The Forever Knights denied Appellate Judge Mac McEntire's application. He wasn't "forever" enough.
Our reviews of Ben 10 Ultimate Alien: Volume 1 (published January 9th, 2011), Ben 10 Ultimate Alien: Volume 2 (published May 1st, 2011), Ben 10 Ultimate Alien: Volume 3 (published August 14th, 2011), and Ben 10 Ultimate Alien: Volume 5 (published April 27th, 2012) are also available.
Forever Knight: "For the Earth!"
The batch of episodes on this two-disc set is the conclusion of the second season of Ben 10 Ultimate Alien, which was preceded by four seasons of Ben 10 and three seasons of Ben 10 Alien Force. After all this time, the show's creators are not resting, but continuing to push themselves to take the series in new directions.
Facts of the Case
Teenage Ben Tennyson, (Yuri Lowenthal, Naruto) wields the Ultimatrix, a device that allows him to transform into a heck of a lot more than ten super-powered aliens. With his energy-manipulating cousin Gwen (Ashley Johnson, Phenom) and his metal-absorbing friend Kevin (Greg Cipes, Teen Titans), Ben fights to keep the Earth safe from evil aliens, and various other threats.
This episode list has been catalogued on Primus:
• "Prisoner 775 is Missing"
• "Simian Says"
• "Greetings from Techadon"
• "The Purge"
• "The Flame Keepers Circle"
• "Double or Nothing"
• "The Perfect Girlfriend"
• "Ultimate Sacrifice"
• "The Mother of All Vreedles"
• "The Widening Gyre"
• "A Knight to Remember"
A good portion of time in these episodes is spent exploring the overall "world" of Ben 10. Several episodes take various side corners or elements that had only been explored lightly and give them more depth. An entire episode goes by without hardly any appearance by the three main characters so we can get a glimpse of how the show's "aliens living in secret on Earth" thing began. Ben's twin Albedo makes a return, and now there's a tragic, emotionally-tortured element to his character. Ben's relationship with Julia takes a few more twists, as do the flirtations with the two other ladies in Ben's life, Eunice and Elena. (Three girls at once? Ben, you man-slut!)
The biggest example of the show opening up its lesser-known elements is the Forever Knights. Throughout the whole series, they've been side villains—someone for Ben to beat up when taking a break from the main story arc. Now, though, they've finally graduated to "big bad" status. Their shtick is that they look and talk like old-timey medieval knights, but they use super-advanced tech to fight aliens, which they say their ancestors believed were dragons. The "knight versus dragon" theme is laid on thick in these episodes, when the Knights are given a face with their leader, Sir George. On the other side of the battle is the Flame Keepers Circle, a charitable group secretly made up of alien-worshipping weirdoes (and you thought only South Park could get away with parodying Scientologists). It's not as emotionally involving as Kevin's descent into madness earlier in the series, and it's not as hugely epic as the final battle against the Highbreed in Ben 10 Alien Force, but the main arc on this set is nonetheless interesting in that we get to know the Forever Knights better than we ever have.
The emphasis is on exploring the world, so the character development isn't as rich as we've seen in previous releases. The question is raised whether Ben truly cares or if he takes nothing seriously, but this has been dealt with in the past. Beyond that, there's not that much development for the three mains. To be fair, this release combined with Ben 10 Ultimate Alien: Volume 3 make up the entire second season, and that release had a number of character-based episodes, so things balance nicely when looked at as a whole.
As usual, the action is a big draw of the series, and with so many different kinds of aliens to play with, the fighting and explosions never feel repetitive. Some standouts are a few times when Terraspin really cuts loose with his wind powers, or when several Ultimatrix aliens fight each other at once in "Ultimate Sacrifice." A different take on an action scene is in "Double or Nothing," when Ben is up against three enemies far weaker than him. Although one-sided in our hero's favor, the fight is still nicely staged and executed. It looks cool and keeps you guessing at what the bad guys will throw at Ben next. Along with action, another key to the show's success is its humor, which is again in full force. When the show does an environmental-themed episode in "The Widening Gyre," Kevin stops to recall how TV cartoons always do shows like that, which makes the whole thing more humorous and less preachy.
As usual, the show shines on DVD, with bright, vivid colors, and clean, fluid animation. The sound is as good as its been on previous releases, clear and booming. Another text "Alien Database" feature is the only extra.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
The franchise keeps plugging along with Ben 10 Ultimate Alien: Volume 4. The show's creators have taken the time to open up the world they've created and show us new aspects of it, offering a lot of payoff and fun for fans.
Forever not guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Cartoon Network
• Alien Database
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