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The Wikipedia entry for Mister Terrific says this:

He is also known as the third smartest person in the world, and this notion now appears to be widespread within the DC Universe.

Note: The entry has subsequently changed to read

Holt is also known as the third smartest man on Earth.

Who are the first and second smartest?

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Probably Batman and Superman, but I have no reference for this. – AncientSwordRage Apr 11 '12 at 1:46
The Grand Intellect and Commander Keen. No wait, that's a different continuity. – b_jonas May 11 '12 at 12:31
I think the hard part about answering this question is how are they measuring "smarts"? Is it based purely on IQ scores, or is it more subjective. – Monty129 Mar 6 '13 at 12:42
Bob Kane and Bill Finger. – Wad Cheber Jul 13 '15 at 5:02

I don't think it's established for certain, but according to the Michael Holt entry on the DC Database

Holt has described himself as the third smartest person on Earth (presumably after Batman and Lex Luthor).

Barbara Gordon (Oracle) might also be able to claim one of the top two spots in the DCU. As Devon Sanders of Seven Hells! puts it:

Possessing a genius intellect, photographic memory and unparalleled knowledge of computers, she re-invented herself as the DCU's information broker Oracle.

She who controls the information, controls the world.

She's put herself in a position where Batman comes to her.

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It's possible that Holt is simply being modest, or more interestingly, diverting attention from himself into the search for the two above him. – Martha F. Apr 12 '12 at 15:00
I can believe Lex Luthor might be the smartest, but Batman (while often portrayed as a genius) is smarter than the meta human Mister Terrific? – Jack B Nimble Jun 11 '12 at 13:39
@JackBNimble is Michael Holt truly a Metahuman? I always thought his abilities where technology derived (being hidden from surveilance technology) – Monty129 Mar 6 '13 at 12:11
In regards to Barbara, information isn't the same as intelligence, Batman may come to her for info, but he would know what to do with it better than her. Granted, it also says she has a genius intellect, so I'm sure she's up there – childcat15 Jul 31 '14 at 20:31
Barbara Gordon is intelligent, but not smarter than Batman or Tim Drake. She is just skilled, and isn't known for detective or forensic knowledge for instance. As Oracle she is basically a good librarian with fictional hacking skills. – nobrandheroes Oct 10 '14 at 15:15

Those two smartest people are Lex Luthor and Batman.

It was shown in last episode of Justice League Unlimited TV series. I have almost forgot that, but as memory served, Earth was under attack by Darkseid (Thanks to @Beta for name). Justice League failed to kick his butt out of Earth. He was looking for Anti-Life Equation (Thanks to @Beta again for recalling that).

It was shown that Anti-Life Equation could only be obtained from beyond edge of universe, but only by a person who has intellect level 12 or above. Only Batman and Lex Luthor qualified. Finally, Lex Luthor obtained that and gave it to Darkseid.

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The villain was Darkseid, the thing was the Anti-Life Equation, and it's not certain that Luthor really died. Oh, and he did it not so much to save the Earth and Superman, as for revenge. – Beta May 11 '12 at 23:12
@Beta Thanks.. My memory served badly. :) – Evil Angel May 12 '12 at 4:19
@Beta Edited my answer to reflect them.. – Evil Angel May 12 '12 at 4:31
I watched the episode, there is nothing to suggest that Batman had the qualified intellect to achieve the anti-life equation. Also JLU tv is not comic canon. – Jack B Nimble Jun 11 '12 at 13:38
Jack B Nimble is correct, while Michael Holt does appear in Justice League Unlimited, the DCAU is a separate cannon from mainstream DC continuity (New52,Post Crisis, etc.) – Monty129 Mar 6 '13 at 12:08

Despero once said that Ted Cord's IQ (192) was second only to the Martian Manhunter. That's pretty canon. So on the earth: you've got Martian Manter, Blue Beetle, Mr. Terrific, Lex Luthor Batman Dr. Fate Vandal Savage *The Question (Honorable Mention)

Not on the earth, I'd think other than god-like entities, Braniac would take the cake.

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The question pertains to humans though, so J'onn and Braniac wouldn't count. Also Ted Cord's intelligence depends on who's writing him. During the Giffen/McGuire/DeMattis era Justice League he was depicted as intelligent but not any more than Maxwell Lord – Monty129 May 17 '13 at 9:35
I would add Amazo to that list since you mentioned Braniac – Charles Okwuagwu Oct 1 '15 at 23:18

Lex Luthor the self styled "Greatest criminal mind of all time!" would easily take the top spot. He is often shown to be more intelligent than any other human, and even more so than some super intelligent extraterrestrials.

As for the second there are several characters who could lay claim:

Brain, perenial thorn in the Doom Patrol's side has pulled off "Perfect Crimes" on several occasions.

Barbara Gordon in her pre-New 52 Oracle persona, as stated by Bill the Lizard, definetly quallifies.

Noah Kuttler aka the Calculator is the villanous counterpart to Oracle and could also qualify.

Lastly a tie between two masters of deductive reasoning and latteral thinking; the Riddler is often stated to be Batman's most intelligent adversary. Ralph Dibny has been shown to be a detective with an intellect to rival that of Batman.

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Batman said that Tim Drake is just as intelligent, if not more intelligent than himself. Sorry if this complicates things.

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Hello ! Can you precise in what continuity did Batman say this ? At what moment... ? – Kalissar Jul 9 '13 at 8:06
Actually what he said was that Tim would be a better detective than he ever could be one day. I remember this, I believe it was from one of the War Games issues. – Monty129 Jul 9 '13 at 9:39

If I had to guess, I would assert that it is Luthor and the original Mr. Terriffic, or Luthor and Superman, depending on continuity.

People assert Batman as one of the smartest, but he generally doesn't display his intelligence on the scale of Lex Luthor. Generally getting into things like space travel and cybernetics much later than Luthor or even Superman.

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Superman isn't a human though. The question pertains to humans. Also, Superman is usually depicted as having an above average intelligence, but not since his pre-crisis days has he ever shown anything that would be considered "super intelligence" – Monty129 Oct 10 '14 at 16:00
Humans are mentioned in the question, but yeah Superman generally isn't human in the strictest sense. However, Superman has an army of androids he presumably built himself, a technological fortress that he maintains, and is a notorious polyglot. If your are including genetically compatible people, he's one of the most intelligent, easily. – nobrandheroes Oct 10 '14 at 17:43

Well isn't Terry Sloane smarter than Michael Holt? So that would leave either Lex Luthor or Bruce Wayne. I would assume those are the 4 smartest human beings in the DC Universe.

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Really depends on what kind of smarts you are talking about. If you are asking who is the smartest fighter, then probably batman and tim would be at the top of DC pre 52. Terrific has shown a lot of shortsightedness and lack of awareness, but he is without a doubt one of the brightest minds on the universe. And despite this he got fooled by windows ME.

So i guess what im saying is "smart about what?"

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Totally Brainiac and Brainiac 5, brainiac 5 have a 12th level intellect and exist the rumor that the only one smarter could be brainiac, but is no sure

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' the world', the question asked. – Solemnity Mar 6 '13 at 5:35

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