Bane (comics)

Bane (comics)

Bane is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1 (January 1993), and was created by Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench, and Graham Nolan. Originally intended as a "dark mirror" of the highly disciplined and multi-skilled pulp hero Doc Savage, Bane (real name unknown) spends his childhood in a hellish prison on the corrupt island nation of Santa Prisca where he develops superhuman 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. While 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. In most other media adaptations of the character, Bane is more simplistic and thug-like than his comic book counterpart, notably in the 1997 film Batman & Robin where the character is practically mindless.

Publication history

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.

Fictional character biography

The origin of Bane has similarities with another fictional character, Alexandre Dumas' Edmond Dantès. 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 gym, 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.

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 based on the Fabulous Five (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 ruled: 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, the Scarecrow, the Mad Hatter, The Ventriloquist, Firefly, Cavalier, and Zsasz) 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. 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.

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). 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).

Veritas Liberat

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 Kangchenjunga.

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 Crisis's 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 addicting strain of Venom had been created. In his furious carelessness to wipe out the drug trade, he was captured, and reimplanted 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, appears once more to be wearing the tubing system to apply Venom - whether he has returned to the drug is unknown.

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 recently attacked Thunder and Lightning when they were attempting to feed Martian Manhunter.

It has been revealed that Bane will join the Secret Six in their new ongoing series starting in September 2008. In the first issue Bane is depicted as a stoic devil's advocate for the group, offering alternative points of view on for both Deadshot and Catman on the subject of love.

Powers and abilities

Bane is highly intelligent; in "Bane of the Demon", Ra's al Ghul says that Bane "has a mind equal to the greatest he has known." In prison, he taught himself various scientific disciplines equal to the level of understanding of leading experts in those fields. He knows six active languages and at least two additional arcane and dead ones, those mentioned are Spanish, English, Urdu, Farsi, and Latin. The "Bane of the Demon" storyline reveals that he has a photographic memory. Within one year, he is able to deduce Batman's secret identity. He is also highly devious and a superb strategist and tactician. In prison, Bane also invented his own form of calisthenics, meditation, and a unique fighting style. Usage of Venom enhances his physical abilities and healing process to superhuman levels. However, it is shown that Bane is physically superior to Batman, even when not using Venom.

In other media


Bane appears in Batman: The Animated Series (1992-95; episode Bane), it's successor The New Batman/Superman Adventures (1997-99; episodes Knight Time and Over the Edge), voiced by Henry Silva, and the Batman Beyond (1999-2001) episode "The Winning Edge". In these depictions, Bane never defeats Batman. In Batman Beyond, his dependency on Venom came to a point that all it can do for him is keep him alive, but he's too weak to prepare the drug himself, so he had no choice but teach someone the recipe. This someone eventually decides to mass-produce Venom in the form of stickers known as "Slappers" and sell it to teenagers. The producers were reluctant to utilize him (along with Doomsday in the Superman: The Animated Series) because they felt that their comics incarnations were both too gimmicky.

A more monstrous version of Bane is depicted in The Batman (2004-08), voiced by Joaquim de Almeida in "Traction" and Ron Perlman in "Team Penguin". First, he appears as an assassian hired by Gotham mob bosses to kill Batman. He is said to have volunteered for enhancement in a lab deep in the Amazon.


Bane appears in the live-action movie Batman and Robin (1997). Unlike his comics counterpart, this incarnation has a real name, Antonio Diego (played by Michael Reid MacKay), and turned into the muscular Bane (portrayed by Robert Swenson) by Dr. Jason Woodrue. Rather than being the devious, intelligent villain of the comics, this version is an inarticulate thug who serves as the lackey of Poison Ivy, one of the main villains of the film. Bane is barely even capable of speech and uses growls, roars, and snarls for most of his communication. Despite this, he is still muscular, wears a slight variation of his classic mask, and is still superhumanly strong. This depiction of the character was one of many aspects of the film which received harsh criticism from fans and critics alike.

Bane also appears in Batman: The Animated Series spin-off direct-to-video animated movie, Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003), voiced by Héctor Elizondo. Here, he is once again hired by Rupert Thorne but this time he is hired to kill Batwoman.

Video games

Bane is a boss character in the 1998 Batman and Robin video game adaptation, Batman: Chaos in Gotham (2001), and Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu (2003), in which Héctor Elizondo reprising his role as Bane, as it was released a month before Mystery of the Batwoman. Bane also appears in Lego Batman (2008).


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.


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