The word superhero usually brings images of muscular people that are capable of incredible feats of strength. Characters like Thor, Captain America, Colossus, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Captain Marvel are usually the first to come to mind…and rightfully so. These characters are the pillars on which their respective companies were built. The problem, however, is that strength is only one metric by which superheroes are measured. Another, and often underrated, is intelligence.
Without intelligence, many of the greatest inventions, buildings, and advancements in the comic book universe could never have happened. Think about it. The Baxter Building, the Blackbird, Arc Reactor technology, and most of the technological advancements in Wakanda couldn’t have happened.
Every superhero possesses some degree of intelligence. The question is of them all, who possesses the most? I mean, who are the smartest superheroes in comics?
List of smartest superheroes:
10. Amadeus Cho
At the tender age of 15, Amadeus Cho entered an academic competition for gifted youngsters. His victory caught the attention of Pythagoras Dupree, the self-proclaimed 6th most intelligent person in the world. What nobody knew was that Dupree created the competition as a way to learn who else was as smart as him. After learning Amadeus was as smart as he was, Dupree set out to and successfully murdered his parents.
Now on the road, Cho befriended the Incredible Hulk. Over time, the two became exceptionally good friends. Their friendship was so strong that eventually, Amadeus used his nanotechnology to absorb the excess radiation from the Hulk. With nowhere to put it, he transferred it into his own body thereby turning himself into the Incredible Hulk.
Simply put Amadeus Cho is one of the smartest superheroes in comics. This isn’t because he won an intelligence competition. No. Not even close. Amadeus Cho is one of the smartest superheroes in comics because he developed technology that enabled him to become the Hulk.
It should come as no surprise that Beast makes this smartest superheroes in comics list. Not only is he the brainchild behind most of the cool toys the X-Men have, but he’s also the reason the team occasionally receives good publicity.
At his heart, Beast is a world-leading geneticist. His specialty is, of course, mutation and this plays an important role in everything he does. Beast is fascinated with how and why some people go through mutation in their teenage years and some don’t. His fascination has led him to trial run many experiments on himself…each with varying degrees of success. The most obvious of these caused his mutation to progress and transform him from a man into the blue-furred X-Man we know him as today.
8. Hank Pym
Like Beast, Hank Pym is arguably the smartest member of the team he’s on. Hank Pym is an Avenger and as an Avenger has fought some of the vilest villains in history.
- Dr. Doom
- Baron Zemo
Hank is Ant-Man. As Ant-Man he’s able to shrink and grow to practically any size that he wants to. He’s able to do through the use of his own very intelligent invention, Pym Particles. Although Hank Pym is intelligent beyond measure, he’s also done some less than intelligent things.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Ultron, haven’t you?
7. The Atom
Shortly after we met Ray Palmer for the first time, we learned that he was experimenting in an effort to solve world problems such as famine. As a result of his experiments, he began using the matter of a dwarf star to shrink objects. Once forced to use the matter on himself, Ray learned that he was able to shrink down and grow back to normal size without consequence. Unwilling to simply let the technology go to waste, he armed himself with it (and a super costume) and became The Atom.
Ray Palmer is a highly sought after scientist in the DC Universe. He’s a member of numerous Justice League teams, has appeared on a number of television shows, and will probably end up appearing in the DCEU. He is Marvel’s equivalent of Ant-Man and as such, one of the most intelligent characters in all of comics.
Although she first appeared as Batgirl, it wasn’t until her time as Oracle that we learned Barbara Gordon was one of the smartest superheroes in comics.
Oracle forced Barbara to rely on something other than her hands and feet….her brain. She suddenly began to tap into her expansive knowledge of science, her above normal intelligence, her photographic memory, and most importantly, her connections that were scattered across the DC Universe.
Without any over-exaggeration, Barbara was the most important character in DC. And that very notion is the reason she easily makes this smartest superheroes in comics list.
5. Iron Man
While the real world looks for alternatives to oil, Tony Stark has already invented it. The Arc Reactor is what powers his Iron Man suit. However, it’s more than that. The Arc Reactor is also a viable and safe clean energy source.
Aside from solving the clean energy problem with his Arc Reactor technology, Tony Stark has also invented many of the Avengers planes, weapons, suits, and buildings. In addition, he has given the world the most advanced form of Artificial Intelligence that it has ever seen. To say that Tony Stark is only one of the smartest superheroes in comics is doing a massive disservice to the character.
Batman is the most prepared hero in DC Comics. This is so much that he practically has a way to beat every other character under the DC brand…heroes and villains alike.
Yep. It’s true. He really does.
In the Towel of Babel storyline, Ra’s al Ghul had discovered a way to beat each member of the Justice League in battle. After discovering the way, he systematically used it to bring down the team. When questions began to arise as to how this was possible, the team learned that he stole the plans from Batman. As I’m sure you can imagine, this caused a massive amount of friction between him and his fellow Justice League members.
Whether or not keeping a how-to guide on his teammates is a good idea is up for debate. What’s not up for debate is how intelligent it is to know the weaknesses of your enemies AND friends.
3. Mr. Terrific
Where do I even begin?
Before he became Mr. Terrific, Michael Holt managed to snag 14 PhD’s. That’s not a typo. 14 PhD’s!
He had also become both an Olympic Gold Medalist and a multi-millionaire.
How did he do this?
Michael Holt absorbs, comprehends, and uses every ounce of information that he learns quicker than he learns it. And this isn’t limited to textbook information. He has also mastered nearly every form of martial arts and therefore solidified himself as one of DC’s best fighters.
After the accidental death of his wife and unborn child, Michael Holt wanted to make more of his life. Realizing that he couldn’t fight crime without help, he developed a suit, transformed into Mr. Terrific, and took to the streets.
2. Black Panther
As the leader of Wakanda, T’Challa is the wealthiest person in all of Marvel Comics. Don’t for a second think that he inherited his wealth without putting in some work. Before he could assume the throne, T’Challa underwent many years of study. His studies led him to achieve doctorates in the following:
- Political Science
If you’re keeping track, a simple count shows that he has five doctorates.
If it weren’t for his duties as the leader of Wakanda, Black Panther may well be THE smartest superhero at Marvel.
1. Reed Richards
For a multitude of good reasons, many people claim that Reed Richards is the smartest superhero in comics. I mean, he’s the leader of the Fantastic Four, an invaluable member of the Illuminati, and always called upon when “big picture” thinking is required.
Reed Richards possesses multiple doctorates, a few of which come from Columbia and Harvard. Each of these has propelled him to do some amazing things. For example, he invented everything that makes the Baxter Building unique, created the many vehicles the Fantastic Four uses, and almost always devises a plan to thwart Dr. Doom.
Not including Reed Richards on this list of the smartest superheroes in comics would be like driving a car into a house…just plain dumb.
And that’s it. The smartest superheroes in comics. What do you think? Who would make your smartest superheroes in comics list?