Beekeeper Review: Violet Thomas

Today’s review is of a Beekeeper who appeared in the Eisner-nominated comic strip The Beekeeper’s Due. It’s only four pages, so you should check it out. It’s not bad. But… how does the Beekeeper rate?

I hope you read it, because I’m about to spoil every aspect without providing the actual experience of reading the thing. Violet is a single mother who had a beekeeping operation with her daughter, Amelia (the setup reminds me of the Williams family from Umma). All indications are that they were relatively successful and certainly happy until Amelia fell sick. The young girl died due to complications from a surgery to remove her appendix.

Understandably, Violet was upset. The story never gives us the certainty to prove it, but taking Violet’s word for it, there is a high likelihood that the doctor performing the surgery was in an unfit state. Violet tried to deal with this through the courts, but the doctor was acquitted. That’s when Beekeeper Rage really took Violet. She poisoned some honey and got it to the doctor. He ate it and died.

Now, let’s see. I give Violet credit for trying to deal with things through the legal system first. That would help me to give her the benefit of the doubt against her first big mistake: she gave the poisoned honey to the doctor via a gift basket delivery. We don’t know if the doctor has children, but he does have at least one person (probably a wife) who lives with him, and leaving poisoned honey is not a precision strike. Innocents could have eaten that.

Probably that would have left me with a 2/5 Beekeeper rating, but there’s one other thing: after her successful assassination, Violet returned home and burned down her whole operation, the greenhouse and the hives. It’s symbolic, I suppose, of the way her life was ruined by the whole situation. She thanks the bees and apologizes as she does it, but still: once you burn down your hives, you’re not really a Beekeeper anymore.

One Honeycomb out of Five.

Beekeeper Review: Adam Clay

When I first learned we were getting an action movie called The Beekeeper, I had to wonder if I had somehow willed it into existence. After all, I’ve been reviewing fictional Beekeepers as action heroes since this post in 2014, and I have been advocating for Beekeepers to be in such a role since the era of Pirates vs Ninjas debates on the Internet. This movie feels like the culmination of my teachings. Now, I have no interest in reviewing the quality of the movie (what kind of loser cares if movies are good or not?), but I have to know: how does protagonist Adam Clay rate as a Beekeeper?

Adam Clay, this name is just his current alias for the record, is a Beekeeper in more than one way. He does actually keep bees and cares for them and give honey as a present to his friends and all the stuff I consider basic Beekeeper stuff. This alone would rate him a 2/5.

But is he an action hero? Well, I should say so. Clay is retired from a secret extra-governmental organization that call themselves “Beekeepers”. They are given unlimited resources to train these incredible secret agents who act outside the bounds of the law, with the idea that they will do what is best to protect society’s weak and vulnerable (Ah, to live in an imaginary world where those with power want to protect the weak and vulnerable. Must be nice). As a former agent of this group, Clay is highly trained in combat, armed and unarmed, and is a resourceful strategist and talented tactician. He can create bombs and rig up traps with improvised items. At times he seems as much like a slasher killer taking out his targets as he does an action hero. Suffice it to say, the guy can fight. That’ll move him up to 3/5.

But, beyond the standard set of Action Hero skills that strain plausibility, he has no supernatural abilities. He can’t talk to bees or control them or any of that. One could make up for a lack of supernatural abilities by being really on-brand. If you dress up with a picture of a bee on your chest or wear exclusively yellow and black striped shirts, that impresses me. Clay doesn’t do that, but he does talk an awful lot about Beekeeping and protecting the hive and all that. So he doesn’t lose points, but doesn’t gain any.

But how about Beekeeper Rage? One thing I’ve noticed in doing these reviews is that a lot of Beekeepers lash out when they get angry and that usually costs them some points. How does Adam Clay do here? Well, when his friend’s life is ruined and his own hives are destroyed, Clay does indeed lash out. But, perhaps it is is training with the covert organization, he lashes out in the right direction. He intends to avenge his friend and protect other weak and vulnerable people by cleaning out the corruption in the hive that is our society. He attacks the right targets. Heck, any time he’s not working in self-defence he even gives his targets warning so they can flee and swear off doing evil. He intends to kill, but he’s not indiscriminate. Honestly, if everyone’s anger was so well controlled, we’d be better off. I say Clay loses no points for Beekeeper Rage and, in fact, it looks good for him:

Four Honeycomb out of Five. A high quality Beekeeper. Could a sequel come along and improve it? Well, I’m certainly willing to write one, Hollywood! Let’s have Adam Clay ride around in a helicopter designed to look like a giant bee! Let’s do this!

There are other “Beekeepers” in the movie, it’s worth noting. There’s a whole organization, right? We’re told that the organization decides to stay neutral in the conflict, with the exception of Clay’s direct replacement, who is described as a “lunatic” and he takes her out with relative ease. We’re never shown if she actually keeps bees at all (though she does have a book about beekeeping in her car and there are hive around her base). Are all members of the organization actually apiarists in addition to using the metaphor? Probably. Maybe. Who knows? Anyway, they’d surely, as a group, rank somewhere around Clay.

Beekeeper Review: Trish Guberman

Patricia Guberman, who goes by Trish, is a Beekeeper who appeared on an episode of Night Court for about 20 seconds. Trish is so unimportant to the show that, though she’s given a name by the plot, the credits just list her as “Beekeeper”, as you can see on the IMDB page for actor Tara Copeland. I could argue that she’s one of those cases where she has a real identity, but in a superhero kinda way just goes by “The Beekeeper” because of how cool that is. So I will.

The appearance goes like this: wacky hijinks result in a bunch of bees being let lose in the titular Night Court. Someone has to come and deal with it, and that’s Trish. It’s noted that she deals with the bees quickly, but it’s also noted that they were “circus bees who gave up their stingers for a life in the theatre.” It’s cool that these bees can make cool shapes like they’re in a cartoon or something, but these are not Trish’s bees, these are just the ones she was called in to deal with. I do think we can give Trish some credit for dealing with them swiftly, but nothing that indicates supernatural power. She’s got a natural confidence (that also leads to her hooking up with a married scumbag), so I feel like we can be sure she’s consistently good at the job, but that’s all we’ve got.

Two Honeycomb out of Five. She seems to be an utterly normal Beekeeper, but she’s happy with that.

Beekeeper Review: Meliou

Meliou is a beekeeping company that appeared in an episode of a show called Bulletproof. It’s a show about cops or spies or something, but that is barely important to this review beyond the fact that Meliou, the company, is owned by members of the Markides Crime Family, who are probably the villains of the show.

Based in Cyprus and founded in 1954, Meliou is a thriving business that, in addition to making honey, makes olive oil and wine and soap and who knows what else. They have hives by the dozens. Possibly hundreds of employees. In fact, it’s so successful that the members of the crime family are not the ones being reviewed here today. They ain’t Beekeepers, they just own the company. Aside from the fact that the criminals use false hives as a place to keep weapons, this is just an unconnected enterprise. I could probably argue that some of the cartel’s muscle may have day jobs here, so maybe there are combat-ready Beekeepers, but we don’t know that. Seems like normal folks.

Three Honeycombs out of Five. We’re told the company is good for the island, and I assume that by the time the show ends the cartel is no longer in charge. I usually rate “standard successful beekeepers” at Two, but this does seem to be a bigger scale than usual. This isn’t someone with a successful hive in their back yard, it’s an international company. If the individuals who do actually make up the Beekeepers here happen to be screwups, we don’t get to see that, so I am giving them the benefit of the doubt.

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.