Coolness doesn't win a single battle. And often, the coolest heroes and villains are too busy standing around posing and looking awesome to get the frickin job done. Meanwhile, sometimes the total dorks are the ones who kick the most butt when it counts.
Here are the 10 dorkiest characters from science fiction and fantasy — who could mop the floor with Darth Vader.
1. Squirrel Girl
You wouldn't think a cute girl with a prehensile tail, the ability to talk to squirrels and a habit of breaking the fourth wall would be one of the great powers of the Marvel Universe, but you'd be very, very wrong. In her first appearance, after being rejected as a sidekick, she goes onto save Iron Man from the clutches of Dr. Doom by summoning a swarm of squirrels to take out Doom's ship. But maybe that was just a fluke? Nah. This unlikely heroine has defeated Dr. Doom, the Mandarin, Giganto, MODOK, Thanos (the real Thanos — not some clone or copy), Terrax, the Bug–Eyed Voice, the Bi-Beast (with Ben Grimm), Deadpool (twice), Pluto, Fin Fang Foom, Baron Mordo, Korvac, Ego the Living Planet, and Wolverine. She even had to quit the Great Lakes Avengers, because she was holding them back: Instead of rising to greatness the team would sit around waiting for her to do all the defeating. This is one mutant whose bad side you don't want to get on — or she and her side-kick squirrel, Tippy-Toe, might have to take you out.
The idiot savant, Sandal, with his ability to enchant equipment, is a definite aid in the Warden's quest in Dragon Age: Origins and Hawke's rise to power in Dragon Age 2. But Sandal's limited vocabulary and seeming simplicity hide an unknown but staggering ability that is only hinted at the games. The dwarf merchant, Bodahn, found Sandal wandering around the deep roads alone as a boy and took him in as a son. Considering that the deep roads is where wardens go to die and large expeditions are destroyed, the fact that a dwarf boy could survive alone is pretty telling. While the player never sees Sandal in action, twice you come across him standing peacefully, if blood spattered, in scenarios that should have spelled certain brutal death. When you ask what happened, his only reply is his gleeful refrain, "Enchantment!"
3. Tom Bombadil
Tom Bombadil's figure is not one that would inspire awe in anyone wandering around J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth. He is fat and merry, with the habit of speaking and singing in stressed-time metre. He also narrates his own actions in the third person, and spouts lines like "Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo! Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow! Tom Bom, jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!" Tolkien based his appearance on a Dutch doll, so he can't be too physically intimidating. And yet, Tom is a complete badass — who's immune to the One Ring's powers. Which might make him a good candidate for keeping the ring, right? Except that he has so little concern over the struggle of transient mortals, Gandalf fears he would simply misplace the ring not understanding its importance. The fat little singer appears to be so powerful or perhaps just so ancient that the epic struggle against Sauron doesn't amount to much in the grand scheme of things.
The founder and Grandmaster of Anything Goes Martial Arts is a disgusting, panty stealing pervert, who causes no end of trouble in Ranma ½. His wizened gnome-like body, great age and bald head make his cocky and outrageous behavior seem like an open invitation for a stern lecture, and maybe a trip to an old folks' home. Instead he's moved himself into his protégées' dojo, where he heaps abuse and embarrassment on them with his panty thieving and attempts to cop a feel and take pictures of their daughters. So why do they put up with this ridiculously tiny and seemingly frail old man? Because he can kick the collective ass of everybody in the house, all coming at him at the same time. That is pretty impressive since the series harps upon the martial prowess of Ranma, Genma, and Soun. He also appears to be pretty much immune to physical damage as he shakes off any sucker punches thrown at him — he is easily distracted by women — and surviving his apprentices' attempt to blow him up with a box of dynamite.
It is extremely hard to get respect when wearing a diaper and cape. When Leela first encounters Nibbler and adopts him as a pet, he appears to be a sweet an innocent beast that cowers behind her for protection as Fry and Bender make barbeque plans. Of course, his vulnerability is immediately brought into question when he devours a ship load of giant, massive-toothed animals. Apparently this is all a ruse, since he's later revealed to be a Nibblonian, an ancient and powerful race that protects the universe through mysterious powers. Nibbler himself is over 3,000 years old. Nibbler orchestrated Fry being cryogenically frozen, so he could save the Earth from the Brainspawn. After that adventure, he erases the memories of the crew to protect his secret identity. Another time when he saves the world from rogue cats with Amy, he doesn't bother brain-wiping the crew — he just goes back to being a pet. In essence, one of the wisest and most ancient centurions of the universe is living as a pet and using a litter box.
6. Fizban the Fabulous
Fizban is a barely tolerated annoyance to most of the Companions of the Lance and a delight to the Kender, Tasselhoff Burrfoot. In the Chronicles trilogy, the original Dragonlance novels, Fizban appears as a bumbling but kind-hearted mage, who might be extremely powerful if he could just remember the correct words to his spells. His inability to keep track of his hat on his own head seldom inspire confidence in his ability to wield dangerous magics. Despite his incompetent appearance, he always seems to pull something usefully unexpected out at just the right moments, and manages to nudge to group in just the right direction. He is, of course, revealed to be something greater than his old wizard façade. In fact he is the avatar of Paladine, the god of goodness, light and law.
7. Molly Hayes
Let's face it, we were all hopeless dorks in middle school as we struggled with rebellious bodies, a lack of social skills and a reading list that included Dragonlance (see above). Now imagine all that mixed up with super mutant strength and being on the run from your murdering cult family. Molly Hayes is the youngest member of the Runaways. Excited by the thought of being a super hero she chose the rather dorky and childish codename Princess Power before being dubbed as Bruiser by the rest of the group. With her youth and cute hat collection, which often sports kitty ears, you wouldn't think she'd be much of a threat. But she has been ranked by Marvel as the fourth most powerful female character. When threatened or taken by surprise she has the habit of punching first and asking question later. That is how she has managed to take out both Wolverine and The Punisher.
8. The Tick
The mere physical presence of the Tick is awkward and embarrassing. A large man posing in a blue, skintight unitard and decked with antenna and a confident smile is disconcerting whether it is in the comic book, the animated cartoon series or the live action series. As a parody to traditional superheroes The Tick is supposed to be buffoonish and over the top, but The Tick slides into surreal territory with his strange metaphors and battle cry of "Spoon!" He is dense and oblivious and often rides on exceptional luck and the advice of his accountant turned sidekick, Arthur, to intercept his enemies. Despite his apparent delusions he defeats every opponents be they a giant soufflé engulfing the city, a villain that controls furniture or a superhero turned rampaging dinosaur with tenaciousness and invulnerability. Of course The City usual suffers significant collateral damage to objects like the moon.
At least in Dragon Ball and the early Dragon Ball Z (when the manga had a more comedic tone) the reader was very often left with the question of "Is Goku a complete idiot or the ultimate Zen master?" As a child, he's a wild monkey boy who has a habit of stripping naked and being obsessed with his next meal. He's uncouth but good-hearted. After the time jump, he comes back as an adult — but he still possesses an extreme naiveté that makes him seem simple and rather dumb. His willingness to extend mercy to every defeated enemy, and even befriend them, has been his greatest strength though it makes you wonder about his sanity. His complete inability to say no to absolutely anybody is how he ends up married to Chi-Chi. He almost seems a push-over — except for the fact he is a profound ass-kicker when something threatens his friends or innocents. The manga and anime are just one display after another of Goku powering up to meet any challenge. No matter what the next big bad is, you know he has a training regime to get him there. Sure, he's sacrificed his life twice to save others but death seriously has no hold over the dude.
10. Plastic Man
Plastic Man is the go-to comic relief in the Justice League. His bright red, pant-less, open chested leotard and ridiculous goggles don't really create much of a sense of dignity. He has a care-free and humorous take on life, that leads him to be easily dismissed and probably isn't helping out his super hero image with his comic contortionist mugging. So why doesn't Batman just tell this guy to put on some pants, or get out? Because Plas seems to be pretty much an ageless immortal, with limitless physical ability and telepathic immunity to boot. After Martian Manhunter transforms into a being named Fernus, he goes on a rampage and took out the combined efforts of the Justice League. And then Plastic Man takes him down single handed — and Batman implies that he keeps Plastic Man around explicitly as a backup plan for a rogue Martian Manhunter — whom Superman considers the most powerful creature in Earth. It has been said he can shrug off a punch from Superman, and he survived being shredded into confetti for 3,000 years. If Plastic Man wasn't such a clown, he would be terrifying.