The man who broke The Bat. That is the reputation of Bane, the luchador mask wearing villian who pumps himself full of a drug called Venom and takes his opponents across his knee (very different meaning with him than the usual). Who is this guy though? Sure he broke Batman in his first real story, but what has he done since then? I hear these questions a lot now that there’s another movie with him in it. Well let’s see what makes a man the bane of existence. I’m sorry, it was too easy.
Bane was born in a place called Santa Prisca, South America and sentenced to live in the prison, Peña Duro. How does a child get sentenced to prison? Well in Santa Prisca, the government is so corrupt that if your father gets away from them, they put you in prison for his crimes. Talk about “Sins of the father passed on to the son” levels of pain. So this poor kid is sent to prison and forced to live out his days in those walls. Now for most stories, this would have a very violent, dark ending rather quickly, but this is Bane we’re talking about.
Bane proved to be quite smart at a young age, he would read anything he could get his hands on in the prison. A priest would find Bane and teach the boy a classical education. Bane would develop his mind and body into powerful forces. By 8, Bane would kill his first person, a man trying to use him to gain information would be the first to learn that Bane was not one to be trifled with. That teddy bear from the earlier photo, Osito? That bear carries a knife inside his back for Bane to use, devious kid.
As Bane grew, he became the “king” of Peña Duro and the officials in charge saw the threat this brilliant and strong man’s power could be. A plan was formed, make Bane the test subject of an experimental drug, Venom. If he survived, they would have a powerful new chemical to be sold, if he died, they no longer had the threat of Bane. I guess they never thought about if the former occurs they just made their threat worse, but that’s what you get when you start doing illegal tests on super drugs.
As you can guess, Bane survived the use of Venom and became more powerful than ever before, where once he was a man that could lift 1500 pounds, he was now capable of two to three tons. Venom made Bane, tougher, stronger, faster, and heal quicker, the trade off being that Venom was highly addictive and he’d need a direct shot of it into his brain stem every 12 hours or suffer massive withdrawals. With great power comes a massive case of withdrawal that makes you feel like dying if you don’t keep it up.
Bane would eventually escape from prison and had his eyes set on America, specifically, Gotham City. For years, Bane had been having nightmares of a bat demon that he fought, upon hearing of the Batman he saw it as a sign to that he was the one to take down Batman. Bane concocted a plan where he would cause a massive break out at Arkham Asylum, releasing many of Batman’s worst enemies. It took Batman three months to recapture all the inmates and put them back, exhausting him physically and mentally. Bane had deduced that Bruce Wayne was Batman so when Batman returned to the Batcave to recuperate from finishing with the inmates, Bane was waiting. The fight was in Bane’s favor, empowered by Venom while Batman was fatigued from his extra workload of villains, Bane took Batman and broke his spine.
Now with Batman out of the picture, for now, Bane would begin taking over Gotham’s criminal underworld. His victory would be short lived as a new Batman, Jean-Paul Valley, took the mantle of the Bat and added more high tech devices to empower him. Since this time Bane was the one taken on unaware, he was beaten and had his Venom supply cut off. Valley nearly killed him but spared the begging Bane.
Locked away in Blackgate prison, Bane dealt with his withdrawal from Venom. Getting clean from his Venom addiction, Bane is able to escape prison and reunites with the original Batman, Bruce Wayne, to help him stop a new drug that was using Venom as its source. Bane is able to escape capture from Batman and begins a search for his father.
Bane returned to Peña Duro to look for clues to who his father might be. The priest who taught Bane was able to tell him of four men who could be his father. Heading to Rome to seek out the first possible father, a Swiss Banker, while there he meets Talia al Ghul who introduces him to her father. Ra’s al Ghul is impressed by Bane and his actions and decides that Bane would make a better heir than Batman.
Now working with the al Ghuls, Bane returns to Gotham to help spread a plague. Batman stops their plans and is able to finally fight Bane for a rematch and win. This loss causes Ra’s al Ghul to disown Bane and leave him. Bane goes on a campaign to destroy Lazarus Pits around the world. During Gotham’s No Man’s Land Bane would become an enforcer for Lex Luthor as he rebuilt Gotham.
Eventually Bane would learn that one of the men who was possibly his father could be Thomas Wayne, Bruce’s father. Bane goes to Batman to ask for his aide in finding the truth. While they wait for the DNA results Bane and Batman team up to fight crime in Gotham. When it was discovered that Thomas was not Bane’s father he and Batman left on good terms and Batman wished him luck on finding his father.
Bane would learn that his father was an English mercenary named King Snake (I wish he’d been a wrestler instead). Realizing his father will likely wipe out a good portion of the world, Bane tries stopping him. Batman had been following King Snake to stop him as well so once again Batman and Bane teamed up. Bane took a bullet for Batman in the process and when they won, Batman took Bane to a remaining Lazarus Pit to revive him.
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about Bane is that he seems to be written inconsistently because he just keeps going back to joining team villain because… he’s a villain? During the Battle of Metropolis, he was on the villains’ side. Later, he’d return looking for the Hourmen, Rex and Rick Tyler. When he finds them he explains that he returned home to take down the corrupt government but they got a hold of him and addicted him to an even deadlier Venom that if he stopped using, would kill him. He’d escaped and found the source of Venom stemmed from Miraclo, the Hourman formula, looking for aide in a cure from the Hourmen. The story was a ruse though, Bane had used it to get closer to men responsible for Venom and was going to kill Rex while making Rick take the new Venom.
The Hourmen and Bane end up back in Santa Prisca and the two are able to fight off Bane, tricking him into taking Miraclo and causing Peña Duro to collapse on top of him. Bane would survive and begin to rebuild Santa Prisca by bringing in democratic elections, this was undermined by the villain Computron who rigged the election. Upon learning this, Bane enforced martial law which brought the nation to civil war.
Bane would go on to join the team of mercantile villains called the Secret Six. He’d frequently oppose his teammates in viewpoints and become something of a father figure to Scandal Savage, Vandal Savage’s daughter. Bane would use Venom once again in the process of trying to protect a downed Scandal. His team would be responsible for helping aide in reigning in the chaos of the presumed death of Batman. Bane would save others and tell them to spread the word that it was Batman doing this work, Bane even wished to be the new Batman. Upon seeing that the new Batman was Dick Grayson and the good work he was doing, he admitted that the best man had the job and wished him luck.
Bane is made leader of the Secret Six and upon doing so takes Scandal off the roster due to the high amount of danger she had been put into. This causes Scandal to make her own team and eventually the two teams face off with her fighting Bane. Her former ally refuses to fight her and ends up getting his throat slit open by her, he survives but at a cost.
In this new unstable state, Bane leads his team to Gotham to take over the city he was just once trying to save. His plan involved killing Batman’s closest allies and uniting his enemies, this was disrupted when The Penguin betrayed him. Bane and the rest of the Secret Six were then surrounded by some the biggest superheroes around, greatly outnumbered. Bane is last seen being incarcerated and already planning his escape.
In the New 52 Bane is back to using Venom and has found a new mixture that uses Scarecrow’s fear toxin to make his own army of super-powered fearless warriors. Teaming up with a villain calling herself the White Rabbit, it takes the combined efforts of Batman and the Flash to defeat Bane. Bane shows up later with an army from Santa Prisca and with a look similar to his Dark Knight Rises look, he learns that a recent failed attempt at blowing up Gotham was ruined by the Court of Owls, Bane now has his sights on eradicating the Court of Owls.
So there you go, he’s kind of a lot more than the “Man Who Broke The Bat,” isn’t he? The man has been villain, hero, anti-hero, and more. He’s kind of all over the map on his motivations at any given moment it seems. He’s been a minor favorite of mine since his creation so I pretty much follow him through his ups and downs. Hopefully we’ll get more ups, that voice in Dark Knight Rises was a definite up in regards to hilarity.
No Man’s Land
Vengence of Bane
Vengence of Bane II: The Redemption