(Note: This post contains spoilers from the Aug. 5 of “The Venture Bros.” Season 7.)
Season 6 of “The Venture Bros.” saw a major shakeup, as the Venture clan moved to New York City and the Monarch was busted down to the bottom levels of villainy. Probably the biggest change, though, was the Monarch taking on the mantle of a supposed good guy — the Blue Morpho.
In Season 6, the Monarch (voiced by “The Venture Bros.” co-creator Jackson Publick) once again found himself unable to “arch” — that is, professionally perform supervillainy against — his hated nemesis, Dr. Rusty Venture (James Urbaniak). Thanks to some unfortunate events back in Season 5 and politics in the professional supervillain governing body known as the Guild of Calamitous Intent, new villains started arching Venture, and the Monarch was stuck clawing his way back up the Guild ranks.
At the same time, the Monarch discovered that the home of his long-dead parents housed the Batcave-like lair of a vigilante known as the Blue Morpho. The Monarch and Henchman 21 (voiced by series co-creator Doc Hammer), his faithful minion, also determined the Blue Morpho was actually the Monarch’s father.
So who was the original Blue Morpho (voiced by Paul F. Thompkins)? In Season 6, it’s explained that the character was a gun-toting vigilante hero who, unlike many other superheroes, super-scientists and adventurers in the “Venture Bros.” universe, has no problem with killing the villains he faced. At one point, he rescued Rusty’s father, Dr. Jonas Venture Sr., from a villain, after which he essentially became an unofficial member of Jonas’ “Team Venture.”
According to elder supervillain Dr. Z (Publick), the original Blue Morpho became the “junkyard dog” of Team Venture, and Jonas Venture would send him to do dirty work the famous super-scientist didn’t want himself associated with. It’s also shown that Jonas and the Blue Morpho were friends outside of adventuring, and that the two millionaire playboys took part in the ’60s/’70s swinger scene. We later find out that Jonas made a tape of the Blue Morpho cheating on his wife and used it to get the Morpho to do things for Team Venture — including give up his bodyguard, Kano, who became Jonas’ bodyguard.
Season 7 also reveals the fate of the Blue Morpho. He died in a plane crash with the Monarch’s mother, something alluded to back in Season 1, but Jonas didn’t let his friend stay dead. Instead, he turned him into a Robocop-like cyborg that Jonas named “Venturian.” The Morpho was kept around ostensibly to help out around the Venture compound, but when his old memories intruded on his new programming, Venturian attacked Rusty. Kano wound up breaking Venturian’s neck (which caused him to take up a vow of silence as penance), and he was left in the trash, seemingly destroyed.
The supervillain Dr. Z found Venturian one night when messing with the Venture compound, and decided to rebuild the cyborg in order to turn it against Jonas. The Blue Morpho was reborn a second time as the supervillain Vendata, but the Blue Morpho memories were still in his mind somewhere.
In the present, the Monarch is initially bothered by the fact his father was a hero, but 21 shows him that, as a vigilante willing to commit murder, the original Blue Morpho was an anti-hero at best. That convinces the Monarch to take up the Morpho’s mantle, with 21 as his Kano. The Monarch then begins murdering supervillains who are ahead of him in line to arch Rusty (though their deaths are mostly accidents thanks to the Monarch’s incompetence).
There’s one other interesting tidbit about the original Blue Morpho that could have a major effect on the relationship between Rusty and the Monarch in “The Venture Bros.” Season 7. When Dr. Z relates the story of how he met the Morpho, he talks about seducing and having sex with tennis star Billie Jean King. At the end of their night together, Z says King took off a mask to reveal that she was actually the Blue Morpho, who then held Z at gunpoint to get back an important artifact he’d stolen.
Z discusses how confused he was because of all the sex acts he’d performed with King before she was unmasked. He said he was certain the person he was with was definitely a woman — even though she revealed herself to be the Morpho later. That suggests several possibilities: perhaps the original Blue Morpho was actually a shapeshifter, or perhaps the Morpho was presenting as male, but was actually a woman. The original Blue Morpho could also have been transgender, or intersex.
The shapeshifter possibility is interesting because “The Venture Bros.” has already featured a shapeshifting character prominently: the Sovereign, former leader of the Guild of Calamitous Intent.
In Season 2, “The Venture Bros.” revealed that the Sovereign was David Bowie (also voiced by Urbaniak), but this was retconned later, when it was proved that Sovereign was actually a shapeshifter who just took on the Bowie identity because his actual identity was mediocre. Perhaps Blue Morpho didn’t die in a plane crash, he just became a bad guy for real — though we also know the Sovereign didn’t need masks.
Meanwhile, along with the reveal that they played together as children, “The Venture Bros.” has recently made a point of emphasizing that Rusty Venture and the Monarch are similar in build and hair color. That seems to intentionally suggest the possibility they are actually related.
That possibility gathers more momentum when you consider that flashbacks have repeatedly demonstrated that Jonas had sexual liaisons with a variety of people in his social circle, including the wives of some members of Team Venture. If the Blue Morpho’s gender identity is something they are hiding, perhaps Jonas and the Morpho had an affair, which could have resulted in the Monarch’s birth.
The question is whether the timing matches up, since the Monarch and Rusty were both in college together at the same time. Then again, Rusty got his education from video lessons his father made that Rusty watched in his bed, which makes knowing his age in college a little less reliable.
Given that Jonas seems to be back from the dead in Season 7, it seems extremely likely we’re about to get new information that totally upends everything we know about Rusty’s past (and maybe the Monarch’s, too). If this season is like previous seasons, every episode will contain minor details that later mean big things. In other words, tune in to find out.