In this article, we look at two of the top Superheroes and compare their intelligence. Superman and Batman are perhaps the best-known superheroes, but who is the smartest.
Superman is clearly the winner when it comes to brainpower. For a start, he is a member of a race with greater intellect. This superior intellect has also been boosted in Superman because of the effects of the Yellow Sun. Remember also that Superman spent the time traveling to Earth being tutored by materials prepared by his father giving him a knowledge of all Krypton’s Science, and this was even before Superman landed on Earth. Sure, Batman is smart, but he is not in the same league as Superman when it comes to being smart.
Evidence That Superman Is Smarter Than Batman.
These examples are taken from the standard take on Superman, as described in most of the films and comics.
It is only in the Black Knight stories by Frank miller, that we see a stupid Superman who is totally outwitted by Batman.
When Superman was sent is the tiny spaceship from Krypton to Earth, during the journey Kel-El was tutored by his father, all the knowledge of his home planet.
Since Krypton was far in advance of Earth it follows that even as a baby Superman must have been far more knowledgeable than Batman.
When Superman was on Earth, during the early years using just the spaceship as a reference, Superman built the Fortress of Solitude and a host of Kryptonian robots.
Superman is a member of an alien race that is so far ahead of humans. Superman sees humanity as a species just taking its first steps towards maturity. Even an advanced human is still not going to be equal to a Kryptonian.
The fact that Superman has, and uses, his great strength might be seen as a sign that he is less intelligent than Batman who relies on intellect primarily.
But the facts are that because of the impact of the Yellow Sun that illuminates Earth, Superman has been granted strength, speed, agility, etc.
Not using them would be a sign of stupidity.
We should also remember that the yellow sun boosts all aspects of Superman.
His brain can think faster than a Super-computer. Backing this he has all the advanced Krypton science and knowledge, and of course the Eidetic memory.
A more practical example is from one story where Superman wanted to see the day where Krypton was destroyed.
Now, when we look at things exceedingly long way away like Krypton, we are looking at a past view of Krypton, not the current view.
So, superman linked up all the telescopes on Earth and pointed them at the place where krypton would have been on the day it was destroyed, and he managed to see the end of krypton.
At the time, one of the scientists said it would take any supercomputer ages to process the resulting information, but Superman was able to do it in his head in a matter of seconds.
Another example from Action Comics saw Louis laying dying in hospital and the doctors all said there was nothing they could do. Superman dashed away to the medical library and in the space of five minutes read everything that was available, before returning to Louis.
He then did the surgery himself without any more than the most basic help from the surgeons and saved her.
It would have taken a human surgeon at least ten years to learn all that was required, and Superman mastered it in minutes.
What we also must accept is that when they wrote the character, Superman, they built a hero that, were he to use all his powers to the full, would be so unbeatable that none of the characters pitched against him could compare.
This would make truly short and boring stories. So, to avoid having this mismatch there are powers and abilities that Superman has but are conveniently forgotten when writing a story, simply to make the stories more exciting.
How Did Batman Learn His Skills
There are not so many clear answers that explain Batman’s intelligence as there are for Superman.
When asked how he has gathered such super intelligence he gives a straightforward answer, which is, “I have studied, I have trained.”
When it comes to his physical skills like Martial Arts, we are given names and places where he learned some of the skills.
When it comes to his intelligence, we are left far more in the dark.
There is also further confusion, in that depending on which biography you read, the facts about where he trained and studied are different.
Batman relies on no special abilities like many other superheroes.
He depends only on his own Scientific knowledge, detective abilities, and physical power.
All of this has been learned. In the original series and the Golden Age comics, we get no details of how Bruce Wayne receives his training, other than vague statements.
In the bronze age stories, we get a snippet of information that Bruce Wayne attended and graduated from Yale Law School.
In the New 52 series, we are told that Bruce Wayne did not attend college as he instead set off on a trip around the world to be trained by individual mentors.
Probably the most consistent information we have is that Bruce Wayne did receive individual training from a variety of specialists that included:
Sergei was an engineer that taught Bruce Wayne all about gadgetry.
When Bruce was 21 Sergei showed him how to construct his own gadgets.
Shihan taught Bruce Wayne Martial Arts in Japan. Matsuda was a Zen Buddhist monk and taught Bruce many things, including how to melt ice using warmer thoughts.
British Intelligence agent Alfred was employed by the Wayne family to look after Bruce as a child.
He taught the growing Bruce a variety of subjects like combat medicine, mimicry, and so on.
Another Martial Art teacher helped Wayne recover from a broken back.
Cain was a deadly assassin who taught Bruce the techniques for killing.
Kirigi is a Ninjutsu Master and taught Bruce Wayne Martial Arts, including the fatal vibrating palm strike.
A well-known detective in Gotham City who taught young Bruce all he knew about being a world-class detective.
Wildcat (Ted Grant) a former boxer who had been framed for an opponent’s death. He taught Bruce hand-to-hand combat.
Giovanni John Zatara
A Magician and Escapologist who taught Bruce Escapology and the art of taking down enemies before they become aware of his presence.
An expert Detective and manhunter who taught Bruce a great deal in Paris.
We can see from the above that most of the tutors that Bruce Wayne used around the world were teaching him practical skills and not a classic education.
Whilst it is possible to learn a great deal from this kind of tutor, I am not sure it would help with general education.
In the movie Batman Begins, we see Batman going to Princeton for a short while before dropping out.
Other comics, at least three of them, suggest that he attended Gotham University.
Quite frankly it seems you can take your pick from a variety of educational histories.
Who is More Intelligent, Superman or Batman
We have two characters, Superman who was given an educational program by computers during his trip to Earth, in which he is taught “All the knowledge” of the Planet Krypton.
This is while he is still a baby.
When he reached Earth the brain is supercharged (along with everything else) by the yellow sun, giving him a far greater potential intelligence than any other entity on the planet.
Superman then attends school, and college in Metropolis, before starting a career.
Batman, on the other hand, has a limited elementary education, and either attends the University of heads off around the world at age 16 and is taught practical skills.
Batman may have been naturally intelligent, but it seems very unlikely that he would have intelligence that came anywhere near that of Superman.
That is not to say Batman is stupid, he may well be one of the most intelligent humans on the planet, but that does not cut it.
Why is it Batman rather than Superman that is popularly seen as the most intelligent?
If Superman is so much brighter than Batman, why do we see him eclipsed by Batman?
The answer is that Batman has no superpowers.
The whole USP of Batman is that he is a regular human who has achieved everything through his own merit, not because of a mutation or surgical process.
Batman must only use his intelligence to beat the villains, and this is what is focused upon.
So, what it really comes down to is how we perceive each superhero.
We naturally concentrate on the most incredible powers that are exhibited by the superhero, and when it comes to intelligence, it is so easily overwhelmed by feats of strength or speed.
Batman is using his intelligence to win the fights against opponents that possess superpowers that Batman does not have.
He usually prepares the strategy in advance to be able to beat much stronger characters.
Batman has superior intelligence and he is also a master tactician, but he is not the smartest superhero out there and Superman definitely one of the characters that outperform him in intelligence.