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The Venture Bros. episode
Handsome Ransom
Season 4
Orig. Airdate Oct 25, 2009
Writer(s) Jackson Publick
Director Jackson Publick
Production # 4-40
previous Ep # next
Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel 41 Perchance to Dean


The Monarch once again manages to kidnap Hank and Dean and demands ten million dollars for their release. However, a past nemesis of The Monarch, Captain Sunshine, throws a wrench in The Monarch's diabolical gears of villainy and rescues Hank to make him his new sidekick. Hank is all too happy to leave his honky father in an act of teen rebelliousness, but will he enjoy the life of a teenage sidekick?


  • The boys are kidnapped by The Monarch, who contacts Rusty and demands $10 million in ransom.
  • Captain Sunshine opens up a can of whoop-ass on The Monarch and hauls him off to jail after laying waste to the cocoon.
  • The Monarch shows up just as Rusty is at the agreed upon location of the money drop off.
  • The Monarch explains what due process is, and how that is how he got out of jail.
  • Dr. Mrs. The Monarch explains that Captain Sunshine took Hank.
  • Captain Sunshine flies through the skies with Hank, declaring that they're "gonna be super friends" and acting all creepy-uncle. He takes Hank to his compound.
  • Rusty meets up with The Monarch to exchange fake money, and when Rusty's double cross falls apart, he still manages to keep Dean after demanding something for waiting two hours for The Monarch.
  • Hank agrees to be Captain Sunshine's side kick after being bought off with video game tokens and Ferris wheel rides.
  • Rusty hits up his brother for cash unsuccessfully, but manages to sucker Pete and Billy who have just committed insurance fraud.
  • Captain Sunshine waits for Hank on his bed, and asks him about lube.
  • Dr. Venture gets the $10 million dollars in insurance money from Pete and Billy.
  • Sgt. Hatred finds out that Billy is a 37 year old man-boy.
  • Captain Sunshine talks to his super team on his own big screen, and Hank comes in thanking the Captain for the lube.
  • Rusty gets kicked in the nuts by The Monarch at the new trade-off after Rusty finds out that The Monarch doesn't have Hank.
  • A plan to kick The Monarch's ass backfires as Billy tries to enlarge a shrunken Sgt. Hatred inside the money bag The Monarch made off with.
  • Captain Sunshine has a run-in with Scorpio. A few words are traded and Captain Sun. beats the crap out of Scorpio.
  • Dr. MTM ingeniously traces Captain Sunshine back to his lair using flakes of sunburned skin from The Monarch to detect his location. Tiny Sgt. Hatred faxes Rusty Captain Sunshine's location.
  • It is revealed that Captain Sunshine's by-night identity is newscaster Chuck Scarsdale, and along with the super heroes he was talking to in his lair earlier, make up the Channel 5 Action News team.
  • Pete, Billy and Rusty break into Captain Sunshine's house. Captain Sunshine's disabled butler, Desmond, manages to alert Captain Sunshine via communicator watch.
  • Chuck Scarsdale flips out when his watch starts flashing and he sees footage of a "UFO" (The Monarch's cocoon) hovering over his house and runs out of the studio, stealing the news chopper to get home.
  • The Monarch breaks into Captain Sunshine's home and Hank and 21 "fight" each other.
  • Chaos ensues as Hank tries to escape The Monarch, and when Chuck Scarsdale shows up, Pete, Billy and Rusty flee for fear of being on the news.
  • The Monarch finally corners Hank but ends up falling through Hank's bed into Captain Sunshine's Sanctum Solarium, his secret lair, dressed in a side kick costume and with a wicked wedgie.
  • The Monarch confronts Captain sunshine, who is wigging out. He shoots him with a radiation cannon, which for some odd reason, The Monarch thought would have a damaging effect on Captain Sunshine. Instead

Captain Sunshine regains his by-day strength and sunburns the ever loving crap out of The Monarch and all his Henchmen.

  • As Captain Sunshine is about to toast Pete, Billy and Rusty, Hank stops him and explains why he can't be Wonderboy anymore. Captain Sunshine has his heart broken, but manages to despondently kick Hank out from his Sanctum Solarium.


The Monarch is holding Hank and Dean hostage and, fed up with never being able to kill Dr. Venture, demands a $10 million ransom. Superhero Captain Sunshine barges in and attacks the cocoon-lair, giving everyone sunburn on any exposed flesh, and flies the Monarch off to jail. The Monarch returns some time later after being released for lack of due process and finds that Captain Sunshine had returned, flew off with Hank, and left Dr. Girlfriend with a humiliating and embarrassing sunburn on half her body. Monarch tells a surprisingly fit and able #21 to kill the cab driver who drove him home but 21 just pays the man and tells him to keep the transaction a secret.

Captain Sunshine mistakes Hank for an orphan and hopes to replace his lost sidekick Wonderboy (technically, Wonderboy III, the latest of the Captain's teenage sidekicks; brutally killed by the Monarch sometime towards the end of the first season) with Hank. Hank initially takes to the superhero lifestyle happily. Throughout the episode an inappropriate relationship between Sunshine and Wonderboy is implied. The assumptions are usually wrong as Captain Sunshine fails to realize what his relationship with Wonderboy looks like to others.

Dr. Venture and Sgt. Hatred show up to pay the ransom, but the Monarch, unable to fulfill Guild policy of releasing all captives, lets Dean go. Dr. Venture is also unable to pay the ransom money so the Monarch pretends he still has Hank and takes an IOU. Dr. Venture calls Master Billy Quizboy and Pete White for help; they have just received a $10 million check after apparently defrauding an insurance company.

Captain Sunshine meanwhile is acting overprotective towards Hank. He is immensely afraid of losing Wonderboy again and panics easily. It is revealed that he, as well as his old superhero team, works at night as an anchor for a local news channel.

Dr. Venture attempts to con the Monarch out of the ransom by shrinking Hatred into the bag of money. The plan misfires when the Monarch runs off with the money and the shrink-ray fails to enlarge Hatred in time. Hatred then remains undercover and discovers where Hank really is, when Dr. Mrs. The Monarch tells the Monarch that he is now obligated to return Hank due to Guild rules.

Both the Monarch and Dr. Venture track down Captain Sunshine's lair at night, when he is at work (hosting the eleven o'clock news as "Chuck Scarsdale"). Hank successfully fends off The Monarch and a muscular #21 while Chuck Scarsdale sees the Monarch's flying cocoon at his home from a submitted news video. He panics, steals the station's news helicopter, and flies home. The Ventures then show up and hide as Captain Sunshine (still dressed as his alter ego) arrives.

He quickly changes into costume as the Monarch falls into his "Sanctum Solarium". This also dresses him in Wonderboy's costume. The Monarch delivers verbal abuse about Wonderboy to Captain Sunshine, and ends the rant by revealing that he knows Captain Sunshine has no powers at night. He uses a kind of "sunlight ray-gun" in an attempt to defeat him. The 'hero' is instead recharged and blasts most of his adversaries.

After this, Hank realizes that Sunshine is using him to replace Wonderboy, and bids the hero a heartfelt goodbye. Sunshine kisses Hank on the lips before Hank has a chance to leave, and states that Hank broke his heart. Though before leaving, Hank asks him to put in a good word to Batman for him, leading to an angry and emotionally hurt Captain Sunshine to yell "Get out of my Sanctum Solarium!"

In the post credits sequence, Monarch, Dr. Mrs. the Monarch and #21 (who are all badly sunburnt) take a cab home. When the cabbie demands money, the Monarch, off-screen, shoots a dart that hits the cabbie in the neck.

Fun Facts[edit]

  • While fighting the Monarch, Captain Sunshine says: "You may be invulnerable, Monarch, but no one is invulnerable to justice!" The fact Captain Sunshine thinks the Monarch is invulnerable was foreshadowed and explained by an anecdote of the Monarch's he gives to doctor Girlfriend and Truckules at the party in Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny. Apparently Captain Sunshine shot a raygun at the Monarch while unaware that the safety was on. Monarch bluffed that his exo-skeleton was impenetrable right before the blast, causing Captain Sunshine to believe him invulnerable.
  • The episode is rife with Batman references:
    • Captain Sunshine is voiced by Kevin Conroy, known for voicing Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman: The Animated Series.
    • The giant Monarch penny, first seen in Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny, is a Batman reference; A giant penny is the most obvious decoration in the Batcave.
    • Wonderboy is a Robin reference as Robin is nick-named The Boy Wonder.
    • Captain Sunshine's replacing Wonderboy refers to Batman's constant replacement of Robin. The original Robin was Dick Grayson (who grew up to become Nightwing), replaced by Jason Todd (who died), replaced by Tim Drake (who left), replaced by Stephanie Brown (who faked her death), replaced by Damian Wayne.
    • Pete White calls himself "Bruce White" when knocking on the door to Sunshine's home, an obvious reference to Bruce Wayne. He then calls Billy his "ward/" Dick Grayson was Bruce Wayne's ward.
  • Throughout the episode, Captain Sunshine's relationship with Wonderboy is implied to be inappropriately sexual. This is a reference to Batman and Robin's relationship, which was never inappropriate in the comics but was often portrayed that way in comedic parodies by the general public, especially after Dr. Frederic Wertham alleged that they were homosexuals when testifying to Congress in the 1950s.
    • Another reference to Sunshine's inappropriate relationship is that his compound looks like Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, with a secret hatch sundial replacing the floral clock, and at least a Ferris wheel to match Neverland's amusement park.
  • There are a number of other comic book and superhero references throughout:
    • The entire team of newscast superheroes (U.S. Steel, Ghost Robot, etc.), are an homage to DC Comics' Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters. Captain Sunshine's powers are like The Ray's.
    • Sunshine tells The Monarch "You're not fighting a boy now!" just as Superman said "You're not fighting a woman, now!" in his first appearance.
    • "...or your boys will follow the rainbow bridge to Valhalla" is a reference to Viking mythology. Marvel's Thor uses the rainbow bridge to travel to Midgard (earth) as well, but the context of the scene was the threat of death, which implies the mythology connotation since Valhalla is the hall of the honoured dead.
    • The "Sanctum Solarium" (which Hank describes as 'almost as cool as the Batcave') references Dr. Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum.
    • The narrator in the final battle scene mimics Ted Knight's narration for the Superfriends cartoons.
    • (As he is threatening Captain Sunshine with the artificial sunshine gun built by Dr. Mrs. The Monarch) The Monarch quotes ABC's animated cool guy Timer: "I'll be 'having a fun time, eating sunshine, on a stick!'"
  • When the Monarch is in Wonderboy's costume and is approaching Captain Sunshine saying "Come and get it," (after implying that Captain Sunshine had a sexual relationship with his former sidekick), he is making the American Sign-Language sign for vagina. As can be seen (from the Monarch's point of view) in the screen-cap for the episode on this page.
  • When Sunshine kisses Hank and says "You broke my heart Hank" it is a reference to Godfather 2 when Michael does the same to his brother Fredo, after finding out he had betrayed him.

Unanswered Questions[edit]

When Rusty calls up Conjectural Technologies, Billy and White are celebrating their ten million dollar check from General Consolidated Insurance and wearing neck braces. Billy easily tears his brace off, implying that neither is injured and suggesting they committed insurance fraud to obtain their "seed money." Is this the case? (Answered in part in The Silent Partners)

Upon seeing The Cocoon hovering over Captain Sunshine's home, why did it appear that Sunshine was the only member of his team to recognize the UFO as a super-villain? Was Barbie-Q just a good actress, or was she just unaware of a "C-Lister" like The Monarch's ride?

How was Desmond, Captain Sunshine's butler, able to recover from Rusty's knock-out gas so quickly. (Answered in Any Which Way But Zeus)

[edit] Voice Talent
Voice Talent
James Urbaniak Dr. Venture
Michael Sinterniklaas Dean Venture
Chris McCulloch Hank Venture
The Monarch
Sgt. Hatred
Pete White
Copter 5 Guy
Pirate Captain
Ghost Robot (Uncredited)
Doc Hammer Dr. Girlfriend
Henchman 21
Billy Quizboy
U.S. Steel
Rachel Feinstein Barbie-Q/Barbara Qantas
Woman on the Street
Kevin Conroy Captain Sunshine