J is for Jonas Venture

Since the alphabet is the building block of our language, the Powet Alphabet is the building block of what makes us geeks.

One of the things the Venture Brothers is known for is its diverse cast of characters. Just seeing the logo or mentioning it by name automatically brings images of Doc, Brock, Hank, Dean, The Monarch and his henchmen to mind. One of the characters who is often overlooked is Thaddeus “Rusty” Venture’s own father, Jonas.

Jonas is an obvious parody of Hanna Barbera’s Benton Quest (Johnny Quest’s father) and other “Adventurer” characters from the late 60’s and 70’s. Jonas’ voice (provided by voice actor Paul Boocock) and physical appearance are a definite nod to characters of that era. Unlike most Hanna Barbera action-dads, he is much colder towards his son and generally has a somewhat of a disregard for his feelings and general well being. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll probably know all of this, but if not be warned, there are plenty of spoilers after the break.

Jonas tells young Rusty to go back to bed after hearing Major Tom's death screams.

In the series, we mostly see Jonas through a series of flashbacks to the 1960’s and 70’s where he was a world renowned “Super Scientist” and the leader of squad of adventurers known as “Team Venture”. Unlike his son Rusty, this Dr. Venture is loved world-over while feared yet respected by his enemies. Meanwhile, present-day Rusty is the polar opposite of Jonas; lacking his father’s charm, muscle and following. This is pretty much the basis of the show, with Rusty trying to live up to his father’s legacy and keep Venture Industries afloat under hilarious circumstances.

Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture

Jonas died while Rusty was in college, leaving his son to live in his Shadow. Despite the fact the Rusty is a scientist and somewhat brilliant, most of what he has is based off of his father’s own discarded inventions. While Rusty did love his father, he is haunted by him and the flawed legacy he’s left to live. Pretty much all of Rusty’s nightmares involve his father in some ridiculous manner and it’s implied that he pops pills just to keep hallucinations of his father at bay.Many of the new Dr. Venture’s struggles seem to stem from his father’s own loose ends–or people who Jonas had rubbed the wrong way. Even twenty plus years after his own death, people associate the name “Dr. Venture” with Jonas, not Rusty (who by conventional means isn’t a real Doctor either). The original team Venture is also still around, albeit geriatric, and they often come into play and frequently associate themselves with Rusty and the family. Much of Rusty’s character comes from being unable to live up to his father and sexual repression (after we find out Rusty accidentally saw his father’s junk while eating a bowl of cereal, courtesy of Dr. Henry Killenger). Jonas helped make Rusty famous as a child and as a result he also had a his own cartoon and fanclub–which he uses as one of his only claims to fame.

The Evolution of Jonas Venture Jr.

Jonas had a second son, who was absorbed by Rusty in the womb and survived inside Rusty parasitically; finally escaping after Brock, Doc, Hank and Dean had an incident at a screening of the Rocky Horror Pictureshow, Doc went to the ER after complaining of stomach pains. Originally thought to be a [run-away] tumor, this son named himself Jonas Venture Junior. Despite being deformed and three feet tall, he claimed himself to be the true successor to his father’s legacy. He tried to take his revenge on Rusty (via a robot body made from Rusty’s own inventions…and stove) for eating him in the womb, but after Brock intervened and was about to kill him, Rusty asked him to spare his life. Since then they’ve been able to get along…somewhat. Despite his small stature, he has the charm, resources and ingenuity of his father–he’s also began to develop his father’s personality which bothers Rusty to no end.

Jonas’ grandchildren, Hank and Dean, have never met their grandfather but know of him. They both hold seem to have a level of understanding of his importance and have a deep respect for original Team Venture. The boys are actually taught (outdated information) by learning pods invented by Jonas (originally invented so Rusty wouldn’t need to attend school as a boy adventurer). One of the only things Rusty has in common with his father is that he doesn’t have the best relationship with his children. He’s grooming Dean to be his successor, a job which Dean will take out of respect, however is not prepared for; while he’s pretty much written off Hank. Hank tends to look up Brock and rebels against his father much like Rusty did with Jonas–only Jonas took it with a grain of salt. The only thing Rusty feels that he’s done right with the boys is safeguard them from death–albeit via cloning–which hasn’t gone exactly as planned.

As said earlier, many of the present Team Venture conflicts stem from events put into place by Jonas. Many polices within the Guild of Calamitous Intent had been modified by Jonas to protect Rusty with things such as “Rusty’s Law” and dealings with the OSI such as “Operation: Rusty’s Blanket”. We first see Jonas in both flashback and hallucination form in the episode “Careers in Science” where Rusty and the family are called to fix the malfunctioning Gargantua One, a space station which Jonas had Rusty help him build as a child. Other loose ends Jonas left the family have included Major Tom’s corpse, Roy Brisby, his discarded inventions such as a malfunctioning Shrink Ray, pieces of a Star Gate, forgotten fan club members trapped underground and an evil supercomputer named M.U.T.H.E.R., the list goes on. Not only that, but there is an apparent doomsday device meant to be safeguarded by the Venture family known as “The Orb”. Despite being broken by Jonas’ father, Dr. Lloyd Venture’s bodyguard, tampering with this device is believed to have cost Jonas his life at the hands of Kano, his bodyguard–something that Brock is aware of and Rusty isn’t.

Dr. Lloyd Venture and his bodyguard handle "The Orb"

As the series continues, one would assume that we will only see more of Jonas as his untold exploits are the very backbone of the Ventureverse. With a new season of the show coming later this year, only time can tell, but one would assume so. The Venture Brothers just wouldn’t be same without flashbacks to Jonas and his days with Team Venture. If you’re not a fan of the show yet, but you’re interested after reading this, make sure to watch the Venture Bros on Adult Swim or you can pick up the DVDs on Amazon. But one thing is for certain, GO TEAM VENTURE!