The heroes featured in the pages of Marvel Comics have a variety of amazing and spectacular powers. While some can lift a building with one hand and others are able to fly on command, there are some within the universe who boast a superpower that isn't so visually impressive, but is nonetheless vital to the heroes' cause: incredible intelligence.
There are some truly smart heroes across Marvel, too many to fit on to this list. There are a few honourable mentions including Professor Xavier, T'Challa, Jennifer Walters and Peter Parker, but here we've ranked a hand-picked selection of the Marvel universe's smartest heroes.
Iron Man's successor, Riri Williams is a relatively new character in the Marvel world. She's a 15-year-old student at MIT and has an amazing level of intellect. She was actually said to be a super genius by the time she was 5, which is why the college accepted her at the age she is. The Iron Heart armour that she used to battle crime was entirely designed and made by her, boasting technology rivalling Tony Stark's after reverse-engineering the process.
She may be young and brash, but what she lacks in experience she makes up for in optimism and enthusiasm. Riri is quite the mechanic and there's a lot of potential for her future superhero career (or whatever else she chooses to do with her IQ).
Amadeus Cho has had an interesting journey over his years as a Marvel character. From becoming best pals with Hercules and battling alongside the God Squad to becoming a newer, smarter version of the Hulk, Amadeus really has done it all.
Cho's intelligence is an ongoing joke across the many titles he's been featured in. Most people older than him claim that he isn't as clever as he thinks, often putting him as the 8th or 7th most intelligent person in the world. He's number 9 on this list, but as Cho grows more experienced he also becomes wiser.
The sister of T'Challa, the Black Panther, Shuri is one of the smartest people in Wakanda. She's their resident inventor and is able to do many incredible things with the Vibranium that is mined in their African country. She's not only made some great additions to the Black Panther's suit but has actually become a Wakandan hero in her own right on a number of occasions.
Her combat ability is improving with age, as is her intelligence. At such a young age, Shuri really is a child prodigy and she's going to continue to put Wakanda on the map with her inventions. In the comics, she also has a variety of other abilities (including being able to transform into birds) but the focus is really on her brain here.
One of Marvel's oldest heroes and a member of the original Avengers team, Hank Pym is a complicated character whose mental capacity is both a gift and a curse. He has suffered from many mental health problems and has made many mistakes due to his intelligence, including creating Ultron.
It cannot be denied, though, that Pym's greatest achievement is the creation of the Pym particles, which allow their user to shrink or grow. Through these, he has discovered the Microverse (Quantum Realm) and gone on many heroic missions across his career.
A mutant and key member of the X-Men, Hank McCoy (also known as Beast) is one of Marvel's smartest men. When he isn't protecting the rights of mutants both on and off the battlefield, he is using his vast intellect to solve the many problems the team faces.
He had a PhD in biochemistry and is the medic out on the field when the X-Men need him to be. He's investigated mutant cures many times, as well as developing ways for himself to turn from Beast to human again. In addition, his proficiency extends beyond this field into many other sciences and he can speak over 8 languages.
Bruce Banner may be famous for his alter ego, the Hulk, but underneath the green exterior is an amazingly intelligent man. Banner is, of course, responsible for creating the Hulk, due to the use of gamma radiation during the course of his research. He has since learnt a lot more about the green goliath and gamma itself.
Bruce is known for his many inventions, which come under the brand of Bannertech. He is so smart that there may be no way to measure it and he has used his mind just as much as his brawn when helping the Avengers. Banner is so intelligent that he can actually sometimes control the mind of the Hulk, having created alternate versions including Professor Hulk (who we then saw in the MCU).
The son of Howard Stark, Tony is well and truly a genius. He's one of the smartest people on the planet, has more successful businesses than you can count and has made some truly wondrous contraptions. Above all of this, though, he managed to create the first Iron Man armour in a cave using just some junk and scraps.
This technology has evolved in all sorts of ways over the years, all the while being powered by a tiny arc reactor developed by Stark. His intelligence goes beyond just this, though, as he is one of the most advanced scientific minds the Avengers can call upon. He even created an A.I. version of himself.
One of the key members of the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards is one of Marvel's first family's brightest minds. Not only is he partially responsible for the powers they gained, but they owe much of their success to him. The Fantastic Four are heavily immersed in the scientific world and Reed Richard's intelligence really helps them.
His inventions are incomparable, from flying cars to a robot that helps them with their superhero duties. His scientific prowess has bettered humanity in countless ways, as have his many side projects such as the Future Foundation (which also included Peter Parker).
How many people are smarter than Reed Richards? Only two, arguably, and he's responsible for one of them. Valeria Richards is the daughter of Sue Storm and Reed and she is maybe even smarter than her dad. Having inherited his intellect, she has shown a high level of intelligence from a young age.
Valeria's history is confusing, but what is clear is that she is incredibly smart. At some points she has even rivalled Dr. Doom, who is widely considered to be one of the smartest people in the Marvel Universe. Having been re-invented a few times and been featured at various ages, she may have been smarter than Reed at the age of two!
This may come as a surprise to some readers, bu Lunella Lafayette has been established as the smartest Marvel hero. Going by the name Moon Girl, she has Inhuman ancestry and a telepathic link to Devil Dinosaur. The two fight crime together, but when she isn't being a hero, Lunella is experimenting.
She's been dubbed smarter than everyone else on this list and her creations back up that claim. All of her gadgets are then used in battle, so she can continue to improve and be the hero she wishes to be. She takes a lot of risks but this makes up for her lack of experience, as she makes many new discoveries. She's actually so smart that she can talk when she's in the body of Devil Dinosaur!