Some Venture Bros Thoughts

It was a tradition I had that every time we approached a new season of the Venture Bros, I’d watch through the entire show up to that point. Well, we’ve got a supposedly-final Venture Bros movie coming later this month, so I spent some time earlier this month to do that again. This resulted in my most recent Beekeeper Review but I also had some other thoughts I felt I could deposit here on this website o’ mine. Let’s go:

  • The first stray thought is just an excuse for me to argue against something I read on the Internet years ago on my site, where nobody will contradict me. During an episode in the most-recent season Dr. Venture invented working teleportation technology. I saw people on the various websites saying this was unbelievable. Rusty is too much of a failure to have produced something that useful and functional, they said. I fully admit that Rusty is a loser of a superscientist. That’s not what I’m arguing against. But those people forgot that Rusty had inherited nearly-complete teleportation tech back in the second season. It managed to teleport Rusty into multiple places and get him stuck in a wall, remember? He got stuck in a wall and whatnot? The successful version of the tech is almost only different in the sense that it has two pads, so that one materializes at a set destination, rather than somewhere random. That’s exactly the change one would make after what Rusty went through the first time. It makes complete sense that Rusty (especially with his brother’s research and the help of Pete and Billy) could refine the teleportation technology he had and make it into something functional as we saw.
  • While I’m arguing with stupid comments on the Internet I read years ago and which still echo through my mind: I saw someone once say that the OSI agent Headshot wasn’t good because his name wasn’t a pun or joke or whatever. Sure, it’s not as good as Tank Top or Bum Rush and cetera, but there is definitely a joke in Headshot’s name: he’s a handsome model type who is also a sniper. It’s the exact same joke that the GI Joe character Cover Girl had: she was a gorgeous model type who also provided cover fire. So it’s not even just a joke, it’s also a GI Joe reference. I hope that whoever made that comment years ago feels like an idiot now.
  • Another thought I had on this rewatch: I was surprised how often the word “retard” (or variations) was used in those early seasons. I remembered some of them, and I knew the creators had eventually decided to use it less, but it’s really in there a lot more than my memory told me it was.
  • Something that occurred to me that has nothing to do with me arguing with folks on the Internet: I really feel like more time elapsed in-universe than the show thinks it did. In season one Dr. Orpheus gives a countdown number to the death of the Action Man. It’s a little over two years, I think. Then, in the last season that seems to come to pass. But it really feels like it’s been more than two years in the lives of the characters. I don’t know, I feel like this one is just me. And it does sort of allude to the concept of “Comic Book Time” but I don’t like that either. I’m not going to argue this one the way I’ll argue, say, that the boys really are the boys. It’s just how I feel.

Anyway, those are the things that occurred to me on this rewatch. I’m looking forward to the movie later this month. I hope it is so successful that they get to do another one. And I hope that other one is Escape From The House of Mummies, Part Five.

Beekeeper Review: The Killer Drone

This one is a borderline case, I admit it, but the Venture Bros is one of my all-time favourite television shows and this guy is the closest it’s had to a Beekeeper. Thus, I’ve got to do what I do.

The Killer Drone was a supervillain who was active in the “silver age of comics” kind of era of the Venture universe, fighting fought heroes like the Blue Morpho and Kano. On the show, he’s only ever been mentioned, never seen in action. He’s such an obscure part of the show’s world that even the Fandom sites supposedly devoted explicitly to obsessively detailing about the Venture Bros info, as of this writing, bothered to include the details we’ve been given on their page.

If I squint, it looks like the Killer Drone’s name was William “Buzz” Orpen. Google tells me that there was an Irish painter named William Orpen, but if there’s any kind of connection, I don’t see it. Killer Drone was probably born July 20, 1934 in Essex County, New Jersey. He had brown hair, hazel eyes, and an olive complexion. He was just over six feet tall and lankier than you’d think. He was a thief of the supervillain variety, having been convicted of robbery and general criminal mayhem. He was also a former electrician and an amateur mellitologist. Those last two suggest that maybe he was responsible on his own for the creation of his supervillain equipment, including a bee-themed suit with a poisonous stinger that also allowed him some limited flight! All very impressive stuff for a beekeeping super-criminal, right?

But did he even keep bees? We don’t know. He’s a mellitologist, which could involve keeping bees for research, but it doesn’t necessitate that. And he fashions himself as a “drone” rather than a protector of bees. We’re told he has a tattoo of a queen bee over his heart, but what does that mean? It actually seems possible that he thinks he is a bee (he’s known to have spent time in the asylum for “insane supervillains” after all, so rational thinking may not be his strong suit).

It’s only my own desire to include the Venture Bros in this study of Fictional Beekeepers that makes me bother to review this character. We don’t know that he’s a Beekeeper at all and he’s going to drag down the average, but a show I like is wrapping up soon, so I felt like I had to do it:

One Honeycomb out of Five. That said, there is strong potential here for a Three or a Four here, given his strong on-theme branding and equipment. All it would take would be for us to learn he owned at least one hive. It’s a shame that it is so unlikely that the upcoming Venture Bros movie will reveal much.

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.

The Souls of the Venture Bros

Okay, today I’m going to do something a little different: I consider the Venture Bros to probably be my favorite thing on television these days, so sometimes I like to read about it on the Internet. Now, I’m getting into a pretty big spoiler for the show here (though, one from the start of the second season and that was like forever ago), but I want to offer my own thoughts on the topic of the titular brothers, Hank and Dean, being clones. The idea is that the boys are so death-prone that their Super Scientist father has clones of them ready to go when needed and the boys’ beds record their minds as they sleep, so that the clones will have their memories. Simple enough. What I want to talk about today is… well, I occasionally see people on the Internet talking as though the fact that the Hank and Dean of today are cloned from the original Hank and Dean, it somehow means that these are not the “real” Hank and Dean, that they are, in fact different people who just happen to have the appearance and memories (in fact, Dean himself is going through a sort of existential crisis about that in the show as of this writing). So, in the interests of amassing evidence to argue against people who will never, ever see this website, here I will present my case:

Point I) In the universe of the Venture Bros, souls and the afterlife are confirmed to exist. Dr. Byron Orpheus, friend of the Venture family, is an accomplished necromancer and all manner of ghosts have been encountered (Abraham Lincoln in Guess Who’s Coming to State Dinner, Major Tom in Ghosts of the Sargasso, and a Native American tribe in Assassinanny 911, for examples). Knowing that the soul, in that world, is an actual thing, we would kind of have to say that who a person is would be defined by their soul.

Point II) The current clones of Hank and Dean have the souls of the previous incarnations. In the episode Powerless in the Face of Death, the episode that reveals the clonal nature of the boys, Orpheus travels to the afterlife in search of the boys’ souls and finds that their souls are not there. Continuing his search for the souls he comes to Dr. Venture’s lab, where he senses the souls within the machinery that Doc uses to record the boy’s memories. While Doc doesn’t believe in using the supernatural designation of “soul” preferring to think of it as just the boy’s “memory synapses,” but Orpheus is the expert in the supernatural and he says the souls are in there. It seems that one’s soul goes where a person’s “memories, hopes, and dreams” goes, and that’s what Doc has on store. Thus, with this information fed into the boys clone slugs every time they die, they are in essence carrying their soul with them.

To further my case, I point to The Family That Slays Together Part One, in which Hank notes that he “I jumped off my roof in a Batman costume. I think. I might have just dreamt it.” That was one of the ways that Hank died. Hank remembers this though it was probably not something that would have been recorded by his bed, and that indicates to me that he has carried a bit of memory from a previous body to his new one. It is especially worth noting that the ghost of Abraham Lincoln was only able to affect the physical world through objects that bore his image (statues, paintings, money, etc.). For the souls of Hank and Dean, their own cloned bodies would be a perfect fit.

To me, it looks like this: When the boys die, their soul goes to those Earthly things that most connect them to the world, their memories in Doc’s machinery, and then on into the clone slugs. That continuity of soul would mean that the clones of Hank and Dean now present are as much Hank and Dean as any Hank and Dean that ever came before. I fully agree that if we took a clone and let it live without downloading the souls into it, it would be a new person (look at D-19, the rejected Dean clone from Perchance to Dean). But the Hank and Dean of Season Four are still the Hank and Dean of Season One (and the dozen Hanks and Deans that died before that).