"Any Which Way But Zeus"
The Venture Bros. episode
Any Which Way But Zeus - Treister
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 11
Directed by Jackson Publick
Written by Doc Hammer
Original air date September 26, 2010
Guest Stars
Episode Chronology
← Previous
"Pomp and Circuitry"
Next →
"Everybody Comes to Hank's"
List of The Venture Bros. episodes

Any Which Way But Zeus is the eleventh episode of Season 4 and the fiftieth overall episode of The Venture Bros.


Billy Quizboy and Pete White are attacked in their trailer by a man claiming to be Zeus, the Greek god of thunder. Later that night, after being left behind by Brock Samson, Colonel Hunter Gathers, and the other members of S.P.H.I.N.X., Zeus takes Shore Leave. The abduction of heroes and villains makes news all over the world. Dr. Thaddeus Venture believes he will be the next victim, though his son Hank and bodyguard Sergeant Hatred seem less concerned.

At Zeus's base (an abandoned horse racing track) a villain named Zero forces two of the kidnapped characters - Henchman 21 and U.S. Steel's partner Ghost Robot - to fight in a brutal deathmatch, which ends with Ghost Robot's death at 21's hands. Billy, Pete, and Shore Leave are seen sharing a cell in Zeus's prison (actually a disguised stable), discussing Zeus's plan, which seems to involve systematically killing off all of them until only one remains.

The abductions have attracted the attention of the OSI, which summons Brock and Col. Gathers as representatives of SPHINX to a secret meeting; Phantom Limb and Professor Impossible are in attendance, representing their new Revenge Society, as are Red Mantle and Dragoon, representing the Guild of Calamitous Intent, and a number of other villains. The meeting, called by OSI General Treister to discuss a plan for recovering the kidnapped heroes and villains, quickly falls into disarray as the attendees bicker over old scores.

Dr. Venture, still completely paranoid that he will be taken next, is instead "kidnapped" by Sgt. Hatred, Hank, and Dean while wearing voice changing masks to disguise their identity. They plan to subject Rusty to various tortures in order to validate his fears. While being interrogated, Hatred accidentally slips out Dean's name which leads Rusty to think that they kidnapped Dean and begs them to take him instead which hatred says "Hey that's pretty impressive. When Hank says they have "Hank" as well, Rusty reveals they can just go ahead and kill him, making Hank angrily eager to torture his father.

Gravely wounded, a old man cryptically warns Shore Leave of Zero's true intentions while 21 meditates in silence; ultimately, the henchman stands and asks his cellmates for help. They all agree, but when Shore Leave asks for 21's name, he introduces himself as Henchman 1.

The scene changes back to Hank failing at torturing Rusty he finally asks why Rusty seemingly loves Dean more than Hank. Rusty reveals (without knowing it's Hank he's talking to) that he knew they'd never manage to kill Hank, and actually admires Hank for trying his best to not follow the Venture legacy. If anything, Hank is more like him and his disinterest in following his own father. Rusty says he would  want  to hold Hank and apologize to him for his existence and for dooming him to be like himself. Additionally, he actually feels sorry for Dean because he believes so much in the whole "super-scientist" legacy and because he'll probably just end up just like his grandfather.

Billy and Pete are summoned by Zero to fight for Zeus, but they instead argue over their designation as hero and villain respectively and are thrown back in their cell, along with 21 and a seemingly ordinary old man.

Billy, Pete, Shore Leave, and 21 are all summoned to fight in a tag-team battle, but the moment that Zero drops the flag to begin, Billy and Pete flee while Shore Leave and 21 use their weapons to reveal that Zeus is merely a wooden dummy. Impressed, Zero leaps down from the booth to fight 21 himself, but 21 merely threatens him, before calling him Henchman 1. Zero becomes angry and removes his helmet, revealing Scott Hall, the former Henchman 1 who was believed to have been killed by Brock Samson.[1]

Back at the OSI meeting, Dragoon revealed that the old man is actually the original Captain Sunshine, who retired and promoted his sidekick Wonder Boy to be the new Captain Sunshine[2] and presently serves as his butler, Desmond.

Scott Hall, now calling himself "Henchman Zero," explains how he tricked Desmond (who still retained his Captain Sunshine powers) into dressing as Zeus and gathering heroic sidekicks and villainous henchmen. Hall had lead Desmond to believe that he would be gathering them for a party, as an attempt to compensate them for the perceived lack of recognition secondary characters receive. He later overtook Desmond and threw him into the prison stable. Hall now plans to finish off all the gathered heroes and villains by forcing them to battle, intending to kill the last survivor (which Hall hoped would be Henchman 21) himself, all for revenge over being left for dead by 21. When challenged by Hall, 21 refuses to fight, and points out that the other abduction victims have been freed by Billy and Pete, prompting Hall to flee.

At the OSI meeting, Mr. Doe and Mr. Cardholder inform the demoralized group that the issue has resolved itself, showing them that the heroes and villains have been reunited with their associates, except for U.S. Steel (because his partner Ghost Robot was apparently killed).

In a post-credits scene, Dr. Venture is still held captured by Hank, who has tricked him into paying a ransom to his supposed kidnappers - actually Hank and Hatred themselves.

Episode CastEdit

First AppearancesEdit

Summit AttendeesEdit

The "Five Guild Summit" was attended by members of the OSI, S.P.H.I.N.X., Guild, Peril Partnership, and Revenge Society. General Treister assigned codenames to most of those present. Amongst the attendees were:

Office of Secret Intelligence Edit

S.P.H.I.N.X. Edit

The Guild of Calamitous Intent Edit

The Peril Partnership Edit

The Revenge Society Edit


Desmond (as Zeus, under orders from Zero) kidnaps numerous heroes, villains, sidekicks, and henchmen in this episode with the intention of pitting them against each other in battle. Nearly all of them were reunited with their "primaries" by the end of the episode.

Kidnapping Victims Edit

"Primaries" Edit

Connections to Other EpisodesEdit

Powerless in the Face of Death

Fallen Arches

I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills

Showdown at Cremation Creek (Part I)

  • Truckules, first seen in Showdown at Cremation Creek (Part I), also makes an appearance, breaking out of the stables and chasing after Henchman 1. This is rather odd since in previous episodes he is referred to as a villain, not a henchman, and even had Dr. Girlfriend serve as his Number 2 in her early days.

The Lepidopterists


The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together (Part I)

The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together (Part II)

Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel

Handsome Ransom


The Revenge Society

Pomp and Circuitry

Operation P.R.O.M.

Cultural ReferencesEdit

Any Which Way You Can (1980)

Boy Meets World (1993-2000)

Casino Royale (2006)

  • While torturing Rusty, Hank attempted to duplicate the seatless chair torture performed on James Bond in Casino Royale.


  • When Shore Leave is about to be kidnapped, he makes a reference to Cinderella and pretends to mistake Zeus as his Fairy Godmother.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Every Which Way But Loose (1978)

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)

God of Thunder (1976)



  • When Hatred and Hank pretend to kidnap Dr. Venture, they disguise their voices using masks inspired by Optimus Prime and the Hulk. Those characters have been made into face masks known to have a built in voice changer to make the one wearing it sound like the character.

I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony) (1971)

Jimmy Choo

  • Shore Leave tells Pete White to walk a mile in his "Jimmy Choos". Jimmy Choo is a UK-based Malaysian fashion designer famous for his handmade women's shoes.

Kelly Clarkson

Kenan & Kel (1996-2000)

Optimus Prime (Transformers)

  • When Hatred and Hank pretend to kidnap Dr. Venture, they disguise their voices using masks inspired by Optimus Prime and the Hulk. Those characters have been made into face masks known to have a built in voice changer to make the one wearing it sound like the character.

Orville Redenbacher

Matthew Perry

Teddy Ruxpin

The Notebook (2004)

  • When Col. Gathers and Brock were discussing Robin, a stripper from the club, Brock described her breasts as "The Notebook sad".

Production Notes and TriviaEdit

  • One of the animation directors (Kimson Albert) has a "nickname" inserted into his credits. The nickname is an unusual line or word from the preceding episode. For Any Which Way But Zeus the credit reads Kimson "Mournful Tits" Albert.
  • According to an Adult Swim bumper, during the scenes of Dr. Venture's abduction, dialogue for Sgt. Hatred and Hank were recorded with Jackson Public wearing an Optimus Prime and Incredible Hulk mask respectively.
  • The two men who witness the transformation of the green on the golf course, and subsequently tranquilized by Mr. Doe and Cardholder, are Executive Producers for Adult Swim Mike Lazzo and Keith Crofford.


  1. The Lepidopterists
  2. Handsome Ransom

Preceded by:
"Pomp and Circuitry"
The Venture Bros. episodes
Original Airdate:
September 26th, 2010
Followed by:
"Everybody Comes to Hank's"
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.