Something recently came to mind for me about Slapback. He gets stronger and denser the more he duplicates but wouldn't it be better and more balanced if it was the other way around? For Slapback to start off already being very strong and dense but his strength and density decreases the more he duplicates himself? Having thought about it, an alien that gets stronger and more damage resisting the more he duplicates sounds like a significant issue of balance. Like a repeat of Echo Echo. With it being the other way around, I feel as if it would encourage Ben to be more strategic with his use of Slapback. To encourage him to find a more ideal balance of having high strength and having greater numbers every time he uses Slapback.
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Shouldn't Slapback get weaker the more he duplicates instead?
Ben 10: Little Moments series
At the time of posting this, yesterday, shadows59, creator of the Little Moments fan fiction series, posted both an announcement of a reboot of his story, Little Moments, as well as the first chapter of said rebooted story. I'm using this as an opportunity to make a revised version of my previous page where I posted links to the entire series for the sake of providing a more organized display of all the links to said series. I highly recommend for anyone reading this to check out the series because I find that it really is the best Ben 10-related material I've ever come across due to just how brilliantly well-written it is. Even if you're not a fan of the Bwen shipping in this series, I still highly recommend for people to give this series a proper chance due to its overall great quality and interesting and uniquely new concepts that the series tackles. Here are the links if anyone is interested in checking out the series.
Little Moments Classic (the old version of Little Moments that the author is going to keep posted in case anyone is interested in checking out)
Little Moments Rebooted (the new version of Little Moments. New chapters are expected to be posted every Friday)
Breaking Point Classic (the sequel to Little Moments Classic. Given the inclusion of "Classic" in the name, I'm going to assume there's going to be a rebooted version of Breaking Point as well sometime in the future)
Little Moment: As Old As You Feel (a spin-off chapter by Erico that takes place during the ending of chapter 22 of Little Moments Classic following the perspective of Max Tennyson and Azmuth)
Little Moment: Stone in the River (a prequel chapter to Little Moments by Erico that acts as a precursor to the Ben 10,000 episode of the Ben 10 Original Series. It follows an adult Gwen Tennyson discovering the time traveling spell and her attempt to change the past)
Little Moment: Kiss Me Goodbye (a sequel to Stone in the River also by Erico that follows up right after the events of the Ben 10,000 episode, covering the consequences of Gwen using the time traveling spell to change the past)
These are all of the links to each iteration of the Little Moments fan fiction series. You can also find these same stories on Archive Of Our Own as well. Here are the links to where you can find these same stories on that very website for those that prefer AO3 over FanFiction.net.
A while back, artwork based on some of the characters of this series was also made and posted on Deviant-art. I really like the artwork on Ken Tennyson the most. I find that his design stands out more than his official design in the shows. Anyways, if anyone is interested, here are the links to the character artwork.
Michelle Hallam (Gwen Tennyson's best friend in the series)
Marci Hunter (Gwen's equivalent of Ben's bullies, Cash and JT)
Ken Tennyson (Ben and Gwen's son)
Lauren Tennyson (Ben and Gwen's daughter)
Gwendolyn Albright (Michelle Hallam and Alan Albright's daughter)
Nadia Hallam (Michelle's mother)
Jonathan Hallam (Michelle's father and a military colonel)
There is also artwork of Marci Hunter's parents. Granted, they're not really important in the series and I recall that they barely even get mentioned in the classic version of the series, but if anyone is interested, I'll post the links to them here.
I believe that's everything but I will update this page if anything new related to this series comes out.
Ben 10: How to Fix and Improve Kevin Levin
With the third season of the Ben 10 reboot having introduced Kevin and there being an upcoming spin-off show based on that version of him…probably…maybe…questionably…who know…I’m going to use this as an opportunity to provide a more updated take of my thoughts and analysis on this character throughout the Ben 10 franchise. To provide what I think would be the best way to fix and improve Kevin to make him an overall better character. For those that have followed me for a while, you should already have a pretty good idea of what to expect out of this article. Nevertheless, I find that Kevin is also in quite a need of some help and better treatment. A major missed opportunity here that I find would’ve really helped to drive Kevin, and the franchise overall, further towards something that would’ve been much better and more distinct that what we officially got instead. Let’s begin.
First, some context. Kevin’s introduction into Ben 10 through the Original Series is I say one of the most complex and darkest moments of that very show. Kevin was an 11-year-old kid with the ability to absorb and redirect energy as well as absorb other species to inherit their characteristics. Sounds cool and all but his abilities were more of a curse to Kevin than a blessing. Kevin was viewed as a freak because of his powers. Kevin faced abuse because of his powers. He was kicked out of his home because of his powers (at least that WAS the case until UAF retconned that…because of course that would happen). Kevin’s misuse and mishandling of his powers led to him to take on his mutated form. Kevin’s frequent use and lack of control of his powers also led to him having a damaged mental state. Pretty much everything that happened to Kevin revolved around his energy absorption abilities and the poor decisions and actions that he took when using them. Ben was Kevin’s second chance at a better life. Ben offered to help Kevin but due to the nature of Kevin’s character, Kevin turned it down. He blamed Ben for the mutation that Kevin went through, even though it was Kevin’s fault. Kevin became obsessed with wanting to make Ben suffer and had made plenty attempts to do so in various ways. Kevin was the true mirror image of Ben; the true evil opposite of Ben. I say more so than Albedo. Kevin and his actions reflected a darker path that Ben almost found himself brought down to, and became aware of just in time to turn away from, due to Ben’s own poor decisions when he first met Kevin. It’s no secret that I very much like and favor this version of Kevin. I very much find this to be the best take on Kevin Levin in the franchise. I very much find that the way that Kevin was set up in the Original Series opened up a lot of potential for him to really shine as a villain (and I’ll get more to that later). So much potential due to all this depth and complexity in Kevin as well as his conflict with Ben…and it was all swept away when Alien Force came around.
So, what do I think went wrong with Kevin in the franchise (and I bet that I’m going to ruffle some feathers here)? To sum it all up, they made him a hero. Now granted, if that’s the direction that the UAF team wanted to go for, they have every right to go down that direction. I just don’t find that it was the right and proper direction to go with Kevin. Sure, there was plenty of depth that was indeed added into Kevin as a character in the sequel shows and the moments themselves weren’t really bad. The issue was that it happened to Kevin. Kevin Levin, the delusional psychopath that only cared about himself with no regard for other and had such an obsession towards wanting to make Ben suffer and had made plenty of attempts to do so. At least most of what was done with Kevin in the sequel shows just doesn’t fit him as a character. It doesn’t make sense that someone like Kevin goes through all of this given who he was before and everything that he’s done. If anything, I find that a more fitting character to be in the very position that Kevin is in the sequel shows is Charmcaster. Why? Well, I pretty much explained why in my article about Charmcaster. Here’s the link if anyone wants to check it out. It’s either have Charmcaster make the transition from villain to hero or just don’t have any villains make such a transition at all.
The issues don’t end there though. Kevin’s transition into being a hero felt rushed and forced. It took too little time and too little effort for his transition to make sense and Ben and Gwen’s willingness to trust him was also displayed way too soon. Again, given who Kevin was before and everything that he’s done, his transition and Ben and Gwen’s willingness to trust him so quickly didn’t make sense. This was something that required a lot more time and effort to play out; probably at least one to two seasons worth. Ben and Gwen should’ve had Kevin on a tight leash and be keeping an eye on him in case he double crossed them while Kevin should’ve worked more to try and earn their trust. Speaking of Gwen, don’t get me started on her relationship with Kevin because that makes no sense either. Again, Kevin, on multiple occasions, went after Ben. On multiple occasions, Kevin tried to kill Ben. Plenty of times Kevin also tried to harm/kill Gwen. Let’s not forget to mention just how much of a liability Kevin is. Gwen is half living, breathing energy (which I am also not fond of) and Kevin has the ability to absorb energy, which can cause him to go insane and power hungry if he absorbs too much. That is a recipe for a disaster waiting to happen. In fact, it indeed almost, if not exactly, happened in the final quarter of season 1 of Ultimate Alien. This relationship is fine? Gwen and Kevin being in a relationship with each other is ok despite these issues? Christ. One more thing. I know plenty of people that like this version of Kevin like to use the whole “time heals” excuse; that oh, it’s been years since Ben and Gwen’s last encounter with Kevin before the events of the Original Series. People change. Time heals. These characters have learned to forgive each other and whatnot. Oh yeah, sure, time definitely heals. That fight between Ben and Kevin in the very first episode of Alien Force really showed that they’ve looked passed their differences and…oh, wait a minute. That’s right. After years of not seeing each other, the moment Kevin spotted Ben, he immediately attacked Ben without hesitation because Kevin wanted payback for their past encounters with each other and Ben defeating Kevin in each of those encounters and imprisoning Kevin in the Null Void. Kevin made another hostile attempt towards Ben because of their past encounters. Also, before their fight, Ben and Gwen recognized Kevin for the same said past encounters and from what I can tell from that scene, their familiarity with Kevin only further encouraged them to exercise more caution…because after all, this is the same Kevin that was so obsessed with going after Ben during the Original Series. I very much doubt that the “time heals” excuse is a justifiable excuse to use anymore given the circumstances of that very battle in episode 1 of season 1 of Alien Force. Most especially with Kevin, if he still had a desire to go after Ben because of their past encounters with each other despite their years of separation, then no, time did not heal, which just makes Kevin’s transition into being a hero make even less sense. I believe that’s everything that I wanted to discuss about Kevin Levin from the sequel shows so let’s move on to Kevin Levin in the Ben 10 reboot.
Unfortunately, Kevin doesn’t fare much better in the Ben 10 reboot because much like with at least most of the other returning characters in the reboot show, Kevin is a mere mediocre shell of his former self. First off, let’s get into what was taken away from him and what replaced what was taken away. Remember when I stated about how pretty much everything that happened to Kevin in the Original Series were due to his energy absorbing abilities? Well, they’re gone. One of the very key aspects about Kevin Levin that made him, well, Kevin Levin were taken away. Now surely, I bet some people would like to point out that his energy absorption abilities didn’t really get a lot of attention in the Original Series and instead, it was his amalgamated mutation. Regardless, those very abilities were still a very important aspect about Kevin that made him who he is. They contributed greatly to defining Kevin as a character and villain so yes, it’s a very big deal that those very abilities were taken away from him. So, what replaced that? Pretty much what I find to be one of the most absurd and illogical moments I’ve ever witnessed in the Ben 10 franchise: the AntiTrix. More specifically how Kevin acquired the AntiTrix. Kevin wasn’t given the AntiTrix nor he didn’t just so happen to find it. No, Kevin received the blueprints to making his own replica of the Omnitrix in a random dream that he had and then built the AntiTrix in his own garage, including making some minor modifications to the design to make the AntiTrix an improvement over the Omnitrix. Let that sink in. Kevin Levin managed to single-handedly make his own replica of one of the most advanced pieces of technology in the entire universe (with some improvements over it) in his garage and in a short amount of time with no explanation behind how he got all of the proper parts and all of the DNA samples for it. Assuming that Azmuth is in this rebooted continuity, an 11-year-old boy managed to pull off a task that one of the most intelligent individuals in the entire universe was able to achieve. What in god’s name was Man of Action and Cartoon Network thinking when they did that in the reboot show? What made them think that this was a good idea and direction to tackle? In one fellow swoop, they’ve managed to undermine one of the most intelligent and highly credible characters in the entire franchise, the very device that he created, and his achievement in creating said device. Clearly, I’m still ticked off about this very moment to this day but I’ve said plenty enough about this for now so let’s continue on with Kevin in the reboot show.
Along with the removal of Kevin’s absorption abilities, other aspects of Kevin as a character were also very much removed in the reboot show. Kevin is no longer the mentally unstable, sadistic, delusional psychopath who went through a lot of abuse and torment and was viewed by others as a freak. Those very aspects that I found made him at his best and gave him a lot of potential are also gone. Is there anything that Kevin does offer in the reboot? Well, he’s an obnoxious, childish, pretty much generic bully to Ben (even though Cash and JT are in the reboot) and…that’s pretty much it. There’s not much else to Kevin as a character. Well, ok, sure, there is Kevin’s crush on Gwen (ugh), thus making him quite protective of her and apparently, I’m guessing Kevin was abandoned or something (and I guess Ben has known this for a while) considering that it’s been emphasized how he doesn’t have anyone to go back to, which is odd because the flashback showing Kevin building the AntiTrix clearly shows him living at a house. I guess there’s more that will be built upon that but I don’t find that to be as impactful as what he went through in the Original Series and you all should already know of my views on Kevin and Gwen’s relationship. Even though this is a rebooted continuity, I still don’t find Kevin and Gwen to be a fitting set of characters to be in a relationship with each other. It just doesn’t seem right. Other than that, what sums up Kevin the most, if not overall, in the reboot show is that, again, he’s an obnoxious, childish, generic bully who picks on Ben because from what I recall, it’s funny to him or something of the likes. That’s quite lacking for Kevin as a character. So little depth and complexity to him. So little weight to him. It’s also so, well, not Kevin. There’s so little about Kevin Levin in the reboot that’s Kevin Levin. His abilities are gone and replaced with the AntiTrix. His personality, behavior, and characteristics from the Original Series are gone. The only thing that I can tell so far about Kevin that’s even remotely Kevin is his name and his appearance. Once again, a mere mediocre shell of his former self. This just isn’t Kevin Levin.
So, with all of that finally out of the way, now we can get to the part of the article where I discuss what I find to be the best direction to fix and improve Kevin Levin. For starters, bring back the Original Series version of him (figures that I would say that). Bring back his psychopathic behavior and personality. Bring back his energy absorption abilities. Bring back his obsession towards going after Ben. Bring back all of that stuff. Make him the villain that he was in the Original Series and keep him like that. No transition towards being a hero. No relationship with Gwen. No AntiTrix. Etc. As I stated before, I find that stuff like this made Kevin at his best and really helped to set up a lot of potential for Kevin as a character and villain. Speaking of potential, what is that very potential that I mentioned that Kevin has as a villain? Kevin 11,000. The Original Series version. Not the Omniverse version. Bring back the Original Series version of Kevin, build him up to Kevin 11,000, and then go even further with it. How? Once again, OS Kevin is a mentally unstable, delusional psychopath with energy absorption abilities that makes him not only more and more powerful but also makes his mental state worse and worse the more energy and DNA and whatnot he absorbs, thus making him more and more uncontrollable and dangerous. That is a recipe for an end-of-the-world scenario. That makes Kevin a walking, living, breathing potential doomsday event…and, once again, he is obsessed with making Ben suffer due to their past encounters with each other. Kevin is potentially Ben’s most dangerous, terrifying, and personally significantly impactful enemy, more so than the likes of Vilgax, Hex, Zs’Skayr, the Highbreed, etc. The OS version of Kevin Levin, and his future self, Kevin 11,000, isn’t a character that wants to rule the world or the galaxy or the universe or whatever. He isn’t a character that wants ultimate power. Although, it’s does make sense that he would desire more power but not for the generic reason of wanting ultimate power. Kevin just wants to make Ben suffer and is willing to do anything to achieve that. A personal conflict that could put Ben, Gwen, Max, Ben’s son, Ken, and anyone else close to Ben in the most amount of danger that they would ever experience whenever Kevin is around. Every time Ben and his allies defeat him, Kevin strives to absorb more energy and DNA to make himself more powerful, which could subsequently make his mutation even more monstrous and unstable. Unlike what was shown in the sequel shows, there isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) a way to reverse Kevin’s mental state. All of that energy that he absorbed and retained inside him would’ve cooked his brain, damaging it permanently. Yes, this can happen if the human brain absorbs too much energy; especially ionizing radiation energy. Anyways, this is where I find Kevin would be suited at; what his untapped potential is. Kevin Levin’s set up in the Original Series opened up the opportunity to be the best villain in the entire franchise. A villain who would provide such a significant impact and personal conflict to Ben, Gwen, Ken, and Kevin’s son, Devlin. A villain who can truly test and challenge these characters at their most struggling. Really push them to their limits. This is the type of character that I find that Kevin should be and I say that this is a direction that can really help to vastly fix and improve Kevin, and the franchise overall, in a way that can prove to be very much unique, interesting, intense, and captivating. To provide a sense of tension and concern for the main characters in a way that no other villain and conflict can provide.
That should be everything that I want to discuss about Kevin Levin as a character. Hopefully I explained everything well enough to get my point across. Kevin is a character with so much potential to really stand out as a villain in such a good way and to see that this isn’t the direction that was taken for him is one of my biggest disappointments of the entire franchise. Hopefully there’s still a chance for that very potential to end up being fulfilled. Other than that, that’s my take on Kevin Levin in the Ben 10 franchise and what I think would be the best direction for him to go. If anyone has any thoughts and opinions of their own on this topic and this article, feel free to leave a comment down below.
Oh, one more thing, I say to bring back Michael Reisz and Charlie Schlatter as the voice actors behind Kevin. Most especially Charlie Schlatter. Greg Cipes did fine as Kevin. It’s just that I like Schlatter’s performance as Kevin (both kid and future self) and Devlin more. I find Schlatter to be a more fitting choice as the voice of Kevin.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter, Deviant-art, and the Ben 10 Club. Links are down below.
Ben 10 Club:
The Ben 10 Club has also started a new fundraiser not just to help continue to keep the website afloat but to also help the Ben 10 Club create new original content on their YouTube channel to also help support the website. The fundraiser is also meant to help the Ben 10 Club remove the ads that have been on their website. If anyone is interested in wanting to help out, feel free to click the link below.
RE: Planned Future Articles
Here's hopefully the final update before the release of my Kevin Levin article. I'm almost done with the article. All that's left is for me to discuss what I find to be the best direction to take for Kevin in the Ben 10 franchise. After that, I'll do a quick review of everything to make sure that it's all squared away and then I'll post the article.
RE: Little Moments and Breaking Point
Just recently, Erico posted a sequel to his prequel chapter, Little Moment: Stone in the River. The sequel is called Little Moment: Kiss Me Goodbye and follows up right after the events of the Ben 10,000 episode from the Original Series and focuses on the consequences of future Gwen's actions from using the time traveling spell. I was so amazed and impressed with what I read here and I highly recommend for others to check it out, regardless of your views towards the Bwen shipping or whatever. Such a brilliant addition to shadows59's Little Moments universe. Erico did a fantastic job here. I know that this isn't really a well-depth review, nor would I even consider this a review, but this is something that you just have to read for yourself. Feel free to check out the other iterations of the Little Moments series as well.
RE: Planned Future Articles
Sorry for the lack of updates. At the moment, I finally found good access to season 3 episodes of the Ben 10 reboot for me to catch up on, which includes episodes that showcase Kevin. Once I finish these episodes up, I can finally get back to working on the Kevin focused article and finishing it up.
RE: Redesigning Ben 10,000's Appearance
Something recently came to mind and that is who I find to be a suitable choice to provide the voice of Ben 10,000/adult Ben Tennyson; especially for the direction for the redesign that I discussed here. That choice is Reuben Langdon, the voice of Dante from Devil May Cry 3 to the recently released Devil May Cry 5. Thinking back to Dante as a character and Langdon's performance of him (most notably his DMC5 performance), I find that Langdon would be a suitable choice to provide the voice of an adult Ben Tennyson. Dante is an incredibly cocky and fun-loving individual and the same can pretty much be said for Ben as well. Cocky and fun-loving while still treating more serious situations with, well, seriousness and focus. Plus, I also find Langdon's DMC5 Dante performance to also sound like a proper match for an adult Ben. If I were to imagine how Ben would sound like as an adult based on the voice that Tara Strong is well known for displaying, I say that Langdon's voice would be a very close match. Feel free to check out Dante in DMC5 and see for yourself if that sort of voice and this very voice actor would indeed be a good choice to voice an adult Ben or not.
RE: Planned Future Articles
So here's a little update on things. I did start working on the article about Kevin but the development of it has been pretty slow. I think really the biggest reason as to why though is because I haven't been keeping up much on the season 3 episodes of the Ben 10 reboot and I want to watch more episodes of it that covered Kevin for the article. While things are pretty slow with that article, I do have an interest in looking back at a couple of my past articles and make revised and updated versions of them and do plan on eventually working on those articles as well. What will possibly happen is that I'll do as much as I can with the Kevin article and then maybe put it on a temporary hiatus until I catch up on the reboot episodes. During this hiatus, I'll try to work on the revision articles. I'm giving no promises as to when I'll be done with them though.