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.

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.