Superhero Doctors: Ranking the Top 5

Not All Heroes Wear Capes, But These Do

McCoy: [held at scalpel-point] “Well, either choke me or cut my throat. Make up your mind.
Khan:English. I thought I dreamed hearing it. Where am I?
McCoy:You’re in bed, holding a knife at your doctor’s throat.
Khan:Answer my question.
McCoy:It would be most effective if you would cut the carotid artery, just under the left ear.
Khan: [lowers the scalpel] “I like a brave man.
McCoy:I was just trying to avoid an argument.

Star Trek “Space Seed” (Season 1, Episode 22)

Doctors are real superheroes. After years of study, they are able to heal injuries, cure diseases, and pull people from death’s grasp. Even when they aren’t solving immediate problems, they conduct research to save more lives or stop lethal pandemics. So what happens when a doctor becomes a superhero?

Superhero doctors have to fight villains and heal victims at the same time. They face diseases from other times and worlds, save heroes beyond modern medicine, and can heal or harm with their scalpels. So who are the Top 5 Superhero Doctors? Let’s find out.

#5 Donald Blake

Played By: Mark L. Taylor and Chris Wiggins

Dr. Blake: [after injecting a cure] ‘You’ve lost mister! Captain America is going to live!

Avengers #146

Donald Blake may be the least known superhero doctor, but he’s also arguably the most powerful and easily the strangest.

Donald Blake was a doctor with a limp on vacation in Norway who witnessed an alien invasion. He picked up a gnarled walking stick and tried to flee. Unbeknownst to Blake, the stick was actually the hammer Mjolnir. When he struck it against the ground, Dr. Donald Blake was transformed into The Mighty Thor.

Thor defeated the aliens and reverted to Blake. The doctor became a superhero, healing people at his day job and transforming into Thor to stop villains. Later writers complicated his story by raising the question of whether Blake was just Thor with his mind altered or someone who Thor had been bonded to, with evidence for both answers.

Thor eventually abandoned Doctor Blake after learning he never existed. Ironically, the doctor was then brought to life by magic and swore to kill Thor for abandoning him. A human doctor wouldn’t be much of a threat, but Blake was transformed into a god by The Enchantress and stole the World Serpent’s power, making him much more dangerous.

#4 Batman (Flashpoint)

Played By: Kevin McKidd, Brett Cullen

Batman: [impales Reverse Flash] “Doctor’s advice: When you’re in the middle of a war… don’t stand still.

Flashpoint

Batman is already a skilled medical professional who could earn an M.D. with ease. An even more skilled superhero doctor dwells in the alternate timeline of Flashpoint.

The Flash unintentionally altered history when he traveled back in time to save his mother from being murdered. As with many DC universes, the Wayne family took a fateful trip down Crime Alley. This time, Bruce Wayne was gunned down by the mugger. Martha Wayne went mad while Dr. Thomas Wayne became the murderous vigilante known as Batman.

Wielding the gun that killed his son, Batman began murdering criminals to ensure they would never kill again. He eventually found The Flash and helped him fix the timeline. The only thing he asked was that Flash deliver a letter to his son once the timeline reset.

Flashpoint Batman was popular and became part of the main DC universe. He became a villain to force Bruce to retire because he didn’t want his son to suffer as Batman. He has since joined a multiverse-traveling team called Justice League Incarnate, using his medical skills and weaponry to help people throughout the galaxy to atone for his crimes.

#3 Harley Quinn

Played By: Kaley Cuoco, Margot Robbie, Tara Strong

[a picture of Harley Quinn has asked for her help diagnosing a patient]
Dr. Quinzel:So this patient of mine, she’s fixated on a murderous psychopath and won’t end their relationship no matter how terribly he treats her.”
Harley:Oh, easy! Classic abusive codependency. You’ve just gotta show her that there’s no future with him and she needs to end it and find her own identity and- [gasps] Oh. I see. You’re smart.
Dr. Quinzel:I know. I’m you.

Harley Quinn “Til Death Do Us Part” (Season 1, Episode 1)

Mental health is just as important as physical health, if not more so. They may get more flack than a regular sawbones, but psychiatrists and other mental health professionals can be superhero doctors too. Our number three proves you don’t need to be crazy to become one, but it helps.

Dr. Harleen Quinzel was a prodigy who was hired to work at the infamous Arkham Asylum. She was successful until she met The Joker, who gaslighted her into insanity. She began calling herself Harley Quinn and broke her lover out of the asylum. 

Harley Quinn’s psychiatry skills are often glossed over in favor of making her a female Deadpool, but don’t underestimate her. She can discern insecurities and concealed emotions with ease. She manipulates victims, but sometimes helps others overcome trauma in her own chaotic, blunt force way. Harley is also sometimes portrayed as talking to a mental Dr. Quinzel who acts more clinical.

If you want to know more about Harley Quinn, why not check out her backstory?

#2 Night Nurse

Played By: Rosario Dawson

Night Nurse:Thanks, but you’re not the only doctor in the room. “Night Nurse” is just catchier than “Night General Practitioner.

Doctor Strange: The Oath

Fans of Netflix’s MCU shows may know our penultimate superhero doctor as Dr. Claire Temple, but there’s a lot more to Night Nurse’s story.

Linda Carter (no connection to the Wonder Woman actor) was the star of a short lived romance comic called Night Nurse who later became part of Daredevil’s supporting cast. At some point, she had been rescued from a dangerous situation by an unidentified superhero. The incident inspired her to open a secret clinic for superheroes.

Night Nurse’s clinic specialized in street level heroes, mostly providing stitches and fixing gunshot wounds. She has also performed more extensive procedures like treating Firestar with chemotherapy, performing an autopsy on a Skrull, and as part of a team assembled to heal the anthropomorphic personification of Death. Quite the resume, wouldn’t you say?

It’s been implied that Night Nurse helps heroes out of a desire to be a superhero herself, but she always shoots down that allegation. She prefers keeping her civilian life and her superhero connections separate, but has occasionally dated her patients, including our number one superhero doctor. Florence Nightingale, eat your heart out.

#1 Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange:I’ve sworn many oaths in my day, to every being from Hoggoth to Watoomb… but the first oath I swore was The Hippocratic. “I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and judgment and will do so at any cost.

Doctor Strange: The Oath

Many superhero doctors focus on one skillset over the other. They either focus on medicine and rarely go into the field or they do a lot of fighting, but rarely practice medicine. Our number one superhero doctor has found balance between the two.

Doctor Stephen Strange was a brilliant and arrogant surgeon whose hands were wrecked in a car accident. He traveled to Tibet to search for a miracle worker called The Ancient One in hopes of a cure. The Ancient One healed Strange and took him on as an apprentice to learn the ways of magic.

Doctor Strange often treats the superhero community. Between his magical abilities and years of training, he’s able to help with virtually any procedure. He specializes in surgery, but can also act as a medic, an obstetrician, or an exorcist. Admittedly, that last one really only counts as a medical procedure in a superhero universe.

It’s been several years in-story since Doctor Strange was a practicing surgeon, leading him to worry that his knowledge of new advancements is dated. He routinely uses magic to “download” knowledge into his mind, but is concerned about his lack of practice. 

If you want to know more about our top Superhero Doctor, then let me prescribe you our Doctor Strange Backstory. Don’t worry, it’s covered by your insurance. 

Who is your favorite Superhero Doctor? Is there one better than these? Tell us in the comments.

Image: Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange in Marvel Studios’ DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

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