Beekeeper Review: Astro City’s Beekeeper

The world of Astro City is rife with superheroes and villains, so it is no surprise that there is one who called himself “The Beekeeper”. As ever, the superhero universe Beekeepers don’t get too creative with their names.

This Beekeeper was active in the 60s as a super-criminal. Using a weapon called a hive-scepter, he was able to control bees to do his bidding, and was probably able to fly given those big wings on his back. We don’t know how successful he was as a criminal, but we do know he ended up getting caught and spent time in prison. After that, he gave up the life of crime, became an entomology professor, and lived a normal life until he was in his eighties. At some point, he seems to have sold one of his hive-scepters, which was a mistake, because someone used it to frame him for some crimes. When the police came to investigate, the octogenarian reacted poorly and got back into costume and fought back. It’s sad that it happened, but it does say something about his fighting skills that it took a lot of police to bring him in, even in his advanced age.

Astro City’s Beekeeper has only had about three pages of screen time. Sure, he gets to boss around bees and fly, but we don’t know what else he’s got. Did he have a whole beehive-themed lair? He could have. We just don’t know. We don’t even know if he actually kept bees for non-crime purposes. The fact he ended up teaching suggests that he knows about them, though. I always dock a point for beekeepers who turn to evil, it’s a sign that they can’t contain their Beekeeper Rage, but it is a shame that I have to do it for this guy. He stayed on the straight and narrow for decades between his initial crime spree and when he was framed. But still, he has to lose that point for villainy.

3 Honeycombs out of Five. Given Astro City’s nature, we could learn more someday. I don’t expect it, but I can dream.

Super Sunday: School for Anomalies

The Situation

At a special learning centre for supernaturally-powered children, called the School for Anomalies, Claire Lincoln teaches a class of students aged six to eight. They constantly get into amusing and strange scenarios.

The Characters

Reggie Burbles

Reggie has the ability to see beyond the physical world. She can see ghosts and auras and other invisible stuff. She has no control over her powers, so she gets overwhelmed without her pair of special glasses to make things easier. She’s a bit nervous and shy and is the newest kid in the class.

Deshaun Carmichael

For some reason, not known to his perfectly normal parents, Deshaun is able to transform himself in demonic ways. He’s the class “brain” and is always eager to learn and volunteer himself for extra credit work. He has been the most welcoming to Reggie.

Tabitha Voight

Tabitha has the classic superhuman abilities. She’s nearly indestructible, superhumanly strong and fast, can jump clear across a football field, and is probably going to get stronger as she grows. She thinks of herself as the queen of the class. Most of her classmates don’t buy into it, but she can always boss around the younger kids.

Chalie Diamond

Charlie has somehow acquired the ability to transform his body into living diamond. It’s unclear how he gained this power, and it seems a coincidence that his surname is also Diamond, but he is actually one of the best kids in the class when it comes to using his powers. He’s bad at all the other school stuff, though, like reading and math.


Lizak doesn’t actually have any supernatural powers that a Lizard Person doesn’t usually have, but in human society, being a Lizard Person is a supernatural power in itself. Liz was a bit of a handful for her adoptive human parents, so they opted to ship her out to the School for Anomalies. She became friends with Tabitha and seems content in her role as her sidekick. But is she?

Krug Harrison

The origins of Krug are not known to Krug, nor to his adoptive parents, nor to anyone else. This little monster just seems to have turned up one day. Though the humans who discovered him were loving enough to take him in and care for him, they realized their limitations and when they learned of the School for Anomalies they took the opportunity to send him there, in the hopes that someone would be able to help him out. As it stands, Krug is not doing great. He has problems with authority and enjoys picking on the kids he sees as weaker than him.

Alkazar Vela

Alkazar Vela, a cyborg wizard, is the founder of the School for Anomalies, and teaches the oldest class. He has a secret ulterior motive for founding his school: he wants to create an army of superhuman soldiers to help him take down his enemies. But he’s starting to get attached to his students (and the teachers who work for him), so will he come to regret turning the kids into soldiers?


Yeah, this one is more of my own self-interest in world building than an actual setup for a sitcom. The best I can spin it is that it might work as a parody of superhero shows.

PDR Movie Thoughts: Fatal Justice

I watch a lot of dumb movies. To get something out of it, I am going to start occasionally writing thoughts about them on my website. These are not reviews, because almost always these will be terrible films, just things I think of while watching.

Today’s Movie Thoughts are about Fatal Justice.

This scene does not happen in this movie.

The plot is pretty basic. A CIA Assassin code-named Diana is sent to kill a more senior CIA assassin code-named Mars. Early plot twist: Mars is her long-lost father. Later plot twist: The CIA is actually trying to wipe out its entire current generation of assassins to get new ones who are more loyal to newer administration (some of whom are compromised to the Russian mob).

It’s definitely a movie that uses violence and action as a spectacle, but it actually has a pretty anti-killing stance within the text. As he nears death, Mars says: “You know, it’s funny. You start killing for Uncle Sam, you’re young, you believe in the system. You want to do the best you can do… but when you find out that it’s a lie, it’s too late. You don’t have nothing left. You don’t have nothing left. It’s just you and your conscience. I’m so tired of killing. I just want to rest.” Of this, PDR, your local Pacifist Who Likes Action Movies, wholly approves (while admitting the hypocrisy).

When Diana is introduced, she is posing as a pizza deliverer to gun down an old man in front of his family. It’s implied the guy “deserved” it, but she feels bad for his family. Mars, meanwhile, is introduced as training the next generation of assassins. There’s a scene I actually like where Mars is doing a drill sergeant thing with the new volunteers. He asks one of them why he joined and the guy is like “To serve my country” and Mars is like “You are not! You’re here because you want to kill people” and he goes on about how this job lets them act out their sick fantasies and the government will sanction it and “pat you on the back”. Mars’s training technique is very much like the Marvel character Taskmaster’s, in that the students aren’t guaranteed to make it through alive. I suspect this is not how he’s always trained them, but that he’s only doing it this time he knows what’s coming.

As Diana and Mars team up to go into what seems like it’ll be a suicide mission: “You go East, I’ll go West.” “We’ll meet in Hell.” Someone thought that was deep.

Naturally, for all the movie laments what killing does to the protagonists, Diana still achieves her victory by slaughtering everyone who wronged her. (I mean, her ultimate victory is actually seeing through the CIA’s last ditch attempt to get her and escaping, but mostly the violence thing.)

What else? There’s some surprisingly expensive-seeming stuff going on: helicopter scenes, cars flipping, stunts where people fall from windows. Speaking of the helicopter(s)* There is a bit where a cop, over a speaker from a helicopter, was saying “This is the police, come out with your hands up” and then Diana shoots at him and he says, still over the speaker “Oh Shit” in a pretty bad delivery but it made me laugh. Diana actually does manage to bring down the helicopter with the pistol.

But those few scenes with a budget can’t cover up the fact that the movie is pure B-Grade trash. The bad camera quality, some terrible ADR work, crappy lighting. It’s all stuff I myself could probably exceed in these days of 2018 with my phone. Granted a lot of the acting is bad, but they do have actors. That’s one thing that even 2018 PDR can’t rival. Amusing to me: at one point Mars assigns four trainees orders to head North, South, East, and West respectively, but the actors don’t move in directions that can correspond with their orders.

Finally, for a movie that has nudity and swearing and such, Diana keeps using these exclamations that are endearingly mild. She’s all “You better believe it. And how!” and “Oh, man!” even in times of danger. Unfortunately, “You picked the wrong day to mess with me, buster” is not going to rank among the top action one liners of all time.

*While multiple helicopters appear in the narrative, I suspect they were all played by the same helicopter.