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Comic Book / The Ten-Seconders

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"Do we not hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not smell anything yet of God's decomposition? Gods too decompose."

If you meet a 'God' you expect to just last ten seconds, correct? I only counted to eight.

The Ten-Seconders is a comic series in the British comics anthology 2000 AD written by Rob Williams. It first appeared in 2000 AD #1469 (January, 2006).

The series is set in a post-apocalyptic world where super-powered beings, called "Gods", have destroyed human civilization and taken over the planet. The few humans who oppose the "Gods" are dubbed "Ten-Seconders", because that is how long they are expected to last against their other-worldly enemies.

This comic provides examples of:

  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Jennifer is turned into a new God by the Scientist, but appears to die when she absorbs all the energy of an alien starship engine fuelled by artificial stars. After absorbing all the power of the Scientist's "Fathers" as well, it appears that she intervenes to save her friends one last time, having become an immaterial Cosmic Entity who then drifts away from Earth.
  • Beware the Superman: A group of aliens crash-landed on Earth to escape a greater threat and posed as godlike superheroes to rule over humanity. These "Gods" then decided that humans were beneath them and proceed to wipe out their civilization.
  • Came Back Wrong: After Malloy is made into a God by the Fathers, he tries to repair the damage to Earth by bringing everyone who has already died back from the dead. It only revives their bodies, as the people become drooling vegetables without any autonomy.
  • Cape Busters: The Ten-Seconders are the last humans who can fight the Gods. They get the name from how long they're expected to last in a straight-up fight with these superbeings.
  • Chain Pain: Watchtower executes Hero with the very chain he forged to hold Watchtower captive.
  • The Chessmaster: The Scientist has orchestrated almost everything that happened throughout the series so that he could both dispose of his fellow "Gods" and destroy the Sufficiently Advanced Aliens who created them to take their power for himself.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Many humans have become Followers of the "Gods" in the hopes of gaining more power or possibly become semi-superhuman themselves. When the Sufficiently Advanced Aliens who created the Gods turn Malloy, a priest whose church was burned down by some of these Followers, into a God, his first act is to incinerate every Follower in the world.
  • Deconstruction: Of super-heroes, and people's belief in them.
  • Deity of Human Origin: Two humans become Gods with their help.
  • Driven to Suicide: After the recently empowered Malloy brings Kane's dead family back to life because he thought it would make him happy, it turns out they Came Back Wrong and are just mindless bodies. Kane is so distraught by this realization that they're gone for good that he shoots himself to rejoin them. Then Malloy immediately brings Kane back to live as a mindless simpleton himself.
  • Elite Mooks: The Disciples, humans whom the Gods have experimented on. While they have their own powers, they're nothing compared to the actual Gods.
  • Evil is Petty: Why did the Gods turn on humanity? They were bored.
  • Expy: Many of the Gods take inspiration from popular super-heroes and archetypes.
    • Hero: Superman. Seen as the leader of the Gods, and comes with all the Flying Brick super-powers, as well as his association with light/the sun.
    • Lord Mach: Super Speedster, although more specifically the fact that super-speed is literally his only main superpower with a few bonus powers being side-effects of his main power and the fact that he has a warped sense of humor makes him a twisted expy of The Flash as well.
    • Damage: The Incredible Hulk. Incredibly strong, dumb as a rock, very gullible, and deeply emotional.
    • The Scientist: Mister Fantastic. Very inteligent, and possesses the power to stretch and shape himself however he pleases.
    • Kane: Batman. Despite his lack of powers, he takes down Gods through well-constructed planning. Oddly, eschews high-tech weaponry for simple tools, such as rifles and C4.
    • Lense: Green Lantern. His armor has a science-fiction aesthetic, and his powers allow him to create green-colored constructs.
    • Arachne: unsurprisingly, Spider-Man. He also possesses a weird sense of humour aimed at his opponents and makes a reference to the "friendly neighbourhood" that the more famous Spidey is so fond of.
  • A God Am I: Double subverted by The Scientist, who taunts Malloy that there's no such thing as Gods, but once he's absorbed all of the star energy, he'll be the closest thing to one.
  • God Guise: The "superheroes" all pose as gods to humanity, despite being really aliens.
  • HULK MASH!-Up: Damage is a super-strong mutant freak created by the Scientist to be a Living Weapon. He's even more muscular than the Hulk, almost a Cephalothorax, and functionally retarded to make it easier to control him.
  • Mega-Maw Maneuver: The Gods' "parents", a collective of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, use their spaceship to engulf PLANET EARTH.
  • Meaningful Name: "The Ten-Seconders", as explained above. All of the Gods' names.
  • Mooks: The Followers, humans who obey the will of the Gods. They're the ones who captured The Scientist in the first place.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: The Scientist left the Gods when he realized their flaws, and seeks to genuinely help humanity, despite being a God himself. However, he abandons this when he gains the opportunity to destroy his Fathers and take their truly Godlike powers for himself, even boasting that he'll leave the Earth a lifeless rock.
  • Name of Cain: Kane is a Badass Normal who has taken the fight to the "Gods" and killed several of them.
  • Non-Indicative Name: "Hero" is the leader of the Gods, but he's more of a supervillain than a superhero, being a tyrannical maniac who spearheaded the destruction of human civilization and keeps at least one of his fellow Gods in captivity.
  • No Such Thing as Space Jesus: The Ten-Seconders are shocked to find out that the Gods, despite their super-natural powers and even their title, are simply aliens from another world. The same thing applies to their Fathers, the Sufficiently Advanced Aliens who created the Gods.
  • Off with His Head!: Watchtower kills two of his fellow gods by decapitating them. Harris even notes that it's starting to become a signature move for him.
  • Physical God: What the Gods convinced people they were. Turns out, they're just aliens.
  • Planet Spaceship: Sort of. The "Fathers" of the superhero-esque Gods live in a spaceship big enough to easily engulf Planet Earth.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Mach is a very depraved take on this; he's a Super Speedster who enjoys raping women and implies that he uses his power to make it as painful as possible.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Damage is a super-strong super-durable rampaging beast, but he's actually very childlike. When he confronts The Scientist, he simply slaps Damage, puts him into time-out, then has him march into the sea on a fool's errand.
  • Pulling Themselves Together: Moments after Malloy blows up Arachne's body, Harris tells him that they better fast-track their escape from the compound—he just noticed Arachne's body starting to remerge.
  • Putting on the Reich: The Followers of the Gods with their black suits, and their symbol is very similar to the symbol used by the AWB, a white supremacist and neo-nazi group.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Most definitely not. He not only turns Jenny into a God, but gives the Ten-Seconders the best chance they've ever had to rid their world of the Gods once and for all. Though it turns out this was all a big scheme to draw his Fathers to the Earth so he could destroy them and steal their power for himself.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: When Malloy is turned into a God, he tries to remake the Earth. He starts by incinerating every human who collaborated with the former Gods in their fascist regime, "because fuck 'em".
  • Rubber Man: The Scientist is able to bend and extend his body as much as he wants. He's an Expy of Reed Richards, after all.
  • Scenery Gorn: There are many panels showing the destruction that the "Gods" wrought on the planet, especially London and New York City.
  • Shooting Superman: Kane tries this on Malloy when he's become a God himself. Malloy just shrugs that he shouldn't have bothered trying to take him out with something as pitiful as bullets.
  • Spider People: One of the Gods is Arachne, a spiderlike humanoid with eight limbs who eats people for lunch. Incidentally, he's a Darker and Edgier perversion of Spider-Man.
  • Straw Nihilist: Malloy, leader of the Ten-Seconders, throughout much of the series. He was actually training to be a priest before the Gods attacked. By the time the story starts, he's taken up reading Thus Spoke Zarathustra, with his inner-monologue often quoting the book. In the end, after ridding the world of a few Gods, he finally starts to believe again.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: The "Gods" who presented themselves as superheroes to humanity are in fact only the rebellious children of a truly godlike race of aliens who created them for their own experiments. The comic eventually concludes that none of these entities are really gods, just more powerful/advanced ones.
  • You Monster!: After The Scientist saves Jennifer from Mach's attempt to rape her, she calls him a disgusting monster before delivering the finishing blow.