15 Smartest Superheroes in Comics History

The best weapon to have against the forces of evil is a keen mind.

One of the best weapons to have against the forces of evil is a keen mind. Out-thinking an enemy is often more important than out-punching them, a lesson that super-strong heroes such as Hulk and Thor often have to learn the hard way.

Back in the 1960s, a lot of superheroes were scientific geniuses that developed super powers via exposure to whatever exotic materials they happened to be working with, beginning the trend of genius, costumed crime-fighters. Other gifted good guys simply build themselves a nice new suit, or create their own superpowers. Of course, the concept of people using their smarts to solve crimes predates this trend by decades, but we’ll get to that eventually.

Taking a look at the smartest superheroes to ever don a pair of tights, here’s our 15 Smartest Superheroes in Comics History.

Please note: this list omits androids and gods as their minds cannot be accurately measured against humans.


Everyone knows that Peter Parker was bitten by an irradiated spider while on a trip to a lab during high school. What is sometimes forgotten is that Peter was a prodigy even back then with an IQ which matched Reed Richard’s (Mr Fantastic) before he was old enough to shave.

When Peter gained his powers and began the life of a crime-fighter, he used his technological knowledge to build his web-shooters and other paraphernalia. However, he was often held back from making any scientific advances by his responsibilities as Spider-Man.

All that changed after Peter hit the big time and scored a job at Horizon labs. His knowledge of exotic technologies, gained over the years as Spider-Man, combined with a state-of-the-art lab allowed for breakthrough after breakthrough.

After returning from the dead and discovering that Otto Octavius (Doctor Octopus) had built a tech company using his identity, Peter defied expectations and took control of the company and turned Parker Industries into a scientific and economic powerhouse to rival Stark Industries.


Another example of the 1960s trend for genius scientists becoming superheroes, Ray Palmer was experimenting with matter compression as a solution for issues of overpopulation, famine, and other problems in the world.

Using the matter of a dwarf star to create a lens capable of shrinking matter, he discovers that said matter will explode in short order. Forced to use the lens on himself during a spelunking accident, Ray discovers that the materials in the cave he is in saved him from exploding and he is able to return to his normal size without incident.

Using his scientific genius, he builds various technological marvels which utilize size-altering technology and becomes the size-shifting super hero The Atom. A member of various incarnations of the Justice League, including the often hilarious Justice League International, The Atom became a key figure in the DC universe.

His recent appearance in Young Justice may have been small (excuse the pun) but it was significant in furthering various plot points. His much larger (sorry) role in the Arrowverse has given him greater prominence, especially in Legends of Tomorrow. His scientific genius, and desire to do great things, makes him a cornerstone of any team he finds himself in.

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