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Magister Maxwell "Max" Tennyson or Grandpa Max as his grandchildren call him, is the paternal grandfather of Ben and Gwen. He is a fairly overweight man in his late 50's to early 60's, with a keen sense for adventure and a strange taste in food. Max ends up taking the kids on a summer vacations' road trip across the United States. Max travels in a motor home nicknamed the Rust Bucket, which he has modified with advanced technology.
Max was a semi-retired legendary Magister rank Plumber and is the mentor of Ben, Gwen, Kevin, and the Plumbers' Helpers. Max is widely considered the greatest Plumber in the Milky Way. As of Omniverse, Max quit retirement and joined the Plumbers again, and is currently Magister of Earth.
In the original series, Max wore a white shirt, covered by a red buttoned-up Hawaiian shirt with a floral design. He had grey hair and blue pants, as well as brown shoes.
In Alien Force and Ultimate Alien, Max's appearance did not change except for his blue pants being changed to brown, he had more wrinkles, a slightly darker shirt, and whiter hair. He wore black shoes.
In Omniverse, Max's appearance has not changed that much except for his brown pants, which are now white. He has whiter hair, more wrinkles, and his eyes have been changed to little black dashes. His white shirt that he wore under his red button up shirt has changed to black. Also, his shoes are now grey at the top and black at the bottom.
In Back with a Vengeance, he wore a yellow raincoat while touring Niagara Falls on a ship.
In Monster Weather, he wore blue jeans, a brown headband, a brown vest and brown sandals along with his red Hawaiian shirt.
After being turned into a ten year old in Don't Drink the Water, Max was seen wearing Ben's regular clothes, a black-striped, white shirt with short sleeves, military green cargo pants and black and white sneakers with black stripes. His hair was also similar to a crew cut, and rather than fat, Max looked skinny and athletic.
In Divided We Stand, in addition to his red Hawaiian shirt, he wore brown shorts and brown strap sandals.
In Alien Force, he sometimes wore a short-sleeved white T-shirt with light brown pants and a green pouch with a sling that hangs on his shoulder.
While under the identity of the Wrench, he wore a black T-shirt and light brown pants under a brown robe.
In Alien Force and Ultimate Alien, he occasionally wore a Plumber suit.
As seen in a flashback in Moonstruck, 17 year old Max had short brown hair a red shirt and light brown pants.
In Alien Swarm, Max wore a blue Hawaiian shirt instead of a red one.
In a flashback in Blukic and Driba Go to Area 51, as a young adult, Max had black hair and was scrawny. He wore the same Hawaiian shirt he wears in the present.
In Something Zombozo This Way Comes, as a Zombie Clown, Max had white makeup, red lipstick, a red nose and different hair.
An easy-going, kind, and normally jovial man, Max Tennyson often comes across as pleasantly absent-minded at times, but is actually quite perceptive. For instance, he knew early on in Ben's adventures who was most likely pursuing him, as he was aware of Vilgax's history having fought the alien tyrant many times before. Max is also a very brave man, having dedicated his life to preserve peace on Earth between humans and extraterrestrial life. His bravery has resulted in him being injured, having his DNA spliced, nearly killed in several dozen ways, and more. His prioritization of others' safety above his own even when bereft of a weapon shows his selfless nature at its finest. The consummate strategist, Max is very intelligent, being able to select the correct weapon to battle Z'Skayr based on minimal information given to him by Ben, choosing a light-based weapon to bring down the rogue Ectonurite.
Though well-meaning, Max is not without a stern side, having struggled to guide Ben during the first few months of his grandson's possession of the Omnitrix. When pushed, Max can be strict, harsh, but not unreasonably so, not being afraid to call people out on their selfishness and mistakes when necessary.
Powers and Abilities
Although Max doesn't have any super powers, he is very skilled in combat and can take on anyone who does have them as he is quite athletic for someone of his age. As a retired Plumber, he has access to a variety of various Plumber tools and weaponry, which he uses skillfully. Aside from that, his experience from his Plumber days made him knowledgeable on various species of aliens. He is also able to strategize well and is skilled in inventing new machines. He is telepathically connected to his lover, Verdona.
Before joining the Plumbers, Max was a United States Air Force pilot, with dreams of joining NASA and going to the moon. He was an expert at flying an F-104 Starfighter and was able to shoot down an alien spacecraft.
Despite being highly trained, Max is far from the prime athletic specimen he was during his days as a Plumber. He is a senior citizen, and has not managed to keep in shape, though he does still possess an incredible tactical mind to compensate for his less than stellar physical conditioning.
See Article: Relationship with Verdona
During Xylene's early years, she met Max Tennyson, who at the time was a Plumber. She wanted Max to go to Ringa Morr with her, but Max declined it.
- All episodes except Gwen 10 and Goodbye and Good Riddance.
- All shorts
- Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix
- Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens
- Ben 10 Returns: Part 1 (hologram)
- Ben 10 Returns: Part 2 (flashback)
- Kevin's Big Score (hologram)
- All That Glitters (hologram)
- Max Out (first reappearance)
- Vengeance of Vilgax: Part 1
- Vengeance of Vilgax: Part 2
- Inferno (hologram)
- Fool's Gold
- If All Else Fails
- Above and Beyond
- The Final Battle: Part 1
- The Final Battle: Part 2
- Moonstruck (flashback and present)
- Prisoner Number 775 Is Missing
- The Ultimate Enemy: Part 2 (flashback; cameo)
- The More Things Change: Part 1 (first reappearance)
- The More Things Change: Part 2
- A Jolt from the Past (flashback and present)
- So Long, and Thanks for All the Smoothies
- Trouble Helix (flashback)
- Of Predators and Prey: Part 1
- Of Predators and Prey: Part 2 (flashback and present)
- Gone Fishin'
- Blukic and Driba Go to Mr. Smoothy's
- Malefactor (flashback)
- Arrested Development
- Showdown: Part 1 (flashback)
- Showdown: Part 2 (flashback and present)
- Store 23
- Vilgax Must Croak
- Ben Again (flashback and present)
- The Frogs of War: Part 1
- The Frogs of War: Part 2
- Food Around the Corner
- Max's Monster
- Evil's Encore (flashback)
- Mud Is Thicker Than Water
- A Fistful of Brains
- For a Few Brains More
- Something Zombozo This Way Comes (flashback and present)
- Catfight (cameo)
- The Rooters of All Evil
- Blukic and Driba Go to Area 51 (flashback and present)
- No Honor Among Bros
- Universe vs. Tennyson
- Weapon XI: Part 2 (flashback and present)
- Clyde Five
- Rook Tales
- The Ballad of Mr. Baumann (flashback and present)
- The Color of Monkey
- From Hedorium to Eternity (flashback)
- Stuck on You
- The Final Countdown
- Malgax Attacks
- The Most Dangerous Game Show (cameo)
Cartoon Network Action Packs
- Fast Lane
- Snow Blind
- Fear Itself
- A Villain a Day
- Techno Zombies
- Barbershop Blues
- Blast from the Past
- The Height of Heat
- Space Camp and Beyond
- Alien Data Files: Wildmutt
- Greasy Lightning
- Alien Data Files: Heatblast
- Alien Data Files: Four Arms
- Swimming with Sharks
- Monkey Business
- Alien Data Files: XLR8
- Eggs with Legs
- Intergalactic Spazz Club
- Aqua Nut
- Sonic Boom
- Pleasant Dreams
- Alien Data Files: Upgrade
- Special Defects
- Alien Data Files: Diamondhead
- Mountains of Trouble
- Alien Data Files: Ripjaws
- Dora Flora
- Alien Data Files: Stinkfly
- Old Friends
Max helps Ben in his travel around the country. He was captured by Kevin 11 and had to be rescued by Ben. He accesses to Plumber base in Mt. Rushmore and later defeats Zs'Skayr with a sun gun.
Max helps Ben and his gang to destroy the Null Void power source. He joins the gang after the level Mor' Otesi. He appears in holograms on Plumber Badges, in the beginning and ending of each level. He battles the Null Void monsters on Earth.
Max is a non-playable character. He gets captured by Dr. Animo and gets rescued by 11 year old Ben and Rook.
- Max's design in the original series was created by Dave Johnson, while his Alien Force and Ultimate Alien one was created by Glenn Wong.[GW 1]
- Max was supposed to get the Omnitrix, but when Ben found it, his DNA was close enough to Max's that it attached itself to his wrist instead.
- Max has been married more than once.[DM 1]
- Max previously thought Gwen's powers were magic. He did not realize it was Gwen's inheritance any more than her parents did.[DM 2]
- Max's eyes in Omniverse are a reference to the DC comic book character Shazam.[DJW 1]
- Max was a Magister for at least 5 years.
- In the early stages of production of the original series, Max originally wasn't a Plumber, he was just an average inventor.[pop-up 2][pop-up 3]
- Max's cooking is a running gag throughout the franchise as most humans, (especially Ben, Gwen, and Kevin) find the cuisine to be disgusting, while aliens (Rook, Xylene, and others) can't get enough of it.
- Characters wearing shirts identical to Max's appear throughout the series as a running gag.
- Max loses his arm in the Limax War, which happens in the future.[pop-up 4][DJW 2]
- Max was similar to Kevin when he was Kevin's age; an example being in Moonstruck with young Max saying "Hey! Watch the paint job!" and "My ride!", both of which have been said by Kevin.
- Max's favorite color is either pale green or magenta.[MW 1]
- Max Tennyson made an appearance in the fifth episode of the sixth season of Robot Chicken, "Hurtled from a Helicopter into a Speeding Train."
- When asked to pick Ben 10 characters for every Lantern Corps, Derrick J. Wyatt envisioned Max as being a Blue Lantern.[DJW 3]
- Alternate counterparts of Max do not exist on either Rex's or Mad Ben's home dimensions.[DR 1][DJW 4]