Beekeeper Review: Lucius Farnsworth

Lucius Farnsworth should have been one of the greats. Appearing in comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the early sixties, Lucius could have become one of Marvel’s most successful properties. Sure, he was appearing in Weird Sci-Fi stories, instead of more standard superhero fare, but so was Hank Pym and he made it to the Avengers.

But before I continue my rant about that, I should explain who Lucius Farnsworth is. Lucius was born with the all sorts of fancy mental powers and, naturally, he uses them to be a kickass beekeeper. He’s the “most successful honey producer in the state” and he has a luxurious estate to prove it. From his few appearances, we can see that he can hypnotize people and communicate with bees. He can also shrink himself and others at will. Who knows the limits of his mental powers. But, as far as ultra-powerful millionaires go, Lucius isn’t a bad guy. In one story he wants to help a loyal gardener reach his potential by starting his own business. In the other, one of his hired hands tries to burgle him, and Farnsworth just gives him a bee scare and lets him go when he promises not to rob anyone again.

To sum up: He’s a rich and powerful beekeeper who is a decent guy. But maybe that’s why he wasn’t successful? All of Marvel’s heroes in the Silver Age were really defined by their weaknesses. The Fantastic Four bickered like a real family, and the Thing was trapped in a monstrous form. Spider-Man was a kid, with kid problems and his superhero life did nothing to improve it. The X-Men were discriminated against. Daredevil was a lawyer. That sort of thing. But Lucius here has everything going for him. But does he really?

Lucius is old. His powers give him the most incredible mind, sure, but his body is well past its prime. If we use that as Lucius’s humanizing feature, we can have him trying to solve problems every month while his ungrateful kids try to convince him he needs his rest and that he should let them take over the running of things. His series would have been cancelled pretty quickly, sure, but the Hulk only lasted six issues on their first attempt. Lucius would have been relegated to guest appearances and more offbeat series never quite successful enough to break into the mainstream. He probably would have been shoehorned into ugly costumes in attempts to make him popular, or de-aged to make him cool. But hey, all that’s Dr. Strange’s deal too and he’s got a movie coming. I love Strange, but that could have been Lucius up there on the big screen and we’re all poorer that it isn’t.

But all of this is beside the point, isn’t it? I’m here to review how good Farnsworth is as a beekeeper. Well, he’s pretty good. Very successful, very powerful. Judging from his restrained treatment of a criminal, there’s no sign of Beekeeper Rage. Pretty good indeed.

Three Honeycomb out of Five. With full confidence that he’d be at Four if Marvel just had the guts to give him the exposure he deserves.

I’m just saying, if that SHIELD show I’ve never seen wants to do an episode around this guy, they should gimme a call.

Super Sunday: Inspector Unicorn and Norma Weinrich

Inspector Unicorn

Apparently police procedural shows are a big hit phenomenon thing. There’s like ninety of them. I don’t know of a single one that stars a unicorn man. PDR proposes we should fix that.

Murders happen in the big city every day. What is less frequent is murders that are overtly supernatural in nature. But lately, things have been getting weird: Trolls found shot to death and left in garbage bins. A mass grave of fairies unearthed in a public park. Mermaids have been dying in gang fights down by the docks. Magic wands and voodoo dolls are turning up as murder weapons at an alarming rate. It’s terrible. Luckily for everyone, Elton J. Unicorn is on the case. As the newest member of the police forensics team, supernatural history expert Elton seems aloof and arrogant to his colleagues, but he gets the job done, and that’s what matters.

For the show to work, everybody else on the team would have to be normal-human-type chumps, but victims and criminals could be every kind of mythological person you could think of. That’s something you won’t get on those other shows. Also, eventually I’d have to have some story where Elton meets the Panda Detective or Securitaur.

Norma Weinrich

Norma used to be a ghost and as far as she knew, that was the sort of thing that was supposed to be permanent. She’d been killed in a train accident decades ago, and spent the time after that as an unseen presence in a train station. She could tell that she was supposed to move on to somewhere else, but never worked out how to do it. So she wandered the station for longer than she’d even been alive. Things changed very suddenly. Norma “awoke” suddenly, physically being pulled out of some rubble by rescue workers, being told that lightning had struck the station and caused an explosion. The medics are treating her as if she’s suffered amnesia or brain damage or something, but Norma knows the truth: she’s alive again. But she has no idea how or why.

This is one of those cases where I had a sketch of a person and absolutely no story in mind. I whipped up the above at the last minute. Sometimes characters like that have woven themselves deep into my mind. Let’s see if it happens again.

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People think dolphins are great, but what can they do that I can’t? Apart from make those clicking noises. And jump through hoops. And swim.

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If Google is correct, nobody has ever parodied “Amazing Grace” with “Ham Glazing Grace” in case anyone wants to get in on that.