Seems to me that the only real "advantage" to Java is the one size fits all cross platform usage. However if being cross platform isn't an objective, then there is always a better way. This is for the same reason that a swiss army knife is a poor substitute for a proper tool kit. Sure it's handy for the type of quick fixes you can do while wearing a suit ... But don't try rebuilding an engine with one.
And RMI (big one for going easy on the sockets, though not necessary for this project), and easy graphics, a massive library that does just about anything, and CONSOLIDATED documentation!!! I'll repeat myself... CONSOLIDATED documentation. There are many languages with good documentation, but I haven't found one yet with a complete tutorial that covers just about everything, with the exception of Java's excellent Sun Java Tutorial. That was one of the biggest problems for me with C++, along with the sheer number of compilers out there - C++ has no tutorial that covers all the libraries out there, mainly because the C++ standard libraries are small, and most others are developed as open-source or compiler-specific.
I don't know about VB, but I would hazard a guess that, being a microsoftism (nothing against Microsoft, great OS's, but the languages aren't very good IMO), has documentation without flexibility and while it apparently does graphics well, I doubt it has the sheer ability 'create-an-object-and-be-done-five-lines-later' that java has, and seems to be missing the button drag n' drop ability that you want, while I KNOW that somewhere, Java has a drag and drop interface for components, though I haven't been able to find it:P
And yes, I do realize I'm biased, spending 6 months straight of 4 hours a day when you are still in high school writing a java program will do that