|First Appearance||The Venture Bros. |
The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay
Personality and relationships
Dr. Venture is the son of the late, great Jonas Venture. Although he seemed to relish the adventuring life as a child, in his current middle-age (45-46 as of pinstripes & Poltergeists; Brock had mentioned a year had passed since season 3 and in Twenty Years to Midnight, it was established he was 44), he now despises it and constantly fails to live up to the legacy of his father and the expectations the world had for him. He hallucinates of his father at times; and, in a manner both amusing and depressing, still manages to be one-upped by these hallucinations (Careers in Science). These hallucinations may have something to do with his 'diet pills' and withdrawals from them.
In addition to the original Team Venture, Jonas and Thaddeus had several other affiliates, such as Jonas' bodyguard, the middleweight boxing champ Swifty and Thaddeus' childhood friend Hector, a young Mexican boy. Despite recently re-learning of their existence, Venture fired both of these men from their long-time jobs at Venture Industries (Powerless in the Face of Death).
Thaddeus raises two of his sons Hank and Dean. Recently it was revealed he fathered an illegitimate son (Dermott Fictel) when he was in his 20's when he slept with Nikki Fictel the 15 year old chairman of the Rusty Venture Fan Club (he claims she said she was 20). His approach to parenting is charitably described as self-centered, relying heavily on his bodyguard Brock Samson to keep the boys out of trouble. Despite Brock's formidable abilities, the boys have died 14 times (as of Season 2 Episode 1: Powerless In the Face of Death). Thus, Venture has developed 'clone slugs' to regenerate the boys' bodies and uses audio-suggestive devices in their beds to record their memories nightly. Despite his ridicule and negligence, he does seem to love the boys at heart, or at least possesses a sense of responsibility for them; he keeps re-cloning them (and hides this information from them, in order to protect their sanity), once tried to protect Hank from possibly being shot by Richard Impossible (Ice Station -- Impossible!), has expressed concern for the boys innocence in regard to sexual affairs (The Trial of the Monarch), and expressed concern and regret when Dean began to have serious testicular pains (Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean). While his true feelings for his sons is debatable, the fact that he consistently neglects them or forgets where they are is balanced by his constant cloning, moments of paternal protection - one memorable moment is when he tries to convince Hank to shoot him should he try and harm his sons in his mutated caterpillar form - and brief periods of paternal affection (such as taking Dean under his wing in the sense of a shared future in super-science, reassuring them both that he has gone through what they are going through in the hands of villains himself, and even bantering with them when he is pleased with them). It's possible that Venture does possess overall some sort of paternal connection, but due to his own poor father model and little patience, he simply is not a good day-to-day father. When offered the opportunity to become a successful arch-nemesis to his brother thanks to Dr. Henry Killinger, Venture declined, showing at least some semblance of morality and concern for whether he is "a bad person". He even expresses a desire for Hank to lead a normal life (Every Which Way But Zeus), saying that it's Hank, not Dean, who's most like their father. However, in the later episode Assisted Suicide, when Doctor Opheus attempts to enter a catatonic Dr. Ventures' mind using Hank and Dean as the way in because they're what he (Rusty) loves most, the attempt fails. Orpheus manages the spell only when holding a box containing items belonging to Rusty.
Venture attempts to be hip and competent to impress Brock, which usually fails (Mid-Life Chrysalis). Despite this, he and Brock have a relatively amicable relationship, and Brock (to his credit) has stayed improbably loyal to Dr. Venture and his assigned task of protecting him from any and all harm. Venture seems to find Brock emotionally comforting as well. Thaddeus also has friendships with two college-era friends, Pete White and Master Billy Quizboy, whom he occasionally turns to for help. However, another college friend, Baron Werner Ünderbheit, blames Venture for the lab accident that resulted in Ünderbheit's lower jaw being lost; Venture repeatedly denies any involvement, and it is later revealed to the audience that it was the result of an unsuccessful attempt by The Monarch to kill Venture.
The Monarch considers himself Venture's archenemy, for an as yet unexplained reason, yet Venture himself seems to consider the Monarch a nuisance unworthy of serious consideration (Dia de Los Dangerous!). The Monarch nonetheless repeatedly seeks to ruin Venture's life (as the Monarch once explained, "It's what I do! That's my THING!") albeit unsuccessfully.
His inventions tend to be re-inventions and inferior versions of what his father built, and he abuses illegal stimulants, which he calls diet pills, to keep himself going and repress traumatic memories of childhood such as being forced to test out a prototype Theme Park Ride (The Incredible Mr. Brisby). He also exhibits male lactation during moments of extreme stress. Dr. Venture, in short, is a man whose childhood was unstable and unpredictable, has never been able to live up to the expectations placed upon him and is now a bitter, washed-up, and burnt-out man; this is largely thanks to the fact that he had for 43 years been carrying his half-developed Twin Brother Jonas, whom he had absorbed in the womb.
Venture has moments of insight and compassion, and even charm and wit, but these are few and far between, as he often falls back into cynicism, self-pity, extreme egotism, and utter amorality. Perhaps his lowest point came in "Eeney, Meeney, Miney... Magic!", when it was revealed that he had taken an orphan's heart and used it to power a new invention. He seems to maintain his adventuring life because he has nothing else going for him. His only alternative appears to be a career lecturing at Mexican community colleges.
Dr. Venture is landlord to Dr. Orpheus. Although the two get along well enough, Dr. Venture is frequently annoyed by Orpheus' dramatics and the two have debated the merits of technology vs. magic extensively. Dr. Venture tends to be jealous of Orpheus for petty reasons, such as all the attention he was getting screening potential archenemies ("Fallen Arches"). Venture apparently has a low opinion of Triana Orpheus; he told Dean that she was a bad influence and "girls like that are usually on the dope." It should be noted, however, that Dr. Venture said this in a moment of stress as he was attempting to ascertain the nature of Dean's sudden illness (which turned out to be testicular torsion), not to mention Dr. Venture's own issues with chemical dependency.
Dr. Venture is aware of the Guild of Calamitous Intent, which he considers a nuisance - a feeling that is actually mutual. Most of the times, the villainous plots and the fighting are not directly connected to him, but whatever he does or says to avoid it, he becomes involved anyway. As this does not make him the center of attention, this greatly annoys him, as he considers the mere fact of being a Venture more than enough to deserve consideration. Actually, his family's influence is much greater than he actually gets credit for, but because of his attitude, villains don't like to admit it, as he doesn't live up to his father's name.
Effects of Childhood
A lifetime of danger, starting at age 3, has left its mark on Doctor Venture.
Spending a lifetime being abducted and nearly killed has apparently desensitized Doctor Venture greatly. To many things, Doctor Venture exhibits a strange kind of numbness. Though not fearless by any means, he does have high standards for what he considers threatening. When he was asked by Sgt. Hatred how much "menace" he experienced when confronted by hand grenades and giant spiders, Thaddeus replied with a deadpan 2 & 3 out of 10. He seems especially numb to threats that are "everyday" in heroic adventuring - spiked walls, strange cults, and the like, to which he exhibits weary annoyance and frustration rather than fear. In "The Buddy System", when Billy Quizboy expresses sorrow and shock at having seen a child gruesomely killed, Venture merely expresses annoyance and darkly mocks his friend's previous desire to be an adventurer, ironically asking "not like answering trivia, is it?"
On the other hand, Doctor Venture seems to have been traumatized by his childhood, and mentions in Now Museum-Now You Don't that he still wakes up at night with flashbacks to some of the more horrible experiences he's faced as a child. When he was very young, the Action Man would wake him up in morning with a gun to his head, pulling the trigger so that Rusty could feel the hammer falling - he would then say "not today Rusty, not today." Doctor Venture also uses amphetamines to cope with occasional stress or hallucinations of his father, especially in Season 1. He may be considered to suffer a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that affects, but does not incapacitate him. It may have, however, rendered him impotent, as he is known to have had few sexual encounters (and apparently none in the last 19 years). The only other known near encounters was with a rave girl named Skye, whom he claimed was carrying his child, though he may have been merely trying to get Brock to leave him to his drug tour, and Dr. Quymn, with whom he may have confirmed his sole sexual encounter by stating the amount of time since his last sexual encounter, which approximates the true age of Hank and Dean (19 years, 2 months and 4 days) had they not been repeatedly cloned.
This implies that while fantastic, his childhood adventures were not nearly as idyllic as the world was led to believe. The possibly amoral habits of the Original Team Venture (disregard for human life, sexual deviancy and destructive tendencies) may have influenced his flimsy ethics. At least one other boy adventurer, Action Johnny, ended up a drug-addled hermit living in a diving sphere, suggesting the boy adventurer lifestyle itself is often traumatic. Indeed, Thaddeus seems to be following in his father's footsteps of self-absorption and callous disregard for others - yet, strangely, he's more functional than some of his contemporaries, even able to manage his own drug habit.
Doctor Venture does have a few fond memories. In ORB, he actually takes great pleasure in pursuing the mystery of the ORB with Billy Quizboy. He recalls taming a pterodactyl in Escape to the House of Mummies Part II. It seems those moments where he did something himself give him the greatest pleasure, and he does enjoy solving mysteries - those challenges give him a definite thrill, which he notes in ORB.
In Perchance to Dean, he reveals his muse to his son Dean, which turns out to be Progressive Rock. He is also seen grooming Dean to carry on the Venture legacy, treating him as the golden child of the Venture family. Meanwhile, once again a part of his callousness and favoritism towards Dean, he treats Hank like the black sheep, due to Hank's growing rebelliousness (in part of Hank struggling to accept the fact that Brock is no longer with the family).
In "Assisted Suicide", it is revealed that the things Dr. Venture loves most is his old head shot, various awards, money, newspaper clippings of his childhood adventures, a shoebox of old love letters, and a signed photo of Loni Anderson. Notably his children are not what he values most, or the band Rush.
Relationship with his Father
Despite his father's public declarations of great affection for his son, the series increasingly revealed that Dr. Jonas Venture, Sr., failed to live up to his own publicity. In short, he is often shown to be little more than an egomaniac who is mostly interested in having a good time while leaving other people to clean up his mistakes and messes. Moreover, his relationship with Rusty seemed to alternate between paternalism and disregard — an alternation which often reflects whatever action will most benefit or extend Jonas Sr.'s notoriety and fame.
Instances of these traits are numerous:
- In The Incredible Mr. Brisby, Jonas tests out a violent ride for his friend Roy Brisby, using his son as the guinea pig.
- In The Doctor is Sin, Jonas appears at breakfast after a night spent with an unnamed woman, his genitals emerging from his boxer shorts, leaving Rusty emotionally traumatized and instilling in him a deep sense of inadequacy. (The DVD commentary expands on this scene a bit, explaining that the unseen woman was an actress whom Rusty developed a schoolboy crush on.)
- In The Buddy System, Jonas locked one man and one woman into a bio-dome, in an attempt to prepare astronauts for the solitary existence of space life, however, he did not bother to recover them and we see the bones of one of the people ceremonially displayed.
- In Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman, Jonas greets a young Tara Quymn on the arrival to a party - when the child goes to return his greeting and hug him, he has Kano take her somewhere else. Also in this episode, while Tara and Rusty are playing a jungle adventure game, Jonas trips and crushes young Rusty as he drunkenly attempts to have sex with Tara's mother.
- In What Goes Down, Must Come Up, Jonas abandoned both Dr. Entmann and several score of orphaned children in the substructure underneath his compound, never bothering to recover any of them.
- In The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together Part 1 and 2, Thaddeus stated that people had been trying to kill him since "he could pee standing up" and later boasted that Venture Sr. once made him "kill a man with a housekey" when the former was only ten years old.
- In ORB, an episode of the Rusty Venture Show is played as the opening scene. In the show, Rusty is forced to shoot and kill a man against his wishes. It can be assumed that the Rusty Venture Show was largely based on what really happened to Rusty. With that in mind, the events portrayed are probably not far from the truth. Later in the episode, however, Rusty admits that while Jonas Sr. was a failure as a father, he was a great scientist.
- In Self-Medication, he reveals his own father was his therapist during his childhood & was one of the reasons he did not actively seek therapy. His father was very negligent in his therapy, did not listen, snuck out and returned, and undermined Rusty's concerns while pointing the blame back at a ten-year-old Rusty who reveals he never wanted to be a super scientist anyway. Much like Dean is to his own father. He also reveals he wasn't allowed to wear long pants until he went off to college (which he attributes to not losing his virginity until he was in his 20s).
- In Assisted Suicide, Dr. Venture reveals that during his sixteenth birthday pool party the original Team Venture humiliated him by pulling his swim suit down while blasting his genitals with a shrink ray in front of models, playboy bunnies, and prostitutes.
- In Now Museum-Now You Don't, a young Rusty Venture is shown tied to a chair by a group of super villains who then dump him into a pool filled with man eating fish. While he is rescued, the event was shown to highly traumatize him.
Thaddeus S. Venture was born to Dr. Jonas Venture and an unnamed mother, yet he was not meant to be an only child—he swallowed (Choked) his twin brother in the womb. Nicknamed 'Rusty', Thaddeus accompanied his father and Team Venture as a cute mascot of sorts on many exciting adventures and discoveries and seemed to be a very bright, eager, precocious child who had a knack for solving mysteries (as well as being useful for his small size). His fame also inspired merchandise based on him, and all the children of his time wanted to be him and live out his adventurous life, fame which continues to the present time. During one of these adventures, Jonas convinced The Guild of Calamitous Intent to enact 'Rusty's Law', an addendum to their official rules that stated hostages with genuine medical emergencies must be temporarily released for treatment. Jonas also implanted a tracking device into one of Rusty's molars to help locate him after his frequent kidnappings (once a fortnight, according to original Team Venture member Colonel Horace Gentleman).
By college-age years, Thaddeus had grown into a rather opposite picture of his father: thin, somewhat shorter than average, and already balding. He no longer liked being called Rusty and still does not (he claims to be called "T.S." by everyone instead of "Rusty", but very rarely has he ever been called that), and he attempted to get away from his father's influence, despite this, his father never stopped loving him, insofar as 'loving' one's son equates to tormenting them with abuse and neglect. During these years, he met up with Peter White, Werner Ünderbheit, Mike Sorayama, the Monarch, and most inexplicably his dorm roommate was none other than Brock Samson (a freshman and slightly younger than Dr. Venture). One night when Brock, having accidentally killed a quarterback during practice, burst into the room containing Venture, White, Sorayama, and Ünderbheit playing a Dungeons & Dragons game. In a fit of drunken rage, he savagely beat the quartet (knocking out the aforementioned tracking tooth) and the next day was forced to leave college, but casually told Thaddeus he received a call that his father had died (the first episode of Season 3 hints that an unspecified supervillain may have killed Jonas Venture Sr., leaving the possibility open for further revelations along this line. It is later hinted in O.R.B. that Jonas was, in fact, killed by his bodyguard Kano upon discovering the eponymous orb). At some point soon afterwards, Venture dropped out of college (though not before finishing the semester, as Prof. Richard Impossible gave him a "sympathy 'D'"); therefore, Venture technically does not have the right to call himself a doctor. He claims to have gotten an honorary degree, but when pressed, only mumbled something about a "small exclusive" something in Tijuana.
He lost his virginity at the age of twenty-four and more or less seemed to take over running Venture Industries in the same rough timespan, at least insomuch as 'running' means 'running into the ground'. Dr. Venture's frequent financial problems and lack of expertise in running his father's company stem from his almost complete ignorance of Venture Industries' workings, so much so that Dr. Venture is unaware of the purpose and even existence of specific buildings on the Venture compound (until speaking with Jonas Jr. in season 2, he had no idea the compound contained a manufacturing wing, that a society of orphans existed in his basement or that a clone of Dean lived in the attic for 19 years). During the aforementioned 'moment of passion' (confirmed to be during his sexual encounter with ex-bodyguard Myra Brandish), Hank and Dean were probably born sometime during this period (there is a slight doubt of whether they were born or not). Dr. Venture developed a method of cloning (or used technology invented by his father) to bring them back due to their being death-prone (while he seems to have forgotten their precise ages, as shortly after being cloned Hank notices his ID is wrong when the Doctor comments it's their sixteenth birthday Hate Floats though in that instance, the date is most likely wrong due to frequent clonings). Additionally, during this time Dr. Venture spent a considerable amount of time attempting to isolate and destroy the gay gene. However, protesters forced him to stop prematurely. Also around this time he committed statutory rape with the president of the Rusty Venture Fan Club Everybody Comes to Hank's, Nikki Fictel, thereby impregnating her with Dermott Fictel, who would later become Hanks' best (if not only) friend.
Since then, Dr. Venture has settled into mostly making inventions for quick cash and government contracts, however his success is often limited. He still manages to get plenty of adventuring and action in life, frequently not by choice, such as having a second kidney removed in Tijuana (Dia de Los Dangerous!, being forced to fix the Gargantua-1 space station his father developed (Careers in Science, attempting to directly cash in on his father by searching underseas for an experimental spacecraft Jonas invented (Ghosts of the Sargasso) , various plots of the Monarch like attempting to kidnap his sons, being turned into a giant caterpillar Mid-Life Chrysalis, and being captured in the Amazon rainforest (Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean. Despite all of this, he mostly seems content to sit back and relax when possible, which is precisely what he did during the surgery Dean had for his testicular torsion.
The most significant thing to happen to Dr. Venture in the recent past was his discovery that a large tumor was actually his twin brother he swallowed in the womb still alive, having grown inside him all this time and the source of all his nightmares on two fetuses fighting one another. This infant built himself up a robot body and attempted fratricide against Thaddeus. Having learned all his tricks, the brother seemed ready to kill Thaddeus, but a last-minute save by Brock and a flying car defeated the sibling. The brother was then granted mercy and decided to call himself Jonas Venture Jr. Since then, Jonas has been granted about half the Venture fortune and has adapted to being the success Thaddeus never was (not to mention a lot more friendly to Thaddeus than vice-versa). A teleporter Jonas mentioned was half-finished accidentally split Dr. Venture into three parts due to Thaddeus deciding it looked good enough to use as-is.
With the Monarch's escape from prison he has become the target of him once more, a botched attempt to kidnap Dr. Girlfriend at a mall ended up taking Dr. Venture instead, who had had his eye punched out of its socket by new, aggressive henchmen. He was saved by Brock and Phantom Limb teaming up and storming the flying Cocoon.
Rivalry between The Monarch and Phantom Limb escalated into a full-scale assault by the Guild of Calamitous Intent upon the Venture family. During the attack, Venture's arm was severed, but was successfully re-attached by Master Billy Quizboy.
In Season 4, Dr. Venture's illegal cloning farm being revealed has placed him under intense O.S.I. scrutiny, but this doesn't stop various organizations from seeking to force him to clone their leaders, such as Hitler.
At this point in time, his relationships with Hank and Dean have become even more disparate. He and Hank have begun to argue constantly while he has started grooming Dean to follow in his footsteps as a super-scientist. According to Rusty, his father (Jonas Venture Sr.) and his paternal grandfather (Lloyd Venture) were also super-scientists. His great-grandfather was a milliner.
After a group therapy session with other boy-adventurers took a strange turn, Dr. Venture comes to realize that he is relatively well-balanced and successful compared to others in his therapy group and decides he doesn't need therapy, walking out with a confidence that may or may not last.
Equipment and abilities
Dr. Venture is proprietor of Venture Industries, having inherited it from his father, the large lab and base it provides allows him the resources he needs to pursue experiments and inventions. Despite this he mostly still depends on his father's developments; such as the robotic nanny H.E.L.P.eR. and the plane X-1, which can transport Team Venture to anyplace they wish in no time flat. Also worth mentioning is the boat, the X-2, which was given to his brother Jonas at the end of Season 1.
He generally carries a number of 'diet pills,' which he appears to be addicted to. These pills are often used to suppress undesirable memories, hallucinations, and daydreams. Dr. Venture can be seen taking a pill every time he encounters a vision or memory of his father. He once told his children these pills were "Daddy's special aspirin" while Pete White referred to them as "mother's little helpers". Richard Impossible implied that Venture is an amphetamine addict. Unlike other boy adventurers, his addiction doesn't completely run his life (in the Showdown at Cremation Creek (Part II) commentary, Doc Hammer flat-out states that, while Venture is an addict, he is "not a junkie").
Despite his shoddiness, impatience, self-absorption, and knack for cutting corners, Dr. Venture can still safely be considered a super-scientist, if only because he has a much better understanding of science, physics, and the various fantastic elements and objects seen in the show than most other characters have. Unlike his brother, however, he lacks the ingenuity to create new inventions and his lack of business skill has reduced Venture to selling his father's old inventions. Still, as he is, at times, able to transcend these limits, it is suggested his real problem may be a lack of ambition and effort, one of the many unfortunate consequences of his traumatic past. Dr. Henry Killinger comments it is because his fear of success.
Dr. Venture has proven his scientific competence on numerous occasions, though his accomplishments are often driven by selfish desires (i.e. money, prestige) rather than genuine scientific passion or curiosity. He has managed to:
- Build the Ooo Ray (The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay, a device capable of melting a model city.
- Shoes which the sole can be rotated 180 degrees to misdirect anyone following the person, called "Sneekies".
- Keep a dog alive after removing its entire epidermis (the dog later died, as implied by Hank and confirmed in "ORB" when the dog's corpse was discovered).
- Repair H.E.L.P.eR. on numerous occasions, and even convert the robot into a dialysis machine (Dia de Los Dangerous!).
- Help to develop an antidote for the Goliath Serum along with Pete White and Billy Quizboy. (Although Professor Richard Impossible claimed the antidote was nothing more than ranch dressing, the fact that it worked suggests jealousy on Impossible's part, and the subsequent dialogue with his wife would confirm this).
- Build G.U.A.R.D.O., a capable but highly dangerous home defense robot (Home Insecurity). (Although, it didn't work properly because Dr. Venture fell asleep while configuring his friendly file)
- Build a panic room accessed by escape tubes under the beds of himself and the boys (Home Insecurity).
- Create a virtual reality environment called the Joy Can (Eeney, Meeney, Miney...Magic!), capable of manifesting the user's deepest desires. It was powered by the heart of an orphan boy, and was destroyed by Dr. Orpheus for this very reason.
- Created The Meta-Sonic Locator, a device that uses sound waves to reverse time. (Unintentionally bringing one Major Tom back to life)
- Created a Prototype Lightsaber for the Army. According to Dr. Venture the Army passed because they no longer sword fight and the Kenner toy company lacked interest due to the enormous production costs for a single unit ($2,000,000 "in parts alone" according to Venture). #21 decides to buy at the Dr. Venture's Tag Sale. The saber failed to work (or was shown to merely be a demonstration dummy rather than a live weapon) when #21 tried to use it to kill Brock.
- Operate and maintain an elaborate system serving to constantly store the memories of his two sons for later implantation in new clone bodies. (This may have been designed by his father, however.) This system is hidden, both from the government (who has banned cloning research) and the boys (who become horribly traumatized at the sight of their clone slugs; they have each been cloned roughly 14 times, according to Brock).
- Worked to [Love-Bheits|isolate and destroy the gay gene]] but halted the research due to protests and hearings.
- Build a "Walking Eye" although he had no intended purpose at the time of construction (though it did arouse the various supervillains lined up outside the compound; Venture later commented that news of this would bring in business, which may indicate some limited level of business acumen).
- Construct an actual, working force-field that could only be taken down with club soda, for which he prepared an arguably decent pitch.
- Build a creature in the style of Frankenstein's monster he called Venturestein, "beating God at his own Game". This may be considered his greatest breakthrough as such activities are suggested to be rare or unheard of in the Ventureverse. It is also known as the "Holy Grail of super science", suggesting it is one, if not the most, greatest achievement capable with Super Science.
- Fully clone a young boy within the space of a few hours, having (according to him) reduced the likelihood of cancer occurring in the boy by changing parts of the boy's DNA, something almost impossible by today's standards of science.
- Genetically engineered a mutant fly whose enzymes can sexually stimulate women into becoming infatuated with other men, but with the side effect of soon turning them into mutant half-human/half-fly monsters.
It seems that while Thaddeus inherited some of his father's genius, he has been held back by an aversion to hard work, an unreliable ability to come up with useful inventions, and a lack of actual joy in the inventing process. Alternately, Dr. Henry Killinger suggests Thaddeus has a fear of success, and is reluctant to compete, due to his father's psychological abuse and domination. Certainly when he focuses on something for personal reasons or potential financial gain, he is capable of producing working—if occasionally flawed or limited—inventions. Given that two of his greatest successes are a machine powered by the heart of a dead orphan boy and a monster similar to that of Frankenstein's, he may only be skilled in building objects which are crimes against nature, and he is oblivious, or simply negligent to their macabre situation. The Metasonic locator, a successful and apparently benign invention, also served an inadvertent macabre purpose once activated: reviving the vengeful (if impotent) ghost of Major Tom. Thus, even his innocent creations can become crimes against nature.