“The Venture Bros.” Season 1 – Great Characters, Villains and World…I Want to See More

The Venture Bros Episode 2

     I am so glad one of my friends recommended this show. A season done and I can’t wait to see what happens next. This is a show that celebrates and satires Super Hero stories as well as old adventure stories and old adventure television mysteries (think “Scooby-Doo”) suffice to say it has quickly become a favorite show. The greatest part of this show is really the  characters who define the mythos, which I will get into deeper in the review.

    The series was created back Jackson Publick who also wrote a lot of the episodes with Doc Hammer.

     The story involves the misadventures of the Venture Family as they get into a lot of trouble and face their enemies ranging from Baron Underbheit to the Monarch, though their greatest enemy is often themselves.

The Pros: The World – The world of “The Venture Bros.” is awesome! It is a world full of heroes, villains, secret agencies, androids and mysteries. There are super heroes and super villains and each has tons of henchmen to boot. Seriously, it is an awesome world.

The Soundtrack – The soundtrack captures the pulpy nature of the show really well. It’s fast and snappy and reminds me of the old Adam West “Batman” and comics from that era….which captures the characters perfectly. J.G. Thirwell is awesome.

The Animation – The animation is awesome. It flows and has a pulpy feel to it that shows us each character and how they tick, from the Venture Bros. running at the beginning to the tall standing Brock to the slouched Dr. Venture. Character mannerisms are captured beautifully in the animation.

The Characters – The characters are the strongest part, with the minor one-shot characters being the only time the show really feels weak. The main characters though get some great exploration though.

Jonas Venture Jr. – Jonas Venture Jr. is Dr. Venture’s brother who breaks out of his body (he was eaten in the womb) and wants revenge until Dr. Venture apologizes and gives him half of all he has, showing he is more than just someone out for revenge and is smart and capable of growth.

Hank Venture – Hank is the jock of the Venture Bros. and idealizes Brock even though he is a complete dweeb. He’s usually always fighting his brother Dean. He is obsessed with blaming whatever happens on ghosts and is a lot like Fred from “Scooby-Doo.”

Dean Venture – Dean is the anxious nerd of the brothers who is the first to fall in love (Triana) and is the more sensitive of the two. He is the brother I like more as he has a lot more awareness of his surroundings, though he is just as much a danger to himself as Hank.

Dr. Venture – Dr. Venture is the cynical protagonist who only seems to really care about Brock. We never see him care about his sons except how he can use them to save himself and is a washed up has-been as he even sells a lot of his and his father’s stuff in an episode. He is a character who is apathetic and just doesn’t care. He does have a tender side though, as we see when he is in a relationship with Dr. Girlfriend.

Brock Samson – Brock is my favorite character on the show. The guy is unstable and a walking tank as it takes a lot to bring him down. We see that his one true love is Molotov Cocktease and that he is really doing his own thing most of the time when he isn’t protecting Dr. Venture and the brothers. He also has a good heart too as he helps an ex-military guy and his Bigfoot husband escape.

Old Team Venture – Old Team Venture is pretty great. Gentlman is probably my favorite of them and I can’t wait to see more of how the original Venture interacted with them.

The Villains – The main villains are awesome and each have distinct personalities and motivations, and they go way back, all the way to college in regards to their relationship to Dr. Venture.

Baron Underbheit – Baron Underbheit was a foreign exchange student who was Dr. Venture’s friend. Sadly the friendship when sour after he got his jaw blown off so now he hates him. They still can interact without killing each other though as he goes to Dr. Venture’s yard sale and the funeral of their mutual friend.

Dr. Girlfriend – Dr. Girlfriend is awesome! She was a powerhouse who hooked up with the Monarch and has been the only one holding his operation together. We see her good side countless times though, from her relationship to Dr. Venture to her sadness at the Monarch for when he turns on her. I’m glad she’s sticking around as she is easily the most competent character on the show besides Brock.

the Monarch – the Monarch is an awesome villain! This is a guy who lives by his obsession against Dr. Venture but has everything going against him as he has the maturity of a child and it is that that pushes Dr. Girlfriend away into the Guild of Calamity’s and Phantom Limb’s arms. This is what ends him up in prison with no allies and only his obsession against the Ventures to sustain him. Though he is given depth even then as he likes Hank and Dean and helps them get out of prison (though sadly his minions kill them anyway).

The Satire – The satire is brilliant in this! From the villains and heroes all knowing each other in college, the parent and obsessive issues they all have as well as the Villains have to live by rules laid down by the Guild. Superheroes are satired, mad scientists, villains, pulp and comic stories, etc. Each episode is really worth a second watch and I look forward to Season 2.

   This is a solidly amazing show that knows exactly what it wants to be (a satire and celebration of the pulp genre and the many forms it takes) and an exploration of characters, while always never forgetting the comedy that defines it. If I were to think of any con it would be that some threads get dropped (the Guild and their place in this world, Hank and Dean need more development, etc.). The older characters are fantastic though and even Hank and Dean have their comedic moments leaving only the one shot characters who are joke as the only major con. Regardless, this is an amazing show that I highly recommend.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10

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The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 12 – “The Trial of the Monarch” – Taking Down the Monarch

The Trial of the Monarch

    Any episode with “the Monarch” is usually gold. This is once again the case for “The Trial of the Monarch” and manages to flesh out the Universe more fully as well as show the darker and tragic sides to our characters.

     The episode was directed directed by Jackson Publick and written by Doc Hammer.

    The story involves the trial of the Monarch when he is tried for the death of a cop. Things aren’t as they seem though as Guild of Calamity is soon revealed as well as the falling out leading to the trial.

The Pros: Hank and Dean Venture – The brothers turn into a Shiva-Mech in an Indiana Jones-type Adventure at the beginning and are saved from being hurt by the Guild by Brock. They are naive and it adds a nice contrast to the drama.

Brock Samson – Brock respects the Guild for just how good they are at getting the job done and lets the Monarch take the fall for what he’s done in the past. It is interesting see his relationship with them as there is a mutual respect.

Dr. Orpheus – The Guild makes a deal with him that he’ll get a nemesis if he lies to implicate the Monarch. He does and it is so happy to see him celebrate at finally having someone he can face. This character is always fun.

Dr. Girlfriend – Dr. Girlfriend is shamed by the Monarch and goes back to a past love Phantom Limb but is ashamed of betraying him by joining the Guild that she mind controls the Monarch to blame the Venture Bros. She is great in this, you get why she leaves the Monarch.

The Minions – These guys make an appearance too and one of them dresses up as Dr. Girlfriend so that the Monarch can send his last wishes of what to do now that he’s in prison. It’s funny and sad. Oh the life of a minion.

the Monarch – The Monarch is shown to be both an ass (blaming Dr. Girlfriend for past loves, etc.) but in the end shows he is capable of being good. I wish he’d apologized but the guy is a child and that is kind of the point. All the antagonists and protagonists are children in maturity, so it makes things interesting since they can grow but it is difficult to get there.

Okay: The Guild of Calamity – They have a great look, but we don’t have the chance to really get to know how they work. They have a great look though, lots of spikes and leather to really show they are bad.

The Cons: Phantom Limb – I don’t really get his obsession with getting rid of the Monarch outside of jealousy. I wanted to know more about him, but he just comes off as a creeper.

This was a great episode but not the best episode of the series. Truly that goes for any episode with the Monarch though. He adds so much to everything he is in since he does everything to the fullest. He is a villain you have to admire, and the tragic element of his character makes him interesting. I got a feeling he isn’t out yet.

Final Score: 9.2 / 10

The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 9 – “Are You There God? It’s Me, Dean” – The Politics of Super Villainy

The Venture Bros S 1 E 9

     This is the episode where we see the rules that make up super villiany here in the Venture Bros. Universe. From the rules the Guild of Calamitous intent set down, to the politics within as who is put in the book and just how small the Monarch’s goals are in the whole scheme of things. This is an episode that is a lot of fun. The side story with Dean Venture is even great in its own way.

    “Are You There God? It’s Me, Dean” was written by Doc Hammer and directed by Jackson Publick.

    The story involves Team Venture’s capture by the Monarch where they about to be executed but are saved due to a technicality when Dean must be treated for Testicular Torsion so their deaths are put on hold until after the surgery can be done.

The Pros: The Guild of Calamitous Intent – The Guild passed a whole bunch of rules to combat and rivalries between different members and its fun seeing those rules play out between the Monarch and Dr. Venture.

Dr. Girlfriend – Dr. Girlfriend is clearly bored as she expected to be taken advantage of by Brock and is sad when he doesn’t.

Pete White and Master Billy Quizboy – These two save Dean’s life, and make a lot of jokes during the process. These two are great minor characters.

Brock – Brock takes out the Monarch’s lair and even embarrasses the Monarch as he points out that the Monarch can’t even succeed in revenge and shows just how incompetent his organization is as there isn’t time to just do revenge against Dr. Venture so a lot of the day everyone just sits around the base.

the Monarch – The Monarch spends a lot of this episode trying to corrupt Hank to no avail and later being embarrassed in front of Dr. Venture when it is revealed that Brock is single handily bringing down his fortress. One of the funniest moments is when Brock asks why he hasn’t thought bigger and done World Domination, which embarrasses the Monarch further.

Okay: The Venture Family – Whether it is Hank, Dean or Dr. Venture they are just kind of there. Getting more of Doctor Venture’s backstory as a member of the Guild of Calamitous Intent was cool but they mostly exist as a joke to show the Monarch is a joke and Dean’s condition being a joke.

  This was a good episode that had a lot of great things in it. I like Brock taking out the Monarch’s lair and the Monarch’s attempt to corrupt Hank as well as all the technicalities that make up the Guild of Calamitous Intent…but the episode could have been much more than it was. We still don’t really know how the Guild functions or the different villains relationship to it.

Final Score: 8.6 / 10

The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 8 – “Mid-Life Chrysalis” – Brock Finds His Groove and Dr. Girlfriend Rocks

the-venture-bros-mid-life-chrysalis

    “Mid-Life Chrysalis” manages to be a very heartfelt drama keeps the drama and heart up consistently, even with Dr. Venture being transformed into a giant caterpillar. Dr. Girlfriend and Brock Samson are easily the best parts of the episode and make it a favorite.

   The episode was directed and written by Jackson Publick, with Doc Hammer as co-writer.

    The story involves one the Monarch’s plans to turn Dr. Venture into a butterfly by having Dr. Girlfriend seduce him to inject him with a substance that will transform him. Elsewhere Brock must renew his licence to kill after he is pulled over with an expired licence.

The Pros: Dr. Venture’s Mid-Life Crisis – Dr. Venture is called grandpa by two military pilots which throws him into a mid-life crisis. His approach to this is hilarious as he throws on a wig and a suit out of the 70’s. We also learn he is only 43. In the end he falls for Dr. Girlfriend who is on a mission from the Monarch to seduce him and is transformed by her into a caterpillar. He never blames her even when she is the only suspect and we see he genuinely cares for her (he knows her has Charlene) which is sweet and she turns him back.

The Messed up Mind of the Monarch – The fact that the Monarch used his girlfriend to seduce another guy is kind of messed up on its own but when you add him masturbating to them making out you see just how twisted this guy is. He and Dr. Venture were made for one another as both don’t really consider the lives of those around them, just their vendettas and goals.

Brock Samson’s Training Montage – This is done in the style of an 80’s sports montage with Hank and Dean as Brock’s trainers, though in the end it doesn’t matter as the guy who administers the test was a kid who Brock had babysat when he was younger.

Brock Samson – In this episode we see that even though Brock is unhinged he’s by the book and won’t raise a hand unless he has a licence to kill. For this reason he spends the episode getting back into his groove so he can renew his licence.

Dr. Venture – Dr. Venture is both a creep and a sweet guy as we see him have a level of awareness around Dr. Girlfriend that he doesn’t have around anyone else…he really did care about her which is both sad and kind of sweet.

Dr. Girlfriend – Dr. Girlfriend shows she’s more than just a tool when she ends up falling in love with Dr. Venture and saving him from mutating into a monarch. She shows that she isn’t all about the vendetta and also cares about Dr. Venture (which makes sense as Dr. Venture is much kinder to her than the Monarch is).

   This was an amazing episode that hits all the right notes. I felt bad for Dr. Venture (which is hard to feel) and felt bad for Dr. Girlfriend as she is as much a pawn to the Monarch as all his other minions as all he lives for is revenge against Dr. Venture. In this we see that characters can become more and just how connected or not connected they are to their different identities.

Final Score: 10 / 10

The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 3 – “Home Insecurity” – A Meeting of Villains and a Story of Goons

The Venture Bros S 1 E 3 Home Insecurity

   “Home Insecurity” is one of the best episodes of “The Venture Bros.” I have watched thus far. H.E.L.P. eR. gets humanized, the goons of both the Monarch and Underbheit get character development and Brock has a great side story.

   The episode was directed by Jackson Publick and written by Doc Hammer.

    The story involves Brock going on his annual hunting trip in the wilderness as the Monarch and Baron Underbheit’s assassination plots against Dr. Venture occur as they cross hairs and decide to meet up to resolve this conflict of interest in who gets the kill while the brothers find themselves trapped in the Venture Compound.

The Pros: H.E.L.P. eR – The robot who always helps around gets humanized this episode as he seeks the specs for G.U.A.R.D.O. and believes he is being replaced. It isn’t until Dr. Venture has a heart moment that he comes to save the day as we see how much everyone appreciates him.

The Brock Samson Quest – Brock’s quest is a lot of fun as he goes into the wilderness and runs into Sasquatch and Sasquatch’s bionic husband who used to be a soldier who served with Brock. Brock’s mission is to help them escape and he does so by shaving Sasquatch and making them look like wounded vets. It’s a fun B Plot and shows Brock’s good side.

the Monarch and Underbheit’s Goons – There is a standoff between goons at the Venture Compound as each is as strong as the other. While they wait for their bosses to make a decision they become friend as we learn Underbheit forces children into his army and kills them at 38 while the Monarch takes ex-druggies and turns them into soldiers, though also kidnaps. Sadly G.U.A.R.D.O. is unleashed at the end leading to all the goons being slaughtered. R.I.P.

Baron Underbheit – Is a very loud villain who kills 2 of his minions at the beginning and tries to kill the Monarch when they meet. He has a lot of respect for Monarch though as he sees the Monarch’s issue is more personal showing that even though he is a mad psychopath, he has honor in their somewhere. His flamboyance makes him a lot of fun too as he looks like Darth Malek.

the Monarch – The Monarch is the main guy in this as we see how obsessed he is with Dr. Venture, from a 37 point powerpoint of how he’s been planning to take Dr. Venture down and even how dismissive he’s become of Dr. Girlfriend who clearly is running most of the operation while Monarch’s inheritance keeps it all afloat.

Dr. Venture – Venture shows himself to have goodness in him as he reaches out to H.E.L.P.eR. This was a rare moment of goodness for the character and showed that he is capable of more than just caring for himself and can feel gratitude.

   This was a perfect episode as every character got at least some development and not only are the villains humanized but so are their minions…just like H.E.L.P. eR. is given a chance to be a hero. There is also tragedy too as the goons are shown to be just cogs in a machine and pretty great guys who never got the chance to know as their leaders only saw them as tools of revenge.

Final Score: 10 / 10

The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 1 – “Dia De Los Dangerous” – You Don’t Mess With Brock and the Humanity of the Monarch

The Venture Bros Episode 1 Dia De Los Dangerous

   The Monarch and Brock Samson are probably my two favorite characters on the show at this point. Both of them are so true in what they are and manage to be sympathetic even though they are completely nuts. This episode exists to flesh out the Monarch’s backstory and show us just how selfish Dr. Venture is.

    “Dia De Los Dangerous” was directed and written by Jackson Publick.

     The story involves the Ventures and Samson traveling to Mexico so that Dr. Venture can be a guest lecturer at a Community College. Things soon go awry when the boys get seperated from the group and Dr. Venture’s Kidneys are taken.

The Pros: H. E. L. P. eR. – This is a pretty weak robot that speaks incomprehensible but is easily the heart of the team as it is kind in a way that the Venture Brothers clearly are not. In this the brothers treat him to an upgrade and he is there for Dr. Venture after his kidney’s are stolen. The robot has a great design as well.

Dr. Girlfriend – Dr. Girlfriend has the voice of a deep voiced man and is the Monarch’s love interest. She is awesome as we see her counsel and be there for the Monarch and help him through his parental abandonment issues.

Dr. Venture – Dr. Venture is a selfish git who only cares about his kids in how he can use them to further his own ends. We get a glimpse of why in the next episode as he is a reflection of how he perceived his father to a degree. There is nothing redeemable about him in this episode though.

Dean and Hank Venture – These two update H. E. L. P. eR. and end up getting knocked out and their stuff stolen and later kidnapped by the Monarch. They hold their own though though they are not good at reading situations due to them needing rescue multiple times through the episode. They have a funny moment too where they end up with a prostitute but run away in fear after she touches their dicks…as they were oblivious to what she actually does.

the Monarch – the Monarch didn’t care about his biological parents dying in a plane crash we learn…he felt greater loss at the Monarch butterlfys who raised him leaving (which he later learned was them migrating to Mexico, and from Dr. Girlfriend dying as the that is the life-cycle of a butterfly), and from all this all he wants is to be a good father as he never had one.

Brock Samson – Brock goes on a rampage in this as Monarch minions knock him out with their car and later slaughters the Monarch Minions in Mexico with his car in revenge. Seriously, this guy is an insane character and is great because of it. Brock has no line.

The Cons: Mexico – So much more could have been done here, the location only exists to be somewhere new and some “Day of the Dead” jokes so the episode could have happened anywhere at the end of the day. The story is still great for the character bits but could have been more.

This is an episode I’d recommend and is a must see if only for Brock’s rampage and the Monarch’s backstory. The episode is also a lot of fun and made me solidly invested in this show after watching the pilot.

Final Score: 9.3 / 10