So you want to know more about Bane, the man who broke the Bat? Wonder no more!
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Born in hell itself, in a South American prison called Santa Prisca, Bane was condemned there for the sins of his father. Languishing in prison, Bane built up his reputation until he declared himself king of it. The prison officials didn't take kindly to the title and made him a prime candidate in their experiments with the super strength drug known as Venom. With many past candidates expiring in the past, the prison officials thought Bane would follow, he did not.
He's a dark doppelganger of not Batman, but Doc Savage. He even had a gang that was a twisted homage to Doc's gang too (Trogg, Zombie, and Troll), though the chief reason is his cunning attitude that's backed with his fearsome strength.
The other half is his complex persona. He isn't like the Joker or Two-Face, he does this sort of thing not for pleasure but for the challenge and sport. You just know if Bane appears in an issue, Batman will be in for a brutal fight both psychologically and physically. He thinks about what his actions will be and if they go south so will he.
Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1: The story that starts it all. Bane is rotting in Santa Prisca and has just been experimented on with the highly addictive, yet powerful drug Venom. This entire issue is just Bane training and honing the skills that would make him a force to be reckoned with. The issue ends of course with Bane set on a particular mission: to break the Batman.
Detective Comics #654-656: Watching the Batman in action, he stages his first tests to gauge his foe. In this two part trial he uses individually Killer Croc and the Riddler to gauge Batman's strengths and weaknesses. Then after both foes are beaten, Bane strikes up his master plan: to assault Arkham Asylum and free all its prisoners to exhaust Batman.
Knightfall (Batman #491-500, Detective Comics #659-660, Showcase '93-#7-8, Shadow of the Bat #17-18): Bane frees all the inmates of Arkham and then lies in wait, watching Batman take on his various foes. However, there are small hurdles in his plan; one being Killer Croc who hunts Bane down for using him as a pawn in the arc before, and the other with the Mad Hatter sending a brain washed the original Film Freak to flush Bane out, whom he then brutally murders. These results make Bane decide to take a more stand-back approuch, until the time he deems right. That moment arrives in Batman #497, after Batman has sent most of his foes back to Arkham and dispatched his lackeys, Bane finally strikes. Exhausted mentally and physically through the various hurdles thrown at him, Batman is no match for Bane; who breaks his foe's back.
With Gotham CIty his, Bane tries to consolidate his forces and criminal empire. It isn't long after that a new battle erupts between he and the newly made Batman: the vigilante Azrael. The new Batman dismantles Bane's criminal empire swiftly and not soon after faces down the man who broke the Bat. The two foes go at in two brutal battles (Batman #499 & #500), until Azrael notices his enemy's dependancy of the Venom drug and takes out the tube feeding the fluid into Bane's system. The fight ends shortly thereafter with Bane defeated. Now broken himself, Bane is again sent to prison.
Batman- Vengeance of Bane II #1: Cleansing himself of the Venom drug which Bane deemed his greatest weakness, he rebuilds his body honing it to human perfection and once again busts out of prison (this time Blackgate). Bane then sets about destroying any trace of the Venom drug in Gotham and of course runs into Batman. Not the true rematch of the two, but a teaser of what was to come.
Batman: Bane of the Demon #1-4: While looking for his missing father, Bane runs across fellow Batman and intellectual rogue, Ra's Al Ghul.The Demon's Head throws challenge after challenge against Bane, who plows through them and finally earns Ra's respect. Together the two set out with Ra's unleashing his latest scheme to cleanse the Earth.
Legacy (Batman #533-534, Detective Comics #700-702, Catwoman #36, Robin #32-33, Shadow of the Bat #54, and Bane #1): It's Bane and Ra's vs. the Bat Family (Batman, Robin, Oracle, Nightwing, Huntress, Azrael, and Oracle). A sequel to Knightfall and Contagion. The true rematch between Bane and Batman finally occurs in two fights (Detecitve Comic #701 and Bane #1). In both cases, Bruce barely bests his foe.
No Man's Land (Batman #571, Detective Comics #738, & #740, and Shadow of the Bat #93): Bane shows up near the midway point of the mega-event, working for a mysterious employer who wishes to have control over all of Gotham City. To that end, Bane enters the No Man's Land to set up his employer's grand entrance. He takes out Two-Face's entire operation (the biggest threat at the time to the interests of his employer), scares off the Joker/Harley Quinn for a bit, and destroys the Gotham Hall of Records. The later act would have lasting repercussions (it was mentioned in several Batman events, most recently Gates of Gotham). Then his employer stands revealed as Lex Luthor, who has offered him control of the very prison and island he used to call home, Santa Prisca. He willingly leaves Luthor to Batman after attaining the price.
Veritas Liberat (Gotham Knights #33-36, #47-49): Bane's search for his long lost father comes to a conclusion. At first, Bane suspects himself to be related to of all people the Waynes given one of the suspects was an American Doctor. After clearing his father's name from the list, Batman and the Bat-Family at the time (Tim Drake, Cassandra Cain, and Dick Grayson) assist Bane in finding his father. Their search leads them to Robin villain, King Snake and the confrontation between father and son will have lasting effects for the character.
Batman- Gotham Underground #1-6: After a massive period of horrible stories involving the character, Bane returns to form a part of the Suicide Squad who are rounding up numerous Gotham City criminals for an unknown reason (later revealed in another mini-series Salvation Run, but the mini itself is lackluster compared to this one). During one bust, Bane recognizes Batman who's in his Matches Malone alias. He then pays off some corrupt guards to send Zssaz to murder Malone. It's a brief, yet nice all around appearance in the book. Plus it establishes his future partnership with Deadshot which is furthered in our next book.
Secret Six #1-36: Bane has a crucial role in the series throughout its entire run as a member of the team (alongside Scandal Savage, Deadshot, Catman, Ragdoll, and Jeanette). Writer Gail Simone rebuilds off of Bane's reputation in Gotham Underground and establishes his fatherly relationship with fellow member Scandal Savage. In the end, the shadow of the Bat is too much for Bane to handle and he endeavors his fellow members to take on not just the Batman himself, but the entire Bat Family. Of course in the end, the “villains” are beaten. It's a highly satisfying run from beginning to end.
Bane Can Even Beat Superman:
Bane is highly intelligent and skilled enough to figure out the various weaknesses of Superman. HE WILL BREAK HIM as he once did the Bat.
Where the Character is Today:
You don't want to know. His last appearance in the Batman books (The Dark Knight) was awful. The story was so downright embarrassing to the character I rather you just instead rread the list I gave above instead. It is such more befitting the character than the garbage story that happened during the DC: New 52.
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About the Author - Zechs
Zechs is the lord and master of The Toy Shed, Character Spotlight, and Cartoon Reviews. He's also an aspiring comic book writer trying to get some of his works published on the Outhouse. If there's any greater quality to Zechs, it's that he's an avid fan of comic book characters and would defend them to the bitter end against the companies that use them wrongly. Zechs walks the lonely path in Chicagoland area.
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