If there is one villain in DC Comics that personifies evil and tyranny to the point of no redemption, it is Darkseid, the New God of Apokolips. As such, Darkseid respects no one and nothing, seeing himself as superior to all life. However, there is one Justice League member that he actually has respect for. No, it’s not Superman. Rather, it’s the only human member of the JLA – Batman. Throughout the history of the characters, Darkseid showed some form of respect for the Dark Knight in multiple universes, showing that the respect is genuine. Let’s break down why Darkseid respects Batman and how we can know it’s real.
Does Darkseid really respect Batman?
It is hard to speak of Darkseid’s respect towards anyone, or anything, in the traditional sense of the word. Respecting Batman would mean that Darkseid acknowledges Batman’s skills and intelligence as a worthy adversary, which he does not.
Darkseid is the purest evil in DC Comics – a tyrannical New God of Apokolips who was willing to kill his own father ruthlessly and cold-bloodedly in order to gain the power he believed he deserved. Darkseid sees himself as the superior being to just about anyone. He has no respect for life – hence, he has no true respect for any living thing.
That goes especially for the Justice League, one of Darkseid’s biggest thorns in his eye. He despises the JLA as they stand in his way time and time again to complete his mission of finding and using the Anti-Life Equation. However, if there’s any member of the JLA that Darkseid has shown any resemblance or respect towards – it is Batman.
It happened on more than one occasion and in more than one of the numerous universes within DC Comics. The first time we saw Darkseid show some sort of respect towards the Dark Knight was in the ‘Batman/Superman: Apocalypse’ storyline.
Darkseid has captured and corrupted Kara Zor-El to fight for him, so naturally, Superman, Batman, and the Justice League traveled to Apokolips to try and save her. Almost every one of their plans had been thwarted until the Dark Knight found a way to reprogram the planet’s hellspores to become explosive.
Batman threatened Darkseid that if he didn’t release Supergirl from his tyrannical control, he would detonate the hellspores, which would destroy the entire planet of Apokolips and every living creature on it. Darkseid beats Batman to the brink of death but ultimately succumbs to the threats and decides to adhere to Batman’s demands.
Afterwards, he said to Batman that ‘the Kryptonian or the Amazon’ would have failed, had they tried to do the same thing. However, he knew that the Dark Knight had the strength of character to actually go through with the plan, willing to destroy an entire planet to achieve success.
Darkseid even called Batman’s willingness to do the unthinkable ‘an admirable quality,’ which is the closest thing to respect that you’ll ever get from him.
Next, in ‘Batman and Robin’ Vol. 1 #8, during the Final Crisis storyline, Darkseid captured Batman and had his memories and traumas stolen to try and create an army of his clones. He didn’t try doing it with Superman, Wonder Woman, or any other superpowered individual – Batman was the only being in the universe that Darkseid took for this experiment.
Eventually, the plan failed due to the clones simply going insane after being imbued with all that trauma and all the darkest memories Bruce Wayne had carried in his brain. That only made Darkseid respect the mortal even more – knowing that he carries trauma bad enough to literally drive other mortals insane, but instead, Batman uses it as fuel to become stronger.
Finally, Darkseid had recently shown respect for another version of Batman – Damian Wayne – in the DCeased universe – one of the darkest DC universes ever. In it, a zombie-like virus plagued the entire universe after Darkseid unleashed the corrupted Anti-Life Equation upon the universe – and it infected him as well.
Darkseid recovered and then joined the Justice League to destroy Erebos – not out of goodness, but to seek revenge for being bested. Nevertheless, any plan to destroy Erebos and the Anti-Life Equation failed, until Damian Wayne – a mere mortal among gods – found a way to destroy it and save the universe.
However, to achieve their goal, Damian Wayne had to sacrifice his own life, and he was willing to do so. That was the first time that Darkseid had shown respect not only for Batman’s ruthless dark side but also for his genius and the courage that it takes to sacrifice oneself to save others. In this situation, Darkseid class Batman’s actions ‘most impressive.’
As for the DCEU, Darkseid, and Batman didn’t really interact that much, but we can safely assume that he would respect the very same qualities in this version of Batman that he respected in the comics – ruthlessness, bravery, genius, and strength to fight among gods as an ordinary human being.
As you can see, Darkseid has shown respect for Batman multiple times, even if he never actually said that he respects the Dark Knight. However, where does that respect come from?
Why does Darkseid respect Batman?
Darkseid’s respect for Batman comes from his own views about the Dark Knight and his character. You see, Batman is righteous, but there’s no denying that he has a profound dark side (pun intended). He is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve his goals, even if his actions aren’t perceived as ‘heroic.’
That’s a trait Darkseid sees in himself but not in his other enemies – the superheroes that are seemingly superior to Batman in terms of their power. Batman is dark, ruthless, and probably the only mortal who can outmaneuver and outstrategize Darkseid, essentially beating him at his own game as he did when he threatened to blow up Apokolips.
Then you have the clone army situation – every single clone went insane just for having Bruce Wayne’s memories and traumas. And yet, not only was Batman not insane – he turned those traumas into his strength.
Finally, the Dark Knight is a human – such a puny, fragile, inferior species in the eyes of Darkseid. The Kryptonian, the Atlantean, the Martian, the Amazonian – they are all superior to a measly Earthling like Bruce Wayne.
And yet, he stands tall among them, fighting side by side as their equal and their superior in many ways – especially his cunning, intelligence, and willingness to strategize outside of the realms of what would be considered heroic.
If there ever was another being that the God of Apokolips had any shred or resemblance of respect towards, it would be Batman. Batman and no one else.
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