Ben 10: Ultimate Alien (A Review)

In week one of Super Hero Month, I reviewed a DC show.  In week two of Super Hero Month, I reviewed a Marvel show.  This week… I review a show by Man of Action.  Who is Man of Action?  Why, the amazing team behind a show I’ve reviewed in the past (Generator Rex) and the show I’m reviewing today, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien.

It’s very unlikely that anyone who has paid attention to cartoons has been able to avoid the Ben 10 series for the last five-six years.  Although this review is specifically about the latest iteration of this series, it’s kind of impossible to ignore the first two: Ben 10 and Ben 10: Alien Force.  My six year old has been hooked on this show since the first version (and we’ve got the boxes of toys labeled Ben 10 to prove it), but I have too, especially now that the show has an older and darker edge to it with Ultimate Alien.

The voice cast on this show is both diverse and amazing.  The different alien transformations of Ben Tennyson (the title character) all have a different voice to match the alien, allowing the show to tap into such awesome voice talents as Dee Bradley Baker, John DiMaggio, Jeff Bennett and more (and only need them for the episodes in which those aliens appear).  The main three characters are consistent across Alien Force and Ultimate Alien: Yuri Lowenthal (Ben), Ashley Johnson (Gwen Tennyson, his cousin), and Greg Cipes (Kevin Levin, their ‘friend’).  All three are very well done.

No, that's not Jax from Mortal Kombat or Cyborg from Teen Titans. Kevin can absorb the substance of materials and convert his body into it.

For those who have missed the previous two Ben 10 shows, the general premise of the show is simple: aliens are out there, some kids on Earth are offspring of human/alien parents or grandparents, Ben Tennyson (one of these kids) finds a watch imbued with the DNA of all of the alien races in the universe (which he can use to transform into said aliens) and fights to protect the universe.  The original series was very campy and silly, with Ben and Gwen only being 10 years old.  Beginning with Alien Force and leading into Ultimate Alien, the show gets much more series with the characters aged to their middle teens.  This is where the series really gets its wings.

With the second series, Kevin Levin gets inserted into the show as a reluctant member of the hero team and adds a whole new level of awesome to the series.  A shady, black-market salesman who joins up with the team initially just on “common enemies” pretenses, Kevin is by far the most complex character on the show (and, as I said last week in the Iron Man: Armored Adventures review, I like my anti-heroes).  As Ultimate Alien progresses, we learn deeper levels of Kevin’s motivations and realize finally why he really wanted to befriend Ben and Gwen (and only part of that has to do with the unspoken attraction between Gwen and Kevin).  Kevin Levin, to me, is worth the price of admission alone and everything else is just gravy.

If you didn’t like Ben 10, make sure you give Alien Force and Ultimate Alien a watch anyway.  The latter two shows are much more similar in animation, darker themes, and stronger plots.  While I initially was annoyed with the most recent variant of the show with the “Ultimate” concepts of older alien forms (“I’m just gonna have to buy new versions of the same toys now!” I cried), I was happy to see the writers continue to explore the deeper levels of plots left dangling in the past series’ and close up loose ends while adding new layers.

This is just a small sample of the toys. And only from Ben 10 and Alien Force. Yeah, money sink FTW.

With constant usage of old villains (alien overlord Vilgax, the medieval techno-fiends The Forever Knights, crazed geneticist Doctor Animo, voodoo magic users Hex & Charmcaster) and new (the biochemical Hive and Osmosian Aggregor), the show never has a shortage of bad guys to throw at the heroes (sometimes in combinations/teamwork efforts, for extra fun).  The villains, in many cases, are more interesting and complex than the good guys (except Kevin).

Man of Action has created such an awesomely robust comic book/sci-fi style world in Ben 10.  In some ways, I want Man of Action to do more shows (loving this series and Generator Rex), but in others I don’t want them to dilute the quality of the two shows they produce.  I’m glad Ben 10 is already signed on for a fourth series when Ultimate Alien ends.  While the original Ben 10 had the feel of a ‘test-the-waters/marketability’ kind of show, they really hit their stride since, tell phenomenal stories, and have created some memorable characters.  I don’t care if they keep making me buy more toys and video games for my six year old, because I enjoy them as much as he does.  Ultimate Alien is most definitely a 5/5 Giant Cartoon Mallet kind of show!




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  1. It is a winning show in our house too.

    1. Glad to hear it Alix! We’ve been watching it, playing the video games, and collecting the toys since my son was about 3 or so. 🙂

    • Natasha Larry on November 19, 2011 at 11:13 am
    • Reply

    Great review and a fantastic show. =) I’ve really enjoyed this month.

    1. Thanks Natasha. I’m looking forward to next week… I haven’t watched any of the show I’m going to review yet, so it’ll be fun to see if I like it or not.

  2. A while ago a friend asked me: why are you watching a kids show? I said because Ben 10: Alien Force has an interesting plot, aliens and a cool anti-hero.

    I’m going to show this to him.

    1. Good girl. Show that friend what’s what. What a sucker, missing out on such a good show. 🙂

    • lexyc-b on February 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm
    • Reply

    io stimo kevin

    • Kopakamidak on March 12, 2012 at 4:31 am
    • Reply

    I kind of have mixed feelings for Ultimate Alien, I enjoyed the first two shows a lot, and the whole concept of turning the aliens into Ultimate sounded plain awesome to me. To some degree, it worked. It was fun seeing some long-gone bad guys make reappearences (Although Zombozo was a bit too obviously based on The Joker). The whole story arc with Aggregor and the Andromeda Galaxy escapees wasn’t half bad (NRG and Armodrillo are easily among my favorite aliens), and Kevin undergoing a new mutation took it to a whole new level. And it was also fun to see some of the “classic” aliens making reappearences (Wildmutt and Heatblast to name a few). Those episodes were very enjoyable.

    As for the bad stuff, first off, Ben’s being an asshole and I hate it. There isn’t a shortage of “clunker” episodes, for instance that episode with Ma Vreedle, or the one where Jennifer Nocturne started developing a stockholm syndrome. In both cases I was like “what the hell?”. I also hated how they made our expectations skyrocket with the episode where Ben 10,000 reunlocked all of Ben’s old aliens. After that I was just waiting for XLR8, Upgrade, Benmummy and Stinkfly among others to reappear, I missed them and wanted to see how teenage Ben would use them. Instead we got filler aliens like Fasttrack and Eatle.

    All in all, I mostly enjoyed the show, but there’s these moments where I just really want to punch somone’s lights out (usually Ben).

    1. I’ve always disliked Ben as a character. Kevin, as I said above, is by far the strongest and most complex character on the show (as antiheroes tend to be). Ben started as a snotty kid, became a pretentious pre-teen, and turned into a jerk of a teenager. The only thing that is nice is that his personality tends to shift a little bit along with his alien forms, giving him less screen time and allowing Kevin and Gwen to be the most consistent MAIN characters of the show.

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