Beekeeper Review: Barry

We haven’t, to date, had the best of luck with Beekeepers who live in fantasy videogame realms. It’s a shame, because some of our highest-ranking Beekeepers come from fantasy novels. But in games, the Beekeepers are always there to just beg for the help of the players. Apiarists in Distress, as I have said before. So I didn’t expect much of Barry, a Beekeeper found in the world of World of Warcraft. But there are always surprises in reviewing Fictional Beekeeper.

To be sure, Barry is another NPC who will set the player off on quests and stuff, but it isn’t because he needs help. All indications are that Barry’s own beekeeping operations are doing just fine without any help from the player. Instead, Barry gets the player to help out with another colony of bees altogether. It turns out that there’s a new hive in the valley, giant bees have arrived from places unknown, and Barry tells the player about it. When the player finds the hive and the bees are ready to defend themselves, Barry steps in and brokers peace between the player and the bees of the Honeyback Hive. You see, Barry can speak the language of the bees fluently and he’s not about to let the new bees (or the player) waste their lives in combat. After that he seems to operate as a freelance translator between the bees and the players, in spite of the fact that the Honeyback Hive isn’t even his own hive. He’s doing extra beekeeping on the side of his own.

Barry seems like a nice guy. Very genial and none of the telltale signs of Beekeeper Rage. His bees are extremely large, if not the size of the newcomers. And he loves his bees and they love him back/ And he loves the Honeyback bees as well, enjoying petting their fuzzy thoraxes. As for supernatural or combat prowess, Barry seems about standard for a denizen of Azeroth, a place where magic and combat are ubiquitous. It’s a world where a Beekeeper needs to be extra careful because you never know when a honey-crazed mauler is going to turn up. We can only infer that if Barry is successful in this world, he’s got the skill to back it up.

4 Honeycombs out of Five. He’s standout in videogame NPC Beekeepers.

Beekeeper Review: Lee Sanchez

Louis “Lee” Sanchez is a supervillain who appears as an opponent in the roleplaying game Villains and Vigilantes. Before he was a beekeeping supervillain he was a boxer and a movie star and was quite successful. Unfortunately, during that period he got caught up in a world of illegal drugs and firearms. This ended poorly for Lee, causing his career to come to a halt, leaving him poor. Eventually he got a job as a security guard at a scientific company, only to steal their experimental “bio-electric suit” which had been designed to control killer bees. He had originally intended to ransom the suit back to the company, but after wearing it he took a liking to the powers it granted and opted to keep it and begin a career as a supervillain called The Beekeeper!

Apart from his own prowess as an athlete and a fighter, Lee’s suit allows him to control his bees, to fly, to shoot “stingers”, and it enhances his strength. It is also noted that he has an ability to detect the weaknesses of his opponents, but it’s not made clear if that’s a result of his experience as a pugilist or a function of the suit. He’s got a weakness to insecticide though. It is noted that he’s smart enough to use his bees to scout out locations before he gets into problems, which is smart, but otherwise he only uses his bees when they’re necessary, otherwise preferring to do his work on his own.

Lee definitely has some typical Beekeeper Rage on display. It’s said that he has never really recovered from his fall from grace and will be enraged by people who mock him or imply that he’s a loser. That said, it is also noted that he has become very protective of his bees, whom he feared at first but has since come to see as loyal friends, unlike those who abandoned him when his life went bad. The sourcebook specifically notes that “if many of them are harmed he becomes enraged enough to kill.” Though more justified, it’s still Beekeeper Rage, but it does also show that in spite of the fact that he began his career as a “controller” of bees, he has come to see them as partners in his life. That wins some points with me.

3 Honeycombs out of Five. But keep in mind that this is a character in a tabletop roleplaying game. If the players and game master did their things right, they could spin adventures in which Lee turns out to be a cosmic-level beekeeper and it’d be as valid a take on the character as any other. He could become a hero. The possibilities are endless.

Beekeeper Review: Beezwax

We’ve seen Beekeepers who use vehicles for their beekeeping before (Doc Beebles’s truck comes to mind.) But today’s Beekeeper is a character from the game series Vigilante 8, so he spends most of his time fighting in his truck. He is called Beezwax and he’s definitely given into his Beekeeper Rage.

He had been a farmer until his farm was polluted with radioactive waste from a nearby government testing facility. After that, “Beezwax packed up and hit the road in a rage of madness” and sought revenge on those who had wronged him. As is so typical when a Beekeeper goes bad, the justification is sound, but the response is too much and they go evil. In his mentally unstable state, Beezwax encounters the leader of Vigilante 8’s villains, a man called Sid Burn, and starts thinking he is a prophet. Beezwax sides with Burn and his villainous team and we lose another Beekeeper to the bad side.

It seems like Beezwax’s quest for revenge becomes a little unfocused when he joins the villains. He continues finding things that piss him off, such as when he sees ski resorts taking over his hometown, but I doubt Syd Burn is as concerned with nuclear waste dumping as Beezwax ought to be. Perhaps it is the justice of the bees then that, in one of the endings in which Beezwax wins the game, his acquisition of some nuclear warheads goes awry when one of his bees sets off the bomb, presumably killing Beezwax.

Beezwax has a pretty sweet thing going here. Just having a mobile apiary is impressive, but this truck is equipped with all manner of other gadgetry that can help in a fight. Guns and rocket launchers, for example. It’s considered one of the game’s more heavily armoured, but slower vehicles. A tank, I believe is the term for this sort of setup. But it isn’t just the truck! The bees themselves have been mutated into a “Gamma Swarm” by the radiation. They seem larger than average and can be sent out of attack Beeswax’s enemies.

If only it had all been in the hands of a more well-adjusted Beekeeper. If someone had the same origin, the same setup, the same powers, but hadn’t given into a destructive spiral of anger, that would have been one awesome Beekeeper.

3 Honeycombs out of Five.

Beekeeper Review: The Bee Man of Alcatraz

The Bee Man of Alcatraz is a beekeeper and a criminal introduced in an episode of Scooby Doo and Guess Who. Unfortunately, he is only seen at the beginning of an episode, at the end of some off-screen adventure that is being wrapped up in media res. He is unmasked as Bob the Beekeeper.

You might think that this minor appearance would mean I have very little to work with for this review. Not so! We’re talking about a Scooby Doo villain here. I am an expert reviewer of Beekeepers and I have watched an awful lot of Scooby Doo. My knowledge of the abilities of the former and the beloved formulaic nature of the latter mean that I am more than qualified to piece together this tale.

Bob was definitely a beekeeper who worked on or near Alcatraz Island, and he probably had knowledge that there was some manner of secret treasure left behind in the museum that was once the infamous prison there. Perhaps some relative was once a prisoner there and buried it, who can say, but he was definitely looking for something in those walls. He couldn’t very well hunt for treasure with tourists and employees milling about all day, so he did what any criminal would do: he concocted tales of a monster to frighten people away, giving him time to look for his prize. He went with a bee-theme for the monster because that’s what he knows, and it allowed him to use things like wax and bees as part of his ruse. I expect his costume actually allowed him to fly as well.

I think it is a safe bet that when Mystery Inc. showed up Shaggy and Scooby were frightened. There was probably some wax left behind as a clue. It’s quite likely he chased the Mystery Machine around for about the length of a pop song. I figure at some point he tried to sting something and the stinger got caught. And in the end, he was captured in some clever trap.

To review, he’s a beekeeper successful enough as such to be called “Bob the Beekeeper” which means he’s probably at least kind of good at that job. It’s unfortunate he turned to crime, but the fact he has no apparent henchmen means he’s got skills. Those skills aren’t enough to get one over on Scoob and the Gang, but there’s no shame in losing to such an esteemed team of crimefighters.

3 Honeycombs out of Five. It’s worth noting that Bob did not have a speaking role in the episode, so the makers of Scooby Doo definitely need to bring him back, voiced by me.

Beekeeper Review: Jules Beachum

Beekeeping is Jules Beachum’s dream. It started as a mere hobby, but he liked it, so it has become the thing that he yearns to do with his life. Before, he owned a restaurant, but that was just a family business that he’d inherited from his father. When Jules took over, his heart wasn’t in it, and the customers could tell. The business failed.

But Jules’s heart is in beekeeping! Admittedly, he’s off to a rough start. He kept his first two bees in a jar until they died, after which he was surprised to learn that you don’t get honey by mushing up the dead bees. After that failure, he was surprised to learn that you also don’t milk them for honey. Basically, Jules began with an absolute zero in his Beekeeping skills. But unlike the failure with the restaurant, Jules isn’t giving up on Beekeeping. He’s been studying and he’s bought the proper equipment, and it seems like he’s on the path to becoming an professional Beekeeper.

And that heart boosts Jules’s rating in another way as well. As I’ve gone about reviewing Beekeepers there’s one trope I’ve come across far too often: the Apiarist In Distress. If you look back at Holofernus Meiersdorf or Fullan you can see the problem. Those are beekeepers who are just sitting around waiting for a protagonist to come solve their problems. That’s not how high-rating Beekeepers do it. But when Jules appears in an episode of Bob’s Burgers he has a problem: he wants to get back a flat top grill from the failed restaurant so he can keep it in his family. And while the Bob’s cast does get involved, Jules wasn’t waiting for them before he acted. They encountered him in the midst of his scheme. He attempts to steal the grill using disguises and secret passages. Jules is not an Apiarist in Distress, he’s an Apiarist in Action. He may not have supernatural powers or incredible combat skills or more than basic beekeeping talents (yet), but he’s got that extra-special something that can get a Beekeeper an extra point. And all that when he’s got an allergy to bees.

I must include the caveat that there’s always a chance he could reappear on the show and they’d pile on more jokes about his terrible beekeeping and that would hurt his score. But until then: Three Honeycombs out of Five.