Monday, March 31, 2014

March 2014 End Of The Month Report!

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W.L. Swarts Reviews The Universe continued great through March (which is traditionally a slow month!) with independent cinema reviews as well as new reviews of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes and Wild Ophelia chocolates!

This month was a fun month for W.L. Swarts Reviews The Universe! We celebrated the DVD release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire by getting in and reviewing all sorts of Wild Ophelia bars themed toward that movie! We were also excited that people involved in the production of Cheap Thrills found (and enjoyed) our review of that new indie film! We might not have broken any records for the blog this month, but it was a solid month of reviews with a decent chunk of reviews in the docket for a continued strong April with some big new movie reivews!

This month at W.L. Swarts Reviews The Universe, there we had no new additions to the Top Ten Of All Time. This month, we put special emphasis on food, new indie cinema, the musical works of Sting and Joni Mitchell and Star Trek: Enterprise episodes! Thanks for all the "likes" for those posts, as well as all of the new hits on older reviews!

This month, we picked up a no new subscribers, but we’re up for readership for the month. We are always trying to get people to become regular readers and subscribe, so if you enjoy what you're reading, please subscribe by clicking on the right side of the blog to get updates with each posting. As well, if you read a review that really affects you, be sure to "share" it! PLEASE share a link to the blog, not the content of the article; this keeps people coming to the site and, hopefully, liking what they find once they are here! We're hoping to continue to grow our readership this year, so sharing and subscribing to the blog is an important way you can help! If you’re subscribing, please tell your friends about the blog!

In March, the index pages were very regularly! The primary Index Page, which we try to update daily, lets you know what the featured review is and has an up-to-the-day tally of how many reviews have been reviewed in each category! Check it out!

If you enjoy the reviews, please consider clicking on the links in the reviews and purchasing items. We really appreciate all the purchases made through the blog as that keeps us going. Thank you so much! Thanks so much to all of the shoppers who have been spending this spring and going through the blog to do so!

At the end of March 2014, I have reviewed the following:
490 - Book Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Star Trek Books
Graphic Novels
857 - Music (Album and Singles) Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Music Reviews By Rating (Best To Worst)
Music Reviews In Alphabetical Order
2508 - Movie and Television Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Movies By Rating (Best Movie to Worst)
Movies In Alphabetical Order
Best Picture Oscar Winner Film Reviews
Television Reviews
The Star Trek Review Index Page (All Star Trek Reviews In Order)!
The Star Trek Review Index Page (All Star Trek Reviews From The Best Of The Franchise To The Worst!)!
202 - Trading and Gaming Card Reviews
Gaming Cards Reviews
Star Trek Gaming Cards Reviews
Star Wars Gaming Cards Reviews
The Lord Of The Rings Trading Card Game Reviews
Other Gaming Cards Reviews
Trading Cards Reviews
725 - Toy and Christmas Ornament Reviews
with specialized pages for:
Ornament Reviews
Star Trek Toys
Star Wars Toys
Lord Of The Rings Toys
Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel Toys
Comic Book, Movie, Television Toys
Plush and Other Toys
752 - Food, Drink, And Restaurant Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Cheese and Meats
Ice Cream
Other Food
209 - Pet Product Reviews
Cat Product Reviews
Dog Product Reviews
Rabbit Product Reviews
107 - Travel Reviews
Destinations Reviews
Hotels Reviews
164 - Health And Beauty Product Reviews
170 - Home, Garden, Appliance and Tool Reviews
93 - Electronics, Computers, Computer Games and Software Reviews
36 - Other Product Reviews

The Featured Review For The Month of March is: Wild Ophelia The Hunger Games: Catching Fire District 12 Mined Salt & Milk Chocolate Bar, which is a great candy bar!
Check it out!

The month of March had a lot of movement within the month and was dominated by new reviews, which is pretty typical. It’s worth noting that this is the first month since it was posted that the review of Compulsion did not make the list! For March, the Top Ten Reviews of the month were:
10. Fringe
9. Brita Oceania Pitcher Water Filtration System
8. Space Jam
7. Vampire Academy
6. Cheap Thrills
5. The Wait
4. The Top Ten Episodes Of Frasier
3. ”Yes Men” - Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
2. The Top Ten Episodes Of Star Trek: Voyager
1. ”T.A.H.I.T.I..” - Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I pride myself on being an exceptionally fair reviewer, but one who is very discriminating. I believe that most reviewers are far too biased toward both what is current and toward unduly praising things. I tend to believe most things actually are average and they ought to follows something around a Bell Curve. Mine is a little lopsided, but not as lopsided as most reviewers I know (who would probably have peak numbers between ten and seven)!

For my reviews, the current count is:
10s - 290 reviews
9s - 414 reviews
8s - 799 reviews
7s - 891 reviews
6s - 808 reviews
5s - 1055 reviews
4s - 766 reviews
3s - 617 reviews
2s - 276 reviews
1s - 194 reviews
0s - 87 reviews
No rating - 63 articles/postings

There was a decent amount of movement this month, but there were no new entries into the Top Ten. At the end of March 2014, the most popular reviews/articles I have written are:
10. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
9. Safe Haven
8. Oz The Great And Powerful
7. The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bone
6. Warm Bodies
5. Iron Man 3
4. Now You See Me
3. Tyler Perry's Temptation
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
1. Man Of Steel

Thank you again, so much, for reading! Please share links to the blog with friends and spread the word!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Birth Of The Federation: “United” Is One Of Star Trek: Enterprise’s Best!

The Good: Engaging plot, Good acting, Decent special effects, Shran’s character
The Bad: Light on main cast character development.
The Basics: As tensions run high between the Andorians and Tellarites, Archer steps in to try to unite both races to fight the impending Romulan threat.

Star Trek: Enterprise is a prequel that precedes the United Federation of Planets in the Star Trek universe. As a result, fans of the franchise were hoping the prequel would be leading to familiar Star Trek, like the use of phasers, transporters, and the founding of the political entity known as the Federation. In its fourth season, Star Trek: Enterprise finally moved to living up to that potential with its new creative team. Truly building the Federation was the subject of the season’s third three-part arc. It began in “Babel One” (reviewed here!) and continued in “United.”

“United” might well be one of the best middle acts in Star Trek: Enterprise and the Star Trek franchise. In addition to creating a steady foundation for the impending Romulan War (which based on previously-established time references), “United” is both entertaining and has a decent character story for a recurring character who has been consistently growing in influence in the series, Shran. In “Babel One,” his relationship with his subordinate, Talas, was revealed; in “United,” Shran exhibits profound loss.

The Romulan drone ship continues its assault through the sector, with Tucker and Reed aboard. Disguised as the Enterprise, the Romulan drone ship attacks a Rigellian starship. While the Rigellians call for Archer’s head, Archer tries to get Mayweather’s sensor grid up and running by enlisting the Andorian and Tellarite fleets. As the Romulan Admiral Valdore tries to convince his superiors that the drone plan is working perfectly, the political forces giving him orders threaten him with Remans. While Tucker and Reed try to take control of the drone ship, and Valdore manipulates the life support controls to manipulate them.

When Talas dies as a result of her phaser injuries, Shran is infuriated. After a tense encounter with the Tellarite ambassador, Shran challenges Gral to combat to honor Talas. While Reed and Tucker effectively disable the drone ship, Archer commits to standing in for the Tellarite Naarg in the combat to the death. In order to save the growing alliance, Archer prepares to sacrifice his life.

“United” is a decent overall episode and little scenes like Sato and Mayweather looking for a loophole to the combat give it charm and character. The fight between Shran and Archer has a somewhat predictable outcome; Star Trek captains are not easily killed and given that Archer is known to be integral to the founding of the Federation, it is unlikely that this was going to be the end of Archer. In the wake of the combat, Jeffrey Combs gives a wonderful physical performance.

“United” is basically half a chase episode (the Enterprise hunting down the Romulan drone ship) and half a diplomatic incident that has to be resolved. The two stories play off one another very well and David Livingston keeps the tension high and makes the episode look great.

One of the best episodes for showcasing the emotional range of actor Jeffrey Combs, there are no bad performances in “United.” In fact, the only real detraction to the episode is the fact that the most significant character struggle in the episode comes from the guest character. While Archer is given a nominal bit of growth, most of the time, he is simply being the usual heroic captain one expects from Star Trek captains.

The three biggest gaffes in “United:”
3. Babel is a codename for the peace planet in “Journey To Babel” (reviewed here!). Given how fleeting political secrets are, it seems unlikely that Babel would still be useful as a clandestine meeting place,
2. There’s no reason for the drone ship, which is unmanned, to have inertial dampeners to keep a crew inside alive. The radical maneuvers in the episode should have splattered Reed and Tucker all over a wall the first time the drone made an abrupt turn,
1. The Romulans are all wearing Star Trek: Nemesis (reviewed here!) costumes.

[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Enterprise - The Complete Fourth Season on DVD or Blu-Ray, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the final season here!

For other works with Brian Thompson, please visit my reviews of:
The X-Files
“Surprise” / “Innocence” - Buffy The Vampire Slayer
“Welcome To The Hellmouth” / “The Harvest” - Buffy The Vampire Slayer
“To The Death” - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
“Rules Of Acquisition” - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Generations
“A Matter Of Honor” - Star Trek: The Next Generation
The Terminator


For other Star Trek episode and movie reviews, please visit my Star Trek Review Index Page!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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What The Line Was Building To: The TC-70 Build-A-Droid Star Wars Action Figure!

The Good: Great coloring detail, Wonderful articulation, Good balance
The Bad: Not unique, Costly for the concept
The Basics: The Exclusive Legacy Collection Build-A-Droid TC-70 is an unnecessary oddity whose value only comes from getting an additional figure out of an unremarkable action figure line.

Last Black Friday, I found myself unnaturally excited by One of their few toy-related deals for Black Friday was the complete set of exclusive Legacy Collection Build-A-Droid action figures that the website had commissioned from Hasbro. After a few duds and erratic Star Wars toy lines, I was psyched to see the return of the Build-A-Droid concept – especially as Hasbro was busy disappointing me with the lack of original figures in The Black Collection. So, having gone through the six figures that were exclusive to the set, I now find myself contemplating the seventh figure one gets in the case . . .

. . . and discovering that, unlike most Build-A-Droid figures, it is not original or unique! The figure is TC-70 and there is another TC-70 figure in a boxed set released years ago under the Legacy Collection branding!

The 4" TC-70 is a super-articulated figure from the 2013 Exclusive Legacy Collection and it is fairly unremarkable. After all, TC-70 was seen for about five frames of Return Of The Jedi (reviewed here!) as Jabba’s droid minions drew and quartered him.


TC-70 stands 3 3/4" tall to the top of its head. TC-70 is sculpted using one of the latest bodies for a standard Star Wars protocol droid and colored a copper color. That makes TC-70 a humanoid robot, virtually identical to C-3PO, save in coloring. The distinctive aspect of TC-70 is a painted triangle on the character’s forehead, which looks almost like a tribal tattoo. That is represented well on this action figure.

TC-70 is colored with amazing attention to detail. This metallic copper droid was made to look like a clean version of the little-seen protocol droid and details like the neck servos molded in perfectly! The figure is colored accurately with a lighter steel-colored leg panel, much like C-3PO has panels that have been replaced. The coloring details are accurate right down to different colored wires in the abdomen section of the droid, below the familiar circle on the protocol droid’s breastpiece.


TC-70 is a mass-produced droid and, like most protocol droids, comes without any accessories. After all, what use does a translator for Jabba The Hutt have with any sort of tool? They are the tool!


The four inch toy line was designed for play and TC-70 is exceptional in that regard. First, the figure has decent balance. Flatfooted, TC-70 is entirely solid, and because of the lower half articulation of the figure, it has decent posing options. Some extreme poses may be done without using the holes in its feet! Even so, the holes in the bottom of its feet allow it to stand tall on any number of playsets in outlandish poses.

TC-70 holds up extraordinarily well in the articulation department, which is a surprise for a droid figure. This droid has hinged ball-and-socket joints at the ankles, knees and elbows, as well as a ball and socket joint which allows a great range of motion for the bust. The shoulders, groin socket, neck and wrists all have simple swivel joints that provide the figure with more than enough posing options to make the figure worthwhile! This is incredibly poseable – more than most C-3PO figures! - and that makes it very worthwhile for play!


TC-70 is part of the Legacy Collection line that was released in 2013 exclusively through Because the complete set is still sold by, fans have not had to deal with trying to scavenge the figure from buying the single figures culled from cases (which is bound to be a pain in the ass as the torso comes from the less-inspired FA-4 figure, reviewed here!). Combined with the fact that there has already been a TC-70 figure, it is entirely possible that this is a Build-A-Droid figure that will not appreciate significantly for quite some time, if ever. (Though, note to Amazon: I love that the entire set was sold together for one low price! Very easy!)


TC-70 is a somewhat pointless background droid that is hardly essential, though it is exceptionally well made. That is pretty much all that makes it worth assembling. It is by no means an indispensible Star Wars droid figure!

For other Build-A-Droid figures, please check out my reviews of:


For other Star Wars toy reviews, please check out my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Class Warfare In The Face Of Human Extinction: Why Snowpiercer Is Worth Watching!

The Good: Interesting plot, Great effects (costume design, sets, make-up), Engaging characters
The Bad: Suspension of disbelief issues, I’m not wild about the shaky-cam stuff.
The Basics: In a dark, but not unpleasant-to-watch, story of human rebellion, Snowpiercer chronicles a future freedom fight that pits poor people on a train against their elitist oppressors.

We are finally to a point where the vast majority of the world acknowledges the real and growing dangers presented by global warming in the Earth’s climate, so (arguably) the last thing we need to fuel the remaining naysayers is a film that illustrates catastrophic consequences of trying to fix that problem. And yet, the new film Snowpiercer seeks to do just that. The initial premise is a simple one: after a multinational endeavor to turn back the tide of global warming releases a developed agent, CW-7, into the Earth’s atmosphere, all life on Earth is wiped out when the result is essentially a new ice age. The survivors live on a single train and that allows director Joon-ho Bong and co-writer Kelly Masterson to tell a dark story of futuristic human oppression without all of the complications of the full, real, world in play.

And Snowpiercer uses the set-up to tell a story that is essentially a class warfare allegory. The sense of oppression among the lowest class of survivors on the train has reached a peak and the revolution has come. The result is a film that is realistic in its approach to the violent overthrow of an overbearing regime. Snowpiercer is well-constructed in that it works hard to develop the concept that human survival is not enough; the human spirit must be allowed to flourish and systems of control that diminish some and elevate others are untenable, even among the last dwindling population on the planet. It is worth noting that Snowpiercer is based upon a series of graphic novels that I have not read. As a result, this is a very pure review of the film Snowpiercer, unencumbered by any preconceptions about the graphic novel or how it was adapted to film.

Seventeen years after CW-7 is dispersed through Earth’s upper atmosphere, the human population that survived the attempt to reverse global warming’s effects live on the Rattling Ark, a train that has been moving since the world outside froze. Aboard the train, Curtis resists the totalitarian forces that tote guns and do daily head counts of each compartment. Curtis and Edgar get a message (embedded in a protein block) that there is a security expert, Namgoong Minsu, in the prison car and Curtis believes that if they can get to the front of the train and take the engine, they can run the train. Curtis wants to revolt and install Gilliam as the new leader of the train (and thus, the world), though the very old Gilliam is resistant to the idea. Edgar thinks Curtis would be a good leader, but he is resistant to the idea. So, a plan is hatched that hinges on four gates (quite a distance apart) being opened at the same time for four seconds, which might allow Curtis to break Namgoong out of the prison car.

With luck (and the oppressors not having bullets) on their side, Curtis manages to stage a break-in to the prison car. There, he and his group of malcontents find Namgoong and break him and his daughter Yona out of prison. In exchange for drugs, Namgoong agrees to help Curtis and his group through the gates that separate the train’s cars and soon Curtis is leading a bona fide revolution. But that revolution soon comes at a high cost; traveling into the more wealthy and elite sections of the train, Curtis encounters Minister Mason, the leader of the train’s military, and rich folks who will kill to defend their position, like the teacher in the school train. As Curtis loses friends and allies, he takes drastic measures to reach the engine which might make him into the leader, but not necessarily the one Edgar foresaw him becoming.

First and foremost, Snowpiercer looks completely credible. Those drawn to the Captain America film franchise because of Chris Evans’s clean-cut good looks will be shocked to see just how filthy he can look. Throughout Snowpiercer, Evans (who leads the cast as Curtis) and everyone else is covered in a thin sheen of dirt and sweat. Everything in the movie is dirty and aged, looking stressed and worn (save the firearms carried by the officers aboard the train). That creates an instantly believable atmosphere and the perception that nothing new has been made in seventeen years. It also makes one wonder immediately what exactly the protein blocks are that everyone is consuming. The contrast with the cleanliness and color palate in the forward sections is striking and it makes for a visually interesting movie, even if it is a bit obvious.

The film’s mood is also established right away by the seemingly random question all of the inhabitants of the car Curtis is in are asked. Military thugs with heavy guns ask if anyone in the car knows how to play violin. When one man mentions that he and his wife both play and he is carted off (without his wife) because they “need his hands,” there is an underlying sense of menace to the exchange that helps instantly encapsulate the dark world that Earth aboard the Rattling Ark has become.

Snowpiercer smartly develops as Curtis and his rebels move forward in the train, encountering different social groups in each compartment. The film is like a mini-Gulliver’s Travels in that each train car is like an almost entirely different world. The social commentary abounds and Snowpiercer does with more success and subtlety what Elysium (reviewed here!) tried to do with its thematic bludgeon; it shows all the horror of class division in a world of diminished resources.

The film would be an unfortunate failure were it not for the intriguing characters. Curtis is an intense man who is easy to watch and him asking Edgar early in the film about his earliest memories sets up the film’s late and horrifying revelations. Gilliam is an interesting, if tragic, mentor and Edgar’s part in the story is enough to give reasonable cause to the revolution; he is a young person who wants a better life than the one he is given by those in power. Even Wilford, the leader Curtis must ultimately confront, makes some sense in the context of the one-train world.

Despite the characters being easy to watch, not all of Snowpiercer is enjoyable in its presentation. Many of the fight sequences utilize handheld cameras, so they are shaky and frenetic. Given that the fights themselves are already packed with motion, moving the camera during them just becomes nauseating. Moreover, much of the actual fight to get to the front of the train is a bloodbath and the high cost (in human lives) is difficult to watch. I mark that as a success of Snowpiercer as the viewer actually cares as various people are killed in each confrontation. What could be a truly monstrous revelation about the backstory, which comes very late in the film, is hinted at enough throughout the movie and follows on the heels of explicit violence as to make it seem more obvious than truly troubling.

The acting in Snowpiercer is good. Chris Evans rises to the occasion of being the troubled antihero who rallies the masses to his side even as his character hides a deep, dark secret from his past. Evans plays Curtis without much charisma, which sells the concept of Curtis being relegated to one of the back cars well. Jamie Bell (Edgar), John Hurt (Gilliam), and Octavia Spencer (Tanya) credibly round out the caste of oppressed characters with Bell contributing a wide-eyed sense of optimism that serves his character well. Tilda Swinton plays Minister Mason with an appropriately stern demeanor that does not hint at all at the way she played the villain in The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe (reviewed here!). Unfortunately, at the other end of the spectrum, Alison Pill is underused as the teacher (her clean cheerfulness is used largely to offset her character’s quick and bloody turn) and Ed Harris’s Wilford quickly turns into a mouthpiece for excessive exposition. Kang-ho Song plays Namgoong with enough of an off-balance sense to sell the drug addict and the engineer in him, though his best moments are when he struggles to protect his character’s daughter.

Snowpiercer has some problems with suspension of disbelief – like why does it take seventeen years for a rebellion to truly take hold? How is it that the oppressors do not monitor the aft compartments that well? What possible currency exists after an apocalypse that allows such a rigid class structure to be maintained, much less created?! – but they are not so glaring as to make the film unwatchable or uninteresting. Instead, Snowpiercer is likely to be one of the smarter science fiction pieces to drop during Summer Blockbuster Season this year; it’s a shame its limited release will not give it the exposure of more obvious, vacuous fare, like the latest Transformers sequel.

For other works with Chris Evans, be sure to visit my reviews of:
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Thor: The Dark World
The Avengers
Captain America: The First Avenger
Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer
Fantastic Four
The Perfect Score
Not Another Teen Movie


For other movie reviews, please check out my Film Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Jumping The Gun; Sting’s First Compilation Album: Fields Of Gold: The Best Of Sting 1984 – 1994!

The Good: Some truly memorable singles, Vocals, Many of the lyrics, Duration
The Bad: Only five truly recognizable, enduring, songs
The Basics: Sting was struggling to find his own sound for his first solo decade, which undermines much of Fields Of Gold: The Best Of Sting 1984 – 1994.

When it comes to compilation albums – albums that claim to be either the “best of” or “greatest hits” of an artist or group without providing much (if any) new content) – I am often amused by studios and artists who jump the gun. While the most severe example of this phenomenon might well be James Taylor’s Greatest Hits (reviewed here!), my current Artist Of The Month, Sting, is another artist who may have prematurely presented the “best of” with Fields Of Gold: The Best Of Sting 1984 – 1994. To his credit, Sting only claims these are the best works for his first decade as a solo musical artist and the album is not bad or claiming to be “greatest hits” from that era.

Unfortunately, Fields Of Gold: The Best Of Sting 1984 – 1994 is a lackluster compilation album unlikely to sell the enduring greatness of Sting as a musical artist. It appears in his first decade – and I was conscious and a music listener during that time – he struggled to find his own, distinct and interesting sound. Some of the songs on Fields Of Gold: The Best Of Sting 1984 – 1994 sound like they could have been b-sides from The Police and that diminishes some the idea that Sting is presenting on his own (or it strengthens the concept that he truly ruled the Police and they might as well have stuck together and followed his vision for a few more years).

With fourteen songs, clocking out at a hefty 65 minutes, Fields Of Gold: The Best Of Sting 1984 – 1994 is very much the embodiment of Sting as he made music on his first four albums (plus two singles new to the compilation). All fourteen of the songs were written by Sting and he is the primary vocalist on all of them. While he is not credited as a producer on Fields Of Gold: The Best Of Sting 1984 – 1994, the albums from which the songs were culled had quite a bit of Sting’s creative influence so even if this album is not one he endorsed, it is indicative of his work.

On Fields Of Gold: The Best Of Sting 1984 – 1994, Sting is presented as a pop-light rock musical artist who foreshadows his future works with the new singles on the album. “When We Dance” is a melancholy pop ballad that has a musing quality that sounds distinctly like Sting. Instrumentally, Sting’s works on Fields Of Gold: The Best Of Sting 1984 – 1994 are dominated by keyboards, bass, and drums, with a few guitar-driven tracks. The keyboard/piano sound helps create a more mellow, light rock feel for the album and while it is not the most energetic album, it is not at all bad. The most musically distinctive song is probably “Fields Of Gold” as it does not sound like any other song on the album or like any tracks made by The Police.

Vocally, Sting is known for his smooth, tenor voice and that is well-represented on Fields Of Gold: The Best Of Sting 1984 – 1994. Sting has a very natural voice on almost all of the songs (“Be Still My Beating Heart” is a little more produced), but in general, he sings clearly in the mid-register vocals that give him a slightly smoky sound that is very listenable.

Most of the songs on Fields Of Gold: The Best Of Sting 1984 – 1994 are about romantic relationships and Sting’s poetics evolve over the course of the album. On one of the album’s two unique songs, Sting captures the intensity of desire incredibly well when he sings “If I could break down these walls / And shout my name at heaven's gate / I'd take these hands / And I'd destroy the dark / Machineries of fate / Cathedrals are broken / Heaven's no longer above / And hellfire's a promise away / I'd still be saying / I'm still in love” (“When We Dance”). In that way, he proves he is an artist who planned to remain relevant long after this album was released.

Sting is poetic, but Fields Of Gold: The Best Of Sting 1984 – 1994 is a mix of popular songs like “Fields Of Gold,” “All This Time” and “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You” and utterly forgettable songs, like “They Dance Alone (Cueca Solo)” and “Fragile.” The result is an erratic compilation album that is not as enduring as (one hopes) a career retrospective of Sting’s works will eventually be. Only for the singles-only fan who wants a little more than just the radio hits, Fields Of Gold: The Best Of Sting 1984 – 1994 is otherwise an average album easy to pass by.

The best track is “Fields Of Gold,” the low point is the unmemorable “Why Would I Cry For You?”

For other works featuring Sting or The Police, please visit my reviews of:
Songs From The Labyrinth
Sacred Love
Every Breath You Take: The Singles - The Police


For other music reviews, please visit my Music Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Yogi Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life Tea Is Good, But Imbalanced.

The Good: Good aroma, Good ingredients, Sweet and flavorful, Actually seems to help metabolism, Caffeinated
The Bad: Packaging, Apple flavor only comes out when sugar or honey is added.
The Basics: Yogi Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life Tea is a decent metabolism-boosting tea that tastes like caramel, but not so much apple.

Lately, my wife and I have been changing our diets and, as it turns out, it’s around the same time that we started finding a number of good deals on Yogi teas. The perfect combination of those two things was when we had a coupon and found Yogi Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life Tea on clearance locally. As a result, my wife and I have been able to enjoy some decent dieting tea for less money than before. Fortunately, Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life actually seems to live up to its promises to help consumers diet, in conjunction with a healthy diet. On the down side, the Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life Tea requires consumers to add a sweetener to get the full flavor from the tea, which has the potential to undo some of the health benefits.

Even so, Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life is one of the better teas from Yogi I have yet tried and while I wish the apple flavor was more significant, this tea is still easily good enough to recommend.


Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life is a tea from Yogi. It is a tea that is caffeine free, has a light aroma and 100% natural herbal “supplement” tea. Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life comes in Yogi's standard individually-wrapped tea bags, meaning that each tea bag has a papery envelope it is sealed in for freshness. Each tea bag has a five-inch string with a little paper tab at the end, which is quite a bit more waste than I like from a tea bag. When I make pots of tea, I tend to use four bags in my 32 oz. tea pot, and making a steeping pot of Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life reminds me of why I like the easy environmentalism of Celestial Seasonings' stringless bags. A box of Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life comes with only 16 individually-wrapped tea bags, which makes it proportionately more expensive than many teas on the market.

Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life is marketed as Caramel Apple Spice-flavored/scented tea and it is good. Like many of the Yogi teas, Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life trades on a medicinal property of the tea, in this case accelerating the metabolism enough to aid in weight loss. It assists well in that regard.

Ease of Preparation

Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life is an herbal supplement tea (though it has some actual tea leaves in it), which means preparation is as easy as boiling a pot of water! Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life, as the directions clearly state, requires water that is boiling. A single tea bag will make the standard 8 oz. coffee mug worth of tea, though reusing the tea bags yields little more than hot water. These tea bags can be reused and the resulting beverage is about 1/2 strength; given the initial mild flavor of the tea, that makes a second cup not worth making up, in my book. I tend to make my tea using a 32 oz. steeping tea pot and that works well, even for a second pot.

To prepare Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life, simply boil up some water, and pour it over the tea bags in a cup, mug or steeping pot. This tea is recommended to take four to six minutes to steep and after a couple pots, I've found that with boiling water, the tea is ready at the six minute mark and letting it steep longer does not truly change the results, save that it makes it impossible to get an even passable second pot out of the same bags. Letting the tea steep more than six minutes does not net any additional flavor, nor does it denature the flavor of the tea.


The Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life tea smells beautifully of caramel. The aroma that emanates from the steam from this tea is sweet and inviting. The scent lacks any hint of fruit, but is very truly the scent of caramel.

In the mouth, the Caramel Apple Spice is spicy, with only a hint of sweetness. The flavor is very dry. Nutmeg and cinnamon stand out in the Caramel Apple Spice, but the tea is not overly sweet and there is no hint of apple in the unadulterated tea. This is a dry tea with a mildly caramel-esque aftertaste, but it is not unpleasant or bad.

With a teaspoon of sugar or honey, the flavor of apples is revealed finally. The fruity flavor remains sublimated to the dry and sweet caramel flavor in the Caramel Apple Spice tea, but the apple is present at least.

This tea has a very dry aftertaste, though it does not endure for very long in the mouth at all.


It is utterly unsurprising that the dominant flavor in Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life is not apples in that the first ingredient outside the Organic Assam Black Tea Leaf, Organic Rooibos Leaf, Organic Cinnamon Bark and other tea-ingredients is Organic Apple Flavor. Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life tea is all natural, entirely organic, and contains caffeine. This tea may be devoid of any nutritional value, but it is delicious and has nothing bad in it. It contains no calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates or protein, save when one adds sweeteners.


Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life is a comparatively light colored tea. As a result, cleanup is rather simple, save on fabrics. The mugs and steeping pot easily rinse out. This tea will stain if it is left on fabrics, so simply do not let the tea cups or mugs linger on light colored materials that might stain!

Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life is easy to clean up after - the tea bags may be disposed in the garbage, or composted if you have a good garden and/or compost pile. One of the nice things about this tea - like most - is that so long as it is kept cool and dry, it can last for a long time (the box I just finished going through would have expired on July 11, 2015!) and it is easy to clean up. However, like all Yogi teas, there is extra waste from the strings, paper tabs and individual wrappings around each bag.


Yogi Caramel Apple Spice Slim Life tea is delicious and helps with weight management in conjunction with a healthy diet. It is flavorful and well worth trying for anyone who loves tea and wants some help with losing weight.

For other Yogi teas, please check out my reviews of:
Stress Relief Honey Lavender
Egyptian Licorice
Ginger Organic


For other beverage reviews, please check out my Food And Drink Index page for an organized listing!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Not The Bottom-out Of James Bond, A View To A Kill Is More Average Than Empty.

The Good: Good direction/editing, Interesting plot and villain characterization, Good actors
The Bad: No superlative performances, Predictable plot progression, No character development
The Basics: Roger Moore’s final outing as 007 has James Bond confronting an industrialist who wants to take over Silicon Valley through any means he has to!

For me, it is interesting to recall when I lost interest in one trend and got into a new portion of my life. My James Bond Phase was followed by my love of the Star Trek franchise and, despite seeing Never Say Never Again, the last James Bond film I watched before I got into Star Trek was A View To A Kill. I recall seeing A View To A Kill on a sleepover with a friend (who is now, alas, dead), but never again . . . until tonight!

A View To A Kill is the final James Bond film that starred Roger Moore and the common complaint with it was that Moore was too old to credibly be James Bond. I did not find that to be so when watching A View To A Kill (though I also have no issues with Peter Capaldi playing Doctor Who!). Instead, the film is hampered by many of the usual problems with James Bond movies at this point; the plots are fairly predictable, the characters do not develop, and the one-liners have gotten more flat than witty.

Recovering a microchip from a dead agent, James Bond evades a swarm of Russian agents by skiing to a submarine (cleverly disguised as an iceberg). Returning to Britain, James Bond learns from Q that 003’s death came as a result of the microchip technology he was smuggling out for MI-6. The microchip, which would not be damaged from the radiation from a nuclear attack, is a prototype that the British are desperate to keep out of the hands of the Russians. The nuclear-safe microchip is produced by Zorin Industries and after visiting a horse race that Max Zorin is at, James Bond is on the trail; trying to find how the Zorin Industries chip ended up on Russian hands and prevent the Russians from developing the technology. After his best lead is killed by Zorin’s assistant, May Day, in France, going undercover as St. John Smythe to the Zorin estate under the guise of being a horse buyer, James Bond hunts for leads between Zorin and the Russians.

Embroiled in a scheme that uses the horse trading to embezzle money to the industrialist’s other interests, James Bond tips his hand to Zorin and he tries to find the weak link in Zorin’s network. Underneath the stables, Bond and Tibbett (Bond’s sidekick for the mission) find Zorin’s secret lab where Bond is able to deduce how Zorin is fixing the races that his horse, Pegasus, wins. They also discover a stockpile of the advanced microchips, which leads Bond to wonder who Zorin is truly working for and he becomes determined to stop Zorin’s plan. Accompanied by a geologist who Zorin screwed out of her grandfather’s business, James Bond (occasionally James Stock of The London Times) works to protect the international free market from Zorin’s corrupt attempt to dominate the microchip industry and technology.

A View To A Kill is an industrial domination plotline; James Bond films by this point tend to alternate between the world domination, industrial espionage and diabolical destruction plots. The film features the familiar elements of a James Bond film – Bond flirts with a blonde and ends up in bed with May Day – and is more mediocre than it is bad. The usual chase sequences in Bond movies are present; in this case a ski sequence, a horseback riding divergence, and a climactic car chase in a fire engine. None of these sequences are especially memorable, though they look more fluid than most similar sequences in other Bond films.

What separates A View To A Kill from many other James Bond films is the caliber of the actors present. The acting may not be spectacular, but the presence of Christopher Walken as Zorin and Patrick Bauchau as his sidekick, Scarpine, elevate the usually monolithic roles to a level where the viewer at least feels they are watching credible characters. Actress Grace Jones was a bodybuilder, so she is entirely believable as the hired assassin working for Zorin.

Max Zorin is a former KGB agent and he is reasonable and credible as an industrialist who wants to produce and distribute microchips to take over Silicon Valley. Zorin is essentially an overzealous industrialist who wants to compete in a market that is essentially a monopoly held by the Americans. That allows James Bond to go to San Francisco and could be a compelling statement coming from a James Bond film. Alas, though, after his motivations are revealed, Max Zorin reverts to a very typical James Bond villain who will use all sorts of ridiculous means to try to achieve his goals. Instead of just cutting the businessmen who don’t want to play ball with him out of the plan, Zorin starts killing them (via May Day) and that takes the elements of the film that played closer to realism back toward the over-the-top conceits of the spy thriller. Christopher Walken plays Zorin as a very low-key psychopath for most of the film, though the role is a good one for Walken as he has the delivery style that sells the cold cruelty of the character. Unfortunately, A View To A Kill degenerates into a plot that is remarkably similar to Lex Luthor’s plan in Superman (reviewed here!) and without the tongue-in-cheek dialogue, it seems absolutely absurd. In this context, sinking part of California for personal gain is almost laughable as opposed to clever.

Moore does well as James Bond in his final outing. He never seems tired or bored with the role, which is important. In fact, the worse aspect of his performance in A View To A Kill is the fact that he has more on-screen chemistry with Lois Maxwell’s Moneypenny than he does with any of the younger performers brought on for obvious sex appeal. To be fair to Moore, many of the reversals in A View To A Kill do not hinge on James Bond (one of the times Bond’s life is saved it is because Zorin’s people do not know who they are looking for an there just happens to be an industrial terrorist in the same water as Bond for them to capture and kill!). Tanya Roberts’s Stacey Sutton is not bad in her role, though she has some issues with delivering the technobabble credibly, but she and Moore have little on-screen spark in their roles.

Director John Glen manages to make A View To A Kill look wonderful. The sets are beautiful and this is a James Bond film that does not suffer from anywhere near the number of awkward cuts that usually plague these films. On DVD and Blu-Ray, A View To A Kill comes packed with commentaries and featurettes on how the film was made and they are informative, but not enough to sell the source material as being anything better than what it is. A View To A Kill is a painfully average spy thriller made with decent components to appear bigger than it actually is.

For other James Bond films with Roger Moore, please check out my reviews of:
Live And Let Die
The Man With The Golden Gun
The Spy Who Loved Me
For Your Eyes Only


For other movie reviews, please check out my Film Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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As Much As I Am A Cheese Lover, So My Cats Go Wild For Friskies Party Mix Cheezy Craze Crunch Treats!

The Good: Gollum and Timber love them, Inexpensive
The Bad: Too small to have real dental benefits.
The Basics: Friskies Party Mix Cheezy Craze Crunch Cheddar, Swiss & Monterey Jack flavor treats are one of the small hard treats are treats we use with both Gollum and Timber to reinforce good behavior . . . with great results!

Now that I have two cats in my life – my nine year-old Gollum and three or four year old rescue Timber – I have been delighted to find all new cat treats for them. Gollum has been struggling the last few months with weight issues (he was getting underweight in an unhealthy way), but now is doing much better. While he enjoyed the Friskies Party Mix Wild West treats (reviewed here!), one of the treats that really helped him get back in shape was the Friskies Party Mix Cheezy Craze Crunch Cheddar, Swiss & Monterey Jack flavor treats. These are one of the few mass-produced, relatively inexpensive cat treats that Gollum ran to, arguably because he can smell them better than some of the other treats on the market, and both he and Timber eat them enthusiastically. While I am happy about that, the fact that they are so small means that neither one has to chew them excessively, so there are almost no real dental benefits to them (which is something I look for in all cat treats).


Friskies Party Mix Cheezy Craze Crunch Cheddar, Swiss & Monterey Jack flavor cat treats are crunchy little treats that come in a 6 oz. bag for $3.99 locally. The Party mix includes four different piece types that range in size from 5/16” wide and 1/2" long (for the crunch twists) to 1/2” square for the star bites. All are approximately 3/16” thick. The other two shapes are little cheese balls with holes in them and little window-shaped “cracklers.” Opening the Friskies Party Mix bag, which is resealable, there is a vaguely cheesy aroma. It’s funny because I did not think the scent was very strong, but both cats truly came running for them when they were out for a few moments each time I put them out and when I hid treats, the Cheezy Craze were the treats they consistently found first!

Ease Of Preparation

The Friskies Party Mix treats are a treat, so preparation is as easy as opening the resealable bag and removing a few of treats. I, occasionally, mix a few of the treats in with Gollum’s food, but otherwise, he gets five to ten of these whenever I feed him them! Timber has been known to steal them away from Gollum, but he usually gets no more than ten himself.

Gollum And Timber’s Reaction

Friskies Party Mix Cheezy Craze Crunch Cheddar, Swiss & Monterey Jack flavor treats are a treat that Gollum actually would hunt down! My wife tells me that when cats get older, they lose their sense of smell a bit, which is why Gollum stopped eating for a while. The Cheezy Craze treats were smelly enough for him that he was able to find them, recognize them as food, and would eagerly eat them (and defend them from Timber). Both Timber and Gollum would scarf down as many of these as I put in front of them!


The package does not provide a serving recommendation, but I have found Gollum – now back up to eleven pounds - enjoys 10 - 15 treats in a serving per day. With Timber, I tend to limit him to 5 – 10, despite him being more active. I usually go through about one 6 oz. bag in about a week and a half, so for the price, this treat is not a bad one. The pouches I bought most recently do not expire until April of 2015, so this is a decent treat to stock up on.

Moreover, the Friskies Party Mix Cheezy Craze Crunch Cheddar, Swiss & Monterey Jack flavor treats seem pretty healthy. With a minimum of 30% crude protein and 15% crude fat, but no more than 4% crude fiber and 10% moisture, these treats have a lot of nutritional benefits for Gollum (and no detractions for Timber). These treats are made primarily of chicken meal, brewers rice, and animal fat with preservatives! They do not have much in the way of dental cleaning benefits, though.


The Friskies Party Mix Cheezy Craze Crunch Cheddar, Swiss & Monterey Jack flavor cat treats are a good treat, especially for older cats. If your cat is beginning to show a disinterest in life and food, this might be an ideal treat to use with them to help them get their groove back!

For other cat treats, please check out my reviews of:
Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Perfect Bites Salmon Formula cat treats
Cloud Star Buddy Biscuits Savory Turkey & Cheddar Flavor cat treats
Hartz Crunch ‘N Clean Fish & Farm cat treats


For other pet product reviews, please visit my Pet Review Index Page!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Barry Levinson Makes A Statement, But Not A Point, With PoliWood

The Good: Great participation from both sides of the political spectrum, Raises a few good questions.
The Bad: Fails to land on a number of key points, Levinson talks over several of his subjects.
The Basics: Barry Levinson explores some important questions about how Hollywood celebrities influence politics without coming to any real answers in PoliWood.

When it comes to movies, my wife has a pretty simple formula for figuring out how to pick out a film I’d want to watch when we have a night to spend together: she looks up Anne Hathaway’s IMDB page and finds projects Hathaway has been involved in that I have not yet seen and she picks them up for us. That list is getting increasingly short, but my wife managed to find one such movie tonight: PoliWood. Given that my wife and I are politically active, PoliWood seemed like a documentary that we would have quite a bit of interest in and because I have largely enjoyed the works of Barry Levinson, it seemed like a good fit. PoliWood is a documentary or video essay by Levinson and it stars a number of Hollywood celebrities who are active in politics . . .

. . . admitting they are active in politics. While Levinson has some narrative to his video essay, PoliWood rambles with surprisingly little in the way of purpose. In fact, it was not until I sat down to write a review of PoliWood that I realized how little point there was to the movie.

The concept of PoliWood is simple: several actors and actresses who have gained a level of celebrity have publicly made political statements and supported candidates. The assumption has been that most of the most wealthy and outspoken celebrities are liberal and have exerted an undo influence over the American political process. Director and essayist Barry Levinson follows around several members of The Creative Coalition (a group that has largely come together to advocate for government funding of the arts) during the 2008 Presidential election. The documentary follows Anne Hathaway, Richard Schiff, Ellen Burstyn, Rachael Leigh Cook, Tim Daly, Giancarlo Esposito, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Modine and Josh Lucas as they attend political, sporting, and entertainment events.

Levinson follows the group to both the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention and he comments (and documents comment from others) on the process of advocacy the celebrities utilize as they reach out to voters about issues important to each of them.

The problem is that the film does little more than that. PoliWood starts with the premise that Hollywood actors are blurring the lines between politics and entertainment. The film ends in the exact same place with no real growth in between. The subjects of Levinson’s documentary do not sufficiently address the concepts Levinson seems to want to explore with PoliWood. In his opening narration for PoliWood, Barry Levinson laments the role of the television in the American family; he talks about how daily life was changed by the invasive nature of the television and then how politicians were remade into television stars in order to get elected.

After that, Levinson follows his subjects around. PoliWood meanders around with the director asking the question of “Do Hollywood celebrities have too much influence over American politics?” and then shows them advocating for their cause and “common” Americans complaining about how out-of-touch those celebrities are with “middle” America. Perhaps the best moment of PoliWood is when Tim Daly discusses all of the non-actor related jobs he had and how he devotes quite a bit of time to “normal” things like car pools and coaching little league. In a smart, reasonable way, Daly quietly dispels one woman’s utter ignorance about how celebrities are somehow not as human or real as other people are.

But the documentary falls apart outside that. While there are decent moments, like Anne Hathaway admitting she hates talking about political issues she is not adequately informed about and some of the members of the Creative Coalition rejecting the refusal of a couple members to even hear out a successful strategist for Fox News, but largely Levinson asks questions that go unanswered or he asserts his own statements without actually backing them up in any demonstrable way in the film. For example, a number of misconceptions about celebrities are brought up during the film and one of the big ones is that right-of-center actors have a harder time getting work in Hollywood than leftists. It is not pointed out how Jon Voight and Clint Eastwood (for example) have almost constant work, even as they advocate for Republicans. Actor Robert Davi talks about a personal experience where a fan was turned off by his conservative activism, but he did not detail any issues he had with getting acting work as a result of the same activism.

Levinson also neglects to discuss at all how the influence of “Hollywood liberals” is, in part, a response to conservative businessmen advocating against social spending or progressive issues. It’s hard to say that Hollywood actors have more influence than the businesspeople who spend more money against their causes.

As a result, much of the movie swirls around Levinson making his own assertions and spreading his philosophy. He ends the movie where he begins it: articulating his own personal philosophy that television might be a destructive force in substantive political debates. PoliWood fails to back up or present a sophisticated view of its own premises (Levinson, for example, comments on how Al Gore drew attention to the global warming crisis through An Inconvenient Truth - reviewed here! – by essentially becoming a Hollywood celebrity while completely ignoring that the documentary only became a phenomenon because of Gore’s political celebrity and that if he had not been Vice President, he never would have managed to get the documentary produced) and the result is a lackluster documentary that only serves to reiterate the idea that the political process in the United States is damaged.

For other documentaries, please check out my reviews of:
Craigslist Joe
Jedi Junkies
Trek Nation


For other movie reviews, please check out my Film Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Restoring Wonder Woman Makes For An Unremarkable Book With Wonder Woman: The Twelve Labors!

The Good: Wonder Woman is remarkably efficient in the book!
The Bad: Mediocre artwork (comic strip style), Repetitive, No real character development.
The Basics: Eleven men and one woman decide the fate of Wonder Woman rejoining the Justice League after a creative reboot of Wonder Woman from the 1970s.

When there is a creative reboot of a popular character, it can be a tough sell to the loyal fans who made that character into an icon. In the case of DC Comics, periodically, they attempt to reboot sagging franchises in different ways. Green Lanterns get replaced (only to come back, forcing entire reworks of the premise for the book), Flashes return from the Speed Force, and others are simply resurrected directly. In the case of Wonder Woman, a heroine who has spent remarkably little time in the pantheon of the DC storytelling universe dead, long before she was killed off (albeit temporarily to assume a godly position), she was reworked as a superspy in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Almost unrecognizable to the fans and absent from the ongoing stories in the Justice League, that incarnation of Diana Prince, Wonder Woman, led to an eventual reset of the character in more familiar and popular context.

Wonder Woman: The Twelve Labors is the story that restores the post-Diana Prince (only) character to Wonder Woman and pretty much writes off the Diana Prince phase as mental tampering from her mother. So undermined, Wonder Woman gives herself a challenge before she feels comfortable rejoining the Justice League of America. The concept is not an inherently bad one (though it is a bit self-punishing), but the execution is problematic. First and foremost, the book has twelve stories that are both repetitive and unremarkable. Wonder Woman gets herself out of the dangerous situations in virtually the same way each and every time, making for a plodding book. Second, there is something troubling about the book having an overt feminist message (which is wonderful!), but having eleven men (to be fair, one is a robot and one is an ethereal spirit) and only one woman (the painfully uncertain Black Canary) make a life-altering career decision for a woman. That seems pretty backwards.

Not making a clean cut with the Diana Prince saga, by day Diana Prince is working at the U.N. for Morgan Tracy. She writes reports for him and monitors crises that pop up around the world. In the process, she is tailed by a member of the Justice League (supposedly unbeknownst to her) and reverts to Wonder Woman to thwart whatever the villain of the moment is. The labors Wonder Woman has to overcome all involve a “villain of the issue.” Wonder Woman goes after Cavalier (a flat-out misogynist), a Peace-making alien machine, a man who wishes to be king of the world (and almost incites nuclear war as a result), the god Mars, Diogenes Diamandopoiulos (a rich man who wants to see and set foot on Paradise Island), the Duke Of Deception, Celestris, Felix Faust, an alternate universe where women are subservient to Mchsm the High Consul of Xro, Chronos The Time Thief, Dr. Cyber (who duplicates Wonder Woman), and Unca Wade (Wade Dazzle) at Dazzleland.

Wonder Woman is usually shot at, relies upon her lasso to get truth out of people, and her invisible plane. Each of the members of the Justice League presents a compelling case for why Wonder Woman should be readmitted into the Justice League and that reason is pretty much “she defeated this villain.” It’s the same with all of them, “This is the story of this incident and, hey, because Wonder Woman was there and took care of the problem, she should be readmitted into the Justice League.” In other words, none of these incidents truly makes Wonder Woman shine from any sense of skill, ability or savvy. She’s just the super hero in New York City when the bad stuff goes down.

Lacking any real intense moments of character, Wonder Woman: The Twelve Labors also flops on the art front. Simply colored, Wonder Woman: The Twelve Labors looks more like an extended comic strip than a sophisticated graphic novel. While this is a sign of the times (the issues put together for this trade paperback anthology were all from the 1970s), it does not look or feel good in this day in age when graphic novels can be genuinely sophisticated.

Ultimately, Wonder Woman: The Twelve Labors is not terrible, it is just subpar and fans are likely to enjoy it much more as a historical document than a thrilling new story.

For other Wonder Woman volumes, please check out my reviews of:
Gods And Mortals by George Perez
Wonder Woman: Challenge Of The Gods by George Perez
Beauty And The Beasts By George Perez
Destiny Calling By George Perez
The Contest By William Messner-Loebs
Wonder Woman: Lifelines By John Byrne
Paradise Lost By Phil Jimenez
Paradise Found By Phil Jimenez
Down To Earth By Greg Rucka
Eyes Of The Gorgon By Greg Rucka
Land Of The Dead By Greg Rucka
Mission's End By Greg Rucka
The Hiketeia


For other book reviews, please check out my Book Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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