Publisher: IDW Publishing
Words: Jason Henderson
Pictures: Gordon Purcell
Release Date: 20th November 2013
I know, I know. I’m in danger of getting a reputation as “the IDW guy.” Or hell, I may already BE that guy. The appeal for me is that they seem to treat their source material with enough respect to keep the licensed books incongruent with the intellectual properties they’re based on – which used to be a rare thing indeed. They’ve had a decent batting average with the recent Cartoon Network licenses, both Samurai Jack and Powerpuff Girls have been strong books but with this book, Ben 10, they’re aiming at something more recent than those two shows. Without the comfort of familiarity with the franchise and without the goodwill generated by nostalgia, can Ben 10 still shine as brightly as the other CN IDW books?
Long and short of it is no. The characters are given little more than a cursory attempt at characterisation – they all seem flat and 1 dimensional. Kevin is the cool one, Grandpa is the wise one, Rook is the fish out of water and Gwen is… there. More time spent developing the tem dynamic could have given the book a little more meat as what we have feels a little light. Ben himself is given a touch more in the personality department but not enough to hold my interest. The plot entails the gang attempting to take a vacation which is interrupted twice by attacks from villains, forcing Ben to use his powers despite being on holiday. It’s a tired story we’ve seen done before – and done better. A nice touch was Ben using deductive reasoning to work out the (painfully obvious) twist to the issue. Ben’s detective work however is undermined by the audience working out the twist about 5 pages before Ben does.
My only experience of Ben 10 is from the action figures, which I became all too familiar with when I worked in a toy store, as such I cannot justifiably pass comment on the artworks accuracy to the cartoon although everyone is recognisable to those with a passing familiarity with the animation. IDW one again hit it out of the park when it comes to colouring – vibrant and youthful; the tones and hues picked for this series work extremely well in connecting the comics to the franchise as a whole. Bens alien forms are ripped right from the cartoon, with both Big Chill and Ripclaws showing up for the ride.
This is a bad comicbook. I usually try to stay positive in my reviews and really look for things to love – but I have been unable to achieve that with this book. Perhaps – PERHAPS – this book could find a suitable audience in the under-10s demographic but the lack of nuance and subtlety pull the book down to a 3/10. This is for Ben 10 mega-fans and children who enjoy the cartoon only.
The writer of this piece was: David McIntyre aka (Big Dave)
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