Category: review

Google Glass mini-games: A review

Posted by – March 2, 2014

Google Glass has been a little short on new toys to play with in 2014. The latest news from the mother-hive is that there won’t be a software update this month; however, an upgrade to Android KitKat is in on the way (interesting!), and that could bring some help for Bluetooth support and battery life management. As those new items bake at Glass HQ, I’ve been nodding and swatting through the five mini-games that the Glass team has released. And though they feel extremely demo-ish, it’s interesting to see what they bring to the platform.

Google Glass game menu

If you tell Google Glass to “play a game,” you’ll see a menu with the options to try games called Tennis, Shape splitter, Balance, Clay shooter and Matcher. If I had to rank them from most fun to least fun, I’d probably keep them in almost the same order:

  1. Tennis
  2. Shape Splitter
  3. Clay Shooter
  4. Matcher
  5. Balance

Each one is an interesting exercise in the Google Glass interface capabilities, and as someone who really enjoyed the WarioWare games for the Nintendo DS and Wii, all five of these games made me curious to see what something similar could look like on this headset.

What follows is the good, the bad and the ugly of what’s beyond that menu as of March 2.

Google Glass tennis

Tennis should be a concept that come naturally enough to most users picking up Glass. The ball and the court are both familiar, though if you have played real-world tennis before, you are going to be tempted to throw out your neck in a fit of futile attempts to put spin on the ball. Nevertheless, after you fully grasp how simple the head-tilt controls really are, things get easy.

Google Glass Shape splitter

Shape splitter will make you feel much more like you’re in a Wii- or Kinect-like experience. Actual hand-waving is involved, and once you get a couple of seconds into the gameplay, you will realize (SPOILER WARNING) that you are actually just playing a simplified version of Fruit Ninja. Good grief, though. If Google Glass actually did turn into a full-on portable version of Fruit Ninja on Kinect, I think this puppy might finally have a single app that justifies the hardware cost.

Google Glass Balance

Balance is the epitome of a game I thoroughly do not enjoy but just sat through to see how it made use of the Glass controls. Blocks fall on your dotty-eyed character’s head. You have to tilt your head back and forth to try to balance the block. My recommendation for breaking your high scores on this one is to just line the Glass screen up with some flat-line reference points (like the edges of a shelf or door) and keep your head as still as possible. The controls are extremely sensitive, though, so don’t waste too much time on this one (unless you’re into that sort of thing).

Google Glass Clay shooter

Clay shooter is a lot more fun. It is a shooter after all. You use voice commands to launch your targets. Officially, you say “Pull” to launch your targets and “Bang” to shoot, but Glass is super-forgiving, and you can ultimately make up your own stand-in commands if you like. The targets explode into little rainbow fragments when you hit them, and you’ll find some motivation in trying to hit them all. Again, the concept is very basic (reminds me of a game on the old black-and-white RadioShack system I played in the ’80s), but inspiration is there.

Google Glass Matcher

And then there is Matcher. It’s a memory game in a 3D beehive full of hexagon tiles that flip over to reveal shapes and colors. The coolest thing about it is that you’re playing within a 3D space that you have to turn around in to advance. Like the rest of these mini-games, the experience never comes remotely close to Flappy Bird levels of addiction. However, the timer will give you something to return to as you attempt to get higher scores.

At the end of the day, I’d love to see any of these game evolve into more fully-formed concepts. Then again, that’s kind of what the Glass experience has been like on most front thus far. And that’s not necessarily a complaint; after all, everyone using a Glass set as an Explorer now is a beta-tester and/or developer. In the meantime, these games were enough to get my curiosity bubbling. I can’t wait to see what happens once we get into KitKat Land.

Google Glass: The verdict for now

Posted by – February 2, 2014

Google Glass vignette

Here’s the bad news: Google Glass has not yet become a magical life-changing piece of hardware for me. A few problems linger, and a few apps are still downright baffling for me. The good news, however, is that the software is evolving. I’ve played around with a few new apps since my last Glass post, and I still see the potential. It’s not a device that’s ready for a wide consumer audience quite yet, but it’s finding its way.

MYGLASS FOR IPHONE

Functionality for with iPhones has improved significantly since Google released this iOS app in December. Nevertheless, some frustrations persist. You can now get step-by-step directions with Glass when linked to an iPhone. Unfortunately, you need to have wireless hotspot functionality enabled on your iPhone to do that, and for many users, that privilege requires paying your carrier (in my case Sprint) extra money. I haven’t done that, so cannot yet bask in the wonder of a hands-free guide as I walk around D.C.

GOOGLE PLAY MUSIC

This app is fun. It’s sort of like a voice-activated Spotify. It may not understand everything you tell it to do — and consequently play you some Thai pop music when you request “Pixies” tunes — but if you’ve got an ear piece, it’s decent, and I like using it while I’m doing household chores.

As soon as the weather gets a bit nicer, I want to try out the Strava apps. I also just downloaded the Glass team’s new set of mini games, so expect to see some reactions to that in the near future.

Google Glass Review: The best and worst of it right now

Posted by – December 22, 2013

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Google Glass has kicked my expectations to two opposite ends of a spectrum since it was first announced. On one hand, it looks like an overpriced beta product that could potentially become little more than one more screen for receiving push alerts. On the other hand, there’s a sprawling world of augmented reality possibilities that it could eventually host.

Want to know what I’m talking about? Gary Shteyngart’s novel Super Sad True Love Story showcases a wide range of examples we might eventually see from Glass or a Glass-like device: instant Hot or Not-style breakdowns of everyone around you at a bar, online shopping distractions while you go about everyday life, and even credit score or life expectancy readouts of people you meet. I even wonder if an app like SocialRadar could be a bridge toward that kind of crazy environment in the not-too-distant future.

Anyhow, thanks to some successes at Industry Dive this year, as well as an invite to join the Google Glass Explorer program, I now have a Glass unit that I’ve been testing out in D.C. and Seoul over the past couple of weeks. Here are my initial reactions based on firsthand experiences.

WORD LENS
The World Lens translation app looks like it has a lot of promise (though I wish like heck that it supported Korean). I tried it out on a Spanish songbook the other day, and the way it seems to instantly Photoshop text to visually switch what you’re looking at to a new language is remarkable. The catch is that it may not always recognize text, depending on a variety of lighting and/or font conditions.

PICTURES
The new wink-to-shoot functionality that Google just rolled out is super fun. This isn’t a camera that’s going to provide you with shutter speeds or manual options that put your handheld cameras out of business. But it’s better than I might have expected. At times, it seems to take a while to back up to Google+, which is where you’re really able to access what you shoot for other purposes. But the social sharing options are very usable (if at times delayed).

TUMBLR
You may not view Tumblr in the same way after using it as a feed on Glass. Depending on how you have your account set up, you may literally walk right into experiencing a daylong flood of GIF animations and distractions as wide-ranging as the Tumblr users you follow. I’m actually contemplating setting up an extra Tumblr account right now, just so I can better refine what Glass shows or doesn’t show. Also, it is way, way too easy to accidentally re-post something with this app. I had an incident the other day where none of the images in my Tumblr feed were loading (probably a slow network connection); my Glass screen had stalled, and I only discovered about an hour or two later that I’d inadvertently re-Tumbl’d something I hadn’t even been able to see. So watch out for that.

THE NEW YORK TIMES
The New York Times has an interesting app in the Glassware library. I’m not totally sold on it right now, because it tends to deliver bundles of stories from all over the place. In an ideal world, I’d love to just get quick breaking news snippets, rather than seeing short descriptions of long features and human interest pieces that I’m not going to be able to read in full on Glass anyway. Still, the ability to get Glass to read those short descriptions to you as the photos and headlines come in is kind of neat. [Update: The CNN app seems to offer more of the kinds of customizations I wanted.]

JUST RELEASE THE iPHONE APP
Most of my Glass activity thus far has been with a portable hotspot that I picked up for the Korea trip. That’s been way better than my experiences tethering with my iPhone, but I’m hopeful that the impending iPhone app release will dramatically improve my Glass capabilities stateside when I return. I’ll post an update here after I get some time on the street with that. [Update: I've got the iOS app installed now. I'll have some more to say on that in a future post.]

Review: ‘Wizzywig’ by Ed Piskor

Posted by – October 9, 2012

Ed Piskor’s Top Shelf graphic novel “Wizzywig” was another title that I picked up a few weeks ago at SPX. I first became aware of his work years ago when he collaborated on “Macedonia” with the late Harvey Pekar, and I even interviewed Pekar about that project for an article at my old job. Looking at Piskor’s work now and then, it’s easy to see why he and Pekar fit together so well (besides the elegant similarities between their names). Piskor’s illustrative style slips intelligently between fits of comic expression, burdensome human experience and detailed attention to minutiae—a skill that suits him well in this near-historical fiction tale of a hacker’s life.

“Wizzywig” follows the social and intellectual growth of a young man named Kevin Phenicle. Piskor’s take on the character, who goes by the handle “Boingthump,” is simple and brisk in its pace. The kid has a Tintin-like face in a world of slimy, unfriendly people who don’t understand his curiosities and motivations. Ultimately, the story leverages that condition to frame Kevin’s incarceration and the media-promoted fear that he inspires in the general public through his hacking. And the book winds up feeling full and balanced at the end as a result—littered with jargon and touchstones from the time, such as phreaking and bulletin board systems.

Piskor doesn’t waste a beat in “Wizzywig.” It’s not a graphic novel that cares a great deal about exploring the inner feelings and emotional connections between its cast members. Instead, the story unfolds a arms’ length from the reader, inviting questions and disgust as characters affected by Boingthump’s action sound off in panels and on TV about what they think he must be like. The whole book is set up to juxtapose Kevin’s life against that shrill chorus of the uninformed public and riled-up punditry, and it invites discussion about how Kevin should be treated or understood as a hacker.

There is certainly a Mark Zuckerberg-in-”The Social Network” quality to Kevin’s life, driven by social inadequacies to pursue other ways of relating to the world and enriching himself. Also, it brings his life to a head at the end in a way that I’ll admit caught me a little off guard, connecting his story to that of Bradley Manning and Wikileaks.

The convergence of their themes and stories makes sense. Piskor seems to be asking, after fully exploring Kevin, “Who in today’s society is facing similar treatment for rogue behavior and the invasion of secret places?” The conclusion leaves everything on a slightly off note, which is fine and unsettling, even if it does come of as a bit preachy from a book that has otherwise avoided much moralizing.

As a tour through the subject matter, a quick history lesson and long-form comic laced with Easter eggs for nerds, I think it’s safe to recommend this book. Be prepared to digest its political message, and be ready to learn a thing or two if you aren’t a regular reader of 2600, but I would think if you’re already considering giving it a look, these are all things that you would be open to.

Review: ‘Bjornstrand’ by Renée French

Posted by – September 23, 2012

Two elements that I can definitely walk into a book ready to love are the giant, mysterious monster genre and the furry, soft-focus art of Renée French. Her comic “Bjornstrand,” which I picked up at SPX last weekend, delivered on both counts, and it was every bit the plushy, bizarro children’s book belonging in a box alongside David Lynch’s “Eraserhead” that I would have expected it to be.

I remember one of the first indie titles I got to review for Wizard Magazine when I was on staff there back in the day being a Renée French book (2007′s “Micrographica,” I believe), and that was my introduction to her work.

“Bjornstrand” the book is an extension of the creature/character exploration French has been doing in her webcomic “Baby Bjornstrand.” In one sense it’s a little reminiscent of “Cloverfield,” in that it’s about a mysterious, potentially deadly creature emerging out of nowhere—and the story is being told through the lens of French’s art, which endows any comic story she’s telling with a slight sense of vagueness.

The tale is playful, due to the inherent contradictions being implemented. Every page is devoid of any anger or wrath, though the language of the tiny speck characters is full of obscenity. Bjornstrand is gigantic and capable of rampant destruction, but his eyes are cute, shiny balls that make him look like a blown-up Pokémon critter. Even the art style, which is soft and dreamlike contrasts with the realistic banter and harsh tension that drive the comic.

Like Tom Spurgeon, I found myself wondering about the significance of the title character’s name and whether or not it’s a nod to Gunnar Björnstrand. (I wondered about this ahead of SPX, but neglected to bring it up when I had the chance.) I have seen a lot of Ingmar Bergman movies starring Gunnar Björnstrand, and it’s certainly noteworthy that many of those films take place in isolated locales near the water, much like the setting in French’s comic.

Additionally, I am going to break out my Swedish knowledge here and point out that if you split that name into two pieces—”björn” and “strand”—those words mean “bear” and “beach.” So there is a possibility the name is just there to poke fun at the dichotomy that is Bjornstrand (or embody the essence of a beast emerging from the water).

Personally, I like to think that all of these competing ideas are in play, helping French’s narrative to keep the reader on their toes as she treads carefully, writing a cute story that could topple and plunge into horrific chaos at any moment.

Review: ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (2012)

Posted by – August 12, 2012

Fair warning here. This review contains some spoilers.

As an event in history, director Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film is almost impossible to consider apart from two tragedies—the Aurora shooting and the death of Heath Ledger that forever colored “Batman: The Dark Knight.” In turn, both of those events have forever colored how people discuss “The Dark Knight Rises” and how Nolan’s trilogy will be remembered.

“The Dark Knight Rises” deserves to be considered as a single film and as Nolan’s final word on the title character, though, and those are the two perspectives I brought to my final evaluation of a Batman film that failed to articulate Batman’s meaning and nature as gracefully as its predecessors, yet ultimately shut the door assertively on Nolan’s Gotham City universe, leaving a memorable history and culture behind with a few successful, pleasant surprises.

In the scheme of the trilogy, I see the underlying premises of Nolan’s Batman films thusly:

1. “Batman Begins” (2005) — Who is Batman?

2. “The Dark Knight” (2008) — Who isn’t Batman?

3. “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012) — What is the absence of Batman?

The franchise’s first two installments worked so well because Nolan was working with a blank slate and almost incessantly hammered away at what Batman means as a symbol, how that makes him more than just a man and why that struggle against competing ideologies is what defines him. In the cultural backdrop of this discussion were the 9/11 attacks and the real-life urban terror that the actions of villains such as Ra’s al Ghul, The Joker and Bane now resemble in the public eye.

My esteemed colleagues Rick Marshall and Laura Hudson (as well as many others) have already identified the odd plot holes and technical oddities that populate “The Dark Knight Rises.” Before moving on into my broader critique, I would just state for the record that the bomb’s blast radius, Bruce Wayne’s climbing apparatus and Bane’s stabbing are all noticeable hiccups for the film. I accept the necessity of the suspension of disbelief for sci-fi, fantasy and superhero films as genres, but these errors all seem like problems that could have easily been addressed through tiny script tweaks or camera angle swaps.

Meanwhile, the underlying problem I kept returning to as I watched this story dealt with Bane’s nature as a character. Heath Ledger’s Joker made for a compelling contrast against Christian Bale’s Batman because the two were so clearly linked by their disregard for the letter of the law but separated by their choices to channel their anger into distinct livelihoods. The Joker chose anarchy and rampant, amoral destruction, while Batman chose the preservation of life. Ra’s al Ghul believed in wiping out un-correctable civilizations in favor for rebuilding better societies in their places. In both of those cases, Batman had overlapping experiences but was defined by a clear difference of opinion or tactics.

That understood, Bane’s story came packaged in potential. “The Dark Knight Rises” seemed like it could be the ultimate post-financial-collapse Batman story with a heavy dose of “Knightfall”-inspired beats. Ultimately, however, Bane’s nature, motivation and backstory changed considerably from the comics. He became a kind of Ra’s al Ghul lite who was built up as a mastermind, only to be demoted by a plot twist (one which I didn’t see coming and did appreciate for its shock value, by the way). Bane could have been the ultimately dirty-tactics Robin Hood, but instead he became diluted by camp and bravado that limited the scope of his character. We were left with something much more digestible as a perceivable character than Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze, but much lower on the totem poles of gravitas and genius than Liam Neeson’s Ra’s and Ledger’s Joker.

The Russian-doll-style twists toward the end compounded the problem left by Bane’s motivational vacuum and put a lot more pressure on the film to succeed as the third chapter of a trilogy, especially since it began bending over backwards to slip in quick story recaps and cameos in the final act. “Dark Knight Rises,” didn’t succeed in illuminating anything new about Nolan’s Batman for me, but land the franchise in an unexpected way that felt like it made sense. DC films have a weird tradition (and by tradition I mean “Superman Returns” and “TDKR”) of turning their heroes into family men now. That’s another issue altogether, but—corny, forced Robin reference aside—Nolan’s trilogy has been put to bed in a way that settled lingering plot threads and provided surprises.

“TDKR” is always going to be my third-favorite Nolan Batman film, but it’s still a Nolan Batman film, and it lived up to my baseline expectations of camera-trickery, and jolting plot revelations. In the tradition of great trilogy-enders such as “Return of the Jedi” and “Return of the King,” this one isn’t likely to be remembered on equal footing. It performed its duty honorably, though, and for that, we can be thankful.

‘The Drops of God’ Volume 1 Review: There’s only so much wine

Posted by – July 1, 2012

I don’t necessarily avoid manga in my reading diet—it’s just not a staple. I’ve enjoyed Cromartie High School, Ghost in the Shell, Akira and even a little Yotsuba&!. Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimoto’s The Drops of God was little off the beaten path for me—not something I would have come to naturally. As David Brothers over at ComicsAlliance wrote last year, though, it’s manga about wine. What’s not to be interested in?

Being neither a manga nor wine connoisseur, this book only had things to teach me. It’s a comic about the son of a famous wine critic, who has a quest that conveniently allows him discover and describe real-life wines or trigger a lesson on the history of French winemaking. After you begin to understand the structure and story beats that are going on, you start to get curious as a reader about what’s around the corner, what’s on a label that’s being obscured or why a wine tastes a certain way.

Yes, there is a hokey quality to the melodrama that permeates the pages of The Drops of God. Those groan-inducing sequences of a manager belittling an employee or the story’s villain pondering his master plan snowball hilariously into moments of revelation that punctuate the chapters and keep things going at a respectable pace.

I’m only one volume into this series so far, but I’ve already learned more about Henri Jayer and French vineyards than I ever would have read and remembered anywhere else.

The near-photorealistic illustrations of the labels and bottles integrate seamlessly with cartoonish illustrations to stitch together the non fiction with the fiction.

And I should note that you won’t walk into the wine department at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods able to dazzle your friends with observations and interpretations after reading this manga. In fact, most of the knowledge you glean will only be useful under significantly more expensive circumstances. However, if you do happen to wander onto some French vineyards in the future, you may find yourself significantly more informed about why a crop of grapes is going to be ideally suited for whipping up a particularly good batch of wine, as well as why that batch shouldn’t be enjoyed for at least 20 years.

‘Habibi’: A review in progress

Posted by – September 26, 2011

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund let a few copies of Craig Thompson’s new graphic novel, Habibi, out of the gate early at SPX, and seeing how I’ve been waiting to read it for the better part of the last decade, I hopped in line and snagged one. I was prepared for Thompson’s extravagant attention to detail and densely packed pages of storytelling, but Habibi surprised me in some ways that I’m still grappling with critically.

This is almost without question one of the most important graphic novel releases of the year. It overflows with elegant, elaborate and brilliantly composed hybrid imagery. Moreover, the story exists in an odd, isolated universe that feels like a fable but also teases the novel’s relationship to real world events and anchors.

The place where I’m still coming to terms with the book, though, lies in refrain of sexual violence that defines the main character. The economies of enslavement and survival that she lives through drive almost every major plot turn from beginning to end, and along the way they bring horrific moments and choices.

Habibi is a challenging and sobering read, and it’s one of those books that will make you feel like you’ve lived through a lifetime reading it. In the end, however, Dodola’s personality and humanity feel very distant and underdeveloped at times. There’s a tragedy in that absence that’s provocative, which may be the point. I’ll be interested to see some other takes though.

‘Justice League’ #1 Review: Where did everybody go?

Posted by – August 31, 2011

Once again, nothing will ever be the same in the DC Universe—at least until another company-wide crossover event comes along and throws gasoline on already-problematic fires once again. That’s the cynical way to read DC’s hero-redefining refresh that begins in Geoff Johns and Jim Lee’s Justice League #1. I’m actually more hopeful, though. If “Crisis on Infinite Earths” and “Infinite Crisis” were visits to the emergency room for DC continuity, the “New 52″ initiative is a full-fledged dive into the fires of Mount Doom followed by a visit to a Lazarus Pit.

Think J.J. Abrams’ sledgehammer to the Star Trek franchise, only without all of the narrative grace tying previous cannon together with the new order of things. Therein lies the post-Flashpoint #5 mystery as Johns and Lee open up with Batman fleeing Gotham’s helicopter police across the city’s rooftops. The status quo for the Justice League’s members is all up in the air as far as we’re concerned as readers now. Batman is at odds with the police again (he clarifies as much in a conversation with Green Lantern), and he has definitely not established ties with Hal Jordan and Superman yet.

Batman is the bridge, though, between “Flashpoint” and Justice League. Aquaman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and Cyborg get left in Johns’ toy chest for this issue—even though they all appear on the cover. What we do get to see, however, is a younger Superman and a quick series of scuffles showcasing Jim Lee at his best.

Green Lantern repeatedly refers to himself in the third person, and this gets absolutely obnoxious as things progress. His green constructs, particularly the surprise fire engine, are gorgeous and fitting, though. The story flows well, and it’s an effective opening act, teasing Darkseid and laying the groundwork for the title team to drift together.

Alex Sinclair’s colors remain the gold standard for superhero action stories. These panels blaze and fade with the story like the Fourth of July, and the script is serviceable and tagged with nuances such as Green Lantern’s ignorance of what “Dark Side” is and Superman’s gentle words to accompany his pink-and-blue Jordan silencing punch—or is that heat vision? (I’ve looked at it a few times, and I’m still not sure.)

Justice League #1 is a fine start. Much like Abrams’ “Star Trek,” this issue is also a work that is going to need some future context to define exactly how good it is, but as a gateway to a new era, it feels strong. It’s funny to think that Marvel turned to Lee to define the look for their spit-shined X-Men title 20 years ago, and he’s being called upon once more to do the same and more for the Justice League. The entire “New 52″ strategy is laced with old approaches drawn up in a plan to reach new readers while keeping the old and faithful interested, though. The final recipe looks a lot like the ’90s with a rationed dose of Marvel’s Ultimate flavor.

So what does the post-Flashpoint DCU taste like? It’s difficult to say one issue into the new frontier, but they’re certainly starting out with mostly familiar ingredients.

‘Flashpoint’ #5 Review: Batman wept

Posted by – August 31, 2011

The end of the DC Universe’s final sprawling crossover event before its much-ballyhooed reboot arrived today in Flashpoint #5. Once more, the burden of DC’s Gordian continuity knot falls upon The Flash, and this is the tale of how he ultimately confronts Eobard Thawne and resolves one scrambled universe cluster-belch and ushers in a newer, shinier universe that DC’s execs hope will be more accessible to new superhero comic book readers.

Without spoiling anything for you, The Flash succeeds. (Well, we’ll see how many new readers the reboot attracts, but at least the continuity reset bomb has been detonated.)

Geoff Johns wrote this story, and it’s as Johnsian as anything DC has published in recent memory. If you pick up this issue expecting to see a marathon safari of goodbyes and Easter eggs littered across the DCU, checking off every last character in your old Skybox DC Comics trading card set, you will leave feeling disappointed. “Flashpoint” is a tale for Barry Allen fans, and in the end, the only characters you really need to be acquainted with to understand Flashpoint #5 are Allen and Batman.

The fight dialogue is awkward and stilted, and the crowd scenes cram in flocks of characters at a time without much effort at explaining who’s here and why (there have been four key issues and more tie-ins than I’ll stop to count right now to take care of that). Nevertheless, the final reckoning for Wonder Woman and Aquaman is ultra-hasty and almost comically abrupt.

That said, after the lightning-infused rumble concludes, the power in this issue lies after the staple. I’m not going to spoil anything too much for you, but the closing pages provide a glimpse at what’s to come in the “New 52″ DCU as the Justice League members get reestablished and the post-”Flashpoint” world takes shape. As a look through the keyhole, so to speak, Johns finished on a potent note. He lands this crazy train of a crossover flaming hot, but he does so with enough momentum to keep things interesting. Furthermore, Andy Kubert’s informed pencils handle a crowded cast of old, new, and really new costumes formidably.

And that leads me to the one big (potential spoiler) question I have at the end of this book. Has DC decided to give Batman a post-Frank Miller chill pill going forward. Barry shares a brief moment with Bruce that won’t spoil here (you’re welcome), but the entire finale comes down to a defining moment where we see Bruce Wayne as emotionally vulnerable as we ever have—and in front of a fellow hero nonetheless. This event is obviously going to have lasting implications. Johns and DC chose these tears to be the opening curtain to Justice League and the rest of their new U, so I want to know—what is our Batman for a new generation going to be like out in the wild?