Since his debut in 1939, Batman has amassed a large following of supervillains and all-around baddies. In the 1990s, one such offender was introduced to fulfill one specific story function: he was to become the man who broke the Bat. Do you know who this is?
Based on an initial concept by Dennis O’Neil, Bane was created by Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench, and Graham Nolan, debuting in Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1 in 1993. After his father Edmund Dorrance/King Snake escaped Santa Prisca's court system, Bane was forced to serve out his life sentence. Bane was only six when his mother died, leaving him as prey to the savage inmates of Peña Duro. At this time, Bane suffered from nightmares of a bat-demon, which would inspire him to seek out Batman. Rather than succumb to prison life, he honed his body and mind to become a feared and respected inmate.
Among Batman’s antagonists, Bane has one of the most cunning and disciplined minds. He has studied several scientific fields, is fluent in over a dozen languages, and is well-versed in heavy weapons handling and explosives. Hoping to rid himself of Bane, the Warden nominated him to be injected with Venom, an experimental drug that enhanced his strength and healing process to superhuman levels. Most incarnations of Bane depict him with a specialized tank to control the amount of Venom he injects into his body.
Following his escape from Peña Duro, Bane turned his ambitions toward Gotham City and destroying Batman in the Knightfall trilogy. Knowing a direct assault on Batman would be foolish, Bane helped a horde of inmates escape Arkham Asylum, including Joker, Scarecrow, Mad Hatter, and Two-Face. Batman spent months rounding them up as Bane established himself as ruler of Gotham's criminal underworld. After reducing Batman to his weakest physical and psychological state, Bane delivered the ultimate crushing blow: breaking Batman's back and leaving him temporarily paraplegic.
In the 1995 comic Vengeance of Bane II: The Redemption, Bane swears off using Venom. (Since then, however, artists still tend to draw Bane with the tank. Contemporary stories and adaptations also show him actively using the Venom compound.) Free of his addiction to Venom, Bane sets out to unravel his past. Around this time, he encounters a rejuvenated Batman and together they defeat a group of Venom-enhanced robbers. Bane’s travels later bring him to Rome where he encounters the League of Assassins and earns his place as Talia’s suitor and Ra's al Ghul’s heir. However, following their rematch in Detective Comics #701, in which Batman finally defeats Bane, Ra's disowns Bane.
The full text of this article will appear in The Overstreet Price Guide to Batman, which will be available during the 2019 winter holiday season.