Brain over Brawn Superman is the most powerful being in the galaxy (at least in his universe) but every time he goes against Bruce Wayne, he loses. Why? The flight, speed, laser beams, ice breath and invulnerability are defeated by the world’s first cosplayer. Because at the end of the day, Batman possess a keen intellect that is able to analyze the situation and deduce the most appropriate tactic for the situation. (He keeps shark-repellant on hand, for goodness sake). The Justice League story arc, The Tower of Babel, proves that with the necessary preparation time Batman is capable of dismantling the entire team. Characters with knowledge always have the upper hand. Even in the villain community, the mastermind is not the most powerful, deadly or eccentric of the bunch but the cleverest. Doctor Doom is the most feared despot in the Marvel Universe because he can outwit anyone. He is able to outmaneuver the likes of Reed Richards, Tony Stark and anyone foolish enough to stand in his goals. (It’s his ego that is his downfall.) His technological achievements, doombots and magical prowess (…its comics) all originate from his overpowering intellect. Intelligence, when used properly, is the most valuable asset a character can posses. This is one of the most entertaining and unique styles when portrayed in a character: Doctor Who He’s lived for 900 years, witnessed the end of time and can see the entirety of the universe unfold around him. Instead of viewing events in chronological order, he knows that time is a big ball of timey-wimey time stuff. The Doctor knows the secrets of the universe but is still able to find wonder and beauty in the most basic of situations. A girl with an aimless life, a jealous boyfriend or a girl who waited; The Doctor can see the full potential in all of them. “In the whole universe, I’ve never met anybody who wasn’t somebody” He is a lanky raggedy doll man, sure he might win a sword fight or run, but most of his victories stem from knowledge. The Doctor doesn’t see his villains as a threat to himself, but a puzzle that must be solved. Just because a creature lives only for destruction, The Doctor still sees the brilliance of its design. Even when defeating the vilest entities in the universe, he always offers them redemption; a chance to be more than their base instincts. The Doctor’s knowledge extends beyond the hidden truths in the universe, but the ultimate belief that there is good in everyone. “He’s like fire and ice and rage. He’s like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun. He’s ancient and forever. He burns at the center of time and can see the turn of the universe. and… he’s wonderful.” Chuck Editor’s Note: I am referring to Seasons 1 & 2, aka when the show was amazing. When all of the world’s secrets are downloaded into his head, Charles Bartowski becomes the most important asset to national security. Chuck has zero fighting skills. He is a liability in battle and should just stay in the car. But he is the hero, and not just because of the Intersect burning through his brain but his instincts. He is able to sort out the villain’s plans, determine their motivation and draw parallels from his civilian life to outwit the world’s deadliest assassins. Chuck is protected by his handlers, Sarah and John, who do all of the heavy lifting but it is ultimately he who saves the day. They are his reluctant assistants, his team or at worst his sidekicks. He is the mastermind behind the entire operation and is humble enough to never see it that way. When nuclear doom is eminent, it’s up to Chuck to realize that by reaching the kill screen on Missile Commander will the codes to save the world be revealed. When a bomb is about to detonate, Chuck knows that an internet virus can destroy the software. His mind is unconventional, but his results are exactly what is needed. The Challenge Who do you think is the smartest characters in media? Who has the capability, knowledge and intuition necessary to outwit their opponents but isn’t capable of defeating them in combat? Only heroes or villains, or in-between, who are mentally gifted but physically weak should be included. Level Up, Friends!