There are plenty of characters in the world of DC and Marvel who have powers to punch through steel reinforced walls, read minds, and flybut what about good old ingenuity? How about the geniuses that help save the world or make it their life’s mission to destroy it? What is genius and what role does it play in a world of god-like abilities? Genius, as defined by Dictionary.com, is “an exceptional natural capacity of intellect, especially as shown in creative and original work in science, art, music, etc.” Listed below are ten geniuses of the Marvel and DC universes and what’s interesting here is that they are all white males. Although there are women and people of colour that are geniuses in these comics, they aren’t as well known as those below.

Lex Luthor 

(Supervillain – DC)

Lex Luthor. DC Comics.

Abusive parents drove Luthor to better himself, and the arrival of Superman presented him with further motivation to find better ways to defeat an alien he believes to be a danger to humanity. He often refers to himself as “the most dangerous mind on earth,” and his intellect has been quantified at level nine, according to DC’s categorization. Luthor’s genius extends to many different pursuits, from science to business.

 

Brainiac

(Supervillain – DC)

Brainiac. DC Comics.

The super intelligent alien known as Brainiac, boasts a level twelve intellect, the highest level on DC’s unofficial scale. He is capable of high level calculations and can easily comprehend advanced levels of mechanical engineering, bio-engineering, physics, and other theoretical and applied sciences, and is also knowledgeable in various alien technologies. Though he is regularly defeated by the lesser beings of earth, he often finds ways, even while incarcerated, of manipulating his captors into doing his bidding. He has had many incarnations over the years, but his genius remains constant.

 

Victor Von Doom

(Supervillain – Marvel)

Victor Von Doom. Doctor Doom. Marvel Comics.Dr. Doom is a self-taught sorcerer whose scientific genius helped him wage a one-man war in Latvia, where he now rules. His genius brought him attention from the United States and earned him a scholarship to the Empire State University, where he met and refused the company of Reed Richards. His intelligence is possibly only outshone by his incredible arrogance.

 

Tony Stark

(Avengers – Marvel)

Iron Man. Tony Stark. Marvel Comics.At a very young age, Stark showed an aptitude for the building and control of machines. He went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at age fifteen for electrical engineering, and graduated with two master’s degrees by age nineteen. Unlike some of the other geniuses on this list, Tony has no interest in business, instead focusing on his inventions. When he was captured by terrorists and suffering from a life threatening wound, Stark, with the help of a captured physicist, created what would become the first Iron Man battlesuit.

Bruce Wayne 

(Justice League – DC)

Batman. DC Comics. Bruce Wayne.Considered The World’s Greatest Detective (at least in the DC universe), Bruce Wayne uses his I.Q, which is speculated to be well over 200, to thwart Gotham’s deadliest villains as the Batman. His intelligence also extends to his business acumen, and, despite his flighty playboy persona, he skillfully runs Wayne Enterprises with the help of trusted delegates, and designs many of the products and software used by both the company, and Batman himself.

 

Reed Richards

(Fantastic Four – Marvel)

Reed Richards. Mr Fantastic. Fantastic Four. Marvel ComicsA child prodigy, Richards was taking college-level courses by age fourteen, and went on to earn various degrees from four different universities. His desire to further space technology resulted in the successful launch of his own starship, accompanied by three of his friends. A cosmic ray accident caused the four to mutate and later become the Fantastic Four, led by Richards himself as Mr. Fantastic.

 

Henry McCoy

(X-Men/Avengers – Marvel)

Beast. Hank McCoy. Marvel Comics. X-Men. His physical form and abilities earn him the title of Beast, but Hank McCoy has always been a brilliant student. Teased for his appearance in normal schools, he quickly accepted Charles Xavier’s invitation to learn at his academy and went on to pursue a career in genetics. His current furry, blue appearance resulted from his discovery of a hormone that caused genetic mutation, which he tested on himself. He is considered one of the world’s experts in evolutionary biology, and his inventions have been instrumental in his work with the Avengers and X-Men.

 

Bruce Banner

(Avengers – Marvel)

Hulk. Bruce Banner. Marvel Comics.Bruce Banner is considered the foremost intellect in the field of radiationspecifically gamma radiation. That same gamma radiation, ironically, is what causes him to turn into the big, stupid, rage-filled Incredible Hulk, who is more interested in smashing things than solving scientific equations. Still, Banner fights on the side of good with both his muscles and his brain.

 

Henry Pym

(Avengers – Marvel)

Ant-Man. Hank Pim. Marvel Comics. A brilliant scientist, Pym discovered a process that used certain newly discovered subatomic particles (which he later dubbed “Pym Particles) to change his size. He created a formula and took on the role of Ant-Man, using the cybernetic helmet he designed that allows him to communicate with and study ants. His cybernetic research and inventions have made him an important asset to both the government and the Avengers. He is responsible for the creation of the robot known as Ultron-1.

 

Edward Nigma

(Supervillain – DC)

Riddler. Edward Nigma. DC Comics.Nigma’s intelligence found an outlet in puzzles of all kinds, which soon became an obsession fuelled by a compulsive need to tell the truth to avoid further beatings from his father. As a result, the Riddler now loves to test his intelligence against a worthy adversary: the Batman, and even adds elaborately designed death traps to his arsenal.

 

How do YOU define genius and how would your list look? Can you name any women or people of color who are geniuses in the MCU/DCU? Sound off in the comments section!