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Michael Morningstar, also known as Darkstar, is one of the recurring villains of the franchise. He has the ability to drain life force from living beings in physical contact. He gained a grudge against Ben and his team after they accidentally caused him to turn into a zombie-like being who has to wear a helmet to hide his face. His plans usually involve gaining back his original face and feeding himself.
His general appearance is that of a tall, handsome young man in his late teens with blond hair, light blue eyes, dark eyebrows, and pale skin. He is dressed in a dark gray overcoat, a black shirt, a brown scarf, khaki pants and black dress shoes.
When drained of his energy, he becomes almost zombie-like: his hair becomes patchy and his eyes become sunken, black and beady. His lips pull back to show his teeth, and his skin turns grey. He wears a metallic helmet and gloves to hide his face and hands, the holes in his helmet for his eyes and mouth still keep those parts of his face hidden in shadows. He now wears a medieval tunic and pants. In Alien Force and Ultimate Alien his tunic and pants are more blue-grey, and he wears black boots over his pants. In Omniverse his tunic and pants are a brighter blue-purple, and he wears metallic boots over his pants.
However, he has some level of morals and/or restraints, such as when he started absorbing the DNAliens but stopped once Ben pointed out that he was killing them, although he was irritated at him for stopping him.
Michael is initially depicted as a well-mannered individual who appears eager to help Ben and company. He comes from a rich family, as he states that his family has multiple mansions. How his family acquired such wealth isn't explained but it is known his is the only family which has such wealth, which are armed with a menagerie of Plumber technology. The technology in question is monitoring equipment that uplinks to a variety of networks, which funnels information to him. Part of the monitoring equipment features a communication network between the Plumber badges.
As they travel with him, he shows a very uncaring attitude to others around him. This is evident by his slamming of the door in Kevin's face as well as his remarks to Gwen while they are alone. While Ben and Gwen quickly trusted him, Kevin knew since the beginning about Morningstar's true motivation (partially because of his jealousy, as Michael and Gwen tended to flirt with each other). After a fight with zombified schoolgirls from unknown origin, Kevin guessed that Michael was the one responsible for these zombifications. His guess later proved to be right when Morningstar drained Gwen's energy, becoming nearly unstoppable and easily defeating both Ben and Kevin. However, Gwen proved to have enough will to resist his control, and drained her energy back from him, as well as part of his own, leaving him weakened. His other zombie victims then turned against him, and took back what remained of his energy, leaving him almost desiccated and powerless. His Plumber badge was destroyed by Kevin who states that he doesn't deserve it.
He later reappears as Darkstar in Darkstar Rising, his powers having gradually returned much stronger and more powerful than before. In order to get revenge, he tries to get Ben, Gwen, and Kevin arrested by Magister Prior Gilhil for impersonating Plumbers and by making a deal with a Highbreed lord he defeated. When the Highbreed did his part of the deal, Darkstar tried to absorb Ben, Gwen, Kevin, the Highbreed, and Gilhil's life force energy, but he was unable to absorb Gwen's because she escaped. He later captured the four and was about to absorb all of their life force energy when Gwen came in with the DNAliens in which he was unable to absorb all of them because of fatigue. He was defeated by Ben using a combination of his aliens. Afterwards, he was arrested by Magister Gilhil and thrown in the Null Void.
In the two-part second season finale War of the Worlds, Darkstar is eventually released from the Null Void by Cooper Daniels so he can help them stop the Highbreed invasion. During the battle, he tried to absorb the life force energy of several DNAliens, transforming his face back to its original youthful appearance, but Ben managed to talk him out of it because Michael realized that he was killing real people under alien control. After the fight was over, Darkstar managed to evade them.
Darkstar appeared again in the third season in the episode Trade-Off, where he tricks Kevin into finding him so that he could convince Kevin to join him to find the Dominus Librium (a device that was decidedly alien origin and could restore the two of them to original human forms) to which they eventually retrieved and used to absorb their powers and return them to normal. Then he sucker punched Kevin in the face. Darkstar kept the Librium so he could still use his powers. When Gwen discovered the truth about Kevin, she confronted Darkstar and he started to drain her power as well as Swampfire's. Darkstar's full power was eventually perished by Kevin when he broke the Librium and got his regular powers and ugly appearance again. Darkstar then swore that he would make them all pay someday before running away.
When Darkstar appears in the two-part first season finale Absolute Power, it is revealed that he is now in a weakened state and is forced to feed off the energy of stray animals just to survive and tries not to cause too much attention to himself. He was later found and recruited by Gwen to stop Ultimate Kevin. As payment, she changes his face back to normal using a powerful transformation spell and promises him mana, enough to keep him fully restored for a year. Michael then agrees to help her to stop Kevin, much to Ben's chagrin. Michael reveals that he kept a fragment of the Dominus Librium after it had exploded in Trade-Off, though it's ineffective. However, a strong energy surge would make it usable again. The group goes to Los Soledad and meet Cooper Daniels, who also agrees to the plot. Both Michael and Cooper create a device while Ben and Gwen stall Kevin.
When Kevin becomes normal, Michael takes advantage of this moment and absorbs the vast powers and abilities of the Dominus Librium, becoming the power-hungry Morningstar again. He then shreds off his clothes and becomes pure energy. However, Ben anticipated this plot and presses a button which causes Morningstar to become normal again. Ben reveals that he told Cooper to create a mechanism to revert the process of the absorption. He reverted to normal in his briefs.
Afterwards, Kevin punches Darkstar in the eye as retaliation for the events of Trade-Off.
Darkstar reappeared in Couples Retreat, having reverted to his ugly form. He broke into Kevin's garage to steal one of Gwen's spellbooks. He used a spell in it to summon the Door to Anywhere, but was badly injured while fighting Ben, Gwen, and Kevin in the process. Escaping his pursuers, Darkstar collapses at the foot of the open door, and Charmcaster appears, taking him to her castle in Ledgerdomain. Once in Ledgerdomain, Darkstar reverted to his handsome form, now having access to an unlimited supply of Mana.
Charmcaster and Darkstar are later engaged in a romantic relationship, but Darkstar, of course, was only using Charmcaster for her power and the power of Ledgerdomain. After telling him her real name, Hope, Charmcaster planted a rune on Darkstar's hand that acts like the key to Ledgerdomain, so he can come and go as he pleases. However, Darkstar soon finds that the power of Ledgerdomain leaves him when he leaves the realm, so he returns there, but is pursued by Ben, Gwen, and Kevin.
At Charmcaster's castle, Darkstar fights Ben and Kevin, ranting about how he'll take over Earth and Ledgerdomain, and keep the "lovely Gwen" as a trophy. Charmcaster confronts him about this, but Darkstar denies having meant it seriously and offers Charmcaster to join him in being evil. However, Charmcaster asks him if he remembers her real name. Darkstar, unable to completely remember, replies "Heather." Charmcaster becomes enraged, destroying her castle in a burst of magical power and also kicking out Ben's Team. In addition, she expelled Darkstar from Ledgerdomain, stripping him of his powers and returning to his ugly appearance. Charmcaster closes the Door to Anywhere in Darkstar's face, despite his pleas for her to take him back (calling her wrong names in the process). Ben, Gwen, and Kevin then approach Darkstar, ready to beat him up and apprehend him once more.
He returns in Mystery, Incorporeal where he disguises himself as a nerd named Dante using an ID mask and captures Gwen using one of the Charms of Bezel at her college. He attempts to use her as a sacrifice to open a portal to Ledgerdomain to gain an unlimited supply of mana and is almost successful, until Ben uses Ghostfreak to possess him and make him reverse the spell at the last minute. After being taken into police custody, Charmcaster appears before him in order to take revenge.
In Charmed, I'm Sure, it was revealed that Charmcaster turned him into a stone totem along with Addwaitya and trapped him in her bag. He whispers a plan in her ears which she liked enough to keep her from smashing him.
In Charm School, though Darkstar made no on-screen appearance, Charmcaster told him in her bag that he was a horrible boyfriend.
Powers and Abilities
Michael has the power to absorb energy (life force, mana, electricity, etc.), but his powers are a vicious cycle: the more life force energy he drains from others, the stronger and more powerful he becomes. But the more power he gains, the greater his hunger becomes.
As Michael and Darkstar, his strength is great enough to lift large pieces of rubble and rip open metal doors with his bare hands.
Darkstar can easily withstand DNAlien blaster fire and being knocked back by a Highbreed. He is also durable enough to withstand attacks from Ben's aliens, Gwen, Kevin, Magister Gilhil, and being stomped on by Humongousaur all at once (which made a crater), but it did knock him unconscious as a result.Darkstar has also gained an affinity for using magic since Couples Retreat. He has been seen moving objects with waves of his hands, used a spell from Gwen's Spellbook to summon the Door to Anywhere, and can summon rock monsters powered by his energy.
Through the absorption of energy, Michael's skin tone becomes more healthy looking. When he absorbs a great amount of energy, he gains a gold membrane over his skin. All these features are lost should he lose the energy he's absorbed. This can happen by means of him coming into contact with someone he's drained. Whether he needs to recharge or something of the sort is unknown but it is known that he uses his draining as a sort of feeding.
Michael's strength increases as he absorbs more energy.
Michael can fly, and he leaves behind a sparkling energy trail when he does it.
Michael can release glowing, yellow energy bolts from his hands or eyes and projecting shockwaves from his body. He can also use this energy as a defensive shield around himself.
Michael's draining of people has a few aftereffects on his victims: The victims become "attracted" to him and may feel a slight level of infatuation after being drained a bit. Victims may exhibit a ring of 'bite marks' from being drained, correlating with a mark on Michael's hand with the appearance of mouth and throat with spiked teeth in it. Finally, after multiple drainage victims enter a zombie-like state and their skin becomes grey and begins to desiccate and shrivel.
Darkstar is Michael's negative form. Michael becomes Darkstar when his energy levels are below average. His face becomes gray and zombified. Darkstar wears a metal helmet/mask over his face. His powers change while he is in this form.
Darkstar can still fly, but he no longer glows or leaves an energy trail when he does it.
Darkstar can manipulate and control dark energy and display it as blasts of black energy, due to absorbing all stray energy in their path, including light.[DM 2] This is similar to Gwen's mana manipulation/control.
Darkstar no longer needs physical contact to absorb energy, but can using his own dark energy projections as conduits to the people he wants to steal life force from, which expands his list of targets exponentially. Mana shields seem to be the only defense against these long-range attacks.
Due to his constant cycle of absorbing greater and greater amounts of mana/life energy, energy from normal people will not sustain Michael for long, making him more desperate for larger amounts such as those found in Ledgerdomain or from Anodites.
Michael is currently so gorged on mana that he has trouble absorbing low-quality energy.
Michael is vulnerable to an Ectonurite's possession powers, which Ghostfreak used to make Michael attack himself.
Michael's arrogance can make him careless and greatly underestimate his opponents.
Michael's condescending attitude toward females has led to his downfall, such as not remembering Charmcaster's real name and referring to Gwen as a trophy.
Michael's energy can be drained down to the point where he is practically powerless.
Darkstar is susceptible to certain rune spells, such as the one Gwen placed on his forehead to prevent him from using his absorption powers.
Ben 10: Alien Force
- All That Glitters (first appearance)
Ben 10: Ultimate Alien
Ben 10: Omniverse
- Special Delivery (first reappearance; cameo)
Darkstar appears in the Vilgax Attacks video game where he tries to steal an energy core on Encephalonus IV. Soon, Ben Tennyson arrived and after a long battle, Darkstar is defeated by him once again.
Darkstar appears on Vulpin and claims Vilgax is giving him power. He is invincible, and can only be attacked when acid fills the floor by pressing switches. However, only Goop can withstand the acid. Also, the switches will go up after a few seconds, and Darkstar will be invincible again. Once defeated, his mask will fall off.
Powers and Abilities
Darkstar serves as the boss of Encephalonus IV. He attacks by shooting dark energy lasers at Ben. He can either shoot multiple blasts of dark energy or a dark energy laser at Ben. Darkstar's energy blasts can regenerate his health. He also has melee attacks at his disposal. Darkstar runs faster than Jetray and Spidermonkey.
- While his mother lives in the main mansion on their estate, Michael has his own mansion to himself nearby.
- Dwayne McDuffie thought of Darkstar as the most dangerous enemy, while Vilgax as the most relentless, and the Highbreed as the most physically powerful (although the Highbreed aren't enemies anymore).[DM 3]
- Michael is shown to be slightly vain, as most of the times he gets his original looks back, he starts admiring himself in a mirror or some other reflective surface.
- It is a running gag in the show that whenever Michael regains his normal appearance, he quickly gets defeated and looks ugly again.
- His energy/life absorption powers are somewhat similar to Kevin's absorption powers, while his light/dark energy/magic powers are similar to Gwen's mana/magic powers.
- It is currently unknown as to how he found out about the energy he thirsts for is known as mana.
- Darkstar's powers in his negative form look fairly similar to that of Teen Titans character Raven.
- He also looks similar to Lucifer Morningstar from the Vertigo/DC comic book series Sandman and Lucifer's own spin-off series simply titled Lucifer. Both have short blonde hair which is either combed back or messy and both tend to wear formal or eccentric attire (Though this case is only before Michael becomes Darkstar).
- The sweater he wears as Dante is similar to one worn by Star Trek character Wesley Crusher, who was played by Darkstar's voice actor, Wil Wheaton.
- Darkstar's helmet resembles that of Iron Man's or more closely Doctor Doom's, both from Marvel Comics. The reason Doctor Doom wears a helmet is also to cover up his hideous face.