Our Friday Night animation coverage has been a bit spotty for a few months now. I’m not entirely sure if we even cover either of these shows anymore. I know *I* don’t cover ‘em, but I can’t remember if somebody picked up Ben 10 or not. Certainly I’m not picking either of these shows back up, I’m well and truly, great and mightily burned out from the nights where I had to review four or five back-to-back-to-back shows. Just the same, it’s a crossover, so I thought I should at least note it.
PLAY BY PLAY
Rex is fighting an anomaly, and Ben comes out in Humungasaur mode. We get the typical WWF Smackdown situation you have in *any* comic when two heroes meet for the first time. They immediately mistake each other for villains and wail on each other for the better part of an issue until one or the other (or both) do something selfless to save innocent civilians or save the president, or capture the bad guy, and then they become best buddies with no real ill feelings about knocking out each other’s teeth. Pretty much exactly that happens here.
A beastie of some sort came through the same rift that Ben came through, and Ben and Rex team up (Of course) until it turns out that Caesar is responsible for the beastie (Of course) and betrays both of them (Of course). Turns out “Alpha” was built to control nanites prior to the Event, but was evil (Of course) so with his typical lack of detailed thought, Caesar zapped the thing to an empty universe. This turned out to be the Null Void, which *isn’t* actually empty, it’s a penal colony. “Alpha” possessed someone, and has been hopping between universes trying to get home, It came through Ben’s universe more or less by coincidence, and Ben ended up following it basically as a plot contrivance.
So they team up to compliment each other’s fightin’ skills in ways that can easily be transmuted into toy sales:
Rex: “What’s the plan?”
Ben: “You build stuff, I make it better. Fight. Fight. Fight. We win.”
This they then do. Caesar sends Alpha back to the Null Void, while Ben clicks his heels together and goes back to Kansas. Then we get an extended, agonizingly long bit from Six about how they’ll meet again. Man, how laborious could that be?
Meanwhile, in the Null Void, Alpha escapes…
This one follows your standard DC/Marvel crossover game plan with absolutely no surprises whatsoever. It’s your basic Jimmy/Timmy thing. Contrived, but entertaining enough to kill an hour. It didn’t feel terribly padded out, but it didn’t feel essential either, which is pretty much true of Generator Rex in general over the last season.
One thing I wasn’t expecting was that this wasn’t a TV movie, it was a two-part Generator Rex episode that fits solidly in the Rex continuity, with all the normal storylines still running (Evil Providence, White Knight’s Rebellion, The Bug Jar, etc). Props for that. Presumably this means we’ll get a two-part Ben 10 crossover episode with Rex in it towards the end of the season.
Many, a lot of the dialog was sound-bytey, don’t you think? “We need more pointlessly coy tough-guy lines we can throw in commercials!”
I haven’t watched Ben 10 this year, but I noticed Ben’s face was a bit longer. Not sure if it was a redesign from his show, or if it was just to make him fit better in the Rexiverse.
Michael Emerson - “Ben Linus” from Lost - was the voice of “Alpha,” and I have to say that he was great. Particularly since it wasn’t Michael Emerson at all, but rather Kevin Spacey. Honestly, I would have sworn it was Emerson. I’m still not entirely convinced it wasn’t, though Wiki tells me so. Of coruse Wiki also lists Dr. Paradox as being in this episode, and he wasn’t, so perhaps my doubts are justified. In any event, whoever did the voice, it was pretty inspired. Very nicely creepy. Best part of the episode.
WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THESE EPISODES?
I don’t know, Jane, but what I do know is this: there’s a bunch of Friday Night SF cartoons that we’re not covering. If you’d like to do it, I’d like to let you do it. Just drop me a line at email@example.com and you can get started. It’s not a bad gig. True, we don’t pay you, but we get about 20,000 reads a week on a good week, so this is a great place to get a toehold on the way to internet name recognition. Wanna’ get a following? You could do worse than start here.