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"Handsome Ransom"
The Venture Bros. episode
Handsome Ransom - Sleepover.png
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 2
Directed by Jackson Publick and Jon Schnepp
Written by Jackson Publick
Production code 4-41
Original air date October 25, 2009
Guest Stars
Episode Chronology
← Previous
"Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel"
Next →
"Perchance to Dean"
List of The Venture Bros. episodes

Handsome Ransom is the second episode of Season 4 and the overall forty-first episode of The Venture Bros.


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 have Hank replace his lost sidekick Wonder Boy (technically Wonderboy III, the latest of the Captain's teenage sidekicks, brutally killed by The Monarch sometime towards the end of the first season.) Hank initially takes to the superhero lifestyle happily. Throughout the episode an inappropriate relationship between Sunshine and Wonder Boy is implied. The assumptions are usually wrong as Captain Sunshine fails to realize what his relationship with Wonder Boy 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 Wonder Boy 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 Henchman 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 Wonder Boy's costume. The Monarch delivers verbal abuse about Wonder Boy 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 Wonder Boy, 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 an angry and emotionally hurt Captain Sunshine to yell "Get out of my Sanctum Solarium!"

In the post credits sequence, The Monarch, Dr. Mrs. the Monarch, and Henchman 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.

Episode Cast[]

First Appearances[]

Connections to Other Episodes[]

Tag Sale – You're It!

Past Tense

Return to Spider-Skull Island

  • This entire episode finds its origin in Return to Spider-Skull Island, in which The Monarch ordered #21 and #24 to send the "charred remains of Wonder Boy to his beloved Captain Sunshine."[2] The Monarch blames his breakup with Dr. Girlfriend and the resulting drinking problem for his "slaying" of Wonder Boy III.

Powerless in the Face of Death

Guess Who's Coming to State Dinner?

Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny

The Invisible Hand of Fate

  • Billy and Pete's $10 million insurance check came from "General Consolidated Insurance." This is a reference to the Guild's tendency to create fronts using the same initials as "Guild of Calamitous Intent," having previously used this method when financing Phantom Limb's muscle regeneration experiment in the episode The Invisible Hand of Fate under the name "Guild of Collegiate Investors." In this instance it's an early reference to The Investors.

Tears of a Sea Cow

  • The Monarch's claim that Captain Sunshine wanted to have sex with him (as his arch enemy) is a possible echo of the episode Tears of a Sea Cow wherein the Monarch attempts to infect a robot with Dr. Venture's face with chlamydia.

Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel

Any Which Way But Zeus

  • Captain Sunshine's valet, Desmond, makes a reappearance in Any Which Way But Zeus in a more pivotal role. It's revealed he was the original Captain Sunshine in the '60s while Chuck Scarsdale (the current Captain Sunshine) was his sidekick Wonder Boy, further paralleling the Batman mythology of the sidekick taking on the mentor's role.

Cultural References[]




Black Condor

Brown thrasher

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Dr. Strange


Human Torch

Lenny Bruce

  • Captain Sunshine's order to his butler, Desmond, is reminiscent of comedian Lenny Bruce's routine from around 1959: 'It's very appropriate what we do in this country to homosexuals and entirely consistent with the rest of the justice system: put them in gaol with a lot of men─"Wash 'im up and get 'im ready!".'

Michael Jackson

Punch-Out!! (1983)

  • When Hank (as Wonder Boy) is fighting Henchman 21 and the Fluttering Horde, he narrates his attacks: "Jab! Body blow! Body blow!" This is a reference to the voiceover from the early 1980s arcade game Punch-Out!!, where the player controlled a boxer whose moves were commented on by a prerecorded voice.


The Godfather (1972)

Time for Timer

  • Time for Timer was a title for a short series of public service announcements broadcast on Saturday mornings on the ABC television network starting in the early 1970s. Having "a fun time eating sunshine on a stick" is a quote from a Time for Timer Saturday morning cartoon PSA on how to make homemade popsicles, produced by UCLA School of Public Health.[4]

Uncle Sam


  • Show creator Jackson Publick would refer to Vision as "Ghost Robot" when doodling the character, with the nickname eventually inspiring the creation of the character Ghost Robot.[3]

Production Notes[]



  1. McCulloch, Christopher (October 25, 2009). "Publick Nuisance - Let The Sun Shine In". Publick Nuisance - Jackson Publick's blog. Retrieved October 26, 2009. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Davis, Lauren. "We've Seen Next Week's Rainbow-Powered Venture Bros. Episode!". Retrieved October 26, 2009. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jackson Publick, Go Team Venture!: The Art and Making of The Venture Bros. (2018), p. 182 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ":0" defined multiple times with different content
  5. McCulloch, Christopher (November 15, 2009). "Publick Nuisance - The Revenge Society". Publick Nuisance - Jackson Publick's blog. Retrieved November 16, 2009. 

Preceded by:
"Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel"
The Venture Bros. episodes
Original Airdate:
October 25, 2009
Followed by:
"Perchance to Dean"