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Being a hero isn't about others knowing you did something good, it's about YOU knowing you did something good. Being a hero is its own reward.

– Max to Ben.[8]

Magister Maxwell "Max" Tennyson or Grandpa Max as his grandchildren call him, is the paternal grandfather of Ben and Gwen. He is a slightly overweight man in his late 50's to early 60's, with a keen sense for adventure and a strange taste in exotic 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.[9] As of Omniverse, Max quit retirement and joined the Plumbers again, and is currently Magister of Earth.


Regular Appearances

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.

Occasional Appearances

In the original series, his pajamas were blue and had yellow lightning streaks.

While in the hospital in The Alliance, he wore a light blue hospital gown, with a cast around his left leg, bandages around his head and a band-aid on his left cheek.

In Dr. Animo and the Mutant Ray, he wore an orange life jacket.

As a Lepidopterran hybrid in the same episode, he had a maggot-like body with green skin and six legs. He had four eye stalks with orange eyes and grey hair.

In Back with a Vengeance, he wore a yellow raincoat while touring Niagara Falls on a ship.

In A Change of Face, he wore a pilgrim outfit.

In Merry Christmas, while cursed as Santa Claus, he wore a red and white robe, a red hat and green gloves.

In Game Over, while inside Sumo Slammers Smackdown, he wore grey armor which covered his left pectoral and lower body. He had brown hair on top and on the sides of his head, along with a brown beard.

In Monster Weather, he wore blue jeans, a brown headband, a brown vest and brown sandals along with his red Hawaiian shirt.

In Under Wraps, he briefly wore a blue bath robe.

In Under Wraps, The Return and Be Afraid of the Dark, he wore a hazmat suit.

As Ultra Grandpa in Perfect Day, he had a stereotypical superhero costume. He wore frameless blue goggles, a cyan shirt and white pants. He also donned a white cape like Ultra Ben.

In Divided We Stand, in addition to his red Hawaiian shirt, he wore brown shorts and brown strap sandals.

After being turned into a 10-year-old in Don't Drink the Water, Max's hair was similar to a crew cut, and rather than fat, he looked skinny and athletic. He initially wore his own clothes, then switched to Ben's clothes.

In Big Fat Alien Wedding, during the wedding ceremony, he wore a black tuxedo.

In Ben 10 vs. the Negative 10: Part 2, he wore a grey exo-suit with blue markings on its visor.

In Alien Force and Ultimate Alien, 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.

In a flashback in Ben 10 Returns: Part 2, Max wore his regular shirt as well as dark blue shorts, white socks and brown shoes.

In Max Out, he wore a light brown long coat and a brown hat with a horizontal black stripe, over his regular outfit.

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.

In Alien Swarm, Max wore a blue Hawaiian shirt instead of a red one. He wore a brown jacket over this outfit near the end of the movie. In a video recording, he wore a bluish grey vest over a long-sleeved white shirt, as well as blue pants.

As seen in a flashback in Moonstruck, Teen Max had short brown hair. He wore a brown jacket over a red shirt as well as light brown pants. He briefly wore his Air Force uniform.

In a flashback in Of Predators and Prey: Part 2, Max's fishing outfit consisted of a brownish grey hat with a horizontal grey line, as well as baggy brownish grey pants held up by black straps.

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 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.

Ever the consummate strategist, Max is very intelligent, being able to select the correct weapon to battle Zs'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.

Max has a weird appetite, which comes from his travels both on the Earth and beyond.[pop-up 1][10]


Background Ben 10 Alien Force Ultimate Alien Omniverse
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Click on the images above to see the respective histories.

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.[11]

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.[11]


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.

Love Interests


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 saying he has to defeat Vligax. Later when Xylene was unlocked from her sleeping pod on earth, Max again declined to go with her telling that Ben and Gwen are a new world for him.


Ben 10

Alien Force

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3


Ultimate Alien

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3



Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5

Season 6

Season 7

Season 8


Cartoon Network Action Packs

Chapter Books

Video Games

Ben 10: Protector of Earth

Keys of Plumbers Base.png

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.

Ben 10 Alien Force: Vilgax Attacks

Max helps Ben and his gang to destroy the Null Void power source. He joins the gang after the level MorOtesi. He appears in holograms on Plumber Badges, in the beginning and ending of each level. He battles the Null Void monsters on Earth.

Ben 10: Omniverse

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 primarily by David Williams with some help from Dave Johnson, while his Alien Force and Ultimate Alien one was created by Glenn Wong.[GW 1] Overall, his design is based on the costume worn by Shazam from DC Comics, right down to his open shirt forming a lightning bolt and the colors of his shirt mimicking Shazam's cape.[DJ 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.[9][12]
    • If Max had used the Omnitrix from the start, the Rooters would not consider him a threat.[DJW 4]
  • Originally, Max's lucky Hawaiian shirt was given to him by Gwen's older brother, Ken.[pop-up 2][13] However, this was retconned in Omniverse, as Max was shown to be wearing the shirt as a young adult, long before Ken would have been born.[14]
  • 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 was a Magister for at least 5 years.[15]
  • In the early stages of production of the original series:
    • Max was going to be a scientist who drove a blimp.[JK 1]
    • Max originally wasn't a Plumber, he was just an average inventor.[pop-up 3]
  • Max has been the subject of several running gags throughout the franchise:
    • Most humans (especially Ben, Gwen, and Kevin) find his cooking to be disgusting, while aliens such as Rook and Xylene cannot get enough of the alien cuisine.
    • Background characters are shown wearing shirts identical to Max's.
  • Max was similar to Kevin when he was Kevin's age.[16][5] For example, in Moonstruck, young Max says "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 2]
  • Max has stock car driving experience.[17]
  • Max made an appearance in the fifth episode of the sixth season of Robot Chicken, Hurtled from a Helicopter into a Speeding Train.
  • Max once worked with the Saturdays[18] on The Bellwood Experiment, a secret project.[MW 3]
  • Max's voice actor, Paul Eiding, likes that Max is more involved in Omniverse.[AC 1]
  • Alternate counterparts of Max do not exist on either Rex's or Mad Ben's home dimensions.[DR 1][DJW 5]
    • In the case of the former, this was proven true during Ben's visit there, as he hypothesized that Max may not exist on Rex's Earth.[19]
    • In Dimension 23, Max died before the Omnitrix reached Earth, leaving Ben 23 with no mentor or moral support until Azmuth 23 took up that position.[20]


  1. Even though they have children, Derrick J. Wyatt said Max has never been married to Verdona.[DJW 1] Correlating with this, Dwayne McDuffie believed that Max has been married more than once.[DM 1] Matt Wayne does not know if they are married.[MW 1]
  2. Manny Tennyson was mentioned in Gwen 10, a non-canon episode. It is unknown if he exists in the canon timeline.


Crew Statements

Derrick J. Wyatt

Dwayne McDuffie

Glenn Wong

Dave Johnson

Joe Kelly

Matt Wayne

Duncan Rouleau


Audio Commentary

See Also

Tennyson Family Ben TennysonGwen TennysonMax TennysonCarl TennysonSandra TennysonFrank TennysonNatalie TennysonKen TennysonGordon TennysonBetty Jean TennysonJoel TennysonCamille Mann-TennysonVera TennysonClyde FifeBig Chill's OffspringVerdona
Levin Family Kevin LevinMrs. LevinDevin LevinZedHarvey Hackett
Rook Family Rook BlonkoRook DaRook BrallaRook SharRook ShimRook ShiRook Ben
Plumbers MagistrataMagister PatellidayMagister ArnuxMagister PykeMagister HulkaMagister CoronachHobbleMolly GuntherBranniganZorianAlan AlbrightHelen WheelsManny ArmstrongCooperLucy MannBrykChortleBig EdTackWat-SennScoutJerryI.M. WerfzelMedicLeadfootMortyElliotBromebaStick DougRobucketBel Biv KaboomDraxFistinaWes GreenXyleneMagister LabridMagister Prior GilhilVictor ValadisPierce Wheels
Secondary Characters Cash MurrayEsterHexIgnacius BaumannJ.T.Jimmy JonesJulie YamamotoKai GreenPakmarProfessor ParadoxRad DudesmanReinrassig IIIShipSkurdTetrax Shard
Galvan AzmuthAzmuth's FatherBlukicDribaLuhleyUjinTeacherFergiChadzmuthY-itDuffyZennithSoldiersMajor
Andromeda Aliens AndreasBivalvanGalapagusP'andorRa'ad
Sentient Ultimate Forms Sentient Ultimate Big ChillSentient Ultimate CannonboltSentient Ultimate Echo EchoSentient Ultimate HumungousaurSentient Ultimate SpidermonkeySentient Ultimate Swampfire
Forever Knights Sir GeorgeWinstonforeverduke838Squire
Galactic Enforcers UltimosSynaptakTini
Actors Abel NorthCerebrocrustacean ActorDeefus VeeblepisterFridgeGourmand ActorGwenettesHughJennifer NocturnePiscciss Volann ActorSwampsVilgax Actor
Atrocians Blue-WorstGreen-WorstOrange-WorstPink-WorstPurple-WorstShe-WorstSlim-WorstViolet-Worst
Kinecelerans DJE-NK8-EML-EN-8N-DT8-M
Undertown Residents BlowfeldBuzzElián ZeeGenghis KenGilford BromleyGil SteptoeLacknoLillimusha DiForestiniLoovis SlerdlerkMedicSmoothy VendorSock VendorSponge GorbTentacle VendorToby MonitorWhalium Whalace
Others Alton AlabasterAmazing AlanAndyAnicetoBaby CelestialsapienBahrvadBailiff (Alien Force)Bailiff (Omniverse)BarryBen's TeacherBezelBill GacksBillyBlowfishBobDr. BorgesBradPrivate BrownbagAgent BrysonCaitiffCarol SmithSergeant Cast IronCentur SquaarChet RigbyChicken AlienCicelySergeant CookmeisterCow AlienDeckaDoggy BuddyJudge DomstolDonovan Grand SmithDougDragonDubbaEarlEddie Grand SmithEdithEdnaElsgoodElvesEmilyEuniceMrs. FangFiery BuddyFitzFlorenceFritzFrolicGar Red WindGaterboyGenaroGilbertGlutoGrackGrickGeneral GroffHandy BuddyHaplarHaplar's MateHaplar's BabyHaroldHectorHelena XaglivHelioHervéHighbreed CouncilorsHighbreed SupremeHotel GuardHugoIgnaceousImmovable ObjectIshiyamaJamieJeffJoan MaplewoodJoeMrs. JonesJonesyJuliusDr. KellyKenkoKwarrelKyle MonitorLarryLawrence WainrightCouncilwoman LiangLobster ManAgent LockeLouLuLucyLukikMadisonMadison's FatherMaliceMandyMargieMartySheriff MasonMaureen NocturneMechamorph GuardMollyMother CelestialsapienMouldywarpMullenMyaxxNaljian MotherNatalie AlvarezNosedeeniansNull Void SettlersOrbParts DealerPierce's GirlfriendPorcupinePresidentProbityPyxiQuinceRandolph PervisRayonaRegisMrs. RheaultRogerColonel RozumScreegitSenseiSentinel Sentinels of MonarchCaptain ShawSheelaneShelbyShip-It EmployeeDr. ShuemanSmuggled PsycholeopterranSparring PartnerSpellbinderLieutenant SteelSteve CummingsSugiliteSumo Slammer Collecting BoyTechnorgTeejTetramand PriestThaddeus J. CollinsThomas JinglesTiffanyTiffinTim DeanTinyTiny's FatherTiny's MotherTodd MaplewoodTrinaTrukkTwoTwoTylerValadis Laboratories JanitorVance VetteroyVexxViktoriaWaltWarriorMr. WebbOfficer WellsWolf BlitzerWrestlerMr. YamamotoYetiYosemite Park RangerZavinZaw-VeenullZs'iza and Zs'oiseMr. ZuZzzakt
Original Future Ben TennysonDevlin LevinGwendolyn TennysonGwendolyn Tennyson (Ben's Daughter)Kai TennysonKen TennysonKen's PetMax TennysonOne-Eyed Alien Kid
Ultimate Alien Future Ben Tennyson
Omniverse Future ArgitBen TennysonGwendolyn TennysonJ. Jonah JonesKai TennysonKen TennysonKevin LevinMax TennysonRook Blonko
RAT Timeline Ben TennysonGwen TennysonMax TennysonCarl TennysonSandra TennysonCash MurrayEdward WhiteJ.T.Doris DaltonMr. HawkinsMr. WhittingtonMr. EnguellsMr. JenyxMrs. CarlyleConstantine JacobsOld Man
Gweniverse Gwen Tennyson
Gwen 10 (What-If?) Gwen TennysonBen TennysonMax TennysonThe Seer
Goodbye and Good Riddance (What-If?) Ben TennysonGwen TennysonMax TennysonCarl TennysonSandra TennysonCash MurrayJ.T.JamieArnoldPetersonBen's TeacherBen's DogThe Seer
Dimension 23 Ben TennysonTetrax ShardSevenSevenAzmuth
No Watch Timeline Ben TennysonGwen TennysonMax TennysonKevin LevinJ.T.
Argitrix Timeline Argit
Mad Ben's Dimension Mad HarangueMad Rook
Books Alien's ActorBen's ActorBig Chill's ActorChromastone's ActorEcho Echo's ActorGladiatorGoop's ActorGuardHumungousaur's ActorIlma NarJetray's ActorLittle GirlLorelaiPlen StroffPresidentPrisoner From the Planet DustovRobotic BullSoolSkraprr ByakkoSpidermonkey's ActorSwampfire's ActorTimothyTini Rau
Generator Rex Rex SalazarRebecca HolidayBobo HahaAgent SixCaesar SalazarDiane FarrahWhite KnightDinosaur EVO
Secret Saturdays Zak SaturdayDoc SaturdayDrew SaturdayFiskerton SaturdayKomodoZon
MAD Benjamin Franklin