Total Nerd

The Smartest Characters in Comic Books 

Ranker Comics
Updated September 3, 2019 32k votes 4.5k voters 688.9k views 20 items

List Rules Vote up the most intelligent comic book characters.

When it comes to comic book super powers, brains are every bit as handy as brawn — but props to those who have both. From cosmic powers of superhuman intelligence, to good old fashioned book smarts, there are plenty of comic book characters that prove the powers of the mind can be just as effective as any other super power. 

There are always the old fallbacks like our good pals Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark, but Ironman and the “World’s Greatest Detective” himself are far from the best of the best when it comes to super smarts. From near god-like obscurities like the High Evolutionary to the more forgettable guys like Calculator, genius intellects for both heroes and villains alike create some of the most clever story lines in all of comic history. There are even some characters you might never have known to possess super smarts all along; you can’t really blame someone on the fringes of comic book culture if they didn’t realize that the hulking ape beast, Gorilla Grodd, is actually a genius advanced weapons manufacturer. 


So just who are the smartest of the comic book characters? The classics or the obscurities, the mighty or the meek? Well, good people, that is up to you. Be sure to cast your votes for your picks on this list of the smartest comic book characters of all time to see if you can’t tip the scales in favor of your favorite geniuses, and as always, feel free to leave a comment below if you think a deserving intellectual is missing. 

Brainiac is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Smartest Characters in Comic Books
Photo:  Superman: Brainiac/DC Comics

As one of Superman's greatest enemies, Brainiac boasts a "12th-level intellect," allowing unparalleled calculation abilities, enhanced memory, and advanced understanding of mechanical engineering, bio-engineering, physics, and other theoretical and applied sciences. For comparison, the population of 20th century Earth as a whole constitutes a 6th-Level intelligence and the population of 31st century Earth as a whole is a 9th-Level intelligence.

Are they smart?

More Brainiac 

#38 of 108 Comic Book Characters We Want to See on Film #12 of 178 The Greatest Villains in DC Comics, Ranked #17 of 649 The Best Comic Book Villains

Mister Fantastic is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Smartest Characters in Comic Books
Photo:  Fantastic Four/20th Century Fox

Reed Richards, despite his physical powers, considers his mind his most invaluable asset. In fact, he's been known to use his stretching powers to increase the size of his brain in times of need. In the comics Richards is an accomplished theoretician, and is noted for his breakthroughs in the fields of space, time, and extra-dimensional travel, biochemistry, robotics, computer science, munitions, and more.

In fact, the Fantastic Four is largely financed by his own valuable patents.

Are they smart?

More Mister Fantastic 

#117 of 311 The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time #935 of 3,534 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time #65 of 189 The Top Marvel Comics Superheroes

Iron Man is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Smartest Characters in Comic Books
Photo:  Iron Man/Paramount Pictures 

Tony Stark is by a mile one of the most intelligent forces in the Marvel Universe. He's an inventive genius, and has specialized expertise in electrical and mechanical engineering, mathematics, physics, chemistry, and computer science - just look at his Iron Man suits and try to explain how it wouldn't take a genius to build those.

Similar to Bruce Wayne in the DC Universe, Stark is a billionaire who utilizes his company, Stark Industries, to his advantage for vigilantism. 

Are they smart?

More Iron Man 

Iron Man Might Be The Biggest Villain In The MCU #5 of 311 The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time #125 of 325 The Greatest Cartoon Characters in TV History

Doctor Doom is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Smartest Characters in Comic Books
Photo:  Doctor Doom and the Masters of Evil/Marvel
Doctor Victor von Doom is the main antagonist of the Fantastic Four comics, and considered to be one of the Marvel Universe's most intelligent minds. From the invention of his Doombots to developing his powerful suit of armor, Dr. Doom constantly uses his intellect to outwit the Fantastic Four. 
Are they smart?

More Doctor Doom 

#2,378 of 3,534 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time #6 of 16 Marvel Characters Whose Comic Book Origin Stories Are Way More Upsetting Than The Movies Portrayed #113 of 928 The Greatest Movie Villains Of All Time