Batman v Superman is a movie out of context


As evidenced by movies like Watchmen, Sucker Punch, and 300, Zack Snyder excels at grim and dark stories. Snyder is known for his gritty antiheroes, so while it wouldn’t be fair to say he’s incapable of telling other kinds of stories, it does make for an interesting directing choice for Batman v Superman. Yeah. Supermanthat guy whose kindness and moral compass are his leading motivationsand Batmanwho despite his best attempts to convince people otherwise, is basically a rich guy who collects orphans. Snyder ditched both the morals and the orphans for this film.

Giving iconic characters like Batman and Superman to Snyder wasn’t necessarily bad at the onset, but it wasn’t the loving or faithful adaptation of the source material that Snyder produced with Watchmen. Instead, the bizarre experiment of throwing Batman and Superman into the boxing ring produced a film dripping with masculinity and misogyny. Batman doesn’t need a ragtag group of bird-monikered children to make a movie interesting (though it does help) and, okay, Superman has been successful without the presence of other Kryptonians. However, cherry picking plot threads and personality traits made for a story consistent with the grim-dark movies Snyder is known for, but inconsistent with the characters themselves. Both Batman and Superman were written like antiheroes instead of the widely respected and morally upstanding characters they are in the DC Universe. The end result was a film that seemed wildly out of context, one that also upheld a seriously toxic version of masculinity without scrutiny.

The core concept of Batman v Superman is a theme of absolute power, loosely based on one scene from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. To be fair to Snyder, Miller somehow managed to pack retrofuturist gangs, a new Robin, the Joker’s death, an almost there theme of governmental control of superhero activity, the role of the vigilante, and Cold War conflict into a four-issue miniseries. Adapting the entire story for film could have easily resulted in a frustratingly muddled five-hour epic. Batman v Superman took a single element from the story—Batman fighting Superman—as its base. The Frank Miller versions of these characters have been present in modern cinema for some time, first with Christian Bale’s angst-ridden Batman, and more recently with Henry Cavill’s first outing in Man of Steel.

Batman holds Superman responsible for the attack on Metropolis, which destroyed the city and killed thousands. He’s not wrong, per se, but it’s also hard to imagine the same judgment coming down on the comic version of Superman, since Superman did go out of his way to save the planet in the end. Superman, in turn, believes Batman to be a reckless vigilante who endangers the lives of Gotham residents on a nightly basis. Each believes himself right. The conflict at the center of all of this is the question of absolute power and who should have it, a theme that comes into play early in the film…and is dropped just as quickly as it was drummed up. The three central characters–Lex Luthor, Batman, and Superman–all grapple for power with no real winner. The movie offers no real answer to this conundrum and doesn’t force anyone to consider his own course of action in relation to how it affects the city.

The “Dawn of Justice” subtitle feels inappropriate, because justice is generally lacking in the film with the exception of Lex Luthor getting prison time and his signature haircut. Neither Batman nor Superman are held accountable for their actions, by each other or anyone else. The film lacks humanity in the most basic sense. Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent attack each other’s humanity while forgetting their own, giving the sense that the world belongs to the heroes and everyone else is just living it. The rest of Earth’s population is so unimportant that it’s impossible to gauge how Batman and Superman are received by the public outside of the conversation about Superman as a god. Batman, for his part, seems more like Gotham’s worst-kept secret than its savior. By not setting aside time to show the impact the so-called heroes have had on more than a select few characters, it reinforces the emotional and physical disconnect consistent with an unhealthy masculinity.

The conflict in the film, drawn from the conflict between Batman and Superman in The Dark Knight Returns, is absent of the thing it is also contingent upon. Despite the multitude of themes and events present in The Dark Knight Returns, the plot (scattered though it may be) is given an overlying political theme that is a direct result of the Cold War. Batman v Superman aims for a political nature, but it lacks the social and political context of the Cold War or an equally threatening situation adapted for the modern age.

When Batman and Superman do duke it out in an extensive but unsatisfying fight, it gives purpose to the “v” at the center of the title that has been confusing fans and non-fans alike for months, but doesn’t add much weight to the story. Previous squabbles forgotten, Batman and Superman tumble around, destroying the property they had been so committed to protecting in the first half of the movie. All of this results in a grudging team-up befitting a buddy cop movie, but one that lacks any of the humor of an Odd Couple trope. Throughout their fights, Batman and Superman are written as uncharacteristically cruel–Superman threatening to kill Batman, Batman launching Kryptonite grenades–and engaging in behaviors their comic counterparts would likely never consider. Both are disconnected from the communities they’re attempting to protect and to protect from the other. Batman fails his most known tenet of Don’t Kill People on multiple occasions, something Superman has already accomplished by the end of Man of Steel. Batman writes the death toll off as criminal scum and collateral damage, and Superman watches an entire courtroom blow up with silent detachment, then flies off without searching for survivors in the wreckage (or putting out the fire with his freeze breath, at the very least). Again, it’s hard to imagine both of their comic counterparts coming to the conclusion that death is an acceptable outcome without seriously questioning who they are and who they want to be as heroes.

All of this serves to build up a toxic masculinity that doesn’t offer nuanced portraits of its subjects. Batman and Superman and Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent tick off nearly all the boxes in this category, exemplifying violence, a severe lack of emotional response, and righteous anger framed as an exception to the no-emotion rule. It was disconcerting to not see Superman–or even Bruce Wayne, charming businessman and philanthropist–smile. Serious movies can and do have moments of brevity, but without them, the result is a film that simply ticks off squares like “cold and aloof,” “vigilante,” “brooding,” “scowls a lot,” and “They killed my wife/child/family!! I’ll make them pay!!!” in Tormented Male Protagonist Bingo.

Batman v Superman wasn’t great in terms of other characterizations, either. Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor was a new version of Lex that missed the mark on an old foe. The new Lex is a millenial boss, an outgoing guy who wears Chuck Taylors and t-shirts with suit jackets and has a basketball court in his office building. Making Lex such a seemingly young version of himself was an odd choice, especially in a film where Batman and Superman are older versions of their characters. The overall effect was more of an Edward Nigma than Lex Luthor, so while it was easy to picture Eisenberg playing a dark and twisted version of the Riddler in Snyder’s DC Universe, it was harder to take him seriously as Lex.

This aside, Lex Luthor was his own form of toxic masculinity. Though he isn’t calling bingo on the “biceps the size of your thighs” square, Lex is instantly recognizable as the kind of guy women on college campuses cross the street to avoid. He too possessed a disconcerting lack of emotion (save, again, for anger) as well as a tendency to commit violent acts without a thought. While it’s not made clear what his motivations are outside of an unexplained hatred of Batman and Superman, Lex Luthor makes no bones about destroying anyone who gets in his way. Women, especially, are inconsequential, as shown when he pushes Lois Lane from the top of the LexCorp building, and more subtly in how he treats his assistant, Mercy Graves. Though clearly on his side, Mercy was treated more as a fashion accessory than a human, barely communicating beyond nods and glances until her death in the Capitol explosion. It adds to Lex Luthor’s particular brand of toxic masculinity that she falls victim to the dreaded refrigerator. It’s also troubling because where other versions of Mercy portray her with a quick wit and expert martial arts skills, her lack of agency in Batman v Superman also plays into the harmful “submissive Asian” trope.

The film’s treatment of women doesn’t get much better with its remaining female characters, and it often plays hopscotch between toxically masculine and misogynistic. Mercy Graves and Senator Finch exist solely for their deaths, to further the conflict between Lex Luthor and Superman. Martha Kent’s, and largely, Lois Lane’s presences in the film are contingent on the fact that they’re used as bait in order to wind up Superman on numerous occasions. They too lack agency and the richly developed personalities of their source characters, and instead are entirely subject to Lex’s whims.

Though Lois did get the chance to do some investigative reporting in Batman v Superman, her screen time was skewed toward the time she spent with, pining for, or being rescued by Superman. This Lois isn’t the tough, resourceful character established in the Golden Age, and while her story is inextricably tied to Superman’s, Batman v Superman lacks recognition of the fact that it is, in fact, possible to be in love with someone without losing one’s independence. Lois was damseled on at least three separate occasions, and her presence in the film is relegated to Superman’s Love Interest, Kind Of. Superman, still reeling from the destruction of Metropolis, says at one point that he doesn’t know how to be Superman and her boyfriend, so instead of working through this like people in healthy adult relationships do, Clark spends half of his scenes with Lois ignoring her and the other half rescuing her. Lois seems to cause him more anguish than anything else, a relationship that lends itself to the newer, more tortured Superman.

In a way, this film seems inevitable, precluded by nearly ten years of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. The success of these films have produced a brooding loner Batman and Superman, versions that exist only in a film genre that has produced lots of dark and gritty over the years. It’s a tone that can work in film, but with intention. There’s a difference between using grit to critique a genre (think Alan Moore’s Watchmen) and using it for the sake of being edgy and new, and that’s another aspect in which Batman v Superman missed the mark, because nothing about it felt new or exciting.

Wonder Woman and cameos from Aquaman and the Flash were bright spots in the movie, but weren’t quite enough to save it or reverse the damage done by its portrayals of other characters. It was nice to meet Gal Gadot as Diana Prince before her debut in the upcoming Wonder Woman, but her screen time was fairly limited, and Jeremy Irons was another enjoyable addition to the cast as Alfred. Despite fans’ initial surprise at the casting, Ben Affleck wasn’t the worst part of the movie, and was daresay entertaining, most notably in Bruce’s sleuthing and his interactions with Alfred. In a different film, Batffleck would have been a delightful surprise, but even Snyder’s version of Batman is still overshadowed by Nolan’s work. There’s a distinctly new story being set up, even though the Dark Knight trilogy also used The Dark Knight Returns as its base storyline. Nolan’s Batman is characteristically similar to Snyder’s, at times exhibiting the same toxic masculinity, and it’s clear that many of Batffleck’s traits were grandfathered in. The problem, then, is that Snyder’s Batman was written with the goal of being a new version of Batman while doing nothing to distinguish Affleck-Batman from Bale-Batman, except perhaps giving Batffleck an even darker outlook and a distinct lack of human connection. Because Bale-Batman was such a recent event in the DC Cinematic Universe history and Batman v Superman wasn’t given the eight-year gap that Batman & Robin and Batman Begins had, the effect was more of an indirect continuation than a fresh start.

Batman v Superman’s plot simply didn’t hold, trying to do too much from too little source material taken out of its original context. It tried and failed to be a new take on two of the most established superheroes in comic book history by losing their morality and asking questions it failed to answer. The toxic masculinity present throughout the film overshadowed everything else. The most radical thing this movie could have done was to show two compassionate characters who respect each other working together, but by treating Clark and Bruce as two men steeped in their own pain, it failed its source material and its fans.


‘The Venture Bros’ Season 6 Episode 8/Season Finale Recap: “Red Means Stop”

The moment we’ve all been dreading has finally come. Season 6 of the Venture Brothers has finally come to a close. However, instead of mourning the end of new Venture episodes, I would much rather celebrate the glorious episode that we all had the pleasure to watch.

An unfamiliar man slowly opens his eyes. He is in a dark and filthy bathroom wearing soiled clothing, one ankle chained to a pipe. “What’s going on? Let me out of here!” he begs, his voice rising into hysterics.

He wheels around and spots a fellow prisoner also chained to a urinal. “Oh geez, what are you screaming about?” he asks, rubbing his eyes. He suddenly realizes his pants are gone and joins his cellmate in screaming. “Help! Let us out of here!”

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21 is washing the Morpho Mobile in the Morpho cave when his boss enters, offering good news and bad news. The Monarch’s bad news is that his marriage is falling apartment and he’s jerking off to hentai because he’s lonely and unable to connect with real people. The good news is that the Guild is in sequester so the Blue Morpho can strike again!

21 doesn’t want to do any more Morpho arching, as he is still injured from their last few adventures. Monarch says that there are only two more villains left between them and their sole Venture arching rights, so they must persevere.

One of those two remaining villains is Red Death, whose is known for his lethal once-a-year arching missions and terrifying demeanor. 21 insists that they won’t be able to take down such a legendary villain, and the Monarch angrily tells him he will just do it himself.

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A familiar face sits on a bench in Central Park. Hunter Gathers, whom we haven’t seen in a long while (and who I’ve missed dearly), is feeding the birds when he is approached by Dr. Mrs. the Monarch, badly disguised in a black trench coat, beret, and sunglasses. (Can I just say how much I’ve missed the MAC Pink Poodle lipstick on her? I love the new dark red, but the pink is such a Sheila classic.)

The two exchange some strange back-and-forth before getting confused and giving up on the code phrases they previously emailed about. Dr. Mrs. asks him if he is willing to agree to their deal, and Hunter agrees that the OSI will help the Guild with their sting as long as their help stays off-the-record.

Brock lowers the newspaper from his face from his seat on the other side of Hunter on the bench. “You guarantee the Venture’s safety?” he asks. “One-hundred percent guaranteed,” Dr. Mrs. the Monarch promises. She shares with the men that the Morpho’s next target is Red Death, as he is the next villain scheduled to arch Venture. Phantom Limb approaches the bench speaking in code, and Brock compliments him on his hat, which is the same as his.

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The prisoners in the bathroom try to use broken pipes to break their chains. While aiming for the chain, one prisoner accidentally hits his cellmate’s hand with the pipe instead and breaks one of his fingers. The victim insists that he pull on his dislocated finger to reset the bone, and he resists because he thinks its a setup to a fart joke. He eventually agrees to pull the finger to fix the break, and the pain of having his finger reset causes his cellmate to fart. Of course.

Nearby at the playground, a “Best Dad”-hatted Monarch approaches Red Death on the bench as he watches his daughter play. Red Death points out his daughter, the only child in the park who also has a skull face and bright red skin.

The Monarch slowly takes a gun out of his diaper bag when Red Death suddenly addresses him by name. “You know who I am?! You’ve heard of the Mighty Monarch?!”, the Monarch asks eagerly. Red Skull tells him that he is a big fan of his arching work, and the Monarch is flattered.

Red Skull grips Monarch’s shoulder and warns him to keep his work separate from his personal life. He threatens that a man can do terrible things when he’s lost his way.

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In the lobby of the Venture building, Hatred yells at a crowd of Guild and OSI members to go no further. They ignore him and continue to the elevators. Hatred’s injuries prevent him from doing anything other than beg the intruders to stop. Brock tells him to lock up and take the day off.

21 is sitting at the Monarch mansion dining room table, checking his phone repeatedly. The Monarch walks through the door and 21 scolds him for being late for supper. “Who eats dinner at 4?” the Monarch asks. “Supper! Not dinner! Supper! I said supper!” 21 yells angrily. It was not surprising to see this husband and wife dynamic between the two, as Monarch and 21 grew closer while Dr. Mrs. the Monarch was away on Guild business, and their marital bickering showed just how much the Monarch household has changed.

21 cannot stay angry with his boss after hearing that he spent the afternoon talking to Red Death. The Monarch says that Red Death is both terrifying and an incredible guy, so there is no way they can kill him.

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When finding out he has to climb the stairs to go to the bathroom, Monarch pisses in the sink. Again. For the second time today.

Dr. Venture proves that he will never in his life learn to take a hint as he yet again flirts with Dr. Mrs. the Monarch. She ignores him and yells for the OSI/Guild combo team to remove the civilians.

Watch and Ward are dressed up to be the Hank and Dean decoys for the sting. Hank doesn’t approve of their “Grand Funk Railroad”-esque Venture costumes, and instead gives them the iconic blue neckerchief and maroon sweater vest outfits – “Classic model Hank and Dean!”

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Brock and Shore Leave are playing rock-paper-scissors to see who has to guard the Venture boys for the night. Shore Leave loses because Brock insists that rock conquers both scissors and paper. Shore Leave is dressed up as Brock, complete with blond mullet wig, black polo shirt, and green pants, giving me a visual I never knew I needed.

Rusty, Pete, and Billy leave to go to Billy’s mom’s house for the night. Billy tells Rusty that he can smuggle him out if he’s “feeling blue”, meaning that even after the God Gas wore off, Billy’s belief that Doc is the Blue Morpho did not.

In the bathroom, the two prisoners argue over whether or not they should eat the chicken dinner given to them. The blonde prisoner insists that the food is poison. He reveals that he has been trapped there for weeks and survived by eating the butt meat of the corpses of the other prisoners. You read that right. The butt meat. He just ate their butt cheeks.

In his bathroom, Red Death gets ready for his once-a-year arching. His wife packs his dinner to-go, including a brownie.

Shore Leave (dressed as Brock) tries to take the Venture boys to a night club but finds that it has been changed into a mall. “Okay, plan B: We’re going to CBGB’s!”

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Red Death flies across the sky above them on his satanic horse, screaming “Die, Dr. Venture!” Shore Leave is beyond jealous that Brock gets to kick the legendary villain’s ass when he’s on babysitting duty and wonders, “How come even when I am Brock I still wish I was Brock?”

“That is something I have been living with my whole life,” responds Hank.

The Monarch and 21 disguise themselves as Guild henchmen and make a visit to Red Death’s house. They tell his wife he has been compromised and she and her daughter should go to her mother’s house.

On the Venture compound lawn, a young Rusty Venture giggles and pulls the Action Man’s finger at his request. Action Man tricks Rusty and shows him that he pulled a pin out of the grenade he is holding instead of his finger. Action Man throws the grenade towards Rusty’s dog Scamp and Rusty throws himself on top of it to save his pup. The grenade isn’t real and only releases a flag, but the flag somehow goes right through little Rusty’s body, hitting his kidney.

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The story is being told around the table at Billy’s mom’s house, where Doc, Billy, Pete, Rose, Action Man, and Colonel Gentleman are eating veal piccata.

At the Venture penthouse, all team members on the Guild and OSI teams are in position. Red Death arrives at the rooftop, and is greeted by a decoy Team Venture – Watch and Ward as Hank and Dean, Hunter Gathers as Dr. Venture, and best of all, Phineas Phage as HELPeR. Watch and Ward sneak in a classic “Go Team Venture!”, the only one of season 6. Brock plays himself.

The two prisoners in the bathroom are drinking coffee and trying to figure out how they recognize each other. They discover that they are both supervillains, although only one of them has real powers.

When it is clear that the Blue Morpho isn’t going to show, the OSI and Guild teams, decoys, and Red Death stop acting and talk casually. Red Death receives a call from the Blue Morpho telling him that his wife and kids have been kidnapped. He responds with a terrifying and spot-on impression of Liam Neeson’s Taken speech, which scares the Monarch so much that he can only respond, “Oookay?” and hang up the phone.

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At Rose’s house, Colonel Gentleman tells Billy and Dr. Venture stories about the original Blue Morpho. He confirms that the first Morpho is definitely dead. Both Gentleman and Rusty refer to Pete as Billy’s “boyfriend”. (This caused me to AWW just as loudly as it did in the season 5 finale.)

The blonde prisoner has finally turned on his new cellmate. He thinks this is what his captors want him to do. He kills him with a metal pipe so he can feed on his butt.

Red Death bursts through the wall of the Morpho cave on his horse. 21 and the Monarch are hiding in their costume pods, and Red Death finds them immediately. They immediately reveal that his family is at his mother-in-law’s and beg him not to kill them.

“So why doesn’t the Monarch tell me everything,” Red Death says. “From the beginning.”

Dr. Venture exits the elevator to his penthouse as Dr. Mrs. the Monarch gets in. She is absolutely furious that the Blue Morpho stood her up and made her a fool in front of the Guild and the OSI. “I am going to go look for the Blue Morpho. I will find him and I will kill him MYSELF.”

Unfortunately, Dr. Mrs. forgot to press the elevator button, so the doors don’t close after her speech and her dramatic moment is ruined.

Dr. Venture walks out onto his deck to see that a volleyball tournament of a good guys vs. bad guys is occurring in his pool. Hank is on the bad guy team as Phantom Limb’s replacement. Doc offers to make Doctails for everyone. Both teams cheer.

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The Monarch talks to Red Death about his intense hatred for Venture. Red Death tells Monarch he needs to follow the rules, but then also confesses that the only way he could get over his obsession was to finally kill his arch nemesis. It will be interesting to see how this talk affects the Monarch’s actions and motivations in season 7.

21 asks Red Death if he ever feels guilt for killing people, and reveals that he has not actually been killing the supervillains on the Venture arching list. He shows Monarch and Red Death the bathroom where he locked them all up, and finds that the remaining prisoner has killed all of the others and ate their butts. Red Death kills him.

Monarch is angry at 21, but not because he didn’t kill the villains. “Why didn’t you tell me we had a bathroom down here?”

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Up on the highest rooftop overlooking the pool, an OSI and a Guild sharpshooter have been talking all night. In the post-credit scene, they confess their love for each other. The OSI agent takes off their helmet to reveal that they are actually female. The Guild agent takes off his hat to reveal that the top of his head is removed and covered with a plastic dome with tubes coming out of it.

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The extremely talented Clancy Brown voiced Red Death in this episode. You may know him from the recent film Hail Caesar or from one of his many voice acting roles, and you’ll definitely recognize his face.

At first, I was disappointed to see that so little was resolved in this season finale. What about Hank and Sirena?! How is Dean doing in school?! Is Dr. Mrs. really going to kill her husband?! WHY IS THERE NO WARRIANA IN THIS EPISODE?!

However, I’ve found some comfort in the abundance of loose ends. The lack of resolution means we are definitely getting another season and that some of that season is probably written already! Someone on Reddit pointed out that one of the reasons for the long wait between seasons 5 and 6 was due to the change in scenery and all of the new backgrounds and character designs that were needed. I don’t know if this is accurate, but if so, maybe it will be a slightly shorter wait between seasons 6 and 7.

I’m not a Venture fan who complains much about the long wait. There are always ways to keep busy in the Venture fandom. Not only do we now have an entire new season to rewatch to our hearts’ content, we also have new DVD commentary to look forward to in the future! Just think of all the new Venture cosplays that we will see from this season! There’s so much Venture goodness to look forward to in the future!

I’m going to write another post about my overall feelings about season 6, so be on the lookout for that!

Most of you know how much The Venture Brothers means to me. I’ve made so many friends and had so many incredible experiences through this show. Its a cliche, but I can honestly say that I would be a very different person without the influence of Team Venture (or at the very least, I wouldn’t have a busty butterfly-themed supervillainess tattooed on my leg forever.)

When I looked at my blog stats, I was shocked to see that so many of you visited yesterday, assumedly to read my recap of the finale. It has been SO much fun writing about Season 6 and discussing it with all of you. I love this show and I love this fandom. You have all made the 6+ hours I spend on these every Monday completely worth it. Thank you for reading.

Team Venture forever.


PS: My personal favorite Shirt Club shirt this season is available this week! I might be slightly biased because I’m a Brock fan, but its a really great design. It will be the last shirt of the season so if you’re one of the people who missed all of the other shirts you should definitely grab this one before its gone!



Venture Bros “Red Means Stop” Recap Will Be Delayed Tomorrow

Hey everyone!

Just wanted to let you know that the finale recap won’t be up until tomorrow night. As luck would have it, I have my first day at my new job tomorrow, so my recap will have to wait until after work!

See you then, Venturoos! Enjoy the finale tonight!!!!


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‘The Venture Bros’ Season 6 Episode 7 Recap: “A Party for Tarzan”

I was traveling last night and intentionally booked a flight that would get me to my destination with plenty of time before midnight. So naturally, my flight was delayed and I didn’t get to my destination until 12:10. Which means last night’s episode was the first new Venture episode I haven’t watched live since season 4.

And what an episode to miss.

Last night’s “A Party for Tarzan” has already been described as “the best episode ever” by many fans online. It was different, it was riveting, and it was just damn good.

The episode opens on a lunar eclipse. Dr. Venture stands on his roof in the Blue Morpho suit. (You can see that it is Doc and not Monarch by the bald head peaking out of the bottom of the fedora.) He is covered in what looks like blood.

We see Dr. Venture through the crosshairs. Dr. Mrs. the Monarch is on the other end of the gun, finger on the trigger. Wide Wale tells her to take the shot.

She shoots Dr. Venture. He falls backwards onto the ground and is still. The Morpho mask falls off, revealing his glasses.

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“What?! I know! Crazy! How did this even happen?” says the omniscient voice of 21 as the bloody Venture logo appears and the five theme notes play.

21’s voice-over narration continues as he tells us his Henchman origin story. During a class trip to Washington DC, the Monarch’s henchmen confused him for the Senator they were assigned to kidnap and bring him to the cocoon. There, the Monarch makes him sign a law that makes the Venture surname illegal, so that when Dr. Venture does anything involving his name (such as cashing a check or ordering a pizza), he will be arrested.

21 signs it, and the Monarch yells “Who the hell is Gary Fisher?!” This is awesome both because it is a callback to the “Who the fuck is Gary?” line from Season 5 finale and because Gary’s name is clearly a homage to the great Carrie Fisher, adding to the show’s long list of 21/Star Wars crossovers.

After realizing that they’ve kidnapped the wrong guy, they recruit 21 as a henchman. He never finished the 8th grade, but got his GED later, just in case henching didn’t work out.

“I WILL GET YOU…” yells the fluffy-costumed Monarch of the past. “…DR. HINEY!” finishes modern-day Monarch in a yellow and red tracksuit.

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It is a lame threat, and the Monarch’s heart isn’t in it. In their living room, Dr. Mrs. the Monarch and 21 convince the Monarch to “thwart” Dr. Hiney to work on bumping up his Guild level.

Dr. Mrs. warns her husband to be careful, because the Blue Morpho is still on the loose.

Her voice-over begins, and we see that this isn’t just Gary’s story, but everyone’s. This voice-over narration style seems to be a reference to the classic movie Goodfellas.

Dr. Mrs. the Monarch talks about how the new Council of 13 was making a lot of progress until the Blue Morpho appeared on the scene. Watch and Ward are forced to sit at a kiddie table during Council meetings because they are not technically members.

Phantom Limb says that the Blue Morpho was killed in 1976, which many fans online have been quick to point out is the same year that Vendetta’s file lists as his creation date. This fact seems to further support the theory that the Monarch’s father/the original Blue Morpho became Vendetta.

Dr. Z tells a story of “performing every known sexual act” with tennis star Billie Jean King in 1973, only to watch her take off her mask to reveal the Blue Morpho’s face underneath. The Morpho was sent there by Jonas Venture. Venture would send Morpho to do his dirty work so he could preserve his good name.

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At the Venture penthouse, Dr. Venture has his two bodyguards, two sons, and two Venture Industries employees (Pete and Billy) lined up. He tells them they have to help him with his special guest.

Doc starts to narrate the episode. He tells a story about sneaking into a swanky party full of wealthy people with Pete and Billy to try to make some connections. Dr. Venture manages to introduce himself to Christopher Lambert, who is the the most important person at the party.

The Monarch and 21 suit up for their arching plans. The Monarch is disappointed when he realizes he has to wear his classic Monarch attire instead of his Blue Morpho suit. 21 tells him that he sent the Morpho suit to get cleaned at a place that specializes in antagonist/protagonist costumes.

Their plan is for 21 to kill the next villain on their list, Wandering Spider, at the same time as Monarch arches Dr. Hiney. That way, the Monarch will increase his arching level and end any suspicion that he has anything to do with the Blue Morpho.

Dr. Venture and Dean go to Enzo’s shop in Little Italy, where Doc requests a speedsuit called “The Patriarch”, the same one Christopher Lambert was wearing at the party. Enzo refuses to make one for Doc, because it is “a bitch” to make, and says he will make him a custom tuxedo instead.

Enzo goes into the back room to get started, and when he is gone Doc steals the freshly-cleaned Blue Morpho suit off of the rack next to the desk and runs out with it.

21 is watching a man as he drinks at Battleaxe’s bar. After he leaves the bar, 21 asks the man to help him get a couch into his car. His arm is in a fake sling. He makes the man get in the car to pull the couch inside. “You’re like what, a Wandering Spider or something?” 21 asks in a low voice. He knocks the man out with blue gas from a Morpho gun. I loved this Silence of the Lambs reference. It is SO like 21 to use a classic movie scene for henching inspiration.

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The Monarch’s voice-over begins as he sits on the subway in full costume on the way to arch Dr. Hiney. He explains the Guild levels. The Guild-assigned EMA level means “Equally Matched Aggression” level, and it was created after an altercation with the original Dr. Venture.

As Team Venture was supervising construction on the front lawn of the original Venture Compound, a villain named Turnbuckle appears with Rusty, asking for a fight. It is obvious that Turnbuckle wants a classic hand-to-hand fight, but the Action Man is incredibly aggressive and pistol whips him into the ground with the butt of his gun, blood spraying everywhere, before shooting him in the brain.

After this incident, the Guild created the EMA levels to ensure a fairer arching hierarchy. Now that the Monarch no longer has his cocoon, army of henchmen, or even his number 2, he is only a level 4 arch because he is not a significant threat.

Dr. Z tries to convince Dr. Mrs. to throw out the Guild protocol and go rogue on Dr. Venture. He has figured out that the Morpho is specifically going after the villains in line to hench Venture.

21 takes back the narrator position and talks about “earning his wings”, which is henchmen slang for your first kill. He talks about coming face-to-face with an arch who could have killed him on the spot, but who instead died of happiness at that exact moment.

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In Dr. Hiney’s waiting room, Dr. Hiney sees that his secretary was shot with a dart gun. He spots the Monarch in one of the chairs, and the Monarch says menacingly, “I have a huge pain in my ass, Doctor.”

Dr. Mrs. the Monarch is taking the Guild limo to Wide Wale’s place. Her voice-over talks about how the old-time villains love to scrap protocol and go crazy every time something goes wrong, and she can’t help but want to do the same.

Pete and Billy have decorated the Venture penthouse for the eclipse party Doc is throwing for Christopher Lambert. Dr. Venture complains that the decorations “look like a baby shower for a teen mom.”

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Deep in the woods, 21 drags a passed-out Wandering Spider out of the car and accidentally deploys his robot spider legs. He pokes him to see if he is awake, and by doing so accidentally shoots himself in the crotch with a dart.

Christopher Lambert does not show up to the party. Pete and Billy are getting drunk at the bar where Hank is bartending. As always, Hank has embraced this new job wholeheartedly, wearing an old-school bartending outfit and a fake mustache. Doc shows him how to make one of his disgusting “Doc-tails”, the Ruddy Bottom (grenadine, tomato juice, and rum).

Dr. Hiney is lying on his stomach, strapped to his patient table. He struggles against his restraints as a laser beam slowly moves towards his ass. The Monarch tries to take a selfie with the setup to send to his wife. He complains that the Doctor doesn’t look scared enough in the photos.

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At the Venture penthouse, Billy is very drunk. He falls off of his stool and spills a Ruddy Bottom onto Doc, soaking him in red liquid (remember the blood from the beginning of the episode?) Dr. Venture goes outside to watch the eclipse alone.

21 wakes up Wandering Spider and hands him his phone. He tells Spider to call the Guild and tell them that he’s about to be executed by the Blue Morpho. Dr. Mrs. the Monarch’s compact phone is on vibrate and she does not answer. 21 forces his hostage to leave her a message.

At the exact same time, as they planned, Monarch sends his wife his henching selfie.

Across the street, Wide Wale, Dragoon, Red Mantle, Dr. Z, and Dr. Mrs. the Monarch watch as Doc walks across his roof. They see the spilled Doc-tail and assume he has killed again and that they are catching him literally red-handed.

Wide Wale pressures Dr. Mrs. the Monarch to shoot Dr. Venture, telling her to stop being a coward, begging her to end the madness. She does.

The camera follows the bullet in slow motion as it leaves the gun and crosses between the rooftops. It flies in front of the red moon.

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As we follow the bullet, the voice-overs continue.

Dr. Mrs.: “Sometimes you do something and you know that second you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.”

21: “But you had to make that choice! You saw no other way! You’re a tiny part of a big machine.”

Dr. Venture: “And you feel.. small. Like you don’t matter. But its so beautiful, you’re okay with it.”

The bullet hits Dr. Venture in the chest. He lays motionless on the ground.

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The Monarch’s voice-over narrates to end our story. He tells us that Dr. Venture died, and no one cared; not his friends, family, bodyguard, or even his robot.

Dr. Venture’s eyes open. He leaps up and throws off the suit jacket. The Monarch’s omniscient voice laughs. “Please! I’m kidding!” The Blue Morpho jacket has a bulletproof lining. Doc is unharmed. He assumes that the jacket pocket blew up, and because he stole the jacket from a supervillain tailor, he was too ashamed to tell anyone what happened.

Dr. Venture ended up paying for the Monarch’s dry cleaning. Dr. Mrs. received both her husband’s selfie and Wandering Spider’s call for help. 21 did his job and killed Wandering Spider. The Monarch ends with “This.. This is a happy ending!”

In the post-credit scene, the Council of 13 is getting into the limo outside Wide Wale’s building. She pauses. “Did you see that? Right over there!” She motions to the Venture building across the circle. “Is that Christopher Lambert?” Indeed, Doc’s guest of honor is trying to get into the locked Venture building. I guess he showed up after all.

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Bonus: I grabbed this screenshot in case any of you out there are as Warriana/Brock obsessed as I am:

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That was quite an episode. Doc and Jackson have really mastered how to pack in the action while maintaining comfortable pacing. This episode was a prime example of that balance. Not only was our current story advanced, but we also got 21 and Guild backstory and a brand-new narration style all in the same episode. It was really such a joy to watch.

Doc and Jackson recently revealed that “A Party for Tarzan” is the more action-packed of the final two episodes of season 6. They even considered switching the order of the two, but realized it would mess up continuity. So remember that there isn’t going to be a big dramatic finale next week. It will be more like the ending we got in season 5.

I got this information from an interview with Doc and Jackson over at ScreenCrush that was published a few days ago. We also learned from that interview that there may be another mid-season special à la Gargantua 2 before season 7 premieres, which reveals most importantly that THERE WILL BE A SEASON 7. I’m pretty sure that this is the first confirmation we’ve had that season 7 will actually exist. Get excited, Venturoos.

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And as always, here is your weekly Shirt Club plug. This week pays homage to Enzo, tailor to the stars (and by stars I mean supervillains).


Oh hey Sally.

See you next week for our SEASON FINALE!!


‘The Venture Bros’ Season 6 Episode 6 Recap: “It Happening One Night”

Andy Warhol was one of my first loves. I’m from Pittsburgh, where we are taught about Warhol from a weirdly young age because he was born here. His museum has been one of my favorite places since grade school. It was way later, when I was reading his books in high school, that I even realized how many drugs they were doing.

So obviously, I adored this entire episode.

“It Happening One Night” opens with another Super Friends monologue. Out of the murky waters of the Gowanus Canal rises a purple mushroom-shaped fortress, the headquarters of the New York crime collective the Doom Factory.

The Doom Factory is an obvious homage to Warhol’s factory and to the Legion of Doom: the villains we see all seem to reference one of Warhol’s famous muses and one of the Legion, including “Eenie-Meenie” (Edie Sedgwick/Toyman), “Serpentine” (Ondine/Copperhead), “Ultra Violent” (Ultra Violet/Star Sapphire) and “Billy Maim” (Billy Name/Cheetah). Their leader, Wes Warhammer (Warhol/Lex Luthor), suggests rather casually, “Uh, guys.. We should get Dr. Venture.”

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At the Venture penthouse, Brock is showing Dr. Venture and the boys a strange video that was sent to the Venture Industries building in a white, blue, and red box labeled Doom! (based off of Warhol’s Brillo boxes). “So you thought it was a good idea to just open up a box marked ‘DOOM’ in my house?”, Doc asks. The video is a creepy mashup of red and black photographs with the text “Venture tonight you meet your doom!”

Hank teases Dean about his college vocabulary, and Dean threatens not to help Hank with his plan later that night. When questioned, the boys lie about their plans, saying that they’re just redecorating Hank’s room. Brock tells the Ventures not to leave the penthouse tonight.

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Dr. Mrs. the Monarch is sitting in the living room of her new home, hologramming into a meeting of the Council of 13. She is warning the Council about the Blue Morpho and his killing spree, insisting that they cancel the Doom Factory’s arching plans for that night. The other members of the Council do not take her seriously. They dismiss her concerns about the Blue Morpho, who she believes to be Dr. Venture, telling her that her husband’s obsession with Venture has rubbed off on her.

The Monarch descends the stairs while talking to 21 on the phone. 21 was in the Morpho cave when Dr. Mrs. began her conference call in the outside room, so he has been stuck there for two hours. 21 insists that the Monarch get his wife out of the room so he can get out of the cave.

Dr. Mrs. rants angrily to her husband about the Council’s decision to fight the Blue Morpho with wanted posters instead of real action. To distract her and free 21, the Monarch kisses his wife passionately. 21 finally escapes.

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In Central Park, Hank and Sirena are taking a romantic evening ride in the Go Pod. Hank is attempting to woo Sirena with a romantic monologue about the night air, but she interrupts him by saying, “Uh, okay. So I’ve waited, and since you’re not going to say anything about it clearly, uh, what is with your outfit?” Her question is understandable as Hank is dressed rather strangely in a black coat and pants covered in buckles.

“Isn’t it the Bad outfit?”, she asks, referencing Michael Jackson’s Bad music video. “No, this is the good one!” Hank responds cluelessly.

They stop the car and Hank uses his communicator watch to alert Dean that they have arrived. Dean, who is hiding behind a nearby tree, tells Pete that he is up first. Pete comes towards the couple with a knife pretending to mug them. Hank pushes Sirena behind him, and his wardrobe choices are made clear when he does a spot-on Michael Jackson dance that scares the mugger/Pete away. Sirena takes the knife from him.

The couple suddenly hears bongo sounds, and walk over to a nearby Dean. He is sitting cross-legged and playing the drums while dressed in all black, complete with a black beret, sunglasses, and goatee. Next to him plugged into an amp ‘happens’ to be Hank’s bass, which Hank quickly grabs and uses to serenade Sirena.

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Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to catch her attention for long, as she walks away while Hank is playing. The boys decide to scrap the ‘lost baby’ gag and move onto Phase 2. At hearing this news, the nearby baby carriage opens to reveal Billy with a bonnet wrapped around his huge head. “Thank you! I feel like an idiot!”, he whines.

Dean says that he has already procured reservations at the restaurant where his friend Brown Widow works, which he declares très Hank.  Sirena is sitting on the Go Pod, using the knife to remove the tracker her dad put in her arm.

Back at the Venture penthouse, Brock sees that both of the boys are gone and tells Doc to get into the panic room. Doc resists, insisting that he can’t stop his important scientific work at a moment’s notice. We see that this “work” is actually playing Team Fortress 2 with Hatred.

Hatred is still swollen and bruised with his neck in a brace and his arm in a sling, but he is back at work in the Venture lobby, playing Doc on the security computer. He admits to Brock that the boys are in Central Park on a date.

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The floor in the lobby has finally been fixed. Immediately after Brock leaves the building, Hatred is stabbed with some kind of syringe by Eenie-Meenie, and passes out.

In the park, Brock locates the Go Pod. Sirena’s bloody tracker is on the seat. Rocco, Sirena’s bodyguard, appears on the scene at the same time as Brock. Brock calls Rocco a pussy for using a powersuit, and the two bodyguards start to fight.

At the Monarch mansion, the Monarch enters his bedroom to find Dr. Mrs his Wife dressed as a farm girl, complete with a blonde wig and Daisy Dukes. She crawls onto the bed as the two begin to role play, and the Monarch shoots her in the ass with a Morpho dart.

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He returns to the Morpho cave, where 21 debriefs him on Warhammer and the Doom Factory. He tells the Monarch that he won’t kill anyone anymore, and starts to talk about the book he is reading titled Blood on My Hands, Grief in My Heart. The Monarch slaps the book out of his hands, yelling, “Will you stop with the PTSD nonsense? So you killed a guy! You’re a super villain! TO THE MORPHO SCOOTERS!”

The Morpho’s theme music plays as the Monarch struggles to steer his scooter out of the lab.

Back in the park, Brock and Rocco seem to have arrived at a stalemate. They compliment each other on their fighting styles. In my favorite line of the night, Rocco says, “Look, we can play Rock’Em, Brock’Em Robots all night long, but it ain’t gonna bring those kids back.” The two agree to team up to find their missing kids.

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Sirena and Hank walk around the city, playing “King for a Day”. Hank says he would outlaw yellow candy because it always tastes the worst, and Sirena says she would outlaw men in sandals, or sandals with socks, or Rocco wearing Sandals, or Rocco’s mother so he would never have been born.

As they start to enter a building, Dean and Pete hop out from behind a dumpster, with full 1950s reporter garb and cameras. They pretend to be paparazzi, yelling things like “Shazam! How’s about his new gal pal?” Hank pretends to get angry at the invasion of privacy, and he and Sirena enter the building.

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They descend a flight of stairs and enter a dark room that looks like a dungeon. They are surprised by a ninja, who pretends to stab Hank. It seems that the place Dean deemed très Hank is a ninja-themed restaurant.

In the Venture Industries building, Dr. Venture gets out out of the elevator to see his front hallway has been redecorated. There are Doom! Brillo boxes everywhere and colorful pop art prints of Doc’s face on the wall. He enters his living room to see even more, including Warhol’s Silver Cloud balloons floating around the apartment (which are on display at the Warhol Museum IRL!)

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Many of the villains of the Doom factory are lounging in the living room. Frigid (Brigid Berlin/Captain Cold) sorts out pills on top of the coffee table, as Gerard the Gorilla (Gerard Malanga/Gorilla Grodd) makes screenprints on the floor. No one seems to mind Dr. Venture. He runs upstairs to find Wes Warhammer waiting for him with a camera and backdrop.

The Doom Factory member with a camera for a head films Doc as he sits on a stool in front of a white background. He tells Doc to just be himself, but Doc says that isn’t completely possible when “Myself would be running out of here screaming and most likely calling my bodyguard to beat you up. So.” They respond by asking him to take his shirt off. “Weirdest. Arching. Ever.”

Brock and Rocco drive towards the kids in Brock’s Charger. Rocco complains about the smell of Brock’s Marlboros and Brock responds by complaining about the smell of Rocco’s Axe body spray. Rocco asks Brock if he was frozen by the OSI in 1979 or if he is some kind of time traveler, because that would explain Brock’s choice in cars, clothes, music, and “Tennessee Top Hat” hairstyle. Brock stops the car and angrily tells Rocco not to touch his hair.

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At the restaurant, Hank and Sirena seem to be hitting it off. Sirena complains about her friends thinking her blog was stupid, and Hank tells her that he thinks she would be a great ‘bloggeress’. (From now on this will be the only title I respond to, so please take note.)

Their waiter falls from the ceiling of the booth (because ninja) to take their order, and we see that he is Dean’s friend the Brown Widow. It is awkward between him and Sirena because they used to date. Sirena is not interested in discussing their former relationship and tells the Brown Widow to take his drama elsewhere.

The Monarch and 21 ride their Morpho scooters on the Gowanus Canal. 21 starts to tell the Monarch to keep his mouth shut because the canal water is disgusting, and at that moment the Monarch wipes out and falls into the water. A dolphin corpse floats past him. The Doom Factory headquarters rises from the water.

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The Monarch and 21 get inside to fuck up the lair. That way, their Guild rank will go down so that the Monarch will be ahead of them in line to arch, and 21 won’t have to kill anyone. When 21 asks him how he intends to actually do this damage, the Monarch responds, “The same way I do everything amazing: by blowing my inheritance.”

Back in the Venture penthouse, Doc is starting to embrace his role as Warhammer’s muse as he plays it up for the camera. He realizes that Warhammer isn’t even in the room anymore.

Outside, Doc’s home has been transformed into a party. The room is flooded with changing colored lights. Doc walks past the silent Murder Bear from season 4 and a man dressed in an identical speedsuit. We also see some other familiar background villains at the party, including Vain Gloria, Brick Frog, the Plug Face guy, and the flower-themed villainess who attempts to hit on Shore Leave at Don Hell’s nightclub in season 5.

Dr. Venture asks around for Wes and Serpentine tells him that he’s old news, and that Warhammer has already moved on to new muses. Doc’s feelings are clearly hurt. He suddenly realizes that members of the Doom Factory are stealing all of his super science equipment in the middle of the party.

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Brock and Rocco pull up to the ninja-themed restaurant. They mistake the ninja waiters for real ninjas. Brock admits that his gun isn’t loaded, so they’ll have to use their hands. Rocco tells Brock that he knew a man like him in his unit in Afghanistan, and he starts to recommend the same book that 21 was reading earlier in the episode. Brock is not interested in his advice and gets out of the car.

Inside the restaurant, Sirena attempts to reason with a pouting Hank. “Come on, you’re not the first good guy I’ve dated. Get over it!” Hank admits that her dating other good guys doesn’t bother him, but he worries that she’s only interested in him because it will make her dad angry.

Sirena tells him that she really likes him, and that she is impressed with the skits he had planned throughout their date. She says that guys usually only want to get her drunk and mess around. “I don’t believe in doing that,” Hank says honestly. “What do you believe in?”, Sirena asks him, smiling. Hank gives a speech about his beliefs à la Crash Davis in the Bull Durham, ending with, “And I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days – stopping only to go to the bathroom, obviously.”

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“Do you want to do something crazy?” Sirena asks. “Sister, you had me at ‘crazy’,” Hank responds.

Back at the Doom Factory lair, the Monarch and 21 are duct taping explosives to the poles in the building. The Monarch wants to set off the explosives right as they jump out in order to look as cool as possible. 21 protests, but the Monarch presses the detonator button anyways. They grab Silver Cloud balloons and jump out of the window.

21 lands smoothly on his Morpho scooter, but the Monarch’s coat tails get stuck in the lair window as he tries to jump. Thankfully, the explosives only release tiny clouds of smoke instead of actually detonating. Immediately after, the Doom Factory lair rises off of its stand in the water and flies away, the Monarch still stuck in the window. 21 and the Monarch yell “DUDE!” at each other as the Monarch flies away.

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Inside the restaurant, Brock and Rocco disguise themselves as fellow ninja waiters and start to beat up another waiter, still unaware that it is just a restaurant. They are stopped by the Brown Widow, who shows them to the couple’s booth. They are both gone.

Brock and Rocco run out of the restaurant, where Pete and Dean start to take their photo, still playing their paparazzi roles. Brock punches Pete in the face before realizing who they are. He tells Dean to wait in the car. As the bodyguards run away, Billy, who is dressed as a homeless vet, asks, “Why didn’t we get to be ninjas?”

Sirena dives into the New York Bay, the Statue of Liberty far behind her. She reveals that her skin has to get wet every six hours. After some encouragement, Hank cannonballs in after her. He yells about how cold the water is, which the nearby bodyguards hear, and Sirena dunks his head to shut him up. She kisses him under the water.

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The Monarch is inside the Doom Factory as it flies over the city. It stops at the Venture rooftop and a ramp lowers down so that the Factory members can haul their stolen goods inside.

Dr. Venture is talking to Warhammer, asking him if he intends to steal everything and leave him with nothing. Warhammer says that Eenie gave him a watch that allows him to talk to God, but he doesn’t have anything to say. He gives the watch to Doc, who realizes that it is just his communicator watch spraypainted gold.

“That Eenie’s a little thief, is what she is! You ALL are!” Doc yells angrily as Warhammer climbs up the ramp into the Doom lair. Warhammer looks at Doc weirdly and responds in an obvious tone, “Um, yeah.”

As the Doom lair flies away, the Monarch finally jumps off of it and lands near Doc. “Good evening, citizen!” he says to his nemesis. The detonator falls out of his pocket and lands on the button. The Doom Factory explodes in a massive ball of fire.

Hank and Sirena are locking lips as the explosion lights up the sky behind them. “Fireworks,” Hank sighs dreamily as they pull away from each other. The camera pans out to show Rocco putting a coat on Sirena’s shoulders, and Brock lifting Hank by his underwear.

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In the post-credit scene, Dr. Mrs. the Monarch wakes up in her farm girl outfit on her bed with a Morpho dart sticking out of her butt. She sits up and sees the Monarch lying on the floor with a Morpho dart coming out of his shoulder. She runs to him and holds her husband in her arms.

The compact phone rings, and Dr. Mrs answers it to find that Phantom Limb is on the other line. “You were right, Councilwoman. He struck again. What do you need to stop him?”

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The pacing of this episode was slower than most of season 6, so it felt somewhat more like previous Venture seasons. It was probably the lack of Council drama that caused the slower pace. I don’t mind the episodes that pack more in, but it was definitely nice to have some focus on the Venture brothers themselves.

We were all looking forward to Hank’s date, and it did not disappoint. I love Hank. Even when dressed exactly like Michael Jackson, Hank is constantly and unabashedly himself. His little skits for Sirena were heartfelt and embarrassing, just like him. I also loved that Hank wasn’t the first good guy Sirena had dated – it takes away the ‘princess locked in a tower’ angle to their relationship and gives their relationship normality and realism. Unlike Hank and Dean, she is not sheltered and naive; she’s had real life experiences. I can’t wait to see what she teaches Hank.

Jackson and Doc have truly outdone themselves in character references in this episode. The amount of brainstorming, research, and character design that must have gone into creating the Doom Factory is unbelievable. Researching the Legion of Doom and Warhol Factory members to figure out each character was so much fun.

I have so much respect for Doc and Jackson and for the amount of work they put into this show. This episode – and this entire season – is a reminder that the Venture Bros is a labor of love. If you’re one of the people who constantly complain about the wait between seasons, I invite you to rewatch this episode in particular to see just how much work goes into the Venture Bros.

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Remember those posters I keep talking about? It seems that the second two may not be released on AsSeenOnAdultSwim.com after all. Today Adult Swim released the .jpg files of all four posters on their Facebook page, inviting us to print ’em out or use them as a background. The files are extremely high res, so if you missed the first two or are interested in completing your collection, you could easily take these files to a print shop and get them printed. The first two were 18″ x 24″ and printed on 100 lb. uncoated cover stock.

This week’s Shirt Club continues the Warhol theme. It features the Brillo Box parody we saw in the episode, and it is one of my favorites so far (but, as you can tell, I’m pretty biased towards all things Warhol!) Check it out here!


Special thanks to the Venture Bros subreddit for the help with the Legion of Doom references! As always, please let me know in the comments if I missed anything, as this episode was extra packed with references that I probably missed.


New Comic Releases 3/2/16

Happy Wednesday everyone! Here are my pulls for this week!


What other titles should we be picking up that we should be adding to this list or don’t know about? Let us know in the comments or at thegeekgirlgang@gmail.com!


‘The Venture Bros’ Season 6 Episode 5 Recap: “Tanks For Nuthin”

Marriage problems! Guild widows! Customer service! Butt stuff! And SO MUCH MORE!

Dr. Mrs. the Monarch stomps around her bedroom as she gets dressed in her Guild best for another day at work. Her noise wakes up her husband, who lovingly tells her good morning. She does not return the greeting. Overwhelmed and exhausted with her new job, Dr. Mrs. rips into the Monarch for sleeping in late and not working. To be fair, she still doesn’t know that her her husband has actually been very busy with his new double life as the Blue Morpho.


Dr. Mrs. the Monarch doesn’t think that supervising the house construction is an adequate job replacement for full-time villainy. She criticizes the Monarch for not making any effort to raise his villain level from his current 4. The Monarch tells her that marriage is “for better or worse, not better than 4.” His wife responds that she married The Monarch, but that she doesn’t even know who he is anymore. She slams the door on her way out. 21 offers his boss a hug.

Brock wakes up in an unfamiliar bedroom, naked and face down in a pink pillow. He starts to move, and winces. “What the fuck?” He gets on his hands and knees, and sees that there is a dildo with a cord sticking out of his ass.

Brock quietly opens the bedroom door, now dressed with his shoes in his hand. He tries to sneak out, but Warriana hears him from her desk where she is working on her laptop and tells him that there is coffee in the kitchen. Brock starts to talk about his sneakiness and about last night, but Warriana interrupts him to ask why he’s still there. She tells him to take his coffee to go.


In the Venture lobby,Dr. Mrs. the Monarch and a Guild team are retrieving Harangutan’s body and analyzing the crime scene. Dr. Venture predictably can’t help himself from hitting on Dr. Mrs., even after years of repeated rejection and even attending her wedding. She is having a very bad day. She tells Venture he is in big trouble with the Guild for Harangutan’s death.

At that moment, Brock enters the Venture lobby with sunglasses on and a coffee in hand. He is clearly still in pain from the rough sex the night before. When he finally notices the crowd of Guild employees in the lobby, he tries to take out his knife but drops it on the floor.

Dr. Mrs. asks Brock if he killed Harangutan, but he collaborates Doc’s story that he had nothing to do with it. She asks for the security tapes, and Brock refuses and tells her, “You touch our tapes and they’ll be pulling you out of that hole next.” Dr. Mrs. turns around angrily and runs directly into Dean, who is carrying a bouquet of flowers. She misinterprets the gesture as being for her, and smacks them out of his hands. “Those were for Uncle Hatred!”, Dean says sadly.


Dr. Venture signs some papers for Watch and Ward, and they insist that he keep the pen, “courtesy of the NEW Guild of Calamitous Intent!” They also give him a business card with a phone number for customer service.

The Pirate Captain meets Dr. Venture and Brock in the lobby with some bad news. A video of Billy eating fast food while under the influence of the God Gas has gone viral, resulting in a PR nightmare for Venture Industries. Of course, the person responsible for the update is Pete, who never considered the implications for his employer when presented with an opportunity to embarrass Billy.

Billy wakes up to find Pete showing the video to his mom, Action Man, and Colonel Gentleman. (It seems that Billy and Pete might be living with that group during their contract with Venture Industries.) The door bell rings, and Rose calls from the front door, “Billy, there’s a Nazi here to see you!” Dr. Mrs. the Monarch enters, and she is pissed.


In the City of Newark Mayor’s office, a maintenance man is vacuuming the carpet when a phone starts to ring somewhere in the room. It seems to be coming from a Haynes statue on the desk. When the maintenance man touches the statue, the head springs up to reveal a red phone that clearly hasn’t been used in a long time. He answers, and on the other line 21 hangs up the same red phone in the Blue Morpho cave. “What the eff!”

The Monarch is playing with all of his dad’s old gadgets as 21 reads off the list of villains currently in line to arch Venture. The “Blue Morpho’s Pyramid of Peril” features Wide Wale as Venture’s primary arch, but Wale has also given sub-arching rights to other level-10 villains, who then in turn gave rights to lower villains.

21 disagrees with the Monarch’s plan to kill all other villains on the Pyramid, insisting that there must be another way to get them away from Venture. The Monarch insists that murder is the only way that the villains won’t talk. After debating different methods of Morpho transportation, the two resign themselves to using their Metrocards.


Up in the Guild space station, Dr. Mrs. the Monarch is hollogramming in to a meeting to inform the Council of her progress. She tells them Billy’s story about the Blue Morpho saving the day. The Council discusses the possibility that there might be a new Blue Morpho, or that Billy was just hallucinating or lying.

Dr. Mrs. the Monarch complains about not being able to acquire the Venture security tapes. Hologram Wide Wale offers to retrieve them for her from the surveillance he installed during his first arching. “The Ventures can’t hide nothing from Wide Wale!” he boasts, as his waiter, Hank disguised with a mustache, pours him another glass of wine. Hank is still employed at the Italian restaurant that Wide Wale frequents.

Dr. Mrs. has to face her first time informing a Guild member of their spouse’s death. Watch and Ward talk about how bad their previous experiences have been, and she tells them to stay in the limo. She enters a pub where a Scottish redhead is tending the bar. (Also at the bar is Brick Frog, our second sighting this season, as well as the Apache Chief who stood on his tiptoes during his Revenge Society audition, and an antlered villain named Jägermeister who I don’t think we’ve seen before.)


The redhead is Harangutan’s widow, and she tells Dr. Mrs. to call her Battleaxe. Battleaxe starts to complain about her husband, but when Dr. Mrs. informs her of his death, she drops the glass she is cleaning and bursts into tears. However, she recovers quickly when a villain at the bar requests a round on the house in Harangutan’s memory. Battleaxe is not interested in Dr. Mrs.’ condolences, just the keys to her husband’s Harangutank.

Next, we finally have our first scene as Dean as a college student. He sits in his psychology class next to his old friend the Brown Widow. His professor, Dr. Nidaba, has a giant head and uses a floating chair for transportation. In the middle of his lecture, Dr. Nidaba receives a message on his Guild of Calamitous Intent pocket watch that Harangutan has been compromised, and that he is officially cleared to arch Dr. Venture. He dismisses class immediately, and tells them to return to their lives of “gravity bongs, ceaseless Tweets, and date rapery.”

As the students file out and leave their papers on his desk, Dr. Nidaba stops Dean to tell him his paper is terrible. He uses his impressive intelligence to “interpret the data” and analyze Dean’s current life situation. He guesses the hole in the lobby from the soot on Dean’s shoe, and Dean’s earlier visit to Hatred in the hospital from the scent of antiseptic on his clothing and the pollen on his sleeve. Dr. Nidaba tells Dean to avoid extra stress in his life and avoid his home for the evening. He does not want Dean to be present for his arching.


When Dean leaves the room, the blackboard raises, revealing Dr. Nidaba’s secret identity as Think Tank.

Dr. Mrs. the Monarch does not have the keys to the Harangutank. After doing research on her laptop, she finally discovers that the tank was impounded by the NYPD. Dr. Mrs.’ guilt causes her to offer to escort the widow to the impound garage, and Battleaxe accepts her offer with excitement. As the widow gets ready, Dr. Mrs. receives an email from Wide Wale with the security footage from the Venture compound.

At the impound garage, the Monarch and 21 as the Blue Morpho and Kano shoot the security guard with tranquilizer darts when asked for license and registration. They use a Morpho gadget to unlock the doors into the garage.


The Pirate Captain is on a program called WMNews to do damage control after the viral video of Billy. The host of the show, Alexis Warrington, looks very familiar to a certain female member of the Crusaders Action League.

Dr. Venture is yelling at Billy on the phone as he looks over that day’s stock reports with a glass of red wine. He blames Billy and Pete for the 50 point drop in Venture stock that happened after the video. In classic Doc fashion, he rejects any responsibility for the fiasco. He notices Think Tank’s reflection in his wine glass.

The Monarch and 21 run around the impound garage looking for the Morpho Mobile. In the lobby, the security guard wakes up from the tranquilizers only to immediately see Battleaxe breaking his window and knocking him out with her axe. Dr. Mrs. the Monarch exasperatedly yells, “What is wrong with you?! All you had to do was pay the ticket!” Battleaxe simply responds, “I hate fucking coppers.”

Think Tank blasts a cannon through the windows and wheels himself into Dr. Venture’s living room. He apologizes for the dramatic entrance, and challenges Doc to a battle – a battle of wits. Eager to finally have an adversary that matches his intellect, Think Tank place a chess board on the table between them.


Think Tank is predictably disappointed when Dr. Venture says that he doesn’t play chess. “More of a Parcheesi man.” Doc is annoyed with how many arches he has faced in a single week, and calls the number on the Guild business card to complain to customer service (which is just Watch and Ward waiting in the limo for Dr. Mrs.) Brock faces off with Think Tank as Doc goes onto the porch to complain.

Dr. Mrs. the Monarch and Battleaxe find the Harangutank in the garage – which is not a tank at all, but a pimped-out camper. Battleaxe opens the door to reveal a terrible smell and a floor completely covered in a variety of alcohol bottles. Battleaxe admits that the tank is actually her and her late husband’s home.


Outside the tank, the Monarch causes a ruckus when he trips over a beer bottle, and when he stands back up is spotted by his wife. “YOU!”, Dr. Mrs. yells, pointing at him. He runs away from her immediately.

Brock has that classic season 1 bloodlust in his eyes as he fights Think Tank. He has one arm inside Think Tank’s force field trying to cut the villain’s face with his knife. Think Tank is offended when Brock deems the situation a stalemate, and points out that he has a cannon pointed at Brock’s chest. Brock smiles wildly and cockily declares that he can dodge it. He does not dodge it.

Brock opens his eyes after the high-velocity cannon blast to his chest to a moving aerial view of the city, and he realizes he is laying over Warriana’s shoulder. “What, are you stalking me now?” she teases. Brock starts to protest, and she tells him that she is just messing with him. Warriana apologizes for being weird that morning, and blames it on her busy life. Brock is understanding, and says that he also has a lot happening in his life, including Think Tank, who is still at the Venture building.

“Whoa, whoa, Think Tank?!”, Warriana interrupts. “Oh, do not even tell me that pompous son of a Gorgon is messing with MY MAN!” (It is at this moment that I squealed so loudly that I woke up my cat.)


Dr. Mrs. the Monarch is trying to find the Blue Morpho in the lines of cars in the garage. “I know who you are!”, she yells. “You coward!” In the Harangutank, Battleaxe starts snooping through Dr. Mrs.’ laptop, and discovers the Venture security footage of her husband’s death.

Dr. Mrs. finds the Monarch easily, as he and 21 are hiding in the car that literally has the Morpho logo on the hood. They start the car, but there is still a boot on the wheel. Dr. Mrs. holds a gun to the windshield and gives them three seconds to come out. As this is happening, Battleaxe sees Dr. Venture’s face on the security footage and thinks that he is the Blue Morpho, and therefore responsible for her husband’s death.

Dr. Mrs fires a warning shot, causing the Monarch to duck his head and accidentally hit a red button on the car’s dashboard. The car turns into a hoverplane and the two escape, with Battleaxe in the Harangutank hot on their tail. Dr. Mrs. gets picked up by Watch and Ward in the limo, and she tells them to follow the Morpho Mobile.


Doc finally gives up on his customer service call, and walks back inside his living room to find Brock and Warriana teamed up against Think Tank. The villain angrily calls their teamwork an “unsanctioned team up” and threatens to report them to the Guild.

Warriana proposes that she and Brock take their “unsanctioned team up” back to her place and make it official. Brock timidly requests “No butt stuff this time, okay?”, but Warriana lassos him, forcing him to admit the truth that “I liked it!”


This screenshot may or may not also be my new Twitter banner.

In the flying Morpho Mobile, Monarch celebrates their amazing getaway, and tells 21 to fly over the Venture building. 21 is understandably freaked by their encounter with Dr. Mrs. the Monarch, and wants to go straight home. The Monarch insists that they do a fly-by of the Venture home so he can take an evil, mighty push right into their pool, just like old times.

The change in direction turns out to be a great idea, as the Guild limo was hot on their trail when the Mobile was making a straight path back home. She is shocked to see the car turn around and head for the top of the Venture building. Dr. Venture looks out his now broken windows to see the Morpho Mobile fly low to the roof in a quick swoop and drop a poop in the pool.


Yes, I screenshotted the poop.

Battleaxe speeds towards the Venture building in the Harangutank, swearing to avenge Dr. Venture for her husband’s death. She drives into the traffic circle outside the Venture building at the same time as do Hank and Dean in the Go Pod and Dr. Mrs. the Monarch in the Guild limo.

Hank and Dean are distracted by the sight of Dean’s professor trying to hail a taxi outside of their building, and Hank accidentally steers the Pod into the path of the Guild limo, which swerves into the Harangutank’s lane. Battleaxe swerves the tank to avoid hitting the limo and drives straight into the Venture lobby, running directly into Think Tank and driving them both into the hole in the lobby. There is an explosion from the pit. The Death Pit claims two more victims.


On the roof, Doc is scooping the shit out of the pool with a net. The explosion from the lobby causes the entire building to shake and Doc to sigh, “Now what?” He looks over the side of the rooftop to see the damage down below, and at the same time Dr. Mrs. the Monarch sees him in her binoculars from the traffic circle below. She never saw the Morpho Mobile fly away from the building. She frowns. It seems that she too has mistaken Doc to be the Blue Morpho.

In the post-credits scene, Dr. Mrs. the Monarch finally returns home early the next morning after a long and awful day at work. She opens the front door to see that the foyer is finally finished in beautiful purples and reds reminiscent of the interior of their old Cocoon.

Dr. Mrs. goes upstairs and tells her husband “Someone had a very busy day!” The Monarch is lying in bed, terrified that his wife has figured out his secret identity. “The vestibule looks great, honey,” she says, spooning his back. She apologizes for her behavior that morning, and admits that he is not the enemy. He kisses her.

Dr. Mrs the Monarch rolls over in bed. “I know who my enemy is,” she growls. The Monarch is terrified.


We heard some new voices in this episode. Think Tank was voiced by Jeffrey Wright, an actor who’s recent work includes Valentin Narcisse in Boardwalk Empire and Beetee in The Hunger Games. Battleaxe was voiced by Barbara Rosenblat, who you might recognize as Miss Rosa in Orange is the New Black, and who voiced the Titmouse bird at the end of the episode: “Chirp, you slut.”


As always, I am completely delighted with every single moment of Brock and Warriana. Holy shit. This plotline is basically tailor-made to my interests. Brock has always been my favorite character, and strong ladies are my favorite thing in the world. I haven’t gotten that intense heart squeezing feeling over a fictional couple since LOST was still on the air (Sawyer and Juliet forever, y’all). As Doc explained to Jackson in the season 6 commentary, I “ship” it. I ship it SO HARD. AHHH.

There is a lot of speculation online as to the pit in the lobby doing the Monarch’s work for him at killing off the Pyramid of Peril. So far, three out of three villains have died in a hole ironically made by the prime arch. Will we see more Guild members meet the same fate? I really hope Brock’s comment about putting Dr. Mrs. the Monarch in the hole wasn’t foreshadowing for her, but possibly foreshadowing for many of the villains she represents.

This episode may be slightly overwhelming to new viewers as it had a faster pace than its predecessors, but its clear that these episodes are an immediate continuation of the previous week. They’re telling one season-long story. As I’ve said in previous recaps, its just very different from the pacing of previous seasons, so it takes some adjusting. I don’t feel that the classic Venture jokes and tropes have been sacrificed in the change of pace. Its still the same show we all love.

Dr. Mrs. the Monarch is another favorite of mine, and I’m really happy to see her in a position of power that honors her skills and intelligence. She was always too good to just be a number 2, even if she did it for love. It will be interesting to see if her hatred of Dr. Venture will actually bring her and the Monarch closer together – that is, until she inevitably discovers that the real enemy is actually her husband.

I’ve also been loving all of the details that come with the Venture family finally joining the 21st century, like Dr Mrs. the Monarch on her laptop and Brock using an V-Pad. There was some really fun stuff in the incredibly detailed electronic screens that we saw in this episode. I screenshotted some of them below for your viewing pleasure. Check out Dr. Mrs.’s inbox and all of the listed nicknames for Brock!

As always, here is your plug for this week’s Shirt of the Week Club. I personally do not know if I will be buying this week’s shirt as I have a huge Dr. Mrs. the Monarch pinup tattoo on my thigh, and wearing this shirt might be Dr. Mrs. overload (if there even is such a thing?) But Dr. Mrs. shirts are pretty rare, as we haven’t had one since the first Shirt Club back in 2011, so if you love her like I do make sure to grab it sometime before 11:59 next Sunday!


Also, if you missed the Patrick Leger posters on AsSeenOnAdultSwim.com last week, keep your eyes peeled on Venture-related social media, as I have a suspicion that they will release the other two sometime as well.

See you next week, Venturoos!