Animated Character Database

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.

Magister Maxwell "Max" Tennyson is Ken, Gwen and Ben's paternal grandfather. He is a slightly overweight man in his 60's with a keen sense for adventure and a strange taste in exotic food. During the Original Series, Max took Ben and Gwen on a summer road trip across the United States.

Max was a semi-retired legendary Magister rank Plumber and was the mentor of Ben, Gwen, 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.


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 his regular shirt, along with blue jeans, a brown headband, a brown vest and brown sandals.

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, he wore his regular shirt, brown shorts and brown strap sandals.

In Don't Drink the Water, Max briefly wore a pair of glasses.

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 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 with no weapon in sight, shows his selfless nature at its finest.

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 and harsh, but not unreasonably so. He is also not afraid to call people out, no matter who they are, on their selfishness and mistakes when necessary.

Max is also brave and adventurous in the culinary world, and often has an appetite for foods considered weird or gross, both from Earth and beyond. This comes from his travels across the globe and galaxy.

One of Max's few faults is that when personal threats from his past resurface, he tends to not think clearly and acts more self-propelling, to the point of omitting information from those trying to help him, family included.

Powers and Abilities[]

  • Weapon Proficiency


Max is skilled in using a variety of Plumber tools and weaponry. He also has experience with some alien tech, such as Transporter Discs.

Max is a skilled hand-to-hand combatant and has been shown to hold his own against beings with powers. He is also a seasoned strategist; skilled at using the objects in his environment to gain an advantage in a fight.

Before joining the Plumbers, Max was a United States Air Force pilot. As such, he was an expert at flying an F-104 Starfighter, which included dogfighting, as he was able to pursue and shoot down an alien spacecraft; and he can sufficiently pilot both helicopters and Earth spaceships. He has also been shown to pilot alien spacecraft proficiently, such as Vilgax's ship and the Skipper.

Despite his age, Max has incredible reflexes. He frequently dodges enemy attacks, including a blast of electricity from Yetta; once perfectly parried a series of laser beams from the Great One's zealot; and could keep up with and outfight a DNAlien and Arachnichimp during each's respective surprise attack.

Due to his age, and the particularly adventurous life he has lived, Max has collected a wide array of general knowledge and skills. Most notably, he is a decent mechanic: sometimes able to patch up and repair the Rust Bucket during emergency stops, and was able to fix a broken jetpack. He has knowledge on cooking; farming; sleuthing; camping and emergency survival. He knows a recipe for a Chinese cold remedy; a technique to instantly subdue mad dogs; and how to work a nuclear reactor.


Max has a Plumber suit, allowing him to survive in unsuitable environments and granting him increased defense during battles with his opponents.

Max has magnetic plungers, allowing him to stick to metal surfaces or grab metal objects.

Max has a Sun Gun which projects a beam as bright as sunlight, providing him defense against beings who are weak to light, such as Ectonurites.

Max sometimes uses a Plumber rifle in combat.

Max has a Mark 12 Techadorian Multiblaster.

Max formerly had explosive pellets.

Max formerly owned a Null Void Projector, which he took from the Mt. Rushmore Plumber base.

Max formerly had a hazmat suit. The suit protected him from the effects of Corrodium and allowed him to survive in space.

Max temporarily wore an exo-suit which he found in the Mt. Rushmore Plumber base, increasing his strength and durability.

Max formerly had a Plumber armor which provided him with multiple pouches to store items, along with a communicator.

Max had a Nuclear Fusion Grenade, which he used to destroy the Hyperspace Jump Gate.

Max temporarily used a Galvan Jetpack while on Galvan Prime.


  • Low Stamina


Max is far from the athlete he was during his Plumber days, now being a senior citizen, and not having managed to keep in shape. As such, while he has retained some athletics, he now has low stamina, and easily tires out in chases.

Max is vulnerable to being possessed by an Ectonurite.



Gwen Tennyson[]

Between Ben and Gwen, Max appears to trust Gwen slightly more, as she was put in charge of watching the former during the team's visit to Galvan Prime.

When Gwen thought Max had died after detonating the Null Void Projector, she expressed deep sadness, as seen when she did not play games with Ben and Kevin when they visited Max's old fishing spot.

Gwen keeps a framed picture of Max in her bedroom.

Ben Tennyson[]

In the Original Series, Ben's relationship with Max seemed to be that of a father and son, because the majority of the series took place in the summer and Max was the only guardian available. When he was seriously injured in The Alliance, Ben went full strength with Four Arms and brutally destroyed Vilgax's Mechadroids as they were the catalyst for his injury. His relationship with his grandfather has not changed much at all during Alien Force, Ultimate Alien, and Omniverse.

Love Interests[]


See Article: Relationship with Verdona


During Xylene's early years, she met Max, who at the time was a Plumber. She wanted Max to go to Ringa Morr with her, but Max declined, saying he had to defeat Vilgax.

When Xylene awoke from her sleeping pod on Earth, Max again declined to go with her, saying that Ben and Gwen were his world.


  • Ben 10
  • Alien Force
  • Ultimate Alien
  • Omniverse
  • Books
  • Video Games
  • All episodes except Gwen 10 and Goodbye and Good Riddance.
  • All shorts except Snack Break and Destroy All Aliens.
  • Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix
  • Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens

Video Games[]

Ben 10: Protector of Earth[]

Max helps Ben in his travel around the country.

At one point, he is captured by Kevin 11 and has to be rescued by Ben.

Ben 10 Alien Force: Vilgax Attacks[]

Max helps Ben and his gang 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[]

He gets captured by Dr. Animo and gets rescued by 11-year-old Ben and Rook.


  • 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.
    • If Max had used the Omnitrix from the start, the Rooters would not consider him a threat.
  • Max has presbyopia, and requires glasses to read text up close.
  • 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 Xylene and Rook 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. For example, in Moonstruck, Teen Max said "Hey! Watch the paint job!" and "My ride!", both of which have been said by Kevin.
  • Max has stock car driving experience.
  • Max was a Magister for at least five years.
  • Originally, Max's lucky Hawaiian shirt was given to him by Gwen's older brother, Ken. 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.
  • Max previously thought Gwen's powers were magic. He did not realize it was Gwen's inheritance any more than her parents did.
  • Max's favorite color is either pale green or magenta.
  • Max once worked with the Saturdays on The Bellwood Experiment, a secret project.
  • Max made an appearance in the fifth episode of the sixth season of Robot Chicken, Hurtled from a Helicopter into a Speeding Train.
  • 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. 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.
    • In Omniverse, Max's eyes are a reference to Shazam whereas his flashback design from Blukic and Driba Go to Area 51 was inspired by Shazam's alter ago Billy Batson.
  • Thomas Perkins believes that Max's height in the Original Series was nearly six feet.
  • Max's voice actor, Paul Eiding, likes that Max is more involved in Omniverse.
  • In the early stages of production of the Original Series:
    • Max was going to be a scientist who drove a blimp.
    • Max originally wasn't a Plumber, he was just an average inventor.
  • Alternate counterparts of Max do not exist on either Rex's or Mad Ben's home dimensions.
    • 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.
    • 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.


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