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Brain Critical Mass

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So you want to write a superhero comic. You have your Five-Man Band, and are giving each member some of the usual powers. But what will you give The Smart Guy?

Well, he already has an amazing brain. Let's make it even more amazing, saying that all that mind has reached critical mass, and now: Psychic Powers. Whenever a superhero has Psychic Powers, he is likely to be the genius of the group. Bonus points if it is said to come from his genius, 90% of Your Brain or both.

May be brought about through actual evolution, although not necessarily. Also, likely to be a human in the next level of evolution, as psychic powers are the next stage. Can be the reason why Humans Are Psychic in the Future and for Telepathic Spacemen.

Not to be confused with My Brain Is Big, although they frequently overlap.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The Leader has an enlarged, gamma mutated brain in both mainstream and Ultimate Marvel and developed telepathic abilities as a result of the experiments to increase his intelligence.
    • Amadeus Cho, intelligent enough to be capable of Prescience by Analysis under regular conditions, is boosted by a gamma mutation that enlarges his head to no longer predict cause and effect, but warp them mentally to his desires.
  • Inverted in Dynamo5, where the telepathic character was a Dumb yet Lovable Jock.

    Fan Works 

  • X-Men Film Series: Professor Charles Xavier is highly intellectual and he's the greatest telepath on the planet.
  • The far future villain in The Time Machine (2002) has a massive brain that extends down his back. He uses it to control the beasts that prey on the humans.
  • In The Lawnmower Man, when Jobe get his intellect increased up to - and possibly beyond - genius level, he also gains a wide variety of worryingly strong Psychic Powers.
  • In the film version of Matilda it's said she uses a greater portion of her brain then most people, and so she keeps her powers at the end of the film.

  • Matilda Wormwood, a girl from Roald Dahl's Matilda who had read Moby-Dick before kindergarten. Her Mind over Matter powers are stated to be because she's so bored and has no other way to use her brainpower. Once she is being challenged in school, they disappear.
  • Once AM in I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream gained sentience, he also gained psychokinesis.
  • Averted in the prehistory of Larry Niven's Known Space universe. The Slavers had the telepathic ability to control other animals but a number of species they enslaved were smarter than themselves, intelligence providing no psychic powers or ability to defend against them.
  • Inverted in Minority Report and a few other stories of Philip K. Dick that recycle the same theme: humans that have an "ESP lobe" that gives them psychic powers, in particular the ability to predict the future, are severely mentally retarded, with most of the rest of the brain tissue shriveled and atrophied, and their predictions of the future are deciphered from incoherent babble.
  • A staple of science fiction from the Pulp Magazine era, where it would usually go hand-in-hand with unusually large brains and "super-evolved" individuals.
    • "The Man Who Evolved" (1931) by Edmond Hamilton features a super-evolved man who not only has Super-Intelligence, but can also read minds and control other people's actions.
    • "The Intelligence Gigantic" (1933) by John Russell Fearn: a man created to use 100% of his brain is not only superintelligent, but telepathic to boot.
    • Pebble in the Sky (1950) by Isaac Asimov: the "Synapsifier", a machine designed to enhance intelligence by improving brain conductivity, has the side effect of giving the user Psychic Powers such as telepathy and limited Mind Control. Arguably, the psychic powers play a larger role in the plot than the increased intelligence.
    • "The Infinites" (1953) by Philip K. Dick: three astronauts start rapidly evolving after being hit by a source of unknown radiation. The first thing they notice is the rapid growth of their brain and intelligence accompanied by the decay of their physical bodies, but later they realize they gained the ability to perceive things beyond their normal senses. In the end, the test animals on their ship — which received a larger dose of radiation and became Energy Beings with Reality Warping powers — undo their evolution.

    Live-Action TV 

    Newspaper Comics 

    Video Games 
  • Alakazam, a Psychic Pok√©mon with an IQ of 5000. Several other Psychic Pokémon, like Slowking, are also known to be very intelligent.
  • In Temtem, Valiar is a Mental-type that's described as one of the most intelligent species; it even has a language that humans haven't been able to decipher yet.

  • Exaggerated in Axe Cop with the backstory and powers of Uni-Man. He grew a unicorn horn because he got so smart. Then everyone and everything else on his planet did too, and the planet itself also. Having a unicorn horn gives unlimited Reality Warper powers — just make a wish and it will come true.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Jimmy's normally ditzy friend Sheen gets his intelligence increased with Jimmy's Phlebotinum and gains telekinesis.
  • In Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, there was Dr. Neugog, who got mutated into a borderline Eldritch Abomination when a spider got between him and an invention of his that would have allowed him to read minds. After being mutated, he had the power to suck people's brains out, and add them to his own. The more brains he had sucked, the greater his intelligence became, and he eventually developed psychic powers. Later, Dr. Donovan's nephew Pierre had the same thing happen, but without the Body Horror, and it was later reversed.
  • When Mandark first appeared in Dexter's Laboratory he was shown to be telepathic, to underline the fact he was smarter than Dexter (that's before Villain Decay settled in, of course). This is used to an eerie effect when, in his first spoken line, he answers the question the teacher was going to ask next.
  • In the episode "Heavy Mental" of Darkwing Duck the technogadget of the day zaps people and increases their brain power, complete with inflating head and psychic powers, which are mainly telekinesis and clairvoyance. Toward the end of the episode the General Ripper zaps himself and takes things up to eleven, turning himself into pure thought.

Alternative Title(s): Smart Equals Psychic