Why Kevin Levin should be a villain
I recall hearing how some of the best villains in fiction tend to be those that are a reflection of the heroes/main characters. Can't say that I disagree with that because, well, it is pretty much true. Some of the best villains that we've had in fiction do indeed tend to be a reflection of the heroes. The Joker to Batman. Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker. Venom to Spider-Man (although, I think other villains like Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus also act as evil reflections of Spider-Man as well). Voldemort to Harry Potter. Etc.
And, as the title relates to, Kevin Levin as an evil reflection to Ben Tennyson. I've spoken of this many times before. I didn't like how Kevin was handled after the Original Series. I felt that his transition into a good guy and how he became friends with Ben and started a relationship with Gwen didn't make sense and doesn't fit the character. I think Kevin would be better off as a villain and being like how he was in the Original Series. How he should go further down towards a darker insanity. How Kevin has the potential to be one of the best and most dangerous and terrifying villains in the franchise. All that stuff. Granted, I don’t think I’ve covered much on Kevin being a reflection of Ben. Likely a few times, but not to a more in-depth degree. So, let’s cover that.
So why an evil counterpart? Why make villains an evil reflection of the heroes? Well, most importantly, it’s to challenge not just the hero themselves, but everything that they stand for. To act as a critique to the heroes and their morals. To be a symbolic representation of what the heroes could become if they make the wrong choices in their journeys. Suffice to say, these are the types of villains that pretty much test the heroes the most and push them to their absolute limits. The types of villains that would have more of a significant impact on the development and growth of said heroes compared to other types of villains.
Before going over to Kevin as an evil reflection, I want to address the other evil counterparts of Ben, Albedo and Eon, and why I think they don’t work as evil reflections of Ben. First, Albedo. Albedo is a Galvan and a former assistant to Azmuth and built his own copy of the Omnitrix because he felt that Ben wasn’t a worthy choice to wield the original. Albedo is one of the more generic and bland examples of an evil counterpart. He’s a villain that has the main hero’s appearance but with a different color pattern and that’s what makes him an “evil counterpart.” The problem, however, is that Albedo doesn’t have much of a connection with Ben. There’s little to nothing about them that relates them to each other. Ben and Albedo are very different characters to each other. If anything, given his background, it would be more fitting for Albedo to be Azmuth’s evil counterpart. Albedo connects more with Azmuth than with Ben. Ditching the Ben look that he has and making him a reflection of Azmuth I think would’ve been a much more interesting direction for him as a villain.
Then there’s Eon, who doesn’t work well as an evil counterpart to Ben because that’s not what he was originally created to be. Eon being an evil version of Ben from a different timeline is a retcon. In Race Against Time, Eon was basically just another villain that Ben crossed paths with. He was an evil alien that wanted to use the Omnitrix to kickstart an invasion of Earth. Despite the retconned version being an actual evil version of Ben, it doesn’t feel like Eon and Ben have much of a connection with each other, again, likely because being an evil version of Ben was not what Eon originally was. I don’t think it was ever established how this version of Ben became Eon as well. What sort of choices that he made that led to him becoming evil, which I believe is a pretty important aspect behind what makes a villain a proper reflection of the hero. To understand what factors led to the villain becoming the villain and how the hero should avoid making those very same decisions and mistakes. The point here with Eon is that it’s not really the best idea to take a character that’s set up in one way and make them into something that they really shouldn’t be and doesn’t fit well for them.
Speaking of characters that were changed into something that they shouldn’t be, let’s get on to Kevin. Kevin’s debut episode in the Original Series involved just how close Ben was to becoming like Kevin. Both Ben and Kevin are human characters of similar age with unique and extraordinary abilities. They can be impulsive and like having fun, but often get themselves into trouble. As the Kevin 11 episode showed, both Ben and Kevin also acted quite rebellious and selfish as well. Where they differ, however, is in their upbringing. Despite how Ben acted, he was a good person at heart raised by good people that cared about him. I mentioned before how Ben almost became like Kevin during their first meeting with each other. Ben was being selfish throughout the episode like Kevin was, but in the end, when people’s lives were on the line, Ben’s good heartedness is what pulled him away from that same path that Kevin took. Kevin, on the other hand, went through all sorts of struggles that didn’t do his mental state any favors. He was abandoned by his parents and bullied, mocked, and tormented by others, often being called a freak due to his abilities. His abilities didn’t do him much favors either. As Kevin absorbed more energy, it further deteriorated his mental state. It got to the point where Kevin developed psychopathic behaviors and tendencies, showing no consideration for the lives of others as shown when Kevin tried (and fortunately failed, thanks to Ben) to make a money train and passenger train crash into each other just to steal the cash, despite the outcome would have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent people. Kevin also developed other elements to his deteriorating mental state, such as insecurity, low self-esteem, and paranoia as well as a deep hatred for other people and society in general given the struggles that he went through.
That’s Kevin in the Original Series. That’s the character that he is. That’s the identity and purpose that he’s given. While he does seem like a character that you can sympathize with given everything he’s been through, that doesn’t excuse the actions and choices that he’s made in the Original Series. A character like Kevin doesn’t seem like one that deserves redemption nor even wants redemption. Ben has tried to help Kevin. Offered Kevin the chance to have a better life and to be with a family that does and will care about him. Kevin was offered a chance at redemption in the Original Series and yet, he turned it down. Stuff like this is why Kevin’s redemption arc in Alien Force doesn’t make sense and why he’s better off as a villain and being Ben’s evil reflection. Ben needs someone like Kevin to be his evil counterpart. Those, such as Albedo and Eon, just don’t really cut it for such a purpose like that. I think there’s no better option for this than Kevin.
I've been working on this one for way too long, but I finally got it finished. Feel free to give your thoughts and opinions on this if you like. Anything about this that anyone would like to address, feel free to let me know.
What makes you think that? I think he should side with Ben and especially Gwen because I ship the two so much!
@Angela Given how Kevin was in the Original Series, I just don't think his portrayal in Alien Force makes sense and fits the character.
@Tactical-Ochoa yeah, but was there proof that Kevin likes Gwen? I only watch the Reboot and occasionally Omniverse.
Tactical Ochoa last edited by Tactical Ochoa
@Angela Kevin tried to kill her in the Original Series (Kevin is the Heatblast here).
And threatened to kill her if Ben didn't surrender the Omnitrix.
Oh, ok! Thanks for telling me!
@Angela No prob.
@Angela Basically, there was nothing in the Original Series that even hinted that Kevin and Gwen liked each other and it didn't help that, as I've said, Kevin tried to kill Gwen. Their relationship in Alien Force was pretty much forced and rushed. Omniverse had some flashback scenes that showed that Gwen had a crush on Kevin I'm guessing in an attempt to make it make sense, but again, given Kevin's actions and portrayal in the Original Series, it made so little to no sense for Kevin and Gwen to be in a relationship with each other.
If you only watched the reboot show and some of Omniverse, I recommend that you check out the other shows as well. I definitely recommend checking out the Original Series the most. I'm not much of a fan of Alien Force, Ultimate Alien, and Omniverse, but that shouldn't stop you from checking out those shows as well if you want to.
coreofthesun last edited by coreofthesun
@Tactical-Ochoa Very detailed post with some great points all round.
100% agree with Albedo. With regards to Eon I certainly believe that he would've been more effective if they'd actually delved into his backstory a bit more. To show us how he became that way, and to highlight just how much he contrasts with Ben. There were probably opportunities in Omniverse to do so but they didn't really capitalise on it, potentially out of fear of making the story too dark. Actually I think that he would've made a far more effective villain than Maltruant if they'd done so.
The differences between Ben and Kevin also really show "nature vs nurture" at its fullest. Ben and Kevin share a lot of similarities as people, but Kevin represents the path which Ben could've gone down if he hadn't grown up around such good people with a proper sense of right and wrong. Kevin's backstory is honestly quite tragic , he was born with abilities which he didn't want and his family rejected him and chucked him out of the house for being a freak.He's someone whom you can understand but yet someone who you cannot forgive at the same time. "Kevin 11" is one of the darkest and most thought provoking episodes of the original series for this reason. Heck, even when they do have to work together in "Grudge Match", at the end of the episode Kevin saves Ben's life, but only because he wanted the pleasure of killing Ben himself. If that doesn't give out Joker or Green Goblin vibes then I don't know what does.
A lot of people defend his redemption in Alien Force because they say that Ben is always willing to forgive and give people another chance, and that with Kevin maturing he realised the error of his ways. People say that Ben and Gwen teamed up with him at first out of absolute necessity because he had alien tech, knowledge of Forever Knight operations and trades , and then this eventually it grew into mutual trust. UAF then retconned him into a half-Osmosian, with his Osmosian father being Max's Plumber partner (and if this is true then Max is an utter jerk for never reaching out to his partner's son at all in the original series. Not to mention how the space Plumbers are another retcon by themselves). Then they came out with an explanation that absorbing energy drove Osmosians insane beyond their control, but was completely reversible. This was meant to be a way of justifying Kevin's redemption but it just meant that he had no responsibility put on him for his actions. Kevin was clearly the writers' favourite character in UAF and they put so much effort into further developing his redemption story when it really did not fit his character and setup at all. People - especially teenagers - do change over time. And UAF Kevin by himself is a very entertaining character who is given a lot of depth. Just...why did Kevin have to get a redemption out of all characters? Someone like Charmcaster was far more deserving of making the transition to becoming good.
Don't get me started on Gwevin. I'm not into shipping at all but the Gwevin ship was unbelievably rushed and not thought out at all. It really made no sense otherwise given that neither showed any kind of care towards each other in the original series, and then all of a sudden in Alien Force we have these cringey romance moments in the very first episode? Isn't Gwen meant to be smart? I think she'd know better than to trust someone whom she last encountered like this. What a loving, caring couple they'll be in the future, right?.
Apparently Dwayne Mcduffie actually planned for Kevin to be going through an anti-hero/vigilante arc in the background which would've been better, and for Cooper to be the third member of the trio, but Kevin being good was mandated by CN for reasons which we'll never know...
I don't think that Kevin has to be a full blown villain. I think he'd probably also work well as someone who isn't definitely good or evil and walking the fine between. I think that him going through something similar to what Charmcaster did in UAF and OV would be far more fitting. The most important thing however is that he acts as a dark mirror image to Ben. That's what made him a good character in the original series and I think that he'd be effective as a means to show how Ben grows as a character, especially if he gets his own character arcs to parallel Ben's. His conflicts with Ben will always be personal as opposed to the vast majority of other villains. I believe that Ben would keep trying to give him chances and I can see them teaming up very temporarily in pursuit of a common goal (eg. stopping the Highbreed) but Kevin would be more likely to ditch them/backstab them when he gets the chance. I actually think that Michael Morningstar (with some tweaks) is actually a pretty good representation of whom Kevin is, what with him being addicted to absorbing energy and not giving a damn about anyone else other than himself.
I will say that I think that reboot Kevin going through a good guy transition similar to Alien Force's could work, as could his bond with Ben and Gwen given that he didn't try to hunt them down or kill them for no reason. But it does not work one bit for Original Series Kevin.
KineceleranGirl last edited by KineceleranGirl
Wasn’t Kevin meant to be a vigilante parallel to Ben in the initial planned OS sequel Hero Generation? I believe that he and Charmcaster were meant to act as character foils who would challenge Ben and Gwen as characters due to the similarities. But yes, Kevin turning good does not suit him and he would’ve been far more interesting as a villain. I remember watching the episode “Ken 10” and future Kevin 11,000 hitting his own son and saying that he enjoyed hurting people was a cold moment which stuck in my head for a long time.
@KineceleranGirl I recall hearing something like that. I guess I wouldn't mind about him being a vigilante or something of the likes as long as him and Ben remain as enemies and not friends. Not only do I think Kevin is far more interesting as a villain, but I think he has the potential to be one of the best and most dangerous and terrifying villains in the franchise. Moments like what you mentioned from the Ken 10 episode I think showcased that. Kevin's powers combined with his sheer obsession towards making Ben suffer is a very dangerous recipe that could really create quite an intense conflict for Ben, Gwen, Ken, etc. to deal with.