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.
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.
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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.
In the DC Universe, Batman is considered the world's greatest detective, and able to solve practically any crime. While Bruce Wayne has no actual super powers, he boasts a genius intellect and is a noted polymath. It also doesn't hurt that Wayne's near inexhaustible wealth grants him access to scores of advanced technology, and as a scientist, he is able to freely modify this tech to his advantage.
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.