Iron Man made a name for himself creating some of the most powerful suits of armor in the Marvel Universe. An expert engineer in general, for years munitions were his specialty but his time as a superhero has expanded his horizons considerably, although the comic version isn’t exactly the jack of all trades the MCU version is.
While being so smart has led him to some bad places, it’s hard to deny that Iron Man’s prodigious intelligence has been a great boon to the people of the Earth, as he’s used it to save the day on numerous occasions. As smart as he is, though, there are definitely smarter out there, especially in other universes.
While Iron Man is undoubtedly a better engineer than Batman, Batman has a much wider breadth of knowledge than the Armored Avenger. He’s also arguably a better businessman, as Iron Man has lost his company to the machinations of foes more than most people would imagine. Basically, if one has an engineering problem, Iron Man’s the guy to go to but for everything else, go to Batman.
Batman’s intellect makes him one of the most independent heroes around, which is extremely impressive for a person without superpowers. He’s been able to figure out ways to win against all manner of enemy over the years and is one of the most intelligent fictional heroes there is.
9 Detective Chimp
Intelligence comes in a lot of different packages. So, while Iron Man can build just about anything one needs to battle evil, there are some things he wouldn’t be as good at. For example, solving mysteries. Sure, he could solve mysteries about his areas of expertise but mysteries in general? Probably not. For that reason, Detective Chimp is smarter an Iron Man.
One of the greatest detectives in the DC Universe, Detective Chimp has proven more astute than Batman as a detective Being a detective takes a lot of knowledge and Detective Chimp has solved all kinds of mysteries, proving just how intelligent he is. In recent years, he’s also found himself embroiled in the magical side of the DC Universe and learned even more, adding considerably to his already wide knowledge base.
Hawkman may not seem like he’s very smart, but he actually is. Carter Hall has spent his current life as an archeologist, but he’s been reincarnating throughout time and space for millennia and has experiences that are unprecedented. So, while he can’t invent things, the sheer amount of knowledge he has is vast.
On top of that, he’s also mastered the use of all kinds of weapons and fighting styles. With his firsthand experience of historic events, both terrestrial and otherwise, Hawkman is a very smart cookie. He just likes to beat on people with maces more than show off his fancy book learning.
Firestorm is a very interesting hero. The Firestorm matrix combines two people and gives them amazing powers, one of which is the manipulation of matter. Several people have been part of the matrix over the years, with one of the main people being physicist Dr. Martin Stein. When Stein is involved in Firestorm, he helps Ronnie Raymond or Jason Rousch with using their powers more scientifically.
Without Stein, Firestorm wouldn’t be nearly as skilled; Stein knows the periodic table in and out and how to combine elements to get the most bang for their buck. Firestorm wouldn’t have been able to save the world as efficiently without Stein’s vast intellect.
6 Doctor Fate
Doctor Fate is one of the most powerful sorcerers in the DC Universe, regardless of who wears the Helmet of Fate. While not every wearer has been a doctor, they all have something in common: Access to the knowledge of the Tower of Fate and, most importantly, the Lord of Order, Nabu. Nabu has lived for untold millennia and shares his knowledge with Doctor Fate.
The most intelligent Doctor Fate was the first one, Kent Nelson, who had an actual doctorate— but all of them have been rather smart and only got smarter during their time as Doctor Fate. Nabu himself is vastly more intelligent than Iron Man and is always willing to share his knowledge.
5 Niles Caulder
Niles Caulder, also known as the Chief, is the founder of the Doom Patrol. A born genius, his inventions and innovations made him a very wealthy man. Eventually, he would cause a series of accidents that involved Cliff Steele, Rita Farr, and Larry Tainer— ones that only his vast knowledge could save them from, turning them into freaks who would be easy to manipulate into becoming superheroes.
Caulder isn’t a showy genius but he’s done some amazing things. While he’s always been a bit on the sinister side, he still manages to do some good. And his time with the Doom Patrol, despite the revelation of his own megalomania, did a lot for the world.
4 Phantom Stranger
Phantom Stranger has been walking the Earth for millennia. A fallen angel who sided with neither Heaven nor Hell, he was cursed to forever walk the Earth. While he’s not some technical genius who could build a microwave out of some coconuts and tin foil, the amount of knowledge he has, which goes back to the creation of the universe, is staggering.
It’s almost cheating to say that the Phantom Stranger is smarter than Iron Man, because of course he is. He’s a supernatural being who has existed since the beginning and has seen and done some amazing things.
3 Will Magnus
Will Magnus’s areas of expertise are robotics, metallurgy, and computer programming. He’s responsible for the creation of the Metal Men, robots who mimic the properties of the metals they are named after. There are a lot of things that make the Metal Men impressive: Their AI makes them into truly independent, sentient beings and the fact that their bodies are extremely malleable without losing any functionality makes them amazing crimefighters.
Will Magnus’s mastery of his profession is pretty much unmatched not only in the DC Universe but also in most comic universes in general.
2 The Atom
Ray Palmer was able to harness the power of a dwarf star to create size changing technology that allowed him to not only shrink down to a subatomic level but also to retain his normal mass. Becoming the Atom, Palmer has helped out the Justice League and also used his powers to explore the subatomic realm, making amazing discoveries all the while.
Between his day job at Ivy University and his superheroics, the Atom focuses on science as much as possible. Sure, he fights the bad guys, but he’d much rather be in the lab or using his shrinking powers to explore the universe.
1 Mister Terrific
Mister Terrific is easily one of the smartest people on planet Earth. Using his vast intellect, he made a fortune for himself, inventing all kinds of amazing objects— including his T-spheres, autonomous units with a variety of functions. Terrific has gotten up to some pretty amazing feats of intelligence over the years.
For example, he was recently able to master the Rannian language in a few hours, as well as mastering the language of a race of aliens the Rannians had defeated just by reading it in a short amount of time. On top of all of that, he’s also a gold medal Olympic decathlete and a formidable hand to hand combatant. There’s no doubt that Mister Terrific is smarter than Iron Man.
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