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‘The Venture Brothers’ Season 6 Episode 1 Recap: “Hostile Makeover”

So you’re probably wondering why I’m posting a recap article two days after the episode actually aired. I promise I have a good excuse. I actually flew to Florida for 41 hours this weekend to attend a Venture Bros Season 6 Premiere Party at Cinemaworld in Melbourne. I packed my favorite Venture cosplay (a 1950s poodle skirt version of Dr. Mrs. the Monarch) and was on my way.

The Venture Bros is my favorite show of all time, and its really important to me, to say the least. Being surrounded by hardcore Venture fans at an all-Venture event to see the new episode was a dream come true. The first 50 people got Venture shirts, and all of us got the gorgeous poster of Brock Samson by Patrick Leger. Adult Swim sent some other goodies that were raffled off to audience members. We watched The Devil’s GripAll This and Gargantua-2, and finally the new episode Assisted Suicide.

Here are some photos from the event, some of which are courtesy of The Venture Home News on Facebook.

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Some of the amazing work of John McDonald at Cinemastery Studios

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My Moppets waiting for the show

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The cosplayers at the showing

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Hank and Dean on the big screen

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HELPeR and Billy both talked! It was the coolest thing!

Onto the episode!

We last saw the Ventures in the All This and Gargantua-2 special that aired in January 2015. Many important events occurred in the special, including the reveal of the Sovereign’s real identity (just some bloke who wanted to be anyone but himself, so, nobody), his accidental death, Dr. Killinger killing the Investors, who were revealed to be his brothers, Killinger’s reformation of the Council of 13 including Dr. Mrs. the Monarch and Phantom Limb, and most importantly, the death of Jonas Venture Jr. and his decision to leave the giant Venture Industries Corporation to Rusty, making the Venture family wildly wealthy.

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Creators Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer wasted no time in immersing us in the Ventures’ new lives. We open on a beautiful bird’s eye view shot of New York City. The Ventures look eagerly out the windows of a limo with the license plate “RSTYS BK” as it brings them to their new home: the Venture Industries skyscraper. The montage of them checking out the new digs includes the Ventures dancing around their giant new living room and Rusty firing the entire board of Venture Industries.

The next morning is the Ventures’ first full day in New York. HELPeR is very jealous of their new butler robot, J-BOT, who seems to be a lot more modern and capable than HELPeR. Their breakfast is interupted when Hank yells from the other room, “Hey, Pop? Pretty much the Avengers are on our porch!” Here we meet the Crusaders Action League for the first time, who will clearly be regular characters in season 6. The team is made up of heroes named Stars & Garters, Warriana, Fallen Archer, and as we learn later, Nightdick. They try to sell Rusty superhero insurance, but back off when they see that Hatred is OSI.

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Meanwhile, the new Council of 13 of the Guild of Calamitous Intent has their first meeting on the spacecraft given to them by Dr. Killinger. The remaining members are Dr. Mrs the Monarch, Phantom Limb, Dragoon/Red Mantle, Dr. Z, and Radical Left. They find out that Killinger has disappeared, leaving them without a Sovereign.

Back in New York, Dean tours Stuyvesant University with campus tour guide Brown Widow, who was Dean’s neighbor during his brief time as an intern in New York. (Maybe now that Doc has money, he can finally produce the musical he wrote, with Brown Widow in the title role. Who’s Rusty? I’m Rusty!)

Never one to wait around or plan ahead, the Monarch decides to check out the Ventures’ new home with 21 in tow. The Monarch disguises himself as a Statue of Liberty impersonator, and 21 stands near him as the Naked Cowboy. They manage to steal a Venture ID off of an employee, and they shoot longtime Venture Industries the Sea Captain employee with a dartgun when he tries to stop them. Most fans will remember that Captain has a serious addiction to dart poison.

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We cut to the villain nightclub, where the Council of 13 holds a meeting for members of the Guild to voice their complaints. They try to impersonate the Sovereign’s giant floating head to hide his death, but they are called out by Dr. Phineas Phage, who the Sovereign tried to kill alongside Dr. Mrs. in the special. Caught in her lie, Dr. Mrs. the Monarch reveals to the angry crowd that the Sovereign is dead, and that the Council of 13 is looking for new members to fill the remaining seven spots.

Back at the Venture home, in a surprising twist, Brock Samson arrives at the door announcing that he has been reassigned to his former family. The now-unemployed Sergeant Hatred reports back to OSI headquarters, where Hunter Gathers assigns him to a desk job.

Rusty and Brock (rather unnecessarily) take the jet to Little Italy, where Rusty needs to “settle an old score”. They meet with an Italian tailor named Enzo, and Rusty picks up a custom speedsuit he ordered 20 years ago and never picked up. Later that night, Brock gives Hank advice on picking up women: to be a Steve McQueen, not a Justin Bieber. Brock’s advice to boys were one of the best parts of his time as the Venture bodyguard, and its great to see that continue this season.

The Monarch and 21 arrive back at the Venture building, disguised as Venture security guards. As they enter the building, we see that Hatred has decided to continue his mission as Venture bodyguard. He surveys the new Venture compound from the rooftop of another building.

Dr. Mrs. the Monarch goes to New York City to meet with new character Wide Wale with the goal of recruiting him for the Council of 13. If the Council can gain support of one of the biggest villains in the New York chapter, they can regain credibility as an authority among the Guild. Wide Wale says that he will need additional incentive to convince him to join the Council. He places his hand on Dr. Mrs. the Monarch’s thigh, which seems to suggest that he is seeking motivation of a sexual nature.

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While using Brock’s binoculars to spy on his neighbors, Hank spots a young woman diving into a pool and floating to the top, never bringing her head up for air. He grabs Brock’s grapple gun, sprints back to the roof, shoots it towards the window where the girl is drowning, and slides down the rope using his shirt. This catches the attention of the Crusaders Action League, who, when seeing that the commotion is from a building who hasn’t paid them, initially decide to ignore it. They change their minds when they think they see Brock push Hank off of the roof.

Brock tries to help Hank, but he is held back when Fallen Archer and Warriana start to fight him. It has been far too long since we’ve seen an old-fashioned Brock fight, knife bared, eye twitching, foaming at the mouth as he leaps towards his opponent. It was just like the old days of Brock as bodyguard, and it was a great reminder of how much Brock has been missed.

Hanging from his shirt, Hank kicks on the window, trying to get the attention of the drowning girl. She lifts her head from the water to look at him, and we see that she has gills on her neck. Hank falls from the rope, but is saved by League member Nightdick. In the funniest moment of the episode, Nightdick gives a dramatic third-person narrative of his own story when asked who he is. Hank understandably giggles when hearing the superhero’s name.

Back on the roof, Brock is finally subdued by Warriana and her lasso of truth. He screams out, “I don’t even care about the breast thing, I wanna do you!” It will be interesting to see if Brock finally gets to have a healthy relationship in the show after all the times he suffered at Molotov’s hand. (It will also be interesting to see if she reappears in this season after season 5 episode O.S.I. Love You.)

As all this is happening, the Monarch and 21 are stuck in the elevator with a strung-out Sea Captain, who begs for more darts. They finally use the Captain’s retina scan to get out of the elevator and are kicked out of the building by Hatred, who was watching the entire time. They are saved by Dr. Mrs. the Monarch, who tells Hatred that the Monarch’s trespassing is an internal Guild matter because Wide Wale now has an exclusive arching claim on Dr. Venture. This, and not sex, seems to be the one condition Wide Wale insisted on before throwing his support behind the Guild.

The League leaves the Venture rooftop, refusing to clean up their mess. In the last – and one of the best – moments of the episode, HELPeR and J-Bot make eye contact, and HELPeR pushes his new rival off of the rooftop.

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The episode was very busy and there was quite a lot of new stuff packed into 22 minutes. It was slightly overwhelming the first time I viewed it, but in my subsequent rewatches I’ve caught all of the jokes and quotes I missed the first time, and I’ve liked it more and more. There are only going to be 8 episodes in Season 6, so its understandable that Doc and Jackson wanted set up the new season as soon as possible in order to get to the good stuff. I would much rather see an exciting action-packed episode with many new characters than a slow episode as the premiere we’ve waited for for three years.

And although the episode might have been slightly overpacked, there is no denying that Hostile Makeover is classic Team Venture. Rusty making stupid decisions, Hank embracing life changes with confidence, Brock beating the shit out of someone, Dean hugging a giraffe, the Monarch and 21 impulsively henching with bad results, Dr. Mrs. the Monarch being a total boss and taking charge. This episode proved that although it has been a few years since the last season, Doc and Jackson are as passionate and dedicated to their characters as ever.

I can already feel that season 6 is, as always, worth the wait. I can’t wait until Sunday at midnight to see more.

Also! If you are a fan of Team Venture and want some sweet Venture goodness in your t-shirt collection, make sure to check out the Shirt of the Week Club! Each week a new shirt is released relating to that week’s episode. I have so many Shirt Club shirts from over the years and they are some of my favorites. You can find them over at AstroBaseGo!

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New Girl Gang Releases 1/27/16

Hey Girl Gang! Happy Wednesday! Here are our pulls for this week! Just in list form today. Click the links if you want to find out more!

Happy Wednesday Girl Gang!

What other titles should we be picking up that we should be adding to this list or don’t know about? Let us know in the comments or at thegeekgirlgang@gmail.com!

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New Girl Gang Releases 1/20/16

Hey Girl Gang! Happy Wednesday! Here are our pulls for this week!

  • Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #6 (Image) – The mini-series from the Gillen-McKelvie dream team comes to an end in this exciting conclusion. The Immaterial Girl, a spinoff of their original Phonogram series, focuses on the affect of music videos in a world where music is magic and on Emily Aster, who sold half her soul 10 years ago to music necromancers in exchange for power. What will happen to Emily in the end?
  • Ms. Marvel #3 (Marvel) – It is no secret that Kamala is probably my favorite superhero out there right now. In this issue, she needs to figure out how to stop the extreme gentrification of Jersey City by the Hope Yards Development Company, who use mindcontrol alongside their bulldozers. Even Bruno has been captured and controlled! How will Kamala deal with saving her friends and her city AND getting her good image back?
  • Lumberjanes #22 (BOOM!) – This issue is the second in the new arc for the girls, which features lots of evil selkies and a bear woman who does not like it when you call her “were-bear”. In this issue, the girls have to try to get Seafarin’ Karen’s boat back from the selkies, and they’re gonna need the bear woman’s help. As always, Carolyn Nowak’s great artwork is perfect for the Lumberjanes and is always a delight to see.
  • Patsy Walker aka Hellcat #2 (Marvel) – In case you didn’t see my review a few weeks ago, I really loved the first issue of this series. It’s has funny dialogue, great friendships, diverse characters, and gorgeous coloring. I think Hellcat is definitely worth picking up no matter what kind of comics you like. In this issue, Patsy keeps working on her idea for a superhero temp agency, as she takes on the ultimate challenge: working in retail!
  • Batgirl #47 (DC Comics) – As we saw in the last issue, more and more things are piling up in Barbara’s life – from her new partnership with Frankie, coworker Jeremy getting kicked out of school for plagiarizing, Alysia’s safety while on her honeymoon, and general homework, Barbara is struggling to find balance. It doesn’t help that a mysterious man named Lewis says he needs to talk and then disappears back into the shadows (cliche, much?) In #47, Barbara has to deal with her biggest problem of all – her mind is failing her, too!
  • Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel) – I know we’ve all missed Carol. Although Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps somewhat filled the star-shaped hole in all of our chests, it isn’t quite the same as the title we all loved. As of today, Captain Marvel returns to our pull lists with a new #1! Although it is really hard to see a series without Kelly Sue, the new series is written by Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas, the team behind Marvel’s Agent Carter TV show. I love Agent Carter and I’m really excited to see what the duo brings to the series. The new Captain Marvel is illustrated by Kris Anka, who did a lot of work on Ms Marvel, and who I think will be a perfect fit for the book.

Happy Wednesday Girl Gang!

What other titles should we be picking up that we should be adding to this list or don’t know about? Let us know in the comments or at thegeekgirlgang@gmail.com!

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Image Humble Bundle benefits HRC

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For the next week or so, Humble Bundle is featuring an Image Comics bundle that benefits the Human Rights Campaign. Humble Bundle is a pay-what-you-want format–customers will receive the first tier of comics for paying a small amount, but will receive more if paying above, say, $16.

This Bundle features $334 worth of Image’s best, including the first volumes of ODY-C, Phonogram, and Wolf. Collections like Saga vol. 4 and Nowhere Men vol. 1 are available in the second tier, which buyers receive if they choose to pay more than $15.71. The third tier, featuring Bitch Planet vol. 1, Stray Bullets #1-41, and more, is available for $20 (or more, if readers choose to donate more).

So far, this Bundle has raised nearly $200,000. It can be purchased on Humble Bundle’s site.

A full list of the comics included in the Bundle:

Pay what you want:

  • ODY-C vol. 1
  • Virgil
  • Self-Obsessed
  • No Mercy
  • Phonogram: Rue Britannia
  • Wolf vol. 1
  • Kaptara vol. 1
  • Sunstone vol. 1
  • Wytches vol. 1
  • Image Comics Humble Bundle Preview Book
  • Image Comics New Issues + New Arcs Starter Pack

Pay more than $15.71:

  • Injection vol. 1
  • Saga vol. 4
  • Just the Tips (Sex Criminals companion)
  • Outcast vol. 1
  • Nowhere Men vol. 1
  • Jupiter’s Circle vol. 1
  • Trees vol. 1
  • Rat Queens Special: Braga #1

Pay more than $20:

  • Low vol. 1
  • Bitch Planet vol. 1
  • Wayward (Deluxe Edition) vol. 1
  • Invincible Compendium (collects #1-47)
  • Stray Bullets #1-41
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New Girl Gang Releases 1/13/16

Hey Girl Gang! Happy Wednesday! Here are our pulls for this week (weirdly all Marvel today for some reason?)

  • Scarlet Witch #2 – Hopefully you all picked up issue #1 of this series last month. It was worth grabbing just for the the outstanding coloring alone. The way colorist Jordie Bellaire contrasts neutrals and graytones with small pops of color is gorgeous, and compliments Vanesa Del Rey’s artwork perfectly. In issue #2, Wanda continues to search for the source of the sickness in witchcraft.
  • Silk #3 – Cindy’s struggle as a good guy masquerading as a bad guy just gets harder and harder, and it seems clear with each issue that her double life might not be sustainable. In this issue, some of the rising conflicts are coming to a head. The Goblin King finally finds Silk. Who will come out on top? AND we’re finally going to see Spider-Man confront Silk about her allegiance with Black Cat. Will she have to fight Spidey or will she blow her cover?
  • The Mighty Thor #4The Mighty Thor is one of my favorite titles out right now. Jane Foster has proven herself more than worthy of the hammer, although if you’re reading this comic, you know that she might not be able to keep the title for much longer. In this issue, Loki has requested a meeting just to talk, but Thor knows that with Loki its never just talk. As this is happening, Malekith continues to instigate a War of the Realms.

Happy Wednesday Girl Gang!

What other titles should we be picking up that we should be adding to this list or don’t know about? Let us know in the comments or at thegeekgirlgang@gmail.com!

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Review: CHAINMAIL BIKINI The Anthology of Women Gamers

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Copacetic Comics carries a lot of local and indie comics–if you’re in or near Pittsburgh, it’s definitely worth checking out.

I am a terrible gamer. So terrible, in fact, that I don’t really consider myself a “gamer,” rather, I’m more of a “person who plays one game and that game is the Batman Arkham series and actually I’m not too bad at it.” Batman is the exception to my rule.

However, I enjoy gaming in theory, so in the spirit of my 2016 resolution (be less terrible at video games, stop playing only Batman) I recently picked up Chainmail Bikini: The Anthology of Women Gamers at The Copacetic Comics Company in Pittsburgh. Surprisingly, I haven’t seen much buzz about it, even though the book was released in September 2015.

It’s great.

Chainmail Bikini came to fruition after a campaign on Kickstarter funded
its printing. It’s a comic anthology about many things: gaming as an escape, how gender influences gaming, how it impacted a generation. It’s a unique approach to the conversation about women gamers in the wake of GamerGate, focusing on individual storytelling rScreen Shot 2016-01-07 at 9.05.53 AMather than making a singular point. All anecdotes fall within the categorization of “about gaming,” but forty different writers/artists took this theme in different directions. Some stories focus on relationships and sense of community the storyteller developed through gaming while others are centered on how gaming helped the author develop their sense of identity. The stories range from quick and fun to deeply serious in tone with a mix of each, resulting in a tone that isn’t overwhelmingly happy or sad–it is what it is, and more than anything, it is experiences in gaming laid bare.

The two most important aspects of this anthology, perhaps, are its diversity and its definition of gaming. Women of different ethnicities, sexualities, and gender identities are responsible for and are represented in Chainmail Bikini’s stories, proving, yet again, that gaming isn’t exclusively for heterosexual white guys–it’s for everybody.

Something that I hadn’t considered before I read Chainmail Bikini is what makes a gamer. I always think of gamers as men who take things way seriously and yell at consoles, but not all gamers in the anthology play video games. LARPers and tabletop gamers are also represented, and there are references to Animal Crossing and Tamagotchi.

As it stands, I’ve reconsidered my gaming experience. Reading “Let Me Do It” by Sara Goetter reminded me of the hours my brother and I would spend working through Kingdom Hearts and Scooby Doo: Night of 100 Frights (the only games we could agree on enough to play together). “Pocket Worlds” by Anna Rose gave me a sense of nostalgia for the times my mom and I would hunch over at our desktop computer, playing through HER Interactive’s Nancy Drew fantastic computer game series (by my count, we played through an impressive eighteen of them).

The point being: This book redefines gaming. I am perhaps more of a gamer than I thought.

Though it’s not without flaws–some stories are a bit muddled in their art and are hard to understand in the first read–Chainmail Bikini is well worth a read by anyone who is interested in comics, gaming, and/or feminism. I would also encourage men who inhabit these spaces, whether they’re online or physical, to give it a read. It’s worth it just to consider a viewpoint different from your own, because the important takeaway of this book, though not stated in an explicit thesis, is to remind readers that almost everyone has experiences with gaming, because gaming is for everybody.

Buy/Preview Chainmail Bikini: The Anthology of Women Gamers

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New Girl Gang Releases 1/6/16

Hey Girl Gang! Happy Wednesday! Here are our pulls for this week! (Because I’m so late, just a list without descriptions today!)

  • Bitch Planet #6 (Image)
  • Mystery Girl #2 (Dark Horse)
  • A-Force #1 (Marvel)
  • DC Bombshells #8 (DC Comics)
  • Spider-Gwen #4 (Marvel)
  • Paper Girls #4 (Image)

Happy (late) Wednesday Girl Gang!

What other titles should we be picking up that we should be adding to this list or don’t know about? Let us know in the comments or at thegeekgirlgang@gmail.com!