The GLG Reports
Page 25 of 67

From Venus With Love
By Grant L. Goggans

"Astronomy's my second love, after chimneys, of course. The two go hand-in-hand, really." The all-new, all-color Avengers gets off to a murky and almost colorless start with this average entry by Levene that features many of the elements that would characterize the fifth season. There's a sense-free murderous scheme hiding behind a very fantastic plot, plenty of guest stars playing wacky eccentrics, and, perhaps unfortunately, the revelation that all the unreal elements are just subterfuge. In "From Venus With Love," the revelation is actually no surprise, since the only people who believe in the existence of life on Venus are all typical Avengers oddballs and the victims are all too conveniently members of one particular Earthbound club. The only real mystery is whether it's Primble or Crawford who is behind the killings, and how they're doing it. Along the way, Steed and Mrs. Peel spend an inordinate amount of time separated, limiting the chances for fun banter, but we do meet some great supporting characters, like the dandy chimney sweep Bertram Fortescue Wyndthrope-Smythe, and Jon Pertwee's magnificent Brigadier Whitehead. Perhaps the producers were moved to cast Pertwee, a veteran radio comedian, by his character's "studio," in which he records his memoirs punctuated by special effect gramophone records. Basically, between these two and the baffling Primble, there's enough eccentricity to fuel any four other hours. Unfortunately, they're all wasting time in a run-of-the-mill story, shot in a rather workmanlike fashion, although one with great special effects. In an interesting development (and an ironic one, since this season's production was so inspired by Batman), a third season Batman story called "The Joker's Flying Saucer" quite shamelessly ripped this story off, but truthfully, neither adventure can really be called the best from their producers.

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