for this but it’s not really explored here just yet. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read if you’ve been reading Captain Canuck.


BG_Cv2_dsBatgirl #2 (DC Comics): Batgirl taking MMA training? The concept is interesting and in an updated world, it makes a lot of sense. The comic shines with the small details added in of Bab’s observations. I’m digging the new location and direction, something’s clicking here for me though I think there needs to be more exploration of the locations themselves so it doesn’t feel like a Westerner’s generic interpretation of locations. Overall Rating: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy

The Flash #5 (DC Comics): Barry takes a day off! It’s a great issue that focuses on Barry just trying to be himself and not being a hero. The inability to balance work/personal/superhero life is a focus of writer Joshua Willialmson and it’s on full display here. Plus Wally gets a lot of focus too! That ending though… The next issue can’t get here quick enough. Overall Rating: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy

Six Pack & Dog Welder: Hard Travelin Hero’z #1 (DC Comics): I gave up early on Section 8, and I don’t know these characters at all. I generally enjoy Garth Ennis’ work, but this is a miss for me. I think you have to know these characters to really care and while there was some humor, it didn’t land super well for me. There’s so many others doing this same schtick, but better now. Overall Rating: 5.75 Recommendation: Pass

Wonder Woman #5 (DC Comics): The first issue of the series that I’ve really enjoyed. The back and forth between stories has been a problem for the series as a whole, but this issue’s focus of Wonder Woman laying out her problem and Steve Trevor being the damsel in distress begins to bring a better focus and direction, a bit more straight foreward than the winding narrative of the previous few issues. Overall Rating: 7.8 Recommendation: Read

The Hellblazer #1 (DC Comics): A good start to the series laying out what type of Constantine we can expect as a character and at least the first arc. It’s a bit more of a reflective version instead of an arrogant shitheel, but I expect we’ll see the later. I liked the last series, and this is off to a good start. Overall Rating: 7.95 Recommendation: Read

Ryan C

red thorn 10Red Thorn #10 (DC/Vertigo)** – I’m starting to fear for the future of this series as this issue sees a complete 180 degree turn of events from what had gone before, and its highly topical Trump/Brexit overtones have a definite air of the penultimate about them. Let’s hope I’m wrong, though, as David Bailie and Meghan Hetrick are just getting better and better as they go along here, and I’d like to see this book last a good, long time — most every issue is, quite literally, better than the last, and this is no exception. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1 (DC)** – A very pleasant surprise here as Keith Giffen and Scott Kolins deliver a “Rebirth” special that isn’t complacent with merely recapping what’s gone before, but actually get a proper story moving while effectively re-introducing us to all the principals involved at the same time. The art’s fun, the dialogue’s fun, the characters are fun — are you getting the idea that this book is fun? Then you’re exactly right. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Snotgirl #2 (Image)**: A mild improvement, story-wise, from Bryan Lee O’Malley that makes us question Lottie’s hold on sanity, but if our author really thinks that fashion bloggers have interns working for them, then he’s the one who’s hopelessly out of touch. So, yeah — a bit better, but it still reads like an old guy trying to spin a story out of what he THINKS “youth culture” is all about, rather than reflecting what it’s ACTUALLY like. Leslie Hung’s art is still is still dreamy, ethereal, and magnificent, though. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Sombra #2 (Boom! Studios)**: More rapid-fire, action-oriented badassery from Justin Jordan and Raul Trevino as they continue to flesh out their “Heart Of Darkness, Mexican-drug-cartel-style” storyline. Energetic, dynamic, full-throttle storytelling at its best, this is shaping up to be a four-parter to remember. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy


World of Tanks #1 1World Of Tanks#1 (Titan): When it comes to comics based on videogames, they usually end up a wash, but one always hopes for that exception to the rule. Thankfully, this comic is anchored by some of the comic world’s heavy hitters, and though there are some noticeable flaws , the story is more than entertaining, it excels. I am not going to lie, this reminds me of the old Sgt. Rock comics, except all of the action is in a tank. Overall, this what David Ayers movie, Fury, was supposed to be, a tense military thriller, that packs a punch. Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Kingsway West #1 (Dark Horse): The world of supernatural westerns prove to be a vivid genre all its own. Comics have delved into this world for years, one of the most memorable being Jonah Hex.Greg Pak, is doing his own version , with an alternate history, dragons , meta humans mixed with some Western tropes. Altogether, a strong first issue, which seeks to expand on what Firefly started all those years ago, and who does not want another scruffy gunslinger with a heart of gold. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write.

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Review: Aliens: Defiance #3


Mutiny aboard the Europa. After accessing a Weyland-Yutani network buoy which reprograms their directives, several Davis synthetics seek to take down the mysterious Davis 01 unit and take the ship back to Earth. Colonial Marine Zula Hendricks and Davis 01 must survive an organized tactical assault in deep space.

Things that start strange seem to add more mystery and weirdness as they go on. Despite Aliens: Defiance being only 3 issues in, that seems to be true of this series and something writer Brian Wood is using to his advantage. The issue brings in more synthetics, except unlike Davis they aren’t friendly, or lacking in firepower. For fans of the Alien universe, non-friendly synthetics will surely cause tension to build.

There are quite a few standout scenes in this issue by artist Riccardo Burchielli. My favorite has to be the slow motion grenade launch. It manages to bring a sense of gravity, and danger to the scene… before everything goes boom.

Story: Brian Wood Art: Riccardo Burchielli
Story: 8 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Dept H. #5


Under six miles of water, the pressure is rising. On her mission to rescue her brother, Mia encounters some of the ocean’s most dangerous creatures. It seems that the more clues she uncovers about her father’s murder, the more complicated the case becomes.

The pressure builds in Dept. H #5 as things go from bad to almost catastrophic. While issue keeps the dark, mystery constant it does reveal water spiders! The small aquatic arachnids make things interesting, as they are capable of mimicking voices which adds to the creepy factor. Despite managing to rescue Mia’s brother, things get worse. I’m really curious to see how writer Matt Kindt wraps up the series with only a few issues remaining.

The watercolor art style really works well for this series. It aids in creating a convincing ocean environment, with a lot of contrast. The large turtle seen on the cover actually makes an appearance inside the darkness of the cave. It’s not just a beautiful image on the cover. Kindt along with Sharlene Kindt continue to deliver a comic that’s as amazing to look at as it is to read.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Matt Kindt, Sharlene Kindt
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Cryptocracy #3


The Nine Prophecies foretell a great cataclysm and the end of the age of the Nine Families that secretly rule the world. The first has come true, and now the mysterious and deadly Hum aims to fulfill the others. Agent Grahame is desperate to prove that Hum is just a man—a man who can be killed. Elsewhere, radio host Bela is drawn into the fight for the fate of the world as she learns some of the Families’ long-hidden secrets.

Two prophecies have now been fulfilled. Leaving everyone wondering how much longer the families have before all nine have been defeated. Writer Van Jensen gives us something wild at the end of the issue, but I won’t spoil it. It’s best to see this for yourself. Each issue leaves the reader eager for more issues, as more and more of this world and the conspiracy is revealed.

The cover is very eye-catching and hopefully will attract more readers of those who have ignored past issues. The art by Pete Woods manages to amplify the power of the beings. The cover is a perfect example of that, it just screams power.

Story: Van Jensen Art: Pete Woods
Story: 8.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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