[WARNING – This review contains some minor spoilers.]
The fortunes of the House of Venture have risen considerably in the wake of the destruction of the Gargantua-2 Space Station. True, super-scientist Dr. Jonas Venture Jr. died in the accident, but he died a hero’s death before cancer could claim his life.
More importantly – at least from the perspective of Dr. Thaddeus Venture – most of JJ’s vast fortune and ownership of the new Ven-Tech Tower in downtown Manhattan was left to him. He still has the services of The Captain – a former ghost pirate (that is, a pirate who pretends to be a ghost) who somehow fell into JJ’s employ. And Brock Samson – the Venture family’s long-time bodyguard – has been reassigned from his duties as an agent with the O.S.I. to take over his old position.
This does not sit well with Sgt. Hatred – the reformed super-villain who had been the Venture’s bodyguard until Dr. Venture became too important to entrust to a washed-up super-soldier. At least ol’ Hatred has a desk job to fall back on, which is more than can be said for The Monarch. The butterfly-themed super-villain and arch enemy of Dr. Venture in his heart (if not on paper) has been reduced to the role of house-husband, with only one henchman to his name .
And what of Dr. Mrs. The Monarch? She’s been elevated to a position of command in The Guild of Calamitous Intent, but the position offers more responsibility than power. Infighting at the highest levels of The Guild during the Gargantua-2 incident have left the infrastructure weakened and the ruling Council of Thirteen reduced to seven. The only hope of holding The Guild together rests with Wide Whale – one of the most powerful villains in New York City and one of the few whose word may be able to stabilize the current situation. But such words come at a price and The Monarch’s wife may have to do something unforgivable in the name of the greater good. Or evil. Whatever.
Season 6 of The Venture Bros. has proven worth the wait. The show jumps feet first into the New York setting, with much of the humor in this first episode going into a number of jabs at the New York City of The Marvel Universe. Superhero gangs such as The Crusader’s Action League offer insurance to provide citizens all the protection they can afford, noting that only amateurs help people for free.
It’s clear where this is going even before the first cry of “Crusaders, Convene!” The parodies are hardly subtle, with a cross-dressing Captain America analog called Stars and Garters and a Hawkeye/Green Arrow mash-up called The Fallen Archer, who uses foot-themed arrows. Yet there are some moments of the smart humor the show is famous for, with Brock assuring the amazonian Warriana that he doesn’t mind her only having one breast, as he talks openly about his attraction to large women while tied up in the Lariat of Truth.
This is as hilarious as you might imagine. The episode’s only real flaw is that – given how vast The Venture Bros. universe is at this point – that we can’t get a sit-rep on the whole cast in this episode. I’m personally anxious to see what has become of Doctor Orpheus in the wake of his home in the old Venture Compound being destroyed. I’m sure he’ll be arriving soon – the show must have its Doctor Strange expy, after all! Until then, I can content myself with the return of Nathan Fillion as The Brown Widow.