Ben's back and he's bringing with him a new friend...

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Bandai's Ben 10 toys celebrate their seventh year at retail this year with the debut of a line of toys based on the all-new Ben 10 Omniverse series. Launching this fall on the Cartoon Network, the new animated series features a 16 year old Ben Tennyson as well as his 10 year old self. In addition to a whole new batch of aliens, Ben 10 Omniverse introduces a new, by-the-book rookie partner appropriately named "Rook". He doesn't have the powers of Ben, but his clever tools are second-to-none.

Anchoring the new Ben 10 Omniverse toy line will be the Omnitrix Touch (SRP $24.99). Featuring a "biometric" touch pad, it's your fingertips that drive this multi-function piece of alien tech. With three different modes, collectors can:

- Hear 7 alien voices
- Create their own sound effects (like a DJ mix-master)
- Unlock more voices when connected with talking Feature Figures (sold separately)
- Unlock an additional secret message from Azmuth using the Proto-Specs (sold separately)

Another cool gadget on display was Rook's Proto-Tool (SRP $29.99). This tech device can be turned into four different devices, each with their own special features and sound effects: Blaster, Launcher, Rifle and Sword. Collect and add the Proto-Scope and Proto-Tech Booster (both sold separately) to create the "Ultimate Proto-Tool".

Action figures will of course see release, the new bonus pack-in item being micro figures that collectors can collect and trade. Fans can also play a sort of rock/paper/scissor-type game with them. To move your figures around, Rook's Proto-Craft will be offered, as will a Ben 10 Neutron Cycle.

Most exciting was a series of Intergalactic Plumber play sets for use with the 4" figures. Four basic sets include Jail, Training Room and Laboratory, in addition to a deluxe Command Center. Each has a one-touch quick release feature, transforming it from spaceship component to open play set. The neat thing here is that if you collect them all, you can build a towering Plumber Spaceship standing 21" tall (see picture below).