Cartoon Network: Ben 10 Alien Force: Volume Two
Its been 5 years since Ben last wore the Omnitrix. But when Grandpa Max goes missing, Ben must go hero once again. Now its up to Ben, Gwen and Kevin to find new half-alien allies and stop a secret Highbreed invasion.
Four more monster-smashing adventures--with a healthy dose of teen angst on the side--await in Volume 2 of Ben 10: Alien Force
, the follow-up to the highly successful animated sci-fi series Ben 10
. The second volume continues to blend high-energy action and imaginative foes for teenaged Ben with an agreeable level of human drama--to wit, we find Ben on a date in "Pier Pressure," which is of course ruined by the arrival of a shape-shifting Galvanic Mechomorph in the form of a friendly mutt. Ben's sidekick Gwen also gets some character expansion in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" in which she's forced to choose between her extraterrestrial heritage and life on Earth with her friends. And Grandpa Max, who's been MIA for most of the series, makes a welcome if all too brief return in "Max Out," which introduces some particularly unpleasant foes which bear a strong resemblance to H.R. Giger's Alien
. The balance of the slam-bang and the everyday is fairly even throughout the four episodes presented here; viewers tuning in just for the showdowns probably won't be turned off by the emotional stuff, and those looking for a shade more substance in their animation will be pleased by the depth of story and character. However, they might feel less charitable towards the limited number of episodes per disc, and the bare bones presentation, which includes a by-the-numbers making-of featurette. -- Paul Gaita