By Jason Clarke
One of the most frequent clich?s found in science fiction is the Omnipotent Being–an entity with godlike powers who aids, judges, or torments our mortal heroes. Occasionally these omnipotent beings can serve as a way to explore complex themes of mortality, the universe, and the very concept of God or gods. But more often than not, they’re annoying plot devices whose very existence creates obvious logic problems within the fictional universes they inhabit. More specifically, they’re just there to be dicks to the main characters, and annoy them.
In honor of the nigh omnipotent Doc. Manhattan, the blue-skinned star of Watchmen (which opens today — you might not have heard much about it) who can be kind of a douchebag himself, Topless Robot thought we’d run down all the worst gods, imps, would-be gods and most powerful assholes in the known universes. Hopefully, none of them will obliterate us out of existence before you finish reading it.
10) Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen
Alan Moore took the Superman concept — which had developed over the years through Captain Marvel, Captain Atom and Marvelman/Miracleman — and took it to its ultimate extreme: what would really happen to a superhero with the powers of a god? Apparently, he’d be kind of a dick, and he’d walk around with his blue schlong hanging out all the time. The latter is clearly because no one can force a man who can re-arrange atoms at will to put on pants. But the former, which usually manifests as a bitchy “I don’t care about humanity”? That’s just being an ass. Also, despite having access to all the knowledge of the universe, he still wouldn’t understand women (notice he takes Laurie to Mars, not Venus, and that’s not counting the threesome). Finally, he vaporizes the best character in the book and then wanders off into space to maybe create life, or maybe watch reruns of The Prisoner and smoke a lot of cosmic rope. Either/or.
9) The Organians from Star Trek
The only thing worse than a race of arrogant omnipotent beings is a race of preachy omnipotent beings. In the Star Trek episode “Errand of Mercy,” the Organians masquerade as wimps while observing the fighting between Starfleet and the Klingons, then immobilize both fleets and force them to sign a peace treaty. While this seems pretty damned tyrannical, at least it prevents what would presumably be a long and bloody war.
The thing is, at some point the Organians apparently forget all about enforcing the truce, since there are plenty of Starfleet/Klingon dust-ups later in the various Star Trek shows and movies. And evidently the Organians couldn’t be bothered to do anything about the Romulans, the Cardassians, the Borg or any of the other aggressive races that threaten the Federation. All talk and no follow-through, those Organians.
8) The Great Barrier Entity from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
This guy. It’s probably not even fair to count him as an omnipotent being, since he can’t even get off his own shitty planet without help. The Great Barrier Entity claimed to be God, but his impotence was quickly exposed by some of William Shatner’s most Shatner-esque acting (“What does God need with a starship?”). After shocking Kirk and Spock a few times with Emperor-like bolts of lightning, the GBE gets beat up by Spock’s touchy-feely half-brother and shot a few times by a Klingon warship. But perhaps the most annoying thing about the Great Barrier Entity is that he’s responsible for the events of Star Trek V. Boo.
As Grant Morrison recently reminded us in his controversial “Batman: R.I.P.” storyline, the Dark Knight went through some seriously bizarre shit in the 1950s and 1960s, encountering psychedelic alien worlds and extraterrestrial monsters. Perhaps the weirdest of them all was Bat-Mite, a pint-sized imp from the Fifth Dimension. Appearing in Detective Comics in 1959, Bat-Mite was basically a Batman fanboy. Worse, he was a fanboy with unlimited power — imagine Harry Knowles being able to alter reality to suit his desires…oh God, sorry, I just had a vision of a world where people regularly have sex with giant tacos while eating them at the same time.
Anyway, Bat-Mite spent most of his time setting up elaborate schemes for Batman to foil, just so he could watch his hero in action. Being annoying was essentially his life’s work. It seems that for omnipotent beings, there are only two paths in life: being preachy and holier-than-thou, or just making endless mischief out of boredom.
6) Trelane from Star Trek
Star Trek has no shortage of annoying omnipotent characters, and Trelane, a.k.a. “The Squire of Gothos,” is one of the worst. He traps the Enterprise crew on his planet, then attempts to impress them by showing off his heatless fireplace and forcing Uhura to play the harpsichord. The bastard!
After about an hour of harassing Kirk and company, Trelane’s parents show up (in the form of glowing energy balls) and drag him off, with a half-hearted apology to the humans. Good to know there are adolescent gods being left alone by their parents throughout the galaxy–it’s like Kevin McCallister with the Power Cosmic.
5) Yivo from Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs
It’s bad enough this gigantic, hideous blob wants to mate with every sentient life form in the universe using its “genticles” (shudder). But once this massive alien finally hooks up with every living being in the universe (creating the tentacle orgy that Japanese hentai can only dream of and weep), he gets all needy and jealous. After Yivo marries everyone in the universe, he forbids them to have contact with any other universe — even if that universe is a just a friend! Not cool.
4) Mr. Mxyzptlk
Like Bat-Mite, Mr. Mxyzptlk is an imp from the Fifth Dimension. His powers appear to be limitless, and although he could no doubt dominate the world with ease, he usually chooses to just annoy the crap out of Superman. While in his early years he generally pulled pranks and made mischief for th
e Man of Steel, more recently he’s been the source of far worse trouble–particularly the time he was tricked into giving most of his power to the Joker. Just to make sure you knew Mxyzptlk was one of the most irritating beings in all of creation, in Superman: The Animated Series, he was voiced by Gilbert Gottfried.
3) Uatu The Watcher
Imagine a ten-foot-tall toddler in a white toga, with the head of Clint Howard and the behavorial habits of a stalker. That’s Uatu, a.k.a. the Watcher, an alien whose job it is to observe Earth and its inhabitants–to what end, no one seems to know, but we’ve all got to keep busy, I guess. Watchers are gifted with almost limitless powers, including the ability to manipulate time, space and matter itself, yet they’ve sworn a sacred pact to not interfere with the races and events they observe.
However, Uatu has broken his oath of non-interference at least 400 times, according to one recent comic. That’s like a monk who takes a vow of silence, then goes and gives 400 lectures. How does this guy still have a job? Uatu has meddled in Earth affairs so often, his whole “Though I am forbidden to interfere, I must blah blah blah” spiel has become a clich? — Alcoholics Anonymous does fewer interventions than this guy. Of course, he rarely goes so far as to fix the damned problem with his omnipotent abilities–instead, he gives some cryptic advice to Reed Richards and goes back to his “observing.”
2) Anthony Fremont from The Twilight Zone
This classic Twilight Zone episode features possibly the most powerful entity in this entire list: a six-year-old brat. Holy shit, this kid is terrifying. Most six-year-olds might break a vase or kick you in the shins when you won’t let them have dessert; Anthony “wishes you to the cornfield” if you look at him wrong. He cut off his entire town from the rest of the world, and no one knows if the world, or even the universe, still exists. The kid once torched a guy just for thinking it wasn’t good that he controlled their lives. And if you really make him mad, he’ll turn you into a fucking Jack-in-the-Box with a human head. Sick.
1) Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation
Boy, the Star Trek writers just can’t get enough of smug, arrogant omnipotent races. Not satisfied with the Organians, Trelane and the Great Barrier Entity, The Next Generation introduced us to Q, easily the most irritating omnipotent being ever. While the character was played with considerable charm by actor John de Lancie, Q was unquestionably the universe’s biggest douche. He claimed to consider humans a pathetic form of life, yet he couldn’t seem to leave Captain Picard and company alone. He tormented them time and again, putting them on trial, attacking them with weird aliens dressed as Napoleonic soldiers, and tossing them 7,000 light years for their first official encounter with the Borg, who went on to kill thousands of people. Thanks a lot, Q.