492 must be dumbest approach to Ship Tease I've ever seen. This is at the same level as Twilight, for Christ's sake! It's called a coat, look it up! And yeah to "Damien and Co. just aren't scary". They are lame. Okay, you could always go with the explanation that the kids are just overreacting, but Shive himself said that he thought this arc was to dark, when it really isn't. Damien is a lame wannabe villain and should be treated as such. Think about it, he wants to take over the world with 3 minions, all of whom don't even appear to be particular interested in it and whatever spawn Grace might give birth to (which he would have to raise and train first, too). He isn't the next Hitler, he is a megalomaniac idiot who would be put down in seconds if he ever actually attacked anybody. But you now what? This isn't what makes him a bad villain. Quite the contrary, if some of our heroes would have told him that during the fight, it would have made for a great Shut Up Hannibal scene. What kills it is that the comic itself treats him as a credible villain. So Yeah, Damien is killed by bad writing. Yes, EGS doesn't know what it wants to be, but I'd say, the problem isn't that Shive doesn't know how to put them together, but that comedy and romance rely on characters, and that is EGS weakest point. Pretty much all of the main cast suck.
You pretty much hit the target with the second paragraph. Could not have said it better myself.