Welcome to Calamitous Intent, Comics Alliance’s weekly reckoning with The Venture Bros, in which Betty Felon and Elle Collins, longtime fans of Adult Swim’s most complicated half hour, discuss and clarify the latest episode.

In this week’s installment, “Tanks for Nuthin,” Ventech’s stock takes a dive, even more supervillains attack the Venture tower, and Dr. Mrs. the Monarch is on the Blue Morpho’s trail. “Tanks for Nuthin” was written and directed by Jackson Publick.



Betty: So you know how we were dreading the inevitable conflict between the Monarch and Dr. Mrs. the Monarch? This episode definitely starts off with a generous serving of tension between the couple, due to Sheila thinking that The Monarch isn’t pulling his weight as a professional arch. The rest of the episode rides on Sheila’s personal and professional stress related to the Monarch, as the Monarch continues to secretly moonlight as the Blue Morpho.

Elle: Yeah, Sheila thinks the Monarch has become lazy and idle, which is funny because that’s so often the pose of those who are actually masked vigilantes, like Batman and the Monarch’s father. And if Sheila knew what the Monarch was actually doing with Henchman 21, she’d be a lot more upset with him than she is for his laziness. And of course this entire episode teases us with the possibility of her finding out.



Betty: Despite the lies and tension, I really do love how quickly the Monarch and 21 fell in love with their heroic alter-egos. They’re always hanging out in the Morpho Cave, and nowadays, they’re wearing the Morpho/Kano outfits more often than their Monarch gear. The Monarch clearly enjoys masquerading as the Blue Morpho way more than his day life as a 4th-tier arch-villain, which is more than understandable - the Morpho life seems cool and fun!

Elle: Oh totally. Especially after how things have gone for the Monarch recently, being the Blue Morpho has to be a great relief. And speaking of falling in love, can we talk about Brock and Warriana? I really kind of feel like Brock may have met his match this time.



Betty: I really love their dynamic so much - they complement each other so well, and I like seeing this more grounded version of Brock. It’s nice seeing him genuinely navigate this relationship after the God Gas wears off, considering his history of one-night stands and his toxic on-and-off relationship with Molotov Cocktease.

Elle: Considering that you never know how much time is going to have passed between episodes of this show, it was cool to see this one pick up the morning after the last episode, to show Brock waking up in Warriana’s apartment, the Guild dealing with cleaning up Haranguetan’s body, and of course Billy Quizboy waking up hungover to find that he’s embarrassed himself on the internet.



Betty: The viral video of Billy on God Gas (à la David After Dentist) is funny, but it harms both Billy and VenTech (as their stocks drop in value after the incident). As the Guild clean up and investigate the death of Haranguetan, Dr. Mrs. the Monarch interrogates Billy about the incident, since he witnessed the death while under the influence of God Gas. After Billy explains that there was “some blue guy” on the scene, Dr. Mrs. the Monarch notifies the Guild of this mystery vigilante and gets Wide Wale to supply the VenTech surveillance tapes from the night of Haranguetan’s murder.

Elle: Billy’s Mom sweetly announcing, “Billy, there’s a Nazi here to see you,” is one of my favorite lines in the episode. Of course the other thing Sheila has to do is notify Haranguetan’s widow, who turns out to be a Scottish supervillainess named Battleaxe, who is, let’s say, somewhat volatile. And she wants the Haranguetank back, which leads the two of them to the same police impound where Blue Morpho and Kano are headed to get back the car that got towed last episode.



Betty: While I think this may be one of my favorite outfits that Sheila wears, I love that both Billy’s mom and Rusty addressed her Nazi chic attire. I was hoping that Sheila and Battleaxe were going to have a proper team-up in this episode, but I love the chaos of the impound scene.

While Sheila chases down Blue Morpho and Kano to the Morphomobile, Battleaxe watches the surveillance tapes with rage and drives off to VenTech after concluding that Dr. Venture is Blue Morpho. Speaking of Battleaxe, did you see Brick Frog drinking in her bar? I was hyped because Brick Frog is the best.

Elle: Brick Frog is always where the action is! Brick Frog is a bit like Frog-Man from Marvel Comics, except better, because he has bricks. And the other new villain we meet this week is also an homage to some recognizable comics characters. He’s a little bit like Hector Hammond from Green Lantern, a little bit like MODOK from Marvel, but also he’s got a pretty impressive little tank.



His name, of course, is Think Tank, although Dean knows hims as his philosophy professor, Dr. Nidaba. And anyone with a good ear for voices will know him as acclaimed theatre and film actor Jeffrey Wright.

I wasn’t sure if Dr. Nidaba was protecting Dean by telling him to get out of the house, or if he just didn’t want his secret identity blown (which seems ridiculous considering what he looks like, but this is the world we’re in), but I enjoyed that moment between them either way.



Betty: From his theatrical entrance to the prepared chess game he wanted to have with Dr. Venture, Think Tank is such a nerdy supervillain. However, his powers are evident when he counters Brock’s failed attacks, and is only subdued when Warriana both saves Brock and teams up with him.

Elle: I love Warriana carrying Brock over her shoulder and being protective of him. Brock is always the big strong protector to those around him, and it’s just sweet to see him with someone who can be that for him.



Betty: Meanwhile, Sheila is chasing both the Morphomobile (note: it flies, because of course) and the Haranguetank, both of which are heading toward VenTech (for prank-based revenge and for murder revenge, respectively). Unfortunately, a chain reaction of car-swerving between Hank and Dean’s Venture vehicle and the Guild limo causes Battleaxe to drive the Haranguetank directly into Dr. Nidaba and through the VenTech building, killing them both in the same pit where Huranguetan died.

As she witnesses the crash, Sheila also spots Dr. Venture on the rooftop of the VenTech building (where she last spotted the Morphomobile) and believes that she has discovered the true identity of this new Blue Morpho.



Elle: I really hope supervillains dying in that hole remains a running gag for the rest of the season. Of course, that would just cause further trouble for Rusty, now that Sheila believes he’s the villain-murdering Blue Morpho. This misunderstanding also eases the tension on Sheila and the Monarch’s marriage, but there’s no way that’s going to last forever.

Betty: Yeah, Rusty is such an easy scapegoat for the Monarch’s new life as the Blue Morpho, considering that he’s already a Tier 1 arching target; I have a strong feeling that perhaps Rusty will find out that the Monarch is the Blue Morpho before Sheila does. Another potentially complex situation could be Brock and Warriana’s relationship, considering that Think Tank called them an unsanctioned team-up.

Considering that the Crusaders Action League is run by Wide Wale, I anticipate that any further relationship between Warriana and Brock could either violate the CAL or trigger Wide Wale to act on his designated arching target, Rusty Venture. Gee, I can’t wait till Wide Wale finds out that Hank has a date with his daughter next week!