The Best Doctors (And Doctor Superheroes) In Comic Books, Ranked

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Vote up the comic book doctors you would trust to save your life via scalpel or superpower.

In the wake of a global pandemic, it’s been made obvious that doctors and other medical personnel are the real superheroes of our society - and what better time to celebrate the handful of comic book characters who truly deserve the title of “superhero doctor.” The caped crusaders of DC and Marvel Comics might rescue people on a regular basis, but there’s a select few who also make saving lives a part of their day jobs.

There are countless smart comic book characters out there with “doctor” in their name - Doctors Strange, Fate, Doom, and Octopus, say hello - but that doesn’t mean that each of them has an actual medical degree. Only a special segment of the superpowered community is equally comfortable facing down costumed villains and infectious diseases, and they’re worthy of recognition. 

  • As perhaps the most famous superhero with “Doctor” in their name, it’s fortunate that Stephen Strange actually possesses a medical degree. In fact, Doctor Strange earned worldwide renown as a skilled surgeon - burning through medical school in record time and making headlines for performing impossible surgeries along the way - long before he ever served as the Sorcerer Supreme.

    When a car accident permanently mangled his hands and prevented him from continuing his career, Strange was lost in the world - until a journey to Kamar-Taj opened his eyes to the mystic arts. These days, he spends most of his time defending Earth from all manner of magical threats, though a recent storyline saw his hands finally restored, leading Strange to once again practice surgery as a side gig. 

    66 votes
  • Doctor Fate, Actual Doctor?
    Photo: DC Comics

    Kent Nelson is the name most commonly associated with the role of Doctor Fate, DC Comics’ foremost archaeologist turned sorcerer. Blessed with unimaginable magical abilities, Nelson fought the sort of interdimensional foes that most members of the Justice Society could only dream of - but then he gave it all up to become a real doctor.

    Very early on in his published history, Nelson gave up the superhero game for a time to earn a medical degree and become a practicing physician, questionably reasoning that he could save more lives that way - before inevitably returning to his mystical gig. The modern canon of the character conveniently ignores this extended sabbatical, choosing to stick with Nelson as an archaeologist and nothing else. 

    37 votes
  • When Odin deemed that his son was in need of a little humbling, he sent Thor to Midgard, stripped him of his memory, and created a false human identity for him - Donald Blake, medical student. As Blake, Thor was crippled and needed to carry around a walking stick that could transform into Mjolnir whenever danger reared its head. Otherwise, Blake stayed blissfully unaware of his Asgardian origins.

    Blake worked his way through medical school and became a practicing physician, earning several accolades for his skill as a surgeon - and several important lessons about the fragility of human life for the 1500-year-old god hiding inside him. When Thor went back to being the God of Thunder full time, he left the medical field behind - though Doctor Donald Blake has since manifested himself as an entirely separate entity on numerous occasions. 

    41 votes
  • Doctor Mid-Nite, Empowered During Surgery
    Photo: DC Comics

    Doctor Charles McNider was once an ordinary MD, until police knocked on his door one night and asked him to perform life-saving surgery on a mob witness. When gangsters threw a grenade through the window of the operating room, it took out everyone present except McNider - who was merely blinded by exploding glass. Soon, however, he would discover that the incident had left him with “reverse-vision” - able to see in the dark, but not in the light - and so he began a second career as the crimefighting Doctor Mid-Nite.

    After taking down the mobsters who had attacked him and some nefarious forces within the medical community, Mid-Nite hooked up with the Justice Society of America. He stuck with them until he perished during the events of Zero Hour. In modern continuity, he’s been replaced by an entirely new version of the character without a medical background. 

    26 votes
  • Leslie Thompkins, The Batman’s Inspiration
    Photo: DC Comics

    Leslie Thompkins was a Gotham City doctor and close friend of Thomas and Martha Wayne’s who was so affected by their demise that she decided to do something about it. Rather than do something silly like becoming a vigilante, Doctor Thompkins chose to open up the Thomas Wayne Memorial Clinic and offer its services up to anyone, including criminals, free of charge. 

    Thompkins’s philanthropic heroics were so impressive that they inspired the young Bruce Wayne to seek out his own way of giving back to the citizens of Gotham. As Batman, he came to rely on Doctor Thompkins to stitch up both himself and several Robins, eventually trusting her enough that he let her in on his secret identity.

    The most recent iteration of the character has been drastically altered to bring her closer in age to the Dark Knight, but Thompkins remains a medical hero no matter the continuity. 

    19 votes
  • Soranik Natu, Green Neurosurgeon
    Photo: DC Comics

    Soranik Natu grew up on the planet Korugaran, where the populace lived under the dictatorship of the Green Lantern Sinestro - who was later revealed to be Soranik’s father. As such, she had no designs on a life of space-faring superheroism herself, and instead settled into a career as her world’s top neurosurgeon.

    One day, in the middle of a surgery, a Power Ring found its way to Dr. Natu, who used its abilities to save her patients’ life. She then reluctantly joined the Green Lantern Corps, where her surgical skills have come in handy on numerous occasions - including saving the life of fellow Corpsman Guy Gardner and operating on planet-sized beings. 

    21 votes