10 DC Villains Who Respect Their Rivals

Split image of Black Manta and Ra's Al Ghul

Not every supervillain thinks their biggest nemesis is beneath them. Characters like Lex Luthor or Ra’s Al Ghul have spent a long time battling their greatest foes. While they might not like them, they’ve learned over the years to develop a sort of respect for their biggest rivals.

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It doesn’t stop these DC villains from wanting to be rid of their biggest enemies. However, it does mean they might be a little more particular about who is the one to defeat them. While DC has villains with grandiose aims, even the villains know their goals can’t be achieved without first dealing with their biggest rivals.

10 Ocean Master Doesn’t See Eye To Eye With His Brother

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In prior continuities, Ocean Master looked down on Aquaman because he wasn’t completely an Atlantean. However, the New 52 and Rebirth versions of the character were a little different. Orm had always shown respect to his brother, even when Arthur was forced to take over as King of Atlantis.

Still, their differing views on what should be done with the surface world split them apart. Worse, when Arthur gave up the throne and allowed his wife Mera to rule, Orm felt even more insulted. While Orm respected his brother’s leadership ability, he didn’t stand by Arthur’s choices and tried to undermine Mera’s rule.

9 Maxwell Lord Respects The Justice League International Even If No One Else Does

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Maxwell Lord and Blue Beetle and Booster Gold

It might seem difficult to believe, but despite the super team’s importance, few people respect the Justice League International as much as Max Lord. While Lord certainly took advantage of the JLI’s reputation falling apart, it wasn’t because he didn’t respect them.

Maxwell Lord’s mindset changed sometime after the League disbanded. Even when Ted initially uncovered Max Lord’s scheme, the first thing Max admitted was that he never believed Ted was stupid. Regardless, Max refused to let Ted stand in his way, but he wasn’t happy about having to take him out.

8 Sinestro Believes Hal Jordan Was A Close Friend Of His At One Point

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Sinestro and Hal Jordan launch at each other in DC Comics

“That’s the tragedy of all this, Hal. We’ve always been friends.” For as much trash as Sinestro talks, he’s always viewed Hal Jordan as one of his only friends. He recognizes Hal’s talent with the Green Lantern ring.

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More importantly, Sinestro’s always respected how Hal was willing to stand against the Guardians. These two aspects make Hal different from most Green Lantern Corps members. If anything, Sinestro finds it more impressive that with him gone, Hal has become known as the greatest Green Lantern of all time.

7 Black Manta Is Obsessed With Aquaman To A Ridiculous Extent

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>An image of Black Manta emerging from the water in DC's event DC Vs. Vampires

Black Manta’s obsession with Aquaman makes sense, to a point. In the New 52 timeline, especially, Black Manta blames Aquaman for his dad’s death. It’s difficult not to despise someone after that, and Black Manta’s spent years hunting Aquaman down.

Despite his intense hatred of Aquaman, Black Manta seems oddly protective of him. When he believed the Crime Syndicate had taken out Aquaman for good, he wanted revenge. To Black Manta, his battle with Aquaman is often the only thing driving him. He wants to prove himself Aquaman’s superior, so inherently he’s already impressed with what Aquaman can do.

6 Lex Luthor Feels Threatened Because He Knows How Great Superman Is

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Lex Luthor ready for battle in his exosuit in DC Comics

Lex Luthor was the most powerful man in Metropolis, and arguably the world, until Superman arrived. The moment Superman appeared, there wasn’t anything Lex could do to prove he was better. Superman had the powers of a god, and in the face of that, Lex’s money and influence meant nothing.

From his introduction and through the character’s awesome redesigns, Lex has been impressed with everything Superman can do. It’s because of Superman’s skill that Lex has made it his personal mission to take the Man of Steel out. Most recently, Lex even begrudgingly admitted the world needed a Superman, and tried to work alongside him.

5 The Joker Often Doesn’t Seem To Care About Anything Other Than Batman

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Batman Superman World's Finest Joker Throwing Playing Cards

Over the years, Joker has proven he truly cares about two things: Batman, and the people connected to Batman. He went out of his way to attack Jason Todd because he knew it would hurt Batman. The Joker had an obsession with Tim Drake after losing to him once, wanting to make sure no other villains got to him before he could.

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As for Batman, the Joker respects Batman so much he often seems to define himself by Batman. If Batman is more lighthearted, the Joker becomes more fun. If Batman becomes more serious, he becomes more dangerous in response. Batman and his world seem to be the only things the Joker cares about.

4 Captain Cold Tries To Stay Out Of The Flash’s Way

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Captain Citizen Cold sits in front of a frozen Flash with his ice gun in DC Comics

Captain Cold is one of the Flash’s oldest enemies, and one who respects him the most. Cold gathered several other villains operating in Central City and created the Rogues. While none of them have super-speed, their unique technology and teamwork make them a challenge for the Flash.

However, Captain Cold’s focus isn’t on trying to beat the Flash. He knows how difficult defeating someone with that level of speed would be. Instead, he often tries to come up with ways to deflect the Flash while they work on their real scores.

3 Bane Sought Batman Because He Recognized Batman Was The Most Dangerous Human

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>DC Comics Bane using venom

Upon conquering the prison he’d grown up in as a child, Bane had one major goal in mind as a man. He wanted to travel to the most dangerous city in the world, Gotham, and take the city as his own. To that end, Bane came to Gotham and freed every prisoner in Arkham. He forced Batman to exhaust himself hunting those prisoners down. He even discovered Batman’s secret identity and snuck into his home.

Then, after catching him at his weakest, Bane did the impossible. He broke the Bat. The only reason Bane was capable of such a thing was because he respected Batman enough to take him seriously. Bane took every advantage he could, because he understood how dangerous Batman could be at full strength.

2 Reverse-Flash Wants To Make Flash Into A Better Hero

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Wally West as the Flash racing Professor Zoom against a striped black and white background that implies forward momentum

Hunter Zolomon, or the Reverse-Flash, only wants to make Wally a better hero. His frustration with Wally began when he refused to use his powers to go back in time and save him from his accident. After that, Zolomon risked his life to grant himself superpowers.

After learning how to move through time, Zolomon decided Wally needed to experience tragedy. He viewed Wally as a good hero, but not one good enough to do what was necessary. Even though Reverse-Flash has twisted goals that make him into a villain, he mostly wants to see Wally become the hero he believes he can be.

1 Ra’s Al Ghul Wants Batman To Take Over His Empire

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Ra’s al Ghul as he appears in early DC Comics

Ra’s Al Ghul is Batman’s most dangerous enemy. Everything Bruce has, Ra’s seems to surpass him in. He’s got the edge on experience after spending centuries on the planet because of the Lazarus Pit’s power. Ra’s al Ghul has fought and trained the most deadly people on the planet as the head of the League of Assassins. He even has access to greater resources.

However, Ra’s al Ghul understands the incredible talents Bruce has. Having spent years observing him, Ra’s believes that Bruce would be the best person to take over his empire. Batman’s heroism causes him to turn Ra’s down, but even still they share a connection through Batman’s son, aka and Ra’s grandson Damian Wayne.

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