- "I am Bane and I could kill you... but death would only end your agony and silence your shame. Instead, I will simply...BREAK YOU!"
Bane is an escaped convict from an island prison in South America and a super-villain/assassin. Bane has abnormal physical strength as a result of having undergone experiments involving a derivative of the drug Venom. He became known as "The Man Who Broke the Bat" when he broke Batman's back, forcing Bruce Wayne to give up the Batman persona while he recuperated. Bane was originally created by writers Chuck Dixon and Doug Moench and artist, Graham Nolan, and he first appeared in Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1 (January 1993).
Originally intended as a "dark mirror" of the highly disciplined and multi-skilled pulp hero Doc Savage, Bane spends his childhood in the hellish prison of Pena Duro on the corrupt South American island nation of Santa Prisca. He develops super strength through a forced experiment involving the drug Venom. Although his dependency on Venom is an immense weakness, Bane has been one of Batman's most intelligent and physically powerful foes. He is best known for breaking Batman's back in the "Knightfall" story arc.
Although primarily a villain, Bane is a complex character and has worked to take down drug lords. Despite their history, he has sometimes had Batman's financial backing and direct assistance.
Bane has appeared in some other media adaptations of Batman, including Batman: The Animated Series, its sequels and spin-offs and its successor, The Batman. Pro-wrestler Jeep Swenson played him in the 1997 film Batman & Robin. He returned to the silver screen in 2012's The Dark Knight Rises, portrayed by Tom Hardy, which has several influences from the Knightfall Story Arc. In many adaptations; he is more simplistic and thug-like than his comic book counterpart.
Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench, and Graham Nolan created the character for the Knightfall storyline, although it is unclear what elements were introduced by each of the two writers (Dixon and Moench). Dixon wrote the character's first appearance (Vengeance of Bane), with art by Graham Nolan. It is also unclear how much input was provided by Denny O'Neil (veteran writer of the Batman books, then Group Editor for the Batman family of books, and author of the novel adaptation of Knightfall). O'Neil had previously created Bane's hellish birthplace of Santa Prisca in The Question and the drug Venom in the storyline of the same name (published in the pages of Legends of the Dark Knight #16-20, and later reprinted as a graphic novel). In the pages of Azrael, O'Neil introduced Bane's perception of Venom as both an addiction and the weakness responsible for his earlier defeats. The link between Bane and King Snake was introduced by writer Scott Beatty.
The origin of Bane has similarities with another fictional character, Alexandre Dumas' Edmond Dantes. Born to serve the life sentence of his father, Bane's childhood and early adult life are spent behind the walls of Peña Duro, an infamous prison located in Santa Prisca. Though imprisoned, his natural abilities allow him to develop extraordinary skills within the prison's walls. He reads as many books as he can get his hands on, builds up his body in the prison's gymnasium, and learns to fight in the merciless school of prison life. Despite his circumstances, he appears to have found teachers of various sorts during his incarceration, ranging from hardened convicts to an elderly Jesuit priest, under whose tutelage he apparently receives a classical education. Bane murders this priest upon his return to Santa Prisca years later. However, he commits his first murder at the age of eight, stabbing a criminal who wanted to use him to gain information about the prison.
During his years in prison, Bane carries a teddy bear he calls Osito (Spanish for "little bear"), whom he considers his only friend. It is revealed that Osito has a hole in his back to hold a knife that Bane uses against anyone who bullies him (this is spoofed in Italian superhero parody Rat-Man by Leo Ortolani where the titular bumbling and goofy superhero has constant and heated discussions with a stuffed teddy called Piccettino, whose voice only he can hear).
Bane ultimately establishes himself as the "king" of Peña Duro prison. The prison's controllers take note and, eventually, force him to become a test subject for a mysterious drug known as Venom, which had killed all other subjects. It nearly kills him at first, but he survives and finds its effects enhance his physical strength, although he needs to take it every 12 hours (via a system of cables pumped directly into his brain) or he would suffer debilitating side-effects.
The Man Who Broke The Bat
Years later, Bane escapes Peña Duro, along with several accomplices (his friends Trogg, Zombie and Bird, all of whom are named after 1960s rock bands: The Troggs, The Zombies, and The Byrds, and were designed to mimic three of Doc Savage's assistants Monk, Ham, and Renny). His ambition turns to destroying Batman, whom he had heard tales of while serving his sentence. He is fascinated with Gotham City, as, like the prison, it is a place where fear rules: in this case, fear of Batman. Bane is convinced that the demonic bat that haunted his dreams since childhood is a representation of the Batman.
Aware that a direct assault on Batman would be foolish, Bane destroys the walls of Arkham Asylum, allowing its deranged inmates (including The Joker, Two-Face, Scarecrow, Riddler, Poison Ivy, Mad Hatter, The Ventriloquist, Firefly, The Cavalier, and Victor Zsasz, as well as minor villain, Film Freak, who Bane almost killed for spying on him afterward) to escape into Gotham City, where Batman spends three months rounding them up. Running himself to exhaustion, Batman returns to Wayne Manor, where Bane awaits him. He fights Batman in the Batcave, defeats him, and delivers the coup de grâce: he breaks Batman's back and leaves him paraplegic, thereby having been the only man to have "Broken the Bat".
While Bane establishes himself as ruler of Gotham's criminal underworld, Bruce Wayne passes the mantle of Batman to Jean-Paul Valley, also known as Azrael. As Batman, Jean-Paul grows increasingly violent, allowing the villain Abattoir to fall to his death. Jean-Paul also refuses to recognize Robin as his partner. Utilizing a sophisticated combat suit in place of the traditional Batman uniform, he fights and defeats Bane at the end of the "Knightfall" arc, severing the tubes that pump the Venom into Bane's bloodstream, causing severe withdrawal. Valley then gives the weakened Bane a vicious beating, leaving him alive but broken.
Following the events of "Knightfall", Bane recovers from his Venom addiction while serving time in prison, as seen in Vengeance of Bane II: The Redemption (1995). He eventually escapes from prison and returns to Gotham, where he fights alongside Batman to take out a criminal ring that is distributing a Venom derivative to street-level thugs. Following a victory over the criminals, Bane proclaims that he is "innocent" of his past crimes and urges Batman to stop hunting him. He then leaves Gotham (without fighting Batman) to begin a search for his father.
Bane's search brings him back to Santa Prisca (shown in the Bane of the Demon miniseries published in 1998). In search of leads, Bane questions the Jesuit priest who had taught him while he was in Peña Duro. The priest explains that there were four men who could possibly have been his father: a Santa Priscan revolutionary, an American doctor, an English mercenary, and a Swiss banker. While searching for the Swiss in Rome, Bane encounters Ra's al Ghul's daughter Talia al Ghul. Talia introduces Bane to her father, and eventually Bane impresses Ra's so much that he chooses Bane as his heir (an "honor" he had previously imparted on Batman).
Ra's al Ghul and Bane then launch a plague attack on Gotham in the "Legacy" storyline. Bruce Wayne, again costumed as Batman, gets his rematch with Bane in Detective Comics #701 (September 1996) and finally defeats him in single combat. Since then, whenever Batman and Bane square off in battle, their fights usually end in a draw.
Following the "Legacy" storyline, Bane appears in a one-shot publication called Batman: Bane (1997) and fights Azrael in the "Angel and the Bane" storyline in "Azrael" #36-40 (December 1997 - April 1998). After having (presumably) broken out of the prison where he is put, he runs off to Colombia. He then surfaces in the story arc "No Man's Land", serving as an enforcer for Lex Luthor. Following a fallout with Ra's al Ghul, Bane later embarks on a campaign to destroy Lazarus Pits around the world, and in the process, encounters Black Canary in Birds of Prey #26 (February 2001).
According to the Jesuit priest that Bane speaks with in "Bane of the Demon" #1, there is a possibility that Bane's biological father is an American doctor. In researching this issue, Bane comes to the conclusion that he and Batman share Dr. Thomas Wayne as their biological father, with Dr. Wayne having apparently become close to Bane's mother during his time in Santa Prisca. Bane alerts Batman to this possibility, and during the time that the DNA tests are being performed, stays at Wayne Manor and fights alongside Batman on the streets of Gotham in the "Tabula Rasa" storyline (Gotham Knights #33-36, November 2002 - February 2003). Ultimately, it is revealed that Dr. Wayne is not Bane's father, and Bane leaves Gotham peacefully (and with Batman's blessing and financial backing) to pursue leads in the snowy mountains of Kanchenjunga.
Bane eventually finds his father, the unscrupulous King Snake, in the "Veritas Liberat" storyline (Gotham Knights #47-49, January - March 2004). Bane, with Batman looking on, helps foil King Snake's plans to unleash a powerful weapon upon the world. Bane saves Batman from being shot by King Snake, but is mortally wounded in the process. Batman then saves Bane by bathing him in a Lazarus Pit, and leaves him with a clean slate and a new opportunity at life.
Infinite Crisis & One Year Later
In Infinite Crisis #7, Bane is shown fighting alongside the villains during the Battle of Metropolis. During the battle, he breaks the back of the hero, Judomaster, killing him. No reason was given for his actions in #7, though in Infinite Crisiss collected edition, one of the many changes made to the original series was Bane saying "I finally know who I am. I am Bane, I break people" while breaking Judomaster's back. Bane resurfaces in the One Year Later continuity in JSA Classified #17-18 searching for the Hourmen (Rex and Rick Tyler), asking them for help. To win their trust, he tells them how, prior to the Battle of Metropolis, he returned to his homeland to put an end to the drug lords' government, in the process discovering that a new, more addictive strain of Venom had been created. In his furious carelessness to wipe out the drug trade, he was captured, and re-implanted with the cranial tubes, hooked to the new Venom, but now unable to shake off his addiction without dying from the withdrawal. Bane was forced to work as an enforcer for the drug cartel, unable to escape. Believing that Bane sought Rex Tyler's expertise in chemistry, Rick lets him approach his father, only to discover that the story is a ruse. Bane, who had never truly been addicted to Venom, had in fact wiped out the drug lords, and destroyed every research note on Venom. He discovered in the process both strains of Venom derived from Rex Tyler's early research on Miraclo. He discovers from the Tylers that no written notes exist of Rex's work, captures Rex, and steals Rick's equipment, planning to kill Rex and force Rick to take the last of the new Venom, living forever as an addict. Rick manipulates Bane into using Miraclo and demolishing the building as he and his father escape, burying the mercenary in the rubble of the very same Santa Priscan penitentiary where his story began.
Eventually Bane resurfaces in Santa Prisca, leading the country to democratic elections. Upon discovering that the elections were rigged by Computron, he uses his influence to enforce martial law, plunging the country into a civil war. Computron offers information to Checkmate on who ordered him to rig the elections in exchange for their help in escaping the country. Fire and Judomaster's son, Thomas Jagger, are sent on the mission, with Jagger debating whether or not to seek revenge for his father's murder. He fights Bane in order to allow Fire to escape, defeating him easily, but chooses not to kill him. At the end of the mini series Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag, Amanda Waller recruits Bane into the Squad. In Outsiders #50, Bane appears once more to be wearing the tubing system to apply Venom. In Salvation Run #2, Bane was tricked by his fellow squad members, and sent to the prison planet. In Salvation Run #3 Bane remains with Lex Luthor's faction after Joker's faction rebels against Luthor's leadership. He attacked Thunder and Lightning when they were attempting to feed Martian Manhunter. In Superman/Batman #53-#56, Bane is trading his Venom supplies with drug lords across the globe. One of his shipments include to Gotham. Batman, who was temporarily endowed with Superman's powers, respond by attacking Bane at his home. Not only was The Dark Knight able to easily defeat the villain, the hero nearly killed him with his far superior strength. Bane survived his injuries due to the enhanced stamina from his Venom supplies.
Currently, Bane has joined the Secret Six in their new ongoing series started in September 2008. In the first issue Bane is depicted as a stoic devil's advocate for the group, offering alternative points of view for both Deadshot and Catman on the subject of love. He is later shown to have an almost father-like concern for Scandal Savage's well-being. Although this is largely played for laughs in the early issues, the first arc's final issue displays the depth of Bane's affection. When the Six are attacked by an army of supervillains, a wounded (and seemingly dying) Bane's concern for Scandal results in him taking Venom to save her. Bane is later shown to have recovered from his ordeal, appearing in Gotham City with Catman and Ragdoll in an attempt to stem some of the chaos caused by the apparent death of Batman. During the team's several escapades, Bane reveals both a deep respect for his onetime adversary and a painful yearning to assume the mantle of Batman, telling a trio of rescued citizens to tell people that it was the Batman who saved them. Bane ultimately gives his blessing to Dick Grayson, praying that "God help him." Following a near-disastrous mission, Bane assumes leadership over the Secret Six. His first act as leader is to remove Scandal from active duty, not wishing for her to be endangered. Later, when Ragdoll, Black Alice and Deadshot want to forgo a paying job to seek the missing Catman, Bane considers them off the team and replaces the four with new members King Shark, Dwarfstar, Lady Vic and Giganta.
Powers and Abilities
Venom Usage: He utilizes the super-steroid known as Venom to enhance his own physical attributes to superhuman levels, namely his strength, durability, speed, and endurance.
- Superhuman Strength: The primary effect of the Venom drug is that it enhances his strength to low superhuman levels depending on how much is injected into him. At the maximum healthy amount he can inject into himself, he is able to lift around 3-4 tons. He is ultimately capable of exceeding this limit and be able to lift over 4 tons, though not without momentarily losing his sanity.
- Enhanced Speed/Reflexes: His speed and reflexes are also enhanced with Venom, making him able to run, move, and react beyond the limits of the finest human athlete.
- Superhuman Endurance/Stamina/Durability: With the use of Venom, his stamina and endurance is greatly enhanced. His durability is heightened sufficiently to shrug off most blunt force trauma, yet he is not completely bulletproof. He can withstand blows from most superhumans, withstand falls from great heights, and possibly more.
- Superhuman Healing: He can also use Venom as a type of medicine that can heal him from most injury, poison, wound, infection, and disease.
Genius-Level Intellect: He possesses a genius-level intellect and is one of Batman's most intelligent foes.
- Eidetic Memory: He has an eidetic memory, which borders on almost total recall. This enables him to memorize virtually anything.
- Polymath: He is exceptionally knowledgeable in various subjects including various Sciences, History, Geology, Medicine, and several others.
- Polylingual: He is able to speak fluent Spanish, German, French, Russian, Mandarin, English, Urdu, Farsi, and Latin.
Escapologist: He is surpassed only by Batman, Nightwing, and Mister Miracle in the art of escape and infiltration.
Hand to Hand Combatant: He is a formidable hand to hand combatant, able to hold his own against Batman and Ra's Al Ghul. He is not only a master, but has created several fighting styles. Bane's fighting ability combined with his peak strength and endurance make him a highly formidable and dangerous opponent for any non-meta and many metahuman foes.
Expert Strategist: He is highly devious and a highly gifted strategist and tactician.
Peak of Human Physical Condition: Even without Venom, his strength and physique is at its peak and is slightly superior to the likes of Batman or other athletes.
- Physical Strength: Even without Venom, Bane is shown to still be stronger than Batman, able to lift/press approximately 1,500 lbs. Without Venom, Bane has proven capable of breaking Killer Croc's bones and standing toe-to-toe with other superhumans. He has also performed feats such as snapping steel cables that were used to shackle him, and denting and deforming an iron gate after punching it off of its hinges.
- Speed: Despite his heavily muscled appearance, Bane is shown to be a surprisingly fast runner, as he's been shown to be able to keep up with the more slender member of the Secret Six with ease.
- Durability: Even without the Venom drug, Bane has proven to be phenomenally durable. Examples include shrugging off bullets to the shoulder and other areas, and withstanding the torture of having numerous bricks thrown at all areas of his body.
Weaknesses: Venom addiction and relapse (he has currently kicked this), Thomas Jagger, psychological fear of "the bat-demon" of his nightmares.
In Other Media
- See: Bane (Jeep Swenson)
- Bane appeared in the direct-to-video animated film adaptation, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. Despite being one of Batman's most physically challenging foes, Bane was defeated in seconds after Batman cut his Venom tube before he was knocked out with a single kick.
- Bane appeared in the animated direct-to-video film, Justice League: Doom and was voiced by Carlos Alazraqui.
- See: Bane (Tom Hardy)
Bane made a few cameos in the film alongside other Batman villains and was was voiced by Doug Benson , who impersonated Tom Hardy. Bane's design was a pastiche of the comic book version and the Tom Hardy version of the character. Bane's most prominent cameo was when Batman randomly hit him at the Gotham Winter Galla, to which he replied: "That was unnecessary!"
- See: Bane (The Batman)
Bane appeared in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode, "Menace of the Conqueror Caveman," and was voiced by Michael Dorn. Batman teamed up with Wildcat to recapture him. Batman attempted to remove Bane's Venom tube, but was temporarily incapacitated when Bane struck him on the head. Wildcat used one of Batman's Batarangs to finish the job, which shocked Bane when his Venom tube hit the train tracks and knocked him out. Bane also made a cameo appearance in "Sidekicks Assemble" where he was computer generated and was taken out by Robin, Speedy, and Aqualad.
- See: Bane (Young Justice)
- Bane's first video game appearance was in the video game adaptation of Batman & Robin. Bane also appeared in Batman: Chaos In Gotham and Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu, as well as Arkham Asylum. In Sin Tzu sneaks Bane into the Batcave to battle him, tricking Batman into taking Bane there, thinking he is about to defuse a weapon of mass destruction housed inside a huge crate. Rise of Sin Tzu also features Hector Elizondo's first time voicing Bane, as it was released a month before Mystery of the Batwoman. Also in Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu, Bane may do a similar move to the hero that he did when he broke Batman's back.
- Later, Bane appeared in Lego Batman: The Videogame. His combat moves in the game were punching or punching based. He could pull objects. He could walk in toxic sludge. He could grab someone and throw them or break their spine with his knee and he could jump up and hit the ground with his fist.
- In Batman: Arkham Asylum, Bane was the first real boss of the game, and Batman had to remove the tubes of Titan from his neck in order to defeat him. If Batman was defeated, Bane broke Batman's back or delivered a powerful punch in the Game Over Screen. Bane returned in Batman: Arkham City, made his first official Arkhamverse appearance in Batman: Arkham Origins, and also appeared in the sequel, Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate.
- See Also: Bane (Arkhamverse)
- Bane was one of the bosses of the Gentleman Ghost Level in the Nintendo D.S. version of Batman: The Brave and the Bold – The Videogame. He was fought twice. The first time, Batman ended up being held up by Bane, but was saved by Green Arrow. Bane attacked again when the two heroes took the Batwing to follow Gentleman Ghost to London. After he was defeated, Bane was knocked off of the Batwing, and seemingly fell to his death.
- Bane appeared in DC Universe Online and was voiced by E. Jason Liebrecht.
- Bane also appeared as a playable character in Injustice: Gods Among Us and Injustice 2.
Kenner released different versions of Bane for each of its Batman: The Animated Series, Batman & Robin, and Legends Of The Dark Knight action figure lines.
D.C. Direct has released two Bane figures. One as the character appeared in the Batman "Knightfall" comic series as well as in the "Secret Files & Origins" series. Each came packaged with a figure stand specific to that particular series, with no other accessories.
Mattel has included two versions of Bane in their D.C. Superheroes line of action figures. Both versions share the same mold and only vary in paint applications. The first version is set apart by black pants while the second (2007) version has pants decorated with a camouflage pattern. Both versions of this figure came with a small "Osito" accessory, although many of the first version seem to have been shipped to stores without.
In 2007, LEGO released a Bane mini-figure in a Bat-Tank building set, alongside a Riddler mini-figure. In 2012, they made a re-designed Bane in the 6860 Batcave set, along with a blue Batman, a red Robin, a re-designed Poison Ivy, and a re-designed Bruce Wayne. Also in 2013, LEGO will release a Bane minfigure based off his appearance in "The Dark Knight Rises" in a set named 76001 The Bat vs. Bane: Tumbler Chase.