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, “It Happening One Night,” Hank finally goes on his date with Sirena, Brock makes a friend, and Dr. Venture comes face to face with the avant garde. “It Happening One Night” was written by Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer, and directed by Jackson Publick.

 

 

Elle: One of my favorite things Venture Bros does is when they can simultaneous parody something from an old cartoon and something from real life. Like when they had a version of the Scooby Doo gang that was made up of famous criminals. So the Lex Luthor who’s also Andy Warhol and his supervillainous Doom Factory are basically everything I want out of this show.

And it’s even better because they’re not exactly the Warhol Factory, so much as they’re a bunch of 21st Century Brooklyn kids who are doing the Warhol Factory. So there’s three things going on at once: Warhol, the Legion of Doom, and derivative scenester culture. This is high level Venture Bros.

Betty: I think that’s why the Doom Factory instantly resonated with me and my dumb heart. Pop Art, the Legion of Doom, and derivative scenester culture were pretty much the trifecta of my formative teen years, and I love it. I also love that Dean would be the one member of the Venture household who “gets” Wes Warhammer’s Warholisms because he’s a total freshman.

 

 

 

While Wes Warhammer courts Dr. Venture as his new arch, Hank is focusing on impressing Sirena during their first date, which includes a series of staged interruptions involving Dean, Billy Quizboy, and Pete White acting as muggers, street performers, and photographers.

Although I miss Hank’s Batman outfit, Hank has finally graduated to a more normal grown-up ensemble (a replica of Michael Jackson’s infamous BAD outfit), because of course. Side note: I really loved how Brock does a security sweep of VenTech and when he passes Hank’s room, some of Hank’s previous outfits are laid out on the bed for consideration before he opted for his date night look.

 

 

Elle: Hank and Sirena’s date was everything I hoped it would be. I continue to enjoy Sirena more the more she’s on screen, and I love that she quickly sees through Hank’s attempts to impress her but likes him because he’s trying so hard to impress her, and because he’s actually trying to court her instead of just hooking up. Hank’s monologue about the things he believes in is the best, most endearing Hank moment in a long time (and Hank’s a character with a lot of endearing moments).

And a Ninja-themed restaurant is both the perfect place for Hank to take a date and the perfect place for the Brown Widow to wait tables.

Betty: I know that I’ve said this before, but these little slice-of-life moments where Hank and Dean are trying to maintain a “normal” life are so great. I love Sirena (and how she runs a blog), and their date is so cute and weird, and now I want to go on a date to the Ninja Restaurant.

Also, I really enjoy how the Brown Widow keeps popping up now that they live in New York, especially as both their waiter and Sirena’s previous fling. I just love seeing the Spider-Man of the Venture Bros. universe constantly being humbled.

 

 

Elle: Agreed. I also like that he and Dean (mostly offscreen) seem to be becoming good friends. Since Dean’s also a Peter Parker doppelganger (and started out as even more of one), it kind of seems inevitable. I also enjoy Brock’s interaction with Wide Wale’s henchman Rocco as they search for Hank and Sirena. (Side note: How badass is Sirena cutting out her tracking chip? And not for the first time, apparently.)

 

 

 

I love seeing Brock called out for being a relic from the 70’s, and that it’s coming from a guy dressed like a waterbug has to make it sting even more. I was genuinely concerned that Brock might kill, or at least maim, all of those ninja waiters before anybody had the chance to stop him.

Betty: I was so worried that Brock would accidentally hurt Dean after he punched Pete White! But yeah, Brock’s characterization this season gives him more depth beyond his machismo; he keeps being humbled by his peers, including henchmen.

Speaking of henchmen, I’m worried about 21 and his PTSD after murdering Haranguetan, especially as he and The Monarch navigate their balance between their lives as villains and heroes. The Monarch is quickly becoming enamored with his alter-ego as the new Blue Morpho, and even though his long-term goal is to arch Dr. Venture again, it’s more than apparent that he is having a ball fulfilling his father’s legacy. I think I mentioned this before, but he’s definitely worn his Blue Morpho digs more often than his own Monarch suit. Hell, he tranquilizes his own wife so that he can run around as Blue Morpho and track down the Doom Factory.

 

 

Elle: Yeah, which basically turns into a disaster. I think it’s going to end up being 21 who wants to go the distance and actually become a hero. He’s been down that road before, after all, when he was the last member of Sphinx. And he’s definitely having a rough time with Haranguetan’s death. Speaking of which, I loved that Wale’s henchman recommended the same book to Brock that 21 was reading.

But we haven’t really talked about the Doom Factory’s attack on Venture yet. I was actually a little disappointed when they turned out to be robbing him. I honestly thought that their method of arching might just be to make you feel used and alienated, and unwelcome at their fabulous party. But maybe I’m just projecting too much from my own youthful experiences with villainous scenesters.

 

 

Betty: I feel the same way about Doom Factory’s attack, however it somehow feels appropriately underwhelming? Like, their entire presence consists of them reappropriating and regurgitating things that already exist and making Dr. Venture feel empty and used when he realizes that he’s been Edie Sedgwicked and isn’t actually Warhammer’s muse. They’re a group of villains who effortlessly attacked his ego so that they could rob him and throw a villain party at VenTech. They made Dr. Venture feel interesting and cool by just pointing a camera at him, and then they quickly took it away by nullifying his muse status.

I do think they could’ve done more with the Doom Factory, but I think it’s nice that for an entire group of actual supervillains, they are more concerned with partying than conventional arching. And it’s only appropriate that they met their own fifteen minutes of fame when the Monarch (as the Blue Morpho) blows up their headquarters.

 

 

Elle: What a great ending to the episode! The Doom Factory headquarters exploding in the sky over Manhattan, just as Hank and Sirena kiss while while being restrained by their respective bodyguards. All the plot threads weave together in the final moment, just like in that other famous show about a bunch of New York-based gang of good-for-nothings, Seinfeld.

I do wonder if Rusty’s going to miss any of his science stuff that was in the Factory when it exploded, but I guess we’ll find out next time. And of course the death of the Doom Factory was all it took for the Guild to declare war on the Blue Morpho, and there’s no way that’s going to go well for the Monarch or Dr. Venture.

 

 

Betty: I’m honestly hoping that this will eventually lead to The Monarch teaming up with Dr. Venture and forming their own alliance.

Until next week, go Team Venture!