A number of costumed vigilantes have personal fortunes that they use to bankroll their crime-fighting operations, but which individuals among the ranks of superheroes have the most spending power? We looked at prominent heroes from the Marvel and DC universes, as well as other publishers, in order to determine who was the richest of them all. Only superheroes appear on this list; supervillains and other wealthy characters who appear in the universes of superheroes were, for the most part, not included. We've also left people on the list with holdings above a planetary scale, or god-like powers. A majority of their net worths are estimated rather than canon; in some cases, the estimated net worths varied by over $50 billion dollars, so ultimately the ranking is based off ballpark estimates after consulting many sources.
Interestingly enough, many of these heroes share similar backstories - in addition to being heroes, most inherited great fortunes, and used their high level intellects to create or lead multi-billion dollar corporations (or, in one case, a multi-billion dollar country). This pattern emerges and remains consistent, even as the size of the fortune varies.
Looking across the worlds of Marvel and DC, here are the 12 Wealthiest Superheroes:
Batwoman is the superhero alias used by two women in the DC universe; while they are both named Katherine Kane, the oldest Batwoman went by "Kathy" and the modern reimagining is known as "Kate." There are significant differences in their characters; for example, while Kathy was a romantic interest of Batman's, Kate is a lesbian. Still, they do share some commonalities in their backstory. Both are wealthy socialites who, like Batman, spend their personal fortunes in order to get the technology and training necessary to fight crime in Gotham. Batwoman was actually inspired by the Caped Crusader's quest against crime.
Batwoman's net worth is never specifically discussed, and it is difficult to know just how much money she has. The website Centives has calculated that Christopher Nolan's Batman spent $2.8 million in order to get the gear to become Batman, although this includes buying 10,000 graphite helmets in order to avoid suspicion. Still, it's likely that Batwoman would need to be comfortable spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars, in order to equip herself properly.
11 Mr. Terrific
Like many of the other heroes on this list, Michael Holt, who took on the mantle Mr. Terrific, is a polymath with a level of business savvy that allowed him to monetize his genius. Hyper-educated and hyper-competitive, Holt holds fourteen PhDs from top academic institutions and is an Olympic Gold Medalist in the decathlon. Unlike many heroes on this list, Holt's fortune is completely self-made; some sources believe he is a multi-millionaire, while others place his net worth in the low billions. He was the CEO of Holt Industries in Los Angeles and later Terrifitech in New York City.
In the comics, Holt appears as a member of the Justice Society of America; a version of him (played by Echo Kellum) also appeared in Arrow (2012) season four, although in that series he works at Palmer Technologies. Is it possible we'll see his evolution into the Mr. Terrific comic fans know over the course of season five?
10 Moon Knight
Marc Spector was, at one time, a highly-paid mercenary; but merc work alone doesn't get someone onto this list. After he became Moon Knight, the avatar on earth for the ancient Egyptian god Khonshu, he took the money that he made as a mercenary and invested it. Over time, his wise investing paid off, and Spector was rewarded for his financial planning with an estimated net worth in the low billions. Spector's wealth is not emphasized to the same extent that Batman or Iron Man's wealth is, which makes it easy to forget that while Moon Knight fights crime, his financial planners are amassing an ever-increasing fortune for him. However, this money is central to Moon Knight's persona, as it has allowed him to buy and build the best technology, including adamantium armor and vehicles like the Mooncopter, a vertical-takeoff-and-landing craft that can either be piloted by his friend, Frenchie, or by a robotic autopilot. That kind of tech isn't cheap, but Moon Knight spares no expense in his fight against crime.
Warren Worthington III, also known as Angel or Archangel, is one of the original X-Men, known for his impressive wings. If his aristocratic-sounding name didn't give it away already, Warren is the heir to a multi-billion dollar fortune. His family's fortune comes from the thriving Worthington Industries, of which he is the primary stockholder. Because the company seems to have its hands in all sorts of industries, it is difficult to know its precise value; it has diverse holdings, including the newspaper the Guardian and the technological development group Lobo Technologies.
Archangel's fortunes are large enough that he helped bankroll the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning - or at least intended to, before the Hellfire Club froze his assets. Given the scope of the school's facilities, this would have been a massive investment.
Despite his current financial difficulties, his family's work as angel investors certainly earns him the seventh spot on the list.
8 Professor X
Despite Professor Charles Xavier's uncanny abilities, he inherited his fortune rather than using his telepathic powers to exploit people or gain money. Professor X inherited a great fortune, which in the comics is stated to be worth $3.5 billion. He transforms his family's historic estate into Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, which later becomes the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. In addition to supporting the education and boarding of all of its students, the school has state-of-the-art defense systems and is the base of operations for the X-Men. Prof. X's fortune also pays for and supports the X-Men, as well as funds the development of technology, such as Cerebro and the Danger Room. Prof. X is also the head of X-Corporation, which supports mutants and promotes their rights all over the world.
While Xavier's fortune may not bankroll the X-Men forever, he's got plenty of support from the mutants he's helped over the years.
7 Mr. Fantastic
Reed Richards' father was also a scientific genius, and so Reed inherited a small fortune; eventually, Reed was able to use his own intellect to turn that small fortune into a large one. Like his father before him, Richards was a prodigy with a knack for science, attaining multiple doctorates by the age of 22. As a founding member of the Fantastic Four, Richards took on the name Mr. Fantastic; his patents of various high-tech inventions alone was able to cover the costs of the superhero group, including buying five floors of the Baxter Building in one of the busiest and most expensive parts of Manhattan. Richards's precise net worth (and therefore ranking on this list) is difficult to pinpoint because it appears to fluctuate quite a bit - at times, he has billions of dollars, and at others, he is desperate to get money in order to maintain operating expenses. But it appears to be the case that when the Fantastic Four are doing well, so is Richards' bank account.
6 Emma Frost
Emma Frost is the founder of Frost Enterprises, a wildly successful company focused on research and development; she also owns Frost International and Meridan Enterprises. Her keen business sense has also helped her to invest in Stark Industries, Wakandan Airways, and research by Reed Richards.
When Cyclops's Utopia is threatened after a schism among the X-Men, with Archangel leaving alongside Wolverine to create the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, Emma reveals that she has liquidated enough of her stock in her companies in order to keep Utopia operating - in her words, "for the foreseeable future." The Utopia base was large enough to hold a large mutant population, and could even have become its own country, but it was isolated. Emma offered to provide the necessary funds to provide for everyone, as well as build and develop the base.
5 Green Arrow
Oliver Queen may be the Green Arrow by night, but during the day, he is the owner of Queen Industries, a multi-billion dollar company (in Arrow, this company is called Queen Consolidated). Queen Industries was founded by Oliver's father, and he inherited the company after both of his parents tragically died on safari. For some years after, Oliver lived a lavish and hedonistic lifestyle, with little regard for other people or for his family's company.
Later, after taking on the mantle of Green Arrow, Queen also started to show more interest in his family's company. While Queen Industries used to focus its capital on defense contracts and weapons, Oliver chose to divest from violent investments. A conscientious philanthropist, Queen contributed a great deal of money to the Justice League, and continues to contribute to many charitible organizations and nonprofits.
Like many of the other heroes on this list, Green Arrow's superhero operations are subsidized by personal wealth: his technology, vehicles, and superhero lair are made possible because of his fortune.
In the world of Watchmen, no one is richer than Adrian Veidt, often regarded as "the smartest man in the world". Inheriting his parent's wealth after their deaths, Adrian travelled the world, and then returned to America to become the costumed hero, Ozymandias, inspired by his new-found hero Ramesses II. After the Keene Act, Veidt revealed his identity and retired from being a superhero, but used Ozymandias as branding.
Ozymandias makes enough money to orchestrate the intricately complex and clandestine plan that initiates the events of Watchmen. Ozymandias believes that the only way to secure world peace and stop the impending nuclear war is to create a common alien enemy that all countries of Earth can unite against. In order to do this, he creates a secret base in Antarctica, a teleportation device, and a biologically engineered creature that destroys New York City. The amount of money that he must have spent, both to develop these technologies and to keep them secret, is almost unimaginable.
Bruce Wayne, who spends his nights as the caped crusader protecting the streets of Gotham, inherited Wayne Enterprises after both of his parents were tragically killed. His parents' fortune allowed him to afford the vehicles, gadgets, and other technology necessary to become Batman - much of which would not be possible without the research divisions of the company developing state-of-the-art technology. Batman's wealth helped to create the hero he is today. After all, having a hidden Batcave headquarters built beneath Wayne Manor couldn't have been cheap.
Forbes estimated Bruce Wayne's personal net worth at $6.9 billion. In response, the website Centives calculated the approximate worth of Wayne Enterprises by comparing each of its divisions to real world counterparts; they found that its net worth was $23.22 billion. Assuming that Wayne has 50% of the company, that places his personal fortune at almost $12 billion. Either way, Wayne Enterprises makes Batman a multi-billionaire. Other estimations have placed Bruce Wayne's wealth as high as $80 billion, and he is clearly comparatively the wealthiest superhero in the DC Comics universe.
2 Iron Man
Tony Stark inherited Stark Industries, a multi-billion dollar company, from his father, Howard Stark. Howard Stark, who was an engineering genius much like his son, founded Stark Industries and worked with S.H.I.E.L.D. to produce state-of-the-art technology. Stark Industries, which specializes in technological advancements in transportation and defense, has multiple billion dollar contracts with the United States Department of Defense. Forbes estimates that the company's net worth in 2007 was $20.3 billion - however, this is a conservative estimate, as other sites have estimated Stark's net worth to be as high as $80 million. Given Stark's penchant for expensive cars and lavish homes, this estimate probably isn't surprising - he is a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist after all.
The exact state of the company depends on when and where you look: in the comics, the company has experienced many iterations (and even hostile takeovers), but in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Pepper Potts seems to be a successful and savvy CEO. On the whole, Tony Stark's public persona as Iron Man, along with technological advancements like the Arc Reactor, seem to be positively affecting Stark Industries' stock value.
1 Black Panther
It's difficult to imagine someone who is richer than both Batman and Iron Man, and yet, Black Panther clearly is the wealthiest superhero. T'Challa inherited his father's throne after his death. As the chief of the fictional country of Wakanda, T'Challa (whose superhero alter ego is the Black Panther) has the full power of the country's economy at his disposal - which, thanks to its massive and exclusive vibranium stores, is booming. Vibranium, the impervious metal that Captain America's shield is made from, is a rare commodity, and it has made both Wakandda and T'Challa exceptionally wealthy. Wakanda is a center of industry and technology, and has an impressive military as well. Black Panther has all of these resources at his disposal, making him definitively and by far the most wealthy superhero.
Did we forget a masked millionaire? Let us know in the comments!