The Smartest DC Characters, Ranked

By Zack Zagranis | Published


When it comes to intelligent characters, DC has more than its fair share. But not all eggheads are created equally, and some DC nerds have bigger brains than others. With that in mind, here’s a list of the smartest DC characters ranked from teacher’s pet to (quite literally) galaxy-brained super genius.

Barbara Gordon

Babs was always a smart cookie, but it wasn’t until the Joker shattered her spine with a bullet and put her in a wheelchair that the real extent of Gordon’s mental prowess was revealed. Utilizing her eidetic memory and unparalleled computer skills, Barbara became Oracle DC’s “guy in the chair” to beat all other guys in all other chairs.

As Oracle, Barbara became an information broker and the eyes and ears of the Bat Family and even most of the Justice League. No longer in a wheelchair, Barabara briefly returned to her role as Batgirl before realizing that her brain was more valuable than her brawn.

As a result, she continues to help out most of DC’s most prominent superheroes behind the scenes.

Detective Chimp

Bobo T. Chimpanzee is physically nothing more than a plain old Chimpanzee with normal levels of Chimp strength and agility. Mentally, however, Detective Chimp—as Bobo is better known—possesses an intellect that rivals DC’s greatest investigators, including Batman himself.

A card-carrying member of MENSA Detective Chimp is so smart that he has trouble focusing on his always-firing synapses and has to constantly dull his mind with alcohol in order to be able to focus on any one subject.

Currently, Detective Chimp is a member of the DC team Justice League Dark, where he routinely rubs hairy elbows with the likes of John Constantine and Zatanna and Swamp Thing.

Mister Miracle

dc mister miracle

Scott Free, AKA Mister Miracle, is the best escape artist in the entire DC universe. So great is Mister Miracle’s prowess at freeing himself from any confinement that he escaped the hellish conditions of Aplokolips—homeworld of the evil Darkseid—all by himself.

While being the universe’s greatest escape artist might not immediately scream “genius,” it’s only through the use of advanced deductive reasoning that Mister Miracle is able to assess any trap, no matter how alien, and devise a way out of it.

Since making his way to Earth after escaping the fires of Apokalips, Mister Miracle has lent his supreme problem-solving intellect to both the Justice League and the Justice League International.

Mr. Terrific

Michael Holt is the third smartest person in the world and the second to use the name Mr. Terrific. Holt is the creator of the versatile T-Spheres, miniature devices that can fly, create holograms, hack into computers and satellites, and constantly cloak Holt from all cameras and other surveillance equipment. It makes the hero effectively invisible to anyone not in his direct line of sight.

Mr. Terrific is so smart none other than Batman himself tasked the hero with helping him develop the Justice League’s Brother Eye security system, a combination of satellite and supercomputer that allows the League to track any threat anywhere on the planet.



With all of his various powers and abilities, Superman can seem almost too perfect at times, causing DC to nerf him over the years—making him slightly slower, for instance—so that characters like the Flash don’t seem redundant with him around.

As a result, many fans probably assume he’s just a big dumb Kansas hick who just happens to be invincible—which couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Superman’s strength isn’t the only thing enhanced by Earth’s yellow sun, he’s also incredibly smart. The Man of Steel processes information faster than almost anyone on the planet and has constructed life-like robots and other advanced machinery from scratch.

The only thing that separates Superman from everyone else on this list is his humility. Supes knows he’s smart. He just doesn’t brag about it.

Lex Luthor

dave bautista dc
Lex Luthor

From the humblest entry on this list to the one with the most hubris, Lex Luthor is so full of himself that were he real, he would almost certainly object to being ranked #3.

As Superman’s archnemesis, it only makes sense that Lex would have an intellect big enough to combat Superman’s unparalleled strength. Unfortunately, Luthor’s ego often eclipses just how much of a genius he is.

He was not content to be the world’s richest man and creator of numerous technological, pharmaceutical, and scientific wonders. Luthor went so far as to create a high-tech war suit that gives him the power to go toe to toe with several members of the Justice League—including the bane of his existence Superman.

If Luthor could ever find the strength to humble himself enough to work alongside the superheroes instead of looking down on them, he could be a formidable force for good. Instead, he’s just DC’s version of Elon Musk—if Musk was actually as smart as he claimed to be.



It’s hard to calculate just how smart Batman is because he’s often as smart as the writers need him to be. Batman is the opposite of Superman in that DC has slowly ramped up his intelligence over the years to make him a useful mortal in a world full of metahumans.

As a result, just the fact that he’s “Batman” has become a viable statement used by fans everywhere when explaining why Batman could take down a character that outclasses him by every measurable metric.

Batman fans have a strong belief that Bat’s is so smart that with enough prep time, he can take down any opponent, whether by inventing a gadget to exploit their weakness or through sheer tactical genius.

As annoying as it is to see Batman take down foes as overpowered as Darkseid through planning alone, it’s also kind of hard to argue against it because, well, he’s Batman.



Batman might be smart, but he’s not a 12th-level intellect like Brainiac. According to DC, the smartest humans are only able to achieve a 6th-level intellect, making Brainiac at least twice as smart as the smartest Earthling. While many of the people on this list are considered the smartest in the world, Brainiac is often considered the smartest being in the universe.

All the proof you need of Brainiac’s intellect comes from his name. No one else in DC, or Marvel for that matter, has ever had their name become a part of the English language as a slang term for someone with above-average intelligence.

Next time you call someone a Brainiac for getting that impossible final Jeopardy question, remember to thank the original Brainiac for giving us the perfect snarky term for nerds that make us look dumb.