We all know that Black people are a minority in the Superhero community. This is especially evident when more than one Black superhero ends up having a similar superpower. For example, how many Black Superheroes can you name with the power to manipulate electricity? (I can name four right away.) Of late I have come to notice that there are an increasing number of Black Superheroes whose real claim to fame is that they are just really smart, genius level in fact. As there are surprisingly many such characters I have tried to narrow it to those characters where their Intellect is their actual or primary Superpower. Here are a few:
Mister Terrific – Michael Holt
Despite having a terrible name and not being the first to hold the title, Mister Terrific is a character who gets by quite nicely on his intellect and inventions. Michael Holt, made his debut in DC Comics in 1997 has 14 Ph.Ds and is a multimillionaire. In the DC Comics Universe he is considered the 3rd smartest man in the world. He is also a gold medal Olympic athlete. Mister Terrific has been a member of such teams as the Justice Society of America, the Justice League of American, and most recently his own team, the Terrifics. He is likely best known for his T shaped Mask and his T-Spheres that float and function as computers, holographic projection units, and projectile weapons, among other uses.
Moon Girl – Lunella Lafayette
Moon Girl is relatively new to the Marvel comics world. Lunella Lafayette debuted in January 2016 in a comic bearing her name and is only 9-years old. She is of the Inhuman lineage in the Marvel Comics universe. While as an inhuman she is empowered, her amazing intellect predates her power activation and remains her primary ability. It is actually theorized that she is the smartest person on earth. Her inventions often appear to come out of her backpack in an Inspector Gadget kind of way. She lives with her parents but has an underground lair that she shares with her teammate Devil Dinosaur. Her actual superpower allows her to switch brains with her oversized companion.
Prodigy – David Alleyne
While not the only one to bear that name, and certainly not the first, he was one of Marvel’s Mutant population until he was later depowered. Prodigy debuted in New Mutants, vol. 2 #4 (October 2003). He originally had the power to telepathically absorb knowledge and experience from others He could know what anyone around him knew. He studied hard so that he would be able to retain his knowledge. He later lost his powers in the Marvel decimation event. After a time his mental blocks were removed and while he no longer had the power to absorb knowledge he was able to access all the knowledge and experiences he had absorbed prior to his power loss. This includes scientific, technological, and medical knowledge as well as martial arts skills. His powers have since been returned and of course, he can still increase his abilities the old fashioned way.
Prodigy – Edison Crane
This Prodigy is an Image Comics character created by Mark Millar that debuted in his own comic in December 2018. The Graphic Novel is definitely worth a read especially before the series comes to Netflix. The character exhibits many of the same abilities of Sherlock Holmes including an extensive mind palace and conversing with different versions of himself mentally to work out problems. Edison Crane is however far better adjusted to the world and possibly even more intelligent, having performed open heart surgery as a child among his other feats. “Edison Crane’s not content being the world’s smartest man and most successful businessman—his brilliant mind needs to be constantly challenged. He’s a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, genius composer, Olympic athlete, an expert in the occult, and now international governments are calling on him to fix problems they just can’t handle.”
Blue Marvel – Adam Brashear
While already having powers that would easily rival Superman, prior to obtaining his powers, Blue Marvel, Adam Brashear, was already a genius engineer and physicist. The character debuted in Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel #1, (November 2008) and was created by writer Kevin Grevioux. Adam Graduated Magna Cum Laude from Cornell in Electrical Engineering and Physics. He was a Professor of Physics at University of Maryland. He was also a former football player and Marine. It was his genius that created the situation that resulted in his powers. Since he has been Blue Marvel he has increasingly performed feats of great intelligence including converting Galactus from a world eating being to a life giver and discovering the Neutral Zone. While his physical powers are earth shattering, it is his mind that has the greatest impact on the Marvel Universe.
T’Challa – Black Panther
Black Panther has a Ph.D in Physics from Oxford University and also advanced degrees in Engineering, Economics, Political Science & Psychology. The character debuted in Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966). He is the King of his native country of Wakanda and has additional abilities granted to him by the Panther god. His physical abilities are considerable but he frequently punches above his weight class. It is his amazing intellect and shrewd tactical mind that make him a formidable opponent to any adversary. He invented a new field of science called Shadow Physics which combines Science with ancient alchemy and even designed the Quinjets for the Avengers. He also has direct access to the wisdom of his ancestors.
Shuri – Black Panther, Victor Stone – Cyborg, William Foster – Black Goliath, John Henry Irons – Steel, Riri Williams – Ironheart, Natasha Irons – Steel, Destiny, Monet Yvette Clarisse Maria Therese St. Croix – M
Did I forget anyone? Let me know in the comments.