Appellate Judge Mac McEntire can also transform into 10 different aliens. Unfortunately, his 10 are a Ferengi, an Ewok, a Gungan, a Hynerian, a Decapodian, a G'Nort, a Lurian, a Lepus Carnivorous, a Booey Bubblehead, and a whatever the heck Orko was.
Elsgood: "You better skedaddle!"
Gwen: "I think it means, 'Run
Yes! One of my favorite comic books that's not a comic book now has its third
season on DVD, with 13 episodes of weird-looking aliens punching each other.
Facts of the Case
Young Ben Tennyson (Tara Strong, The Powerpuff Girls) is on summer
vacation, traveling around the country with his grandfather Max (Paul Eiding,
God of War) and his know-it-all cousin Gwen (Meaghan Smith, Surf's up). During this vacation, Ben has
become owner of a device called the Omnitrix, which he can use to turn into any
one of 10 (or more?) super-powered aliens. Since then, Ben's fought a lot of
sinister villains, and he's saved the world several times. Still, summer's not
over yet, and he's just getting started.
This episode list can absorb the DNA of every lifeform it meets:
• "Midnight Madness"
Ben and Gwen are thrilled to
visit the world's biggest shopping mall, but a powerful hypnotist has more on
his mind than shopping.
• "Ben 10,000"
It's a visit to the distant
future, with adult versions of Ben and Gwen, who are in a crisis only their
younger selves can help them solve—the return of alien tyrant Vilgax.
• "A Change of Face"
Charmcaster has cooked up a new plan to get her hands on the Omnitrix. Before
it's all over, someone will visit juvenile hall, Gwen will act very
suspiciously, and many silly hats will be worn.
• "Merry Christmas"
After stumbling onto Santa's
workshop in the middle of the desert during a heat wave, our heroes wonder
what's really going on. Sure enough, someone's being more naughty than nice.
A mysterious storm strikes an Indian
reservation, leaving a large wolflike creature in its wake. Ben would normally
do the hero thing and investigate, but he's a little distracted by the
unthinkable—a cute girl.
• "Game Over"
By using Upgrade's powers, Ben and
Gwen enter a virtual world, playing a "Sumo Slammer" video game.
• "Monster Weather"
During a visit to a hippy
music festival, a weather-controlling robot goes haywire, threatening to stop
• "Super Alien Hero Buddy Adventures"
company sightsee at Planetary Studios (Elijah Snow and the Drummer do not have
cameos) where Ben discovers his alien personas have been turned into a cheesy TV
• "Under Wraps"
Max puts Ben and Gwen to work at
a farm, which ends up in a battle with an alien mummy and the search for a rare,
• "The Unnaturals"
At a tournament, Ben is
reunited with his baseball team from back home. But someone, or something, is
replacing players with look-alike robots.
• "The Return"
A NASA shuttle launch is in danger
after Max realizes all is not as it seems at Cape Canaveral. It turns out a
handful of nasties from previous episodes have been working together to sabotage
the mission, with a familiar face from Ben's past pulling the strings.
• "Be Afraid of the Dark"
Picking up where the
last episode left off, Team Tennyson heads to outer space in a precarious
last-ditch attempt to save the Earth from total darkness. There are not one, but
four super-villains standing in their way, though.
• "The Visitor"
It's yet another alien encounter
for our heroes, one who knows whom the Omnitrix was originally intended for.
This is one of many revelations in this episode, which might have Max saying
goodbye to the kids—forever.
Unlike Ben in any given situation, I'm at a loss for words. Everything I've
written about Ben 10 in reviews for the first two seasons remains true
about this one. Let's go down the list.
• Not just to sell toys
Stores are currently stuffed to the
butt with Ben 10 merchandise, which actually might turn folks off of the
show, since it could appear that the show is nothing but one big commercial.
Fortunately, the opposite is true. Ben 10 is a labor of love for its
creators, who consistently fill every episode with witty dialogue, outrageous
designs, and well-staged action. The showrunners aren't content with repeating
the same few actions over and over, and that makes episode like mini-movies,
exploring different settings and characters in each one.
• Sweet superhero action
Because we don't see all of Ben's
aliens in every episode, and because the Omnitrix sometimes doesn't work as it
should, you never know which of Ben's aliens he'll turn into in any given
episode. This mixes things up nicely, so that the series never feels repetitive.
It also means Ben can't just solve problems by punching them, but instead he has
to use his wits as well as his powers to save the day.
• No scorecard
Continuity, continuity, continuity. This can
be both a blessing and curse. On one hand, it's good to have "world
building" in a show like this, with continuing characters, plotlines and
themes. On the other hand, too much continuity risks confusing new viewers. As
this show goes on, and as more and more characters are introduced, it's getting
less and less newbie-friendly. This is where the show's official Web site comes
in handy, as this is where you'll find the definitive list of who all of Ben's
aliens are and what they're powers are, because they don't take the time to
explain all this on the show. For the Ben 10 curious, I recommend
starting with the first season.
The audio and video quality on this two-disc set continues to be excellent.
The colors are bright and vivid, and the sound is appropriately booming and
explosive. Extras are fewer than the previous seasons. There are a couple of
deleted scenes, presented dialogue-only, without music or sound effects. From
there, we get a handful of Ben 10 promos that ran on Cartoon Network, a
preview for the live-action Ben 10: Race Against Time DVD, and a
slideshow of alien designs, some of which are truly crazy-looking. I missed the
commentaries of the first two sets, which, although short, showed the care and
passion that go into creating the series.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
• Since when could Upgrade shoot laser blasts out
of his one big eyeball?
• I can't tell whom Ben's video game
persona in "Game Over" is supposed to be based on. Link from
Zelda? One of those guys from Dynasty Warriors, maybe?
• People in Plymouth, Mass., don't really walk around all over the
place wearing those Pilgrim hats. And, as long as I'm nitpicking, it doesn't
usually get attacked by aliens and sorcerers (that I know of).
If you've been turned off by recent stuff in pop culture—like
Spider-Man making a deal with the devil, Batman driving some huge tank called a
"tumbler" instead of a "batmobile," Iron Man hunting down
and imprisoning his fellow heroes, or the Hulk having visions of giant flying
jellyfish—then you'll be glad to know that Ben 10 is a return to
good, old-fashioned superheroing.
A galaxy of not guilty.
Give us your feedback!
Did we give Ben 10: The Complete Season 3 a fair trial? yes / no
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.