Beekeeper Review: Eustacius Jericho

Professor Eustacius Jericho, the Scourge of Scoundrels, is not the first Beekeeper I’ve covered that comes from the Doctor Who franchise. That would be Goronwy Jones. But Jericho comes closer than his predecessor to becoming an actual Companion of the titular Doctor.

Jericho was a British soldier in the Second World War, and saw many terrible things. When he returned home, he threw himself wholly into academic life, seeking largely (consciously or otherwise) to be detached from the “real world” because of the darkness he’d seen. By the 1960s, he had some rapport with the people of his village, but avoided close attachments. And, because science often pairs well with the keeping of bees, it was in this era that seems to have taken it up. We don’t know how many hives he had, but we know he liked to use their honey in tea. “Nature’s own shock remedy,” he called it. I suspect he found it useful treating his trauma left from the War.

When supernatural events barged into Jericho’s life, he doubted them at first, but his scientific rationale quickly caught him up. Even in dangerous situations, he hoped to continue researching and learning. And when he wound up stranded in the early 1900s with the Doctor’s Companions, he and they went on a years-long, world-spanning quest to help prevent the end of the world. And when that crisis came to its climax, he allowed himself to be captured by an alien army as part of the plan to bring them down. The plan worked, though Jericho didn’t make it back alive. He was, at least, happy in the end that after his sedentary decades, he got to have a big adventure in his final years.

The only problem is that we never got to see Jericho doing any Beekeeping. We only get that one reference to his bees’ honey. Certainly he couldn’t have been doing it after being stranded in the past and started travelling the world on a mission. That means that the part of Jericho’s life that is full of adventure and the part where he keeps bees are decidedly separate. That’s not the ideal situation I look for here in these reviews, and sadly that brings his rating down from what it otherwise could have been:

Three Honeycombs out of Five.

PDR’s Controversial Beliefs: Sneed’s isn’t a good joke

There’s a joke from an episode of the Simpsons, from the period that I consider “later” Simpsons, but which is actually probably less than a third into the run of the show by this point. The joke is that there is a store with a sign that says “Sneed’s Feed and Seed” with the information that the store used to be called “Chuck’s”. I mean, I’ve got the image right there, you can see it. The “joke” is that back when the store was called Chuck’s, it would have been “Chuck’s Fuck and Suck”, get it? It makes you think of a dirty word! How subversive and cool! It is to laugh. And yet I’ve seen people online cite this as a good joke.

I don’t find it that funny. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t seem to get the same value from using “curse words” as most people. I don’t get it. They’re just words to me. I find them neither offensive nor thrilling. But at least I understand that other people do enjoy them on some level I don’t get, so I can understand what the Sneed’s joke is trying to do. It may only be a minor step above having a character just say “Fuck” and then bleeping it as far as jokes that put a swear into the listener’s mind without actually saying it out loud, but that is still a step above that. That little bit of cleverness should count for something.

But here is what ruins the joke: business signs don’t work like that. If the store used to be Chuck’s, it was Chuck’s Feed and Seed. If it was an entirely different business, they wouldn’t put what it used to be on the sign. If an accountant’s office moves into a place that used to be a Pizza Hut, they don’t but “Formerly Pizza Hut” on the damn sign. If that accountant’s office changes its name, but remains an accountant’s office, then they might put their former name on the sign so that customers would know they’re the same business. Even if accountant’s names rhyme with Pizza Hut! It’s irrelevant that Sneed’s used to be Chuck’s unless Chuck’s was the same business. The leap in logic is too great for it to work.

It frustrates me to see people laud this joke. But hey, if people love it, I must be missing something.

The Most Misused Names on Superman and Lois

The television show Superman and Lois has recently finished its first season. It’s not often I try to keep up with a piece of live-action superhero media as it comes out, but this show, and its cousin Supergirl, are obviously things I feel required to keep up on. But that’s okay, because it’s been mostly decent.

But one thing this show does that I’ve seen in too many adaptations of stuff from comics: it uses names from the source material in ways of which I do not approve.

Here’s what they did wrong (Full of Spoilers):

Captain Luthor

For the first couple episodes there is a man identified to the audience as Captain Luthor, whom we’re led to believe is the Lex Luthor of an alternate universe. Eventually, this is revealed to be false. He’s actually the John Henry Irons (aka Steel) from an alternate universe.

This is the most forgivable misuse of a name on this list, in part because I genuinely think the show’s creators named the character without knowing where the show was doing. I genuinely believe they did some rewriting and that Luthor was original what he appeared to be. I can understand wanting to change if you think something will work better, but I think they missed a storytelling opportunity here. As far as I can remember, none of the characters are ever led to believe that Irons is Lex. It’s fully a trick played on the audience, never used within the story.

Even so, the reason I find it so easy to forgive is that the Steel reveal was just great. One of the high points of the season.

Morgan Edge

The use of Morgan Edge as a name on this show is another trick played on the audience, because the character began as he’d appear in comics and went WILDLY different places.

In a way I was pleased, because I was worried that Morgan’s presence meant that they’d be bringing in Darkseid, and as I’ve said, I don’t care for Darkseid in my Superman stuff. But, as I’ve also said before, I prefer Morgan Edge when he’s just a supporting cast member who happens to be a jerk businessman, not a supervillain. That’s not what they did here either.

Nat Irons

In the show, there’s an alternate universe in which John Irons and Lois Lane had a daughter named Natalie (I don’t remember catching her surname). In the comics, John Irons has a niece named Natasha. Both go by Nat.

The thing is, I love Natasha. The existence of Natalie on this show almost certainly guarantees that Natasha will not appear. And that’s a dang shame.

Dabney Donovan

And then the worst of all these nominative crimes! They gave the name Dabney Donovan to a normal run-of-the-mill superscientist who was perfectly pleasant, cooperated with authority, and was utterly normal.

Dabney Donovan in the comics is the kind of unhinged loose cannon of science that he created a miniature planet! That had horns! And he hid it in a cemetery! And created life on it that he raised with horror movies! AND THAT IS JUST HIS FIRST APPEARANCE!

At no point should anyone involved in this show have said “We have a scientist here, we could throw in a name from the comics” and landed on Dabney Donovan. Call him Emil Hamilton if you want to phone it in. Call him Harold Vekko if you want to be more obscure. Call him Bernard Klein maybe. Call him Professor Pepperwinkle if you need to. But don’t waste Dabney Donovan on this minor character.

Look, television people. I can promise you that an appropriate name exists within the Superman franchise for anything you’ve got cooked up. I can name those characters for you. Just ask me before you cast Dabney Donovan as the kind of scientist who WOULDN’T create a horned horror planet.

Beekeeper Review: Higglytown’s Beekeeper Hero

As near as I can tell, Higglytown Heroes was a show about all the different occupations people have in Higglytown. It must have been made by people with good taste, because there’s an episode about a Beekeeper. Kids need to learn. The episode, called “Two Bees or Not Two Bees” naturally, features some kids and some old people and a squirrel (presumably the main cast) who are saddened to learn that the bushes that should be full of higglyberries are not. They summon the Beekeeper to help them figure out what happened.

When she arrives, the Beekeeper Hero investigates a beehive near the bushes and finds it is abandoned (what happened to the bees is unknown), so she has her own bees pollinate the area. She does all this while giving educational lessons to the children. A month later the berries have grown, so the Beekeeper Hero treats the kids to delicious treats of berries and honey. But when the kids hail her as a hero, she makes sure to deflect that thanks to the bees, who are the real heroes. That’s a classy move.

Apart from impeccably-trained bees, does she have any supernatural powers that seem to be different than all the other toy-people of her world? Not that we see. But she has bee-shaped earrings, which is nice.

Three Honeycombs out of Five.

The Original Original Team Venture

Yesterday I checked out the live stream of the show at Adult Swim and happened upon the episode that introduced the “original” Team Venture. That team, analogous to the Silver Age of comics features the likes of Colonel Gentleman, Otto Aquarius, the Action Man, and Kano. Other members of this era’s crew would be introduced in later episodes and they’re all pretty great. The team leader was Dr. Jonas Venture, father of the show’s protagonist Rusty.

Later on in the series we were introduced to the Guild, a Victorian-era group of adventurers including Colonel Lloyd Venture, the grandfather of Jonas. This is all well and good so far.

But if we look at the Venture family tree we see a glaring omission: Women! Well, okay, yes, that is true, but what I actually meant was Lloyd’s son and Jonas’s father. Who is that guy? We have been told that he’s a superscientist like the others, but we have no further details. do I have a prediction: Whatever his name, the missing man is Captain Venture.

The time period of this supposed Captain Venture falls right into World War-era, so he’d probably have a team of heroes similar to the Justice Society and the Invaders who fought the Nazis and terrible caricatures of the Japanese. There’s probably a couple of patriotic-costumed heroes like Captain America and Bucky and maybe powerful female hero who is relegated to the role of secretary as a reference to Wonder Woman. You know, all that sort of thing, but done better than I could do because that’s what the Venture Bros. does.

Furthermore, I would guess that Otto Aquarius joined the Venture clique during this era. The rest of Jonas’s team are great pals, but Otto doesn’t seem to fit in or hang out with them. We also know that Otto ages extremely slowly due to his partially-Atlantean heritage. He’s the team’s equivalent to Namor or Aquaman, so it’d make sense if he came in during the Golden Age and stuck around but never really became friend with the younger generation.