10 Heroes You Wouldn’t Think Are Smarter Than Bruce Wayne (But Actually Are) (2023)

By Neeraj Chand

DC's Batman is known for his intelligence and resilience, but some surprising heroes have Bruce Wayne beat in terms of smarts.

10 Heroes You Wouldn’t Think Are Smarter Than Bruce Wayne (But Actually Are) (1)

Batman isgenerally considered the coolest superhero in fiction.Instead of a grab bag of superpowers grantedthroughalienphysiology, radioactiveinsects, or mysteriouscharacters whoinsist on bequeathing you with magicalartifacts of power or the secret to transforming into a modernTitan - Bruce Wayne needs only his brains and his colossal wealth to become The Dark Knight and kick all kinds of ass with his array of gadgets and inventions.

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Asbrainy as Batman might be, other heroesare brainier still.Here are 10 heroes from across allthefictional land who cangive Batman a run in the brains department, even if they don't look like it.


10 Hawkgirl

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Hawkgirl rose to mainstream prominence thanks to being a part of the original lineup ofBruce Timm's animated Justice League series. As a female member not named Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl had to do something to stand out from the crowd of heroes, especially with the several dozen additional heroes that were added to the team's roster later on.

She accomplished this by proving to be a better strategist than Batman. She was able to routinely beat The Dark Knight at chess. She discovered and removed the tracking device he placed on her mace. It was also revealed that Hawkgirl had been sending secret communications to her people from the Justice League watchtower without alerting Batman or any of the other heroes. She was even able to enter the Batcave without triggering any alarms.

9 Plastic Man

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Eel O'Brien, AKA Plastic Man, is almost alwaysportrayed as the goofy, stretchy, comic relief of any team-up stories he features in. Almost. There are times when Plastic Mandrops the actand reveals hisserious side, a side which made him one of the most efficient criminals around before turning good and becoming a superhero. That's thesideof Eel whichgives even Superman pause during battle.

During a storylinewhere the heroes got separated from their alter-egos, Plas was the one who figured out what was going on, rallied the team together, and helped everyone recombine the two halves of their personality.Even Batman accepted Eel's leadership at that point, going so far as to forgive himfor punching Bruce's lights out without any kind of payback.

8 Martian Manhunter

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J'onn J'onzz is a martian superhero with a more varied power set than Supermanhimself. So powerful are his telepathy, flight and strengthabilities that readers often miss out the 'Manhunter' part of his title. J'onn isat hiscore a detective, and he has been known as Manhunter for hundreds of years.

Thanks to his incredible longevity, J'onn has much greater experience in the detective field than Batman. Coupled with his telepathy powers and knowledge gathered on a cosmic scale, this is one hero who can probably clean up every unsolved case in Gotham in a single day if he were so inclined.

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7 Constantine

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John Constantine usually looks like a druggie hobo who stole an office guy's suit. However, you would be pretty lackadaisical about your appearance too if you were dealing with hell creatureson a regular basisin an effortto foil the plans of Lucifer himself. Constantine has a vast knowledge of the occult and magical side of the universe, something that has forced Batman to come to him time and again while investigatingcases pertaining to magic.

Constantineis alsono slouch in the brains department, having once tricked God himself into reviving him, and regularly outwitting Satan while also finding ways to postpone Judgement Day. CompareConstantine's villains to The Joker and The Penguin, and it's clear John just operates on a whole other level.

6 Tim Drake

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There have been multiple Robins throughout the Bat mythology, which makes you wonder if Batman should be locked up at this point for reckless child endangerment. But that'sa whole other debate. Each of the Robins had one feature that distinguished them from the others. Dick Grayson has the longest history with Batman, Damien has Bruce's genes, Jason Todd had the killer instinct,and Timgot the detective instincts.

Tim has a photographic memory and was able to deduceDick was Robin aftermemorizing his movies as an acrobat and seeing the same pattern of movements being performed by Robin. He was also able to deducethemantle of Robin had been passed to Jason Todd. Even Batman admitted Tim was the greatest detective he hadever seen.

5 The Flash

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The Justice League animated series cemented Wally West's status as the most immature Flash, constantly cracking jokes and approaching most problemsin a light-hearted manner. That said, beneaththis surface shallowness lies a mind that works much, much, much faster than anyother being in existence.

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Also, in theanimated series Young Justice, it is revealed that Wally has always been a child prodigy, with agenius-level IQ anda natural affinity for science. He's basically Bruce Wayne with a more slacker attitude.A Wally who trulycuts loose would be a giant problem not just for Batman, but the entire Justice League.

4 Batgirl

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Barbara Gordon, AKABatgirl, has always been something of a whizkid. In her Superheroine avatar, she would oftencome across as the paler version of Robin, who in turn is a palerversion of Batman.Barbara's intelligence got the chance to truly shine after she suffered the crippling injury at the hands of The Joker that turned her into the wheelchair-bound information-broker, Oracle.

A tech-genius and strategic expert, at one point or another, Oracle has lent her services to every hero in theDC universe. When Batman himselfrelies on your expertise, you know you're one smart cookie.

3 Spider-Man

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Peter Parker is the one superhero who can challengeBatman's popularity, despite being his polar opposite in many ways. Most storiesfocus on Peter's everyman persona, the perennially down-on-his-luck kid who swings into action as thewise-cracking superhero Spider-Man whentrouble comes calling.

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This earthy approach to the characteris why people often forget thatPeter is one of the smartest people in all of the multiverse. This fact has been attested to by Reed Richards, the smartest man in the Marvel multiverse, whohas acknowledged Peter as his intellectual equal on several occasions.

2 Sherlock Holmes

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As the character who heavily inspired the 'World's Greatest Detective' persona of Batman, this list would not be complete without the most popular detective in all offiction. Sherlock Holmes' original stories may have been written a hundred years ago, but he has had a couple of crossovers with Batman. The first time they met, Holmes deduced BAtman's secret identity within minutes, something that often only those withX-ray visionmanage to accomplish.

The two also teamedup during an episode of Batman: The Braveand the Bold, where they had a friendly match of deductive skills. This is something Batmanrarely does with another hero and speaksto the mutual respect shared between the two premier detectives.

1 Superman

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Superman and Batman have foughtplenty oftimes in the comics, movies, and animation; every single time, what givesBrucean edge is his brainsand strategic mindset. Thesekinds of showings alsoleftmanyfanswith the impression that Superman isa bit of a moron, falling repeatedly for Bruce's traps when a combination of X-ray vision, super-hearing, and super-speed could have helped him recognize and avoid the danger.

The truth is, Superman always holds back when fighting Batman. The few times he has truly cut loose, he destroys The Dark Knight in seconds. Thatis because, thanks to the yellow sun, in addition to being super-strong, super-fast, and super everything else, he is also a super-geniuswith a photographic memory and enhanced cognitive skills.Hepossesses knowledge from every corner ofthe galaxy, can speak innumerable languages, and absorbs information almost as fast asThe Flash.

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