Since his debut in 1993, Bane has rapidly risen through the ranks of Batman’s rogues gallery. He is undoubtedly one of Batman’s most dangerous foes. One could argue that Bane is the biggest threat to the Dark Knight. After all, Batman’s defeat at the hands of Bane was one of the first times the hero looked utterly vulnerable. No other villain can claim to be the first one to defeat Batman one-on-one. Breaking Batman’s back cemented Bane’s place as one of the most menacing characters in DC history. As a result, the villain has remained consistently popular. His story has been a long and winding one. Bane has struggled with his Venom addiction, he has dealt with his lackadaisical father, and he has even fought for justice. Bane’s depth as a character gives the writers countless possibilities.
DC continues to capitalize on Bane’s stardom, as he has appeared in two feature films, several cartoons and multiple video games. What is it that gives Bane so much staying power? His monstrous size and strength? His elite intelligence? The correct answer is that these traits, and many more, make Bane such a dire threat to Batman and the greater DCU. Bane may look like a hulking beast, but there’s more to the eye when it comes to The Man Who Broke The Bat. His elite mind, his spiritual mastery and his emotional perseverance make him stand out from the crowd. Here’s what you need to know about Bane, Batman’s most dangerous foe.
BORN/RAISED IN PRISON
From the second he entered this world, Bane, sometimes known as Eduardo Dorrance, was destined to have a harsh life. Dorrance was born in Peña Duro, a notoriously harsh prison. His father abandoned him and his mother passed away shortly after his birth. It’s fair to say that Dorrance was thrown to the wolves, as he was raised amongst hardened criminals. In a sink or swim situation, Bane made the most of his circumstances. He became the top dog at the prison, which led to a stunning run of global dominance.
Maybe Dorrance would have been a normal man if he had a typical upbringing. However, Peña Duro shaped Bane into the legendary criminal that he is.
With a deadbeat dad and a no mom, Bane had no one to care for and mold him into his future self. So, from the start, Dorrance had determine who he wanted to be in Peña Duro. He sought to become incredibly intelligent, so he read countless books. He wanted to be strong, so he tirelessly honed his body at the prison’s gym. He mastered meditation and even invented his own form of it.
Plenty of characters are victims of circumstance. They would have crumbled under the insurmountable odds that Bane faced from the moment of his birth. Bane rose above his environment and forced himself into peak spiritual and physical health.
SUPER SOLDIER GONE WRONG
Bane’s origin story is a look at a super soldier program that went horribly wrong. After Bane rose to power within the prison, the guards decided to knock him down a notch. The jailers forced Dorrance to participate in what had been an unsuccessful experiment to create a super soldier. When other prisoners were exposed to Venom, none of them survived the experience. The guards still made a test subject out of Bane.
Bane’s initial exposure to the drug nearly ended him, too. However, he lived to see its staggering effects. Rather than serving his captors or the government, Bane made his way to Gotham, and the rest is history.
TARGETED BATMAN BEFORE THEY MET
Bane had his sights set on Batman long before they met. During the villain’s time in Peña Duro, a horrific bat haunted his dreams and subsequently, Bane developed a phobia of bats. When fellow inmates spread stories of a monster in Gotham, it was only a matter of time before Bane clashed with Batman.
Gotham itself fascinated Bane, too. Like the prison he had called home for his entire life, Gotham was fueled by fear. However, Gotham’s fear hinged entirely on one man: the Caped Crusader. Bane sought to end that reign of dominance so he could set the city free.
MASTER OF THE JAIL BREAK
One of Bane’s underrated traits is his talent as an prison escape artist. First, he, along with his future henchman Trogg, Zombie and Bird, broke out of infamously inescapable Peña Duro. After Valley defeats Bane and send him to prison, Dorrance breaks out of Blackgate Prison, too. At the end of his time with the Secret Six, Bane is arrested again but, once more, he manages to escape.
Even when Bane is not in captivity, he helps liberate others. During “Forever Evil,” Bane frees Blackgate’s prisoners. Any time Dorrance is captured, he continues to demonstrate that no prison can hold him, or his allies, for long.
RULER OF GOTHAM’S UNDERWORLD
When Bane defeated Batman and forced the Dark Knight into temporary retirement, he drastically changed the landscape of crime in Gotham. Logically, Bane filled the sudden void of power. No other villain could flaunt such a legitimate claim to the throne and, additionally, no one dared to oppose the man that broke Batman.
Bane’s run as top dog was short-lived. The new, more violent Batman, Jean-Paul Valley, set his sights on Bane. Their first fight pushed Bane to the limit. Eventually, by severing his Venom tubes, Valley took Bane down and sent him to prison. For a while, though, Bane reigned supreme.
One of the first things that comes to mind about Bane is his imposing figure. When he’s hulked up on Venom, Bane is estimated to stand at 6’8. He also weighs approximately 350 pounds of pure muscle. Even without Venom, Bane is a big man. He naturally stands at 6’2 and weighs approximately 225 pounds.
Throughout the character’s history, some writers have focused on Bane’s brute size and strength. This approach makes Bane an intimidating adversary, but it makes him a one-dimensional villain. The best version of Bane showcases his intelligence. Don’t judge a book by its cover — Bane’s mind is even more dangerous than his body.
MEMBER OF THE SECRET SIX AND THE SUICIDE SQUAD
Bane is an imitating force on his own. But he has also served as a member of the Secret Six and the Suicide Squad, two of DC’s most notable groups. Bane’s membership with these teams is fitting, as both groups tend to composed of current or former villains.
Bane’s time with the Secret Six was more notable than his brief membership with the Suicide Squad. As a member of the Secret Six, Bane develops paternal feelings for teammate Scandal Savage and he subjects himself to Venom in order to save her from harm. Bane eventually becomes the leader of the team, showing that, while he can be a team player, he isn’t meant to stand in the background.
Bane is incredibly strong and his physical appearance demonstrates that, but Bane is much more than a typical muscle-head. He’s also famous for his extraordinary intelligence. As a child, Dorrance devoured knowledge through reading tirelessly during his time in prison. He also learned how to speak several languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese and Latin. Bane may not have a high school diploma, but he has found other ways to build a phenomenal intellect.
The “Knightfall” storyline itself demonstrates Bane’s intelligence. The villain only needs a year to uncover Batman’s secret identity and then crafts the genius plan to unleash Arkham’s inmates in order to tire Batman to the point of total exhaustion. Bane’s mind is as powerful a muscle as his massive arms.
ALLY OF RA’S AL GHUL
Shortly after Bane left Gotham to find his father, he meets Talia al Ghul, who introduces Dorrance to her own father, Ra’s al Ghul. Impressed by Bane’s potential, The Demon’s Head chooses the villain to be his heir, an honor previously bestowed on Batman. Bane and al Ghul attack Gotham in “Legacy,” when the two attempt to unleash a plague on the city.
This storyline leads to the rematch between Bane and Batman. The Caped Crusader wins, and Ra’s ends his working relationship with Bane. The breakup gets even more ugly when, in retaliation, Bane tries to destroy Lazarus Pits around the world. He is ultimately unsuccessful, but Bane’s’ disdain for his former master is evident.
RUNS ON VENOM
Bane’s addiction to Venom is more significant than any of his other characteristics. For better or worse, Venom and Bane are firmly linked together, like Eddie Brock and his symbiote. Venom is a highly addictive super-steroid that greatly enhances the user’s strength and size. Bane either needs tubes connected to his body or a mask to pump the drug through his veins. While the substance often makes Bane practically unstoppable, Venom is also Bane’s biggest weakness.
Venom gives Bane a huge Achilles’ Heel. When the tubes/mask are damaged, severing Bane’s Venom supply, he immediately experiences excruciating withdrawal. That intense pain makes Bane easily fallible.
Bane quickly transcended the comic book medium. He has been featured on the silver screen twice (Batman & Robin and The Dark Knight Rises). For a character that debuted in 1993, a 1997 feature film appearance is remarkable.
Bane has gotten two chances to shine in a relatively short amount of time, which is another mark of of his popularity. Even more telling is the fact that Bane debuted on Batman: The Animated Series less than two years after his first appearance in the comics. He has also appeared in many Batman video games and animated movies. DC clearly knows they have a star on their hands.
Bane has practically been fighting people since he emerged from the womb. In Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1, Eduardo Dorrance is already doing major damage as he attacks a fellow prisoner who intended to use Dorrance for information. There, a monster was born.
Since then, Bane has taken countless lives — he racks up a high body count wherever he goes. For example, he coldly takes out many people during The Dark Knight Rises. Bane even offs Judomaster in Infinite Crisis #7 by cruelly breaking his break. This attack was gratuitous, both in nature and motivation. Time and again, Bane has proven that, at his core, he is a monster.
OCCASIONALLY FIGHTS FOR JUSTICE
Sometimes, Bane chooses to use his overwhelming power for justice. In addition to his time with the Suicide Squad, Bane has worked with Batman on several occasions. After “Knightfall”, Bane helps the Dark Knight topple a gang that is selling Venom to Gotham’s thugs. The two adversaries team up again during “Tabula Rasa,” when Bane thought Thomas Wayne was his father.
Plus, the Man Who Broke The Bat has fought independently to stop criminals, though in a morally questionable way. During Bane: Conquest, Bane and his cohorts unsuccessfully war against the terrorist organization, Kobra. Bane is traditionally a villain, though he has proven that he can be somewhat heroic, as well.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to Bane. His father is Sir Edmund Dorrance, or King Snake, a villain that has battled Batman and Robin through the years. Dorrance is worse than the typical dead-beat dad. After being with Bane’s mother, Dorrance fled Santa Prisca to avoid imprisonment. As a result, Bane and his mother served time in Peña Duro, a notoriously harsh prison.
Bane eventually looked for his father, which led him on a long, winding chase (for a time, Bane thought that Thomas Wayne was his biological father). Eventually, though, Bane learns the truth and after a complicated family reunion, Bane helps Batman and Robin stop King Snake from using a dangerous weapon.
Bane’s relationship with Venom extends further than his individual use. The substance is Bane’s currency of choice, as he often trades it for favors and/or monetary profit. He often trades Venom with a certain type of criminal, as seen in Superman/Batman #53-56. Recently, Bane also traded Venom to Hugo Strange in Batman #6 in exchange for the doctor’s help overcoming the Venom addiction.
At times, Bane has also broken up Venom-trading rings. Bane is well aware of the substance’s dangers, so his willingness to widely distribute it is troubling. However, he knows that Venom is highly profitable, and he fully capitalizes.
CAN OVERCOME HIS RELIANCE ON VENOM
Bane’s addiction to Venom has a long and complicated history. At times, he depends on it because he needs it to live. There have been times, though, that Bane has overcome that dependency. This resiliency can be seen as another mark of Bane’s emotional strength. The villain recovers from his addiction while serving time at Blackgate. He swears off of the drug but eventually relapses.
Recently, in DC Rebirth, Bane uses the Psycho Pirate to help him overcome his latest round of addiction. Batman defeats Bane in Santa Prisca, which makes the villain scream wantingly for Venom. Although he has proven capable of overcoming his addiction, Venom remains a thorn in Bane’s side.
MASTER OF MEDITATION
One of Bane’s most powerful assets is his mastery of meditation. Beyond his raw strength and fighting skill, Bane draws power from his spiritual energy. That control of his emotions often gives The Man Who Broke The Bat a distinct advantage in combat.
Many fighters lose their heads because they are consumed by their anger. Bane is able to calmly, coldly use his incredible fighting skills without his emotions getting in the way. At times, Bane is portrayed as an unintelligent brute who does not have the benefit of meditation. However, at his best, Bane has a nearly-superhuman command of his spirit.
MAN OF THE PEOPLE
Bane has been a leader a few times in his history. First, when he initially broke out of the prison he grew up in, he led his future henchman Bird, Zombie and Trogg. To this day, that trio has remained loyal to Bane. Then, after beating Batman, Bane became the ruler of Gotham’s underworld. Later, he single-handedly Santa Prisca to democratic elections and, subsequently, civil war.
Time after time, Bane proves that he’s much more than a muscle-bound, Venom-fueled goliath. Bane’s blend of intelligence and brutality makes him an intimidating leader, and he continues to capitalize on that.
BROKE THE BAT
Most importantly, Bane is the man that broke Batman. After freeing all of the inmates in Arkham, Bane had utterly exhausted Batman, who spent three months recapturing the criminals. Then, in a historic moment, Bane broke Batman’s back, forcing the hero into temporary retirement. On that day, Bane cemented himself as a legitimate threat to the greater DC Universe.
The Dark Knight’s defeat at Bane’s hands is one of the Caped Crusader’s biggest failures in his long history. Very few villains have the ability to say they defeated Batman one-on-one. Bane is one of the few exceptions and he remains one of Batman’s most dangerous rivals.
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