A consistent plot twist across the course of The Venture Bros has revealed more and more people are actually members of the Venture family — either via cloning or secret parentage. It’s been used for joke purposes and to introduce new members of the cast, while also being used on occasion to upend the personal relationships between various characters.
But looking back at the seven seasons of The Venture Bros, just how many Venture Brothers have there really been?
At the beginning of the series, the teenaged Hank and Dean are introduced as the core characters of the series. The pair accompany their father during his missions across the world and often end up getting wrapped up into the absurd and dangerous events that make up Rusty’s life. The boys often just barely escape death, although it’s revealed at the conclusion of the first season that they don’t always — which is proven when Hank and Dean are shot down by accident by Henchman 21. In fact, the original Hank and Dean are presumably long dead, with Rusty replacing his sons with clones anytime they’re actually killed.
The Hank and Dean who are created at the beginning of the second season haven’t needed to be cloned again, however, and that capability was taken away from the Venture family as a result of Rusty’s lab being exposed in the finale of the third season. As they’ve gotten older though, the two have been slowly drifting apart. The ending of the seventh season saw Dean sleep with Hank’s girlfriend Sirena while at college, and Hank venturing off on his own to become his own man — potentially setting up the eighth season of the show to focus on them finally going up against one another.
Rusty Venture grew up as the only son of the great adventurer and super-scientist, Jonas Venture. He traveled with Jonas on his adventures much like he would eventually force Hank and Dean too, becoming famous as a child-star along the way. In the ensuing years, however, Rusty has become seen by the world as a has-been who just leeches off his father’s old ideas and name. The self-loathing Rusty tends to seem to agree with that assessment, although he has moments of showcasing some natural leadership and scientific skill. However, it’s hinted in the seventh season by H.E.L.P.eR. MOD-2 that Rusty is — like his sons — actually just a clone of the original Rusty, who presumably died decades ago. It turns out that Rusty wasn’t meant to be an only child, however.
A recurring dream throughout the first season of the show is eventually revealed to be a portent of Rusty finding out he absorbed a brother while in the womb. The brother survived inside Rusty, however, and was eventually removed over concerns that he was a tumor. He initially tried to kill Rusty for having “stolen” the life he was owed, but Rusty still spared him when Brock had the chance to kill him. Dubbing himself Jonas Venture Jr, “JJ” became a world-famous scientist. He’d inherited the charm, skills, and intelligence of Jonas — although his growth was stunted as a result of having been inside Rusty for so long. The two-part fifth season premiere “All This And Gargantua 2” revealed that JJ had contracted cancer, however. After fully making peace with each other and working together to help save everyone onboard the space station, JJ remained behind and perished when the station exploded.
Introduced in the third season, Dermot was initially set up as a typical scumbag teenager. He participated in a day camp at the Venture Compound and quickly drew Brock’s ire and Hank’s admiration. Dermot eventually became Hank’s best friend, allowing him to hang out with someone his own age that wasn’t his own brother. Dermot appreciated having the friend, but he also had an ulterior motive towards befriending the Ventures. He eventually revealed to Hank that he’d been told by his mother that Brock was actually his birth father, and he wanted to finally meet him.
However, this isn’t the full truth. Season 4’s “Everyone Comes to Hank’s” centered on Hank trying to find out why Dermot’s mother failed to pick him up at the right time. This spiraled into Hank, Doctor Orpheus, and the Alchemist accidentally uncovering the truth that Dermot is actually the son of Rusty. Years earlier he’d hooked up with the teenaged president of his fan club, but was forced by the girl’s mother to pay hush-money and leave the family alone. Dermot also eventually learned the truth from Doctor Orpheus, and Rusty figured it out for himself. Dermot ended up essentially being accepted by the family but not becoming a full member of the group, instead of going on to join the OSI like Brock once had.
While most of the clones of Hank and Dean ended up being destroyed or murdered in some way, there’s one notable exception that almost found a way to survive. Originally designated as D-19, Rusty initially flushed the failed and deformed clone away. However, the clone clung to life. It hid away in one of the attics of the Venture Compound and watched as other versions of Dean were killed over the years. As they died, D-19 collected their skin to try and make himself a crude Dead suit that he could wear and go into the outside world with.
After living in isolation for so long, D-19 began to envision an imaginary version of Rusty that was both cruel and supportive. It was an indicator of just how far gone D-19’s mind was, which was only exasperated by his attempts to finish his skinsuit. But with the other clones gone, D-19 tried to get the last pieces by murdering the “real” Dean. Dean was able to avoid him long enough for D-19 to end up on the Venture Compound grounds, where he saw what he thought was Rusty waving to him. D-19 embraced him — not realizing it was actually a C4 decoy. The bomb exploded and killed D-19 instantly, seemingly taking out the last of the Hank and Dean clones.
The Monarch has been Rusty’s archnemesis for the entire run of the series. The butterfly-themed villain has oftentimes tried to kill Rusty and his family, with his hate all stemming from an unknown grudge he developed for Rusty while they were both college students. But while the series has somewhat focused on Monarch and his attempts to antagonize Rusty (both outside of and with the Guild of Calamitous Intent), his origins have slowly been teased out. The Monarch believed he was just the son of a wealthy couple who died in a mysterious plane crash. To his shock, Monarch later learned that his father Don Fitzcarraldo had actually been a superhero known as the Blue Morpho — and that he’d even been friends with Jonas Venture.
The full truth was even more surprising, however. It was eventually revealed in the seventh season that Fitzcarraldo had been unable to impregnate his wife despite their best efforts. Jonas offered to examine her and presumably seduced her, as she gave birth to a baby boy not long after. The boy would grow up to be Malcolm Fitzcarraldo, aka the Monarch — making Rusty and Monarch half-brothers all along and Monarch a technical Venture brother. Monarch seemed to learn the truth in the final moments of the seventh season. While they’re still seen as enemies, a time-traveling Rusty from the future appeared in the seventh season and referred to Monarch as “Malcolm,” suggesting the two do develop a more brotherly relationship in the future.
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Across the course of The Venture Brothers series, just how many pairs of Venture Bros have been introduced?