Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Battlin' Brains: Mr. Fantastic vs. Brainiac 5

Karen: Who comes out on top in this titanic cross-company showdown of dueling medullas? We're talking brain power only here.


Rip Jagger said...

I have to give the nod to Reed Richards. Mister Fantastic is shorthand for smarts in my comic book world. His stretching powers as impressive as they are, have always been of secondary importance to the Fab 4 behind his intellectual contributions.

As for Brainiac 5, I'm not necessarily clued into all the changes he's gone through over the ages, but he is one of the coolest characters in the Legion. His name is just too clever. And he's green, that's always cool.

Rip Off

Edo Bosnar said...

Rip pretty much hit the nail on the head when he noted that Reed Richards is "shorthand for smarts" in comics. He's just the go-to guy for all things scientific; even the other geniuses in the Marvel U., like Tony Stark or Prof. X, tend to defer to him, and when push comes to shove, even Dr. Doom would admit that in terms of pure intellect Reed probably outmatches him.
Brainiac 5 is cool, though - again I agree with Rip, he's one of the coolest Legionnaires. Interestingly enough, over at DC most of the super genius types are villains, i.e., Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Ultra-Humanite, Dr. Sivana...)

Doug said...

Ol' Querl Dox did invent his own force field, in addition to the Legion flight belts and flight rings. Presumably he also invented the transuits. Pretty important stuff in Legion lore.

Of course, Reed could figure out how to work Galactus' ship just by looking at it...


Doc Savage said...

Reed Richards is the smartest man in the universe. Plus he's outdoing Brainiac 5 even with 1,000 years of technological disadvantage!

William said...

When it comes to brain power in comics, it's been pretty well established that in either the MU or DCU Reed Richards is the man.

I think most comic readers would universally agree that DC has the strongest superhero in Superman, but Marvel has the smartest - Mr. Fantastic.

So, I guess that Braniac 5 is like the Thor of DC comics.

This also goes to what we were discussing yesterday about cosmic or otherworldly characters. It's almost like Braniac 5 doesn't really count because, he's from the future, so it's kind of like cheating.

david_b said...

I'd give it to Reed Richards as well.. A bit unreal that he could figure out the Big G's ship so easily, but he certainly gets uber-geek credit for creating huge machinery just to make a good cup of coffee, but unfortunately ignore his attractive wife and family at the worst times.

At least Brainiac-5 had the hots for Supergirl, so he could be considered more 'a dude'..

And, like Rip said, he's green..: ALWAYS a chick-magnet.

Doc Savage said...

One could argue Superman is among the smartest as well, at least the Silver Age Superman who did super science and invention on a regular basis. They've dumbed him down since then.

Bruce said...

It's not really a fair contest, since Brainiac 5 has a 1,000-year head start on Reed.

Put it this way - if you could transport the smartest person from the year 1013 to today, he or she would have a huge learning curve to make up. Think of all the things that have happened in the past 1,000 years!

As far as sheer intelligence goes, I've always believed that Dr. Doom was the smartest person in the Marvel Universe. However, his ego is is fatal flaw - and the reason he can never get the better of Reed and the FF.

Karen said...

Wow, I think you guys are sort of giving Brainy the short-shrift here! I mean, he was just a teen-ager -presumably, he'd be even smarter as he hit his prime.

And Edo - I cannot even imagine an alternate reality or parallel universe where Dr. Doom would acknowledge Reed -or anyone -being his intellectual superior!

Edo Bosnar said...

Karen, generally I agree with you - he'd probably never openly admit it, but a general impression I got from a number of stories in FF and elsewhere is that deep down inside Doom realizes that Reed has an edge over him in the pure genius department, which just makes him hate his altruistic rival all the more.

Bruce said...

I get the opposite impression, Edo. I've always gotten the sense that Doom is every bit as smart, perhaps even a tiny bit smarter, than Reed. For example, Doom built the first working time machine in the Marvel Universe, which Reed calls one of the greatest scientific accomplishments ever.

And I'm with Karen - I don't see Doom EVER experiencing insecurities or self-doubt, particularly about his intelligence. In fact, that's generally what trips him up. He's so sure of himself that he makes a mistake, whereas Reed is capable of admitting that he might be wrong - and that's usually why Mr. Fantastic comes out on top.

Anonymous said...

I have to give my vote to Mr Fantastic. Sure, Brainiac 5 has that cool force field belt, but he's always been a tad mentally unstable for my taste, a trait which writers have used to create memorable storylines. Anyone remember Computo?

Someone asked in a blog a while back whether Reed's super intellect was a result of his exposure to the cosmic rays which gave the FF their powers, or if he always had it. Personally, either way to me he is THE genius of the Marvel universe. While there are many resident geniuses like Tony Stark, Victor Von Doom, Hank Pym, Amadeus Cho, Professor X, Hank McCoy, Otto Octavius, Bruce Banner and T'Challa, all of them rank second to ol' stretcho, as Ben Grimm calls him.

- Mike 'I can just imagine the toilet he invented up there in the Baxter Building' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Teresa said...

I'm first a LSH fan, It was my first comic book back in the Mike Grell days. I have even collected throughout all the reboots. That being said, let the sacrilege commence...

Reed Richards wins.
He is emotionally stable as long as Sue hangs around. His inventions are a bit more fun and often last minute saves. I like his "MacGyver" saves. He is also more empathetic. He is a family man too. I like that.

On the downside: He did steal a rocket, irradiate his friends, turn one of those friends into a monster, crash the rocket and then have the nerve to name himself "Mr. Fantastic."
Wow. But despite that small hiccup he has been a force of good for the world first and his own needs second. I respect that.

Brainy, not so much. He invents things to make his life safer, easier and to shut up his comrades. He's had some heroic moments. But usually only when he has been backed into a corner.
As far as his stability goes..He is the Hank Pym (actually it is the opposite)of the DC Universe.
I direct your attention to Computo (twice), The Fatal Five and Omega. They all are his creations. There are more examples, but I think my fellow LSH fans are triangulating in on me.

William said...

I would have to disagree with a couple of posts that say Dr. Doom is smarter than Reed Richards. I believe that a big part of Doom's character is that he's not smarter than Reed, he just thinks (or pretends) he is. I think that is what Stan Lee (the creator of both characters) originally intended.

If you look at Dr. Doom's origin, Reed Richards tried to warn Doom back in college that a machine he built would not work because he (Doom) had made a miscalculation. However, Doom's ego wouldn't let him accept that someone could be smarter than him, so he tried to use the machine anyway, with disastrous results.

This became one of the big reasons why he hates Reed. I believe that somewhere deep down, he knows (or at least suspects) that Reed has the edge on him in the I.Q. department. That is the reason that he must always boast out loud about what a genius he is, because he's secretly insecure. This is also the reason why Victor wants to kill Reed so badly, so that he himself will then undoubtedly be the smartest person on Earth.

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