10 DC Heroes With No Respect For Authority

Bart Allen, John Constantine, And Batman from DC Comics

The line between hero and villain can be quite blurry within the DC Comics universe, and surprisingly, this applies to even some of its most famous heroes. Their morally ambiguous actions often land them in anti-hero territory, or even sometimes being characterized as anti-villains.

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In the case of these heroes, it’s their lack of respect for authority that is one of their defining traits. It guides their actions and is a major part of their personality. They put their own moral code or goals above the authority of others, whether that be human governments on Earth, the Guardians of the Universe, or even gods.

10 Captain Atom Hates Being The Government’s Living Weapon

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Nathaniel Adam, AKA Captain Atom, has lived a life of tragedy and betrayal. Framed for a crime while serving in the military and sentenced to death, he agreed to take part in a dangerous experiment in return for an unconditional pardon and an honorable discharge. He had to enter a crashed alien ship and see if it could endure the power and radiation of an atomic bomb.

The experiment seemingly killed him, but after nearly two decades, he suddenly reappeared with the alien metal permanently fused to his body. The military refused to grant him his pardon and blackmailed him with his old crimes into being a government-controlled superhero. This left Captain Atom with a hatred for authority, trapped in a different time, without his family or his freedom.

9 Living As A Thief, Catwoman Doesn’t Care About The Law

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Catwoman Gets a New Sidekick - But She Doesn't Want Him

Whether she’s acting as a villain or an anti-hero, Catwoman has no regard for authority, she is a world-class thief after all. In her modern incarnation, Selina Kyle spent most of her childhood on the streets, even forced into prostitution to provide for herself, her sister, and other children on the street. Her early encounters with authority were pimps, gangsters, and corrupt cops.

Catwoman eventually turned to burglary instead of prostitution, trying to get herself and her family away from the abuse of the pimps. While she eventually became an ally of Batman and a protector of one of the many boroughs of Gotham City, this didn’t stop her from continuing her criminal career.

8 Doctor Fate Will Even Defy The Lords Of Order

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Doctor Fate Saves Black Canary

It’s important to remember that Doctor Fate is really two minds in one body: Nabu, the spirit of the Helm of Fate, and whatever poor mortal is wearing the Helm. Doctor Fate only obeys the Lords of Order, but most famously when Kent Nelson wears the Helm, will even ignore them sometimes.

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While Nabu may adhere to the Lords of Order and their philosophy above almost anything else, a strong enough mortal can influence or even overcome Fate in order to act on their own accord. But aside from the Lords of Order, Doctor Fate has no regard for the authority of anyone or anything else.

7 No One Can Stop Black Adam On His Quest To Protect The Innocent

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Black Adam Sits On His Ancient Throne And Fights Shazam

Although he was a villain in the past, his commitment to justice, punishing criminals, protecting the innocent, and strict code of honor has pushed Black Adam into the anti-hero camp. Like Doctor Fate, Black Adam is two beings in one body, with the ancient champion Teth-Adam holding the real power, while the mortal criminal Theo Adam can summon him, using his power to do the work of the evil Sivana Foundation.

In Ancient Egypt, Teth-Adam was the chosen hero of the wizard Shazam but was manipulated into betraying his people. Teth-Adam eventually wins out and lives his life as Black Adam, ruling over his ancient city of Kahndaq. His ultimate goal now is to clear his name from the past and present manipulations, and to protect his people, even if that meant fighting his fellow superheroes, or even personally invading other nations.

6 Plastic Man Doesn’t Take Life Seriously, Much Less Authority

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Plastic Man Mocks Superman in Injustice

It’s no surprise that Plastic Man, being a former criminal and one of the most laid-back and silly characters in DC Comics has pretty much no respect for authority. After being abandoned by his fellow gang members on a heist gone wrong, and doused with an unknown chemical, Patrick “Eel” O’Brian adopted the identity of Plastic Man after being treated with kindness by Woozy Winks, a former patient at Arkham Asylum, and the two began fighting crime together.

This doesn’t mean that he suddenly started acting like a proper superhero, far from it. He still treats life like a joke, and his crime-fighting often devolved into slapstick antics, much to the annoyance of his fellow superheroes, including his surprisingly frequent partner, Batman. Even in darker DC stories, such as Injustice, Plastic Man never lost his joking nature and wasn’t afraid of Superman or his authority.

5 Red Hood Barely Even Listens To Batman Anymore

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>DC Comics' Red Hood, also known as Jason Todd, or the second Robin

Jason Todd, or as he’s more recently known, the Red Hood, was always more headstrong and harder to control than the original Robin, Dick Grayson. But his moral code all but evaporated, and he lost his respect for the law and pretty much everyone else following his torture and apparent death at the hands of the Joker, turning him into an anti-hero bordering on a villain.

He often comes into conflict with Batman over their different ideologies, and while he still respects Batman’s no-killing policy, he refuses to surrender his guns while working with Batman. Most famously, he challenged Batman to make a choice between killing him to stop him from killing the Joker or killing the Joker himself.

4 Bart Allen’s Traumatic Childhood Left Him With Distaste For Authority

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Bart Allen as Impulse running in DC Comics

One of many characters to bear the title of The Flash, Bart Allen has little, if any, respect for anyone’s authority. His hellish life in the far future under the rule of the Dominators, and being forced to live inside a simulated reality to compensate for his accelerated metabolism that caused him to age ten times faster than a normal child left him both with no real concept of danger and an extreme hatred for authority.

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This was a dangerous combination for a headstrong teenage superhero. He proved to be too much for even Wally West and his fellow speedsters to handle, and it was only learning to work with the Teen Titans, and later the Young Justice, that taught him some self-control and a sense of danger.

3 The Green Is All That Matters To Swamp Thing

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Swamp Thing Levi Kamei in DC comics

Although he was once a human known as Alec Holland, Swamp Thing has no respect left for humans, devoted fully to protecting the Green. When Alec Holland was killed in an accident in his lab in the bayou, Holland was resurrected as the Swamp Thing, with his consciousness transferred to the plants of the swamp he died in.

As an elemental, Swamp Thing now lives to protect nature and can manifest his body out of any plant material on Earth. His duty to protect nature has even led him to cooperate with chain-smoker (aka plant killer) John Constantine, helping him thwart supernatural threats to the planet, not out of any love for humanity or hatred of demons, but solely to protect the Green.

2 Batman Has Threatened Gods

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Batman Threatens Darkseid in Superman/Batman

Famous for his plans to defeat both his enemies and his allies, Batman respects his own commitment to protecting the innocent more than any authority, human or otherwise. In the Injustice timeline, Batman openly threatened the President of the United States to stay out of his way in opposing Superman. He also once told Ra’s al Ghul that he was willing to break his no-killing rule to stop him.

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But his most famous attack against authority came when he bluffed Darkseid into releasing Supergirl from his control by threatening to destroy his entire planet after hacking into his armory of Hell Spores. Threatening a god of destruction, Batman couldn’t care less for the authority of gods when it comes to protecting Earth.

1 John Constantine Doesn’t Have Respect, Period

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John Constantine, Hellblazer, once almost literally spit in the face of Death himself. His friend Brendan was dying of liver failure after selling his soul to make the greatest stout beer in history, and the Devil had come to collect. But Constantine tricked him into drinking some to prove Brendan’s deal had been worth it. Unknown to the Devil, his drink was spiked with holy water.

Constantine’s distaste for authority is on its greatest display when, after dying one of his many deaths, he conned an emissary of the Lord into reviving him. In fact, Constantine directly threatened God himself, telling Him that if He let him die and go to Hell, Constantine would spend the rest of eternity taking control of Hell, and once at the top, he’d launch an all-out-attack on Heaven and Earth out of pure spite.

Next: 10 DC Heroes With Loose Honor Codes


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