Ben 10: Alien Force Vol. 1
Voices by Yuri Lowenthal, Ashley Johnson, Greg Cipes, Dee Bradley Baker, Richard McGonagle
Cartoon Network/Warner Home Video
Ben 10: Alien Force is the sequel to the popular Cartoon Network Ben 10. Five years have passed since Ben Tennyson had saved the world from the villainous Vilgax and everything is going great. Free from the Omnitrix, an alien watch that transforms him into a alien of his choice for 10 minutes, he lives his life as a normal teenager and is finally at peace. However, with the threat of an alien invasion upon Earth, Ben is forced once again to don the Omnitrix again to defend Earth but not without help. His cousin Gwen and former baddie Kevin join him on his mission and the trio set out to save Earth in the next chapter in the Ben 10 series.
What I really like about Ben 10 is the animation. With so many cartoons nowadays looking more and more like CGI movies, it is nice to see a cartoon that is 95 percent hand drawn. It also is not heavily influenced by Japanese animation, which is a plus. It reminds me a lot of the old cartoons that I use to enjoy as a child. This would definitely be the type of cartoon that I would have watched when I was younger. The story is also very adult for a cartoon series. There are several dangling plot points that are addressed in later episodes, giving it a more episodic feel. The dialogue is also rich with sarcasm and wit, which gives me the impression that the creators of the series, the company called Man of Action, thinks very highly of their audience. I never once felt cheated by the writing or the plot development even though some of the story endings are a bit too neat for my taste.
The only thing that I did not like was the fact that there was no back-story to help new viewers catch up on the history of Ben 10. This is the first time I have ever seen this cartoon so I was plenty confused. It was only until I did a little research on wikipedia that I got an overall idea of the story and the history of the characters. Now, I know that this cartoon essentially caters to fans of the original show but I think there was an opportunity to attract new fans that was missed here. Also, since these cartoons are generally catered toward children, it seems like a error on Cartoon Network’s part in splitting up the episodes into volumes. I think it would have been more wise to couple all the season 1 episodes together into one volume rather than split the season up into volumes but that is just my personal opinion.
Ben 10: Alien Force volume 1 is definitely a fun ride and fans of both the old show and those who come aboard just looking for a solid cartoon will be pleased.