I have sort of been over this topic before, but as a woman studying science this one is always of interest to me. It is often debated because of various chracters in the Marvel universe claiming to be the 7th smartest individual on Earth (I think that is what Amadeus Cho claims to be?) but without Marvel creating its own list of who is smartest it is hard to make such a list. The fact that such intelligent people are trying to quantify intelligence is contradictory, because no intelligent person would attempt to do this, as intelligence is multifaceted and very complex. Is Beethoven's genius of being able to compose complex symphonies in his head without being able to hear them (this being after he had gone deaf) comparable to Rutherford, an expert in chemistry and physics? Not at all. What is strange out of such a ranking though, is that a female character is never considered for the top ten. This is different in DC which doesn't have a top ten per se, but even there where most would say Barbara Gordon would be one of the most intelligent, she is not really a scientist (though maybe could be considered a computer scientist). It should not be news anymore that women are breaking down doors in terms of scientific achievement. Just yesterday the winners of the inaugural Google Science Project Awards were given out and the winners in the categories of 13-14, 15-16, and 17-18 were all girls (they got trophies made out of Lego). They won the recognition with projects dealing with such scientific concepts as heterocyclic amines, AMPK and cisplatin resistance, and airborne particulate matter (which even as a soon to be fourth year science student I can't say that I know very much about any except the third).
Marvel Comics was revolutionary in the 1960s as it made it cool to not be cool. The new breed of heroes were portrayed as either science geeks, outsiders or both and fans came to them in flocks to find someone they could better relate to than a multi-billionaire vigilante, an alien from a distant planet or an Amazon warrior. In efforts to continually re-imagine themselves are comic book companies not missing an excellent opportunity (especially in the light of an increasing role of women in science and an increasing readership of comics by girls and women) to create a woman super-genius character?