Top 10 Smartest Supervillains

Credits: Adrian Sousa Justin Giglio
Written by Thomas O'Connor A great mind can be a dangerous thing. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our Top 10 Smartest Supervillains. For this list, we’re looking at comic book supervillains who rely on their genius intellects rather than physical might to best their do-gooder opponents. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.
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A great mind can be a dangerous thing. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our Top 10 Smartest Supervillains.

For this list, we’re looking at comic book supervillains who rely on their genius intellects rather than physical might to best their do-gooder opponents.

#10: Eobard Thawne


One of the Scarlet Speedsters greatest villains, this yellow-clad speedster has all of the abilities of The Flash, combined with a genius-level intellect. Born in the year 2451, the man who would go by the names “Professor Zoom” and “Reverse Flash” was genetically engineered to be a brilliant thinker, but he began to develop anti-social and even sociopathic tendencies at a young age, which eventually led him to villainy. He’s been a constant thorn in Flash’s side, using his genius to manipulate the speed force itself in his quest to destroy The Flash’s life. He can even use his powers and intellect to travel through time and into parallel timelines.

#9: The Leader


It’s pretty hard to beat the Incredible Hulk in the strength department, but this villain doesn’t have to. While most people exposed to gamma rays (or at least, the Marvel comics version of gamma rays) develop incredible strength, Samuel Sterns was instead gifted super-intellect as a result of gamma exposure. In addition to being a super genius, he has powerful telekinetic and telepathic powers, including the ability to control others, bending them to his evil will. Naturally, he’s been a recurring foil for the Hulk and his allies, but Hulk’s raw strength always manages to overcome his foe’s superior brainpower, much to Sterns’s chagrin.

#8: The Riddler


It’s often been speculated that if The Riddler weren’t so obsessed with games that hubristically show off his intelligence, constantly leaving clues and puzzles that lead his foes right to him if correctly solved, he’d be an almost unstoppable criminal mastermind. Regardless, he’s given Batman a run for his money more than a few times. One time, he even worked with the villain Hush in a scheme that nearly ended Batman once and for all. This is one villain you don’t want to underestimate.

#7: Doctor Octopus


An eight-armed megalomaniac with a serious axe to grind, this classic Spider-Man foe is far more than just a dude with some metal appendages. Originally a genius physicist working for the U.S Atomic Research Center, the future villain invented an elaborate set of mechanical arms to help him handle hazardous materials. But an accident bonded the arms to his body and drove him insane, turning him into one of the Web-Head’s oldest foes. In addition to his arms, Doc Ock is a master planner and manipulator and even found a way to transfer his mind into Spidey’s body when he discovered he was dying of cancer, becoming the Superior Spider-Man.

#6: Ozymandias


On the surface, his villain is an altruistic, charismatic force for good. But underneath his veneer of respectability lurks a cold, calculating mind that is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish what he deems to be the greater good. A natural-born genius, the hero turned villain is commonly believed to be the smartest man on the planet, and his knack for manipulation and problem solving certainly backs this up. His secret plan managed to end the Cold War and brought about world peace... at the cost of countless lives. How many supervillains have that kind of track record?

#5: Lex Luthor


They say the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn’t exist, and Superman’s arch nemesis pulled a very similar trick. While we could talk about the classic villain’s scientific acumen, which has helped him craft mechanical super-suits and scores of other dangerous inventions, his greatest feat is how he spent years thwarting any attempt to reveal his evil to the public. Despite the best efforts of Superman and the Daily Planet, the vast majority of the public believed that the billionaire industrialist was one of the good guys - he was even elected president of the United States! Alexander Luthor Jr, his son from an alternate timeline, might even be smarter than his dad!

#4: Doctor Doom


You don’t get to be one of the greatest supervillains in the Marvel Universe without a good head on your shoulders. This iconic villain wins tons of points for not just being a genius inventor and scientist, but a bonafide master of the mystic arts. With his mastery of science and sorcery, he’s remained one of the most dangerous figures in the entirety of Marvel comics. Like many villains, he’s frequently brought low by his own hubris and lust for power, with his arrogance, in particular, being used against him. All the same, the ruler of Latveria and arch-foe of the Fantastic Four is a brilliant mind and a deadly opponent.

#3: The Thinker


For years, this lawyer-turned supervillain used his incredible intellect and mind-enhancing thinking cap to subtly coordinate crime in his native Keystone City, a kind of secret guiding hand behind much of the city’s underworld. Obviously, this isn’t a role you fall into without some serious mental chops. Despite being caught by The Flash, the devious villain has always returned to cause more trouble and was once even a member of the Injustice Society.

#2: Brainiac


You don't get a name like that for nothing. Another classic Superman foe who uses brains rather than brawn when he goes up against the Man of Steel, this alien lifeform from the planet Colu is obsessed with the collection and cataloging of lifeforms from across the cosmos and his obsession has led him face to face with Superman on many occasion. Perhaps his most notorious feat, he once arrived on Krypton before it was destroyed, capturing and miniaturizing the city of Kandor for his collection. At least his descendant Brainiac-5, is a force for good, using his genius intellect as a member of the Legion of Superheroes.

Before we reveal our number-one pick, take a look at some honorable mentions:

M.O.D.O.K.

Thanos

Darkseid

#1: The High Evolutionary


Genetic engineering is pretty tricky stuff, but this Marvel villain makes it look easy. Originally a geneticist from 1920s Earth, his controversial obsession with unlocking the secrets of the human genome resulted in his expulsion from Oxford. Rather than let this get him down, he eventually developed a machine that allowed him to accelerate his own evolution, extending his lifespan and granting him incredible powers. Since then, he’s used his incredible mind to advance his genetic research in new and sometimes terrifying ways. He’s even partly responsible for the creation of Adam Warlock, having gifted Warlock with a new name and the powerful Soul Gem after his re-birth.
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