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Bane

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/batmandarkknightvol26teaserwithbane.jpg
"I could kill you... but death would only end your agony — and silence your shame! So instead, I will simply... BREAK YOU!"
Click here to see his "Classic" design 
Click here to see his The New 52 design 
Click here to see his Rebirth design 

Alter Ego: The Man Who Broke the Bat, Ubu

Species: Human

First appearance: Batman: Vengeance of Bane (December 8, 1992)

"I am not a joke. I am not a riddle! I am not a bird or a cat or a penguin! I'm not a scarecrow or a plant or a puppet! I am not your broken friend! I am not your regretful teacher! I am not a child's fairy tale! I am not a circus act here to amuse and frighten you! I am not another one of your madmen howling at the moon! And I... I am not some rich boy playing dress-up! I am BANE!"

Bane never had it easy. He was sentenced to life in the prison Peña Dura before he was even born, due to the corrupt government of his home country, Santa Prisca, punishing him for the crimes of his father. From early childhood, he was tormented of visions of a bat in his sleep. He developed his knowledge and skills in prison, learning how to defend himself, gaining a Classical education from a Jesuit priest, and mastering several languages. He slowly climbed up the social ladder of the prison, even committing his first murder at age eight, until becoming "king" of Peña Dura.

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The people in charge noticed this and forced him to be the test subject for an experimental Super Serum, Venomnote . The drug, which had killed every subject before him nearly destroyed him too, but he survived and discovered that the drug also increased his strength vastly at the cost of being highly addictive and dangerous to stop using.

He eventually escaped the prison with several others and set out for Gotham City because, like Peña Dura, it too was ruled by fear: the fear of The Batman, who Bane is convinced is the demonic bat from his nightmares.

Bane became one of many of Batman's enemies, but he was best known for snapping Batman's spine during the events of Knightfall. Despite being a relatively recent addition to the Dark Knight's rogues, Bane quickly shot up to the A-List of Gotham's criminals and became one of Batman's most prominent foes ever since.

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Bane was originally created in order to replace Bruce Wayne with a different character in the role of Batman, Azrael. This was all in an attempt to make Nineties Anti-Heroes less popular, and it worked.

He later weaned himself off the drugs and become something of an Anti-Hero himself, and was a member of the Secret Six until their dissolution shortly before the New 52 initiative. In the New 52, he seemingly never underwent any of his character development, but did break Batman's back.

He has made appearances in many different DC adaptations, including Batman: The Animated Series, The Dark Knight Rises (played by Tom Hardy), and Young Justice. His video game appearances include the Batman: Arkham series, LEGO: Batman and Batman: The Enemy Within.


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Tropes that describe Bane

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  • Abhorrent Admirer: Due to his prison life earning him No Social Skills, he often ends up acting as one to the women he happen to fall in love with:
    • Became on to Talia al Ghul during his brief alliance with her father Ra's al Ghul. They had a brief consensual relationship, but she quickly broke it off after finding him too brutish, cruel and a poor lover. But Bane remained enamored by her and Ra picked him to be her Chosen Conception Partner, forcing her to tolerate him for a while, until he fell out of favor with Ra and their engagement was canceled.
    • His next appearance in Birds of Prey still had him pinning for Talia, but when he met and fought with Black Canary he felt Love at First Punch and seemingly transferred his feelings of Talia to her. But unfortunately to him, Dinah had even less interest in him than Talia did.
    Bane: I am not a monster! In time I would prove my worthiness to you!
    Dinah: Bane... when you say things like that... It still turns my stomach!
    [Dinah proceeds to give him a Groin Attack and flees]
  • Aborted Arc: There were hints in his origin that he might have actually been Bruce Wayne's half-brother, as various passing references indicated that his father had been a foreign doctor who had fled the country. While Batman having to deal with the idea of the saintly image he's built up of his father being tarnished might have been interesting, it's pretty understandable why future writers declined to follow up on this. This was eventually resolved when Bane himself tracked down his father Edmund Dorrance. Thomas Wayne was floated as a possibility but blood tests disproved it fairly quickly.
  • Achilles' Power Cord: Not an electrical power cord, but Bane's venom-tubes are a very vulnerable point, as they are what pump the Super Serum Venom into his body and severing them puts a stop to it. In most of his appearances throughout all Batman media, expect them to get severed or damaged at some point, most famously his fight with Azrael after Knightfall ended when Jean-Paul used his swords to cut the venom pumps.
  • Adaptational Badass: In his Rebirth incarnation, he skews more towards the "Badass" aspect in that era compared to his Post-Crisis Knightfall counterpart who defeated and broke Batman only after he freed all the Arkham rogues and completely exhausted Batman in a chase to hunt them all down. In The Fall And The Fallen, Batman again fights most of his rogues but this time beats them all up one after another at Arkham instead of separately throughout multiple tiresome nights. By the time Batman confronts Bane at his mansion, he wasn't in a state of exhaustion and this time, Rebirth Bane defeats and breaks Batman when he wasn't tired out and still around his rough physical peak.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: Many adaptations of Bane portray him as a Dumb Muscle instead of the Genius Beuiser he is.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Many see him as the Venom to Batman's Spider-Man; A larger, more muscular Shadow Archetype of the hero, Genius Bruiser and crappy life and all, who where The Dreaded in their debut, then suffered Badass Decay before being redeemed by later writers. They both are obsessed with defeating the hero (though for separate reasons) and both have had lengthy stints as anti-heroes. The fact that Bane's classic mask mildly resembles Venom and that Bane uses a drug called Venom only adds to the comparison. DEATH BATTLE! even pitted the two against each other, and as of 2018, they've both been portrayed by Tom Hardy.
  • And Then What?: Bane really had no plans for what he was going to do after he broke Batman. Bird suggested he take over the city's crime families.
  • Anti-Villain: Varies Depending on the Writer, but often times is seen to have some sense of honour or at the very least Pragmatic Villainy.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Bane got his name after a warden called him one after he killed while still a child, in prison:
    "He is a bane to everything holy!"
  • Awesomeness by Analysis:
    • How did Bane figure out Batman's identity? He spotted from a chance sighting that Bruce Wayne has the same body language.
    • Bane became a master of several martial arts and sciences simply by reading every book he could get his hands on. After Bane holds his own against world-class Master Swordsman Ra's al Ghul, Ra's criticizes his lack of flair and implies that Bane learned sword fighting entirely from reading books on the subject.
  • Badass Boast: Bane's a badass and well-aware of it, and he loves boasting about it. It's practically a staple of his character. He especially likes to remind people of how he "broke the bat" or that "I am Bane".
    Bane: Did you forget? You all forgot who I am! I BROKE HIM! I BROKE THE BAT! I WILL BREAK HIM AGAIN, A THOUSAND TIMES!

    Bane: You will know my name one day. And on that day you will beg for mercy. You will scream my name! SCREAM IT!

    Bane: 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: Only when I'm dead do I intend to rest.

    Bane: There is no power left ... but me. There is no authority left ... but me. There is no hope left ... but me. There is no Batman. There is no Justice League. There is only Bane.
  • Badass Bookworm: In prison, he read three books a day and became an expert in a variety of subjects at the same time as he became a physical powerhouse.
  • Badass Normal: When he's not using Venom, he's this. Arguably, he's much more dangerous as Venom has mind-altering properties. During his stay in Secret Six, he's stopped using, claiming he wasn't proud of his former dependence on the ultra steroid.
  • Bastard Bastard: Born out of wedlock, abandoned by father before birth, and a terrifying monster to boot.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • In Knightfall, he released every single inmate from Arkham Asylum and allowed them to wear down Batman enough to confront him and break his back.
    • Up to Eleven in Batman (Tom King). At first, he appears to be involved in "only" the minor role of the second and third storylines, "I Am Suicide" and "I Am Bane," and of the two, Batman is actually the aggressor of "I Am Suicide" by coming after Bane first. However, it is later revealed that Bane was orchestrating everything since the beginning of Rebirth in "I Am Gotham," carrying on well beyond his "defeat" in "I Am Bane." Not only had he fully intended for Batman to come after him AND planned it out to manipulate who Batman brought along for the mission, he also successfully planned how JOKER would subtly influence Catwoman's decision to abandon her wedding, despite Joker's tendency towards unpredictability AND without ever having Joker wittingly involved in his plan.
  • Berserk Button: Mistreatment of Scandal Savage. Don't attempt to harm or even threaten her in his presence.
  • Big Bad:
    • He's the mastermind and main antagonist of Knightfall, kickstarting the events and personally defeating and crippling Batman.
    • He's the Arc Villain of several story arcs in Batman (Tom King), and near the end it's revealed that he was actually the mastermind of almost everything that happened in the entire run, all in an effort to break down Batman.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Had this characterization in Secret Six. Despite being The Atoner, his morality's incredibly skewed. While his first impulse on finding a "Get out of Jail Free" Card is to destroy it, and frowns on slavery, he's also willing to work with Dwarfstar (though he still makes it clear that he's disgusted by him and is just barely tolerating him), and beat a man's face to pulp for disrespecting a stripper Bane's only just met. This comes back to bite him in the ass when the Six briefly visit Hell to retrieve the Card, and he finds out that he's damned for his lifetime of murder and brutality, and he's genuinely confused that he's slated for damnation. Apparently, he had assumed that following his own code of honor meant that he was fundamentally a good person, not realizing that making up your own moral code is not the same as following an objective morality.
  • Blood Knight: Befitting a prison-born brawler, Bane loves a good fight and the opponents that he feel are worthy of his time.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Bane, essentially, has the morality of a prison yard and its weird rules as his guiding principles. He is offended and horrified at the revelation that the universe doesn't consider this righteous.
  • Boring, but Practical: His first plan to break Batman. Bane broke more or less Batman's entire rogues' gallery out, handed them military-grade weaponry and just let them run loose with it. Then he simply waited until Batman ran himself to the point of utter mental and physical exhaustion before attacking himself. It worked.
  • Catchphrase: He tends to give out the phrase, "I WILL BREAK YOU!", quite a bit.
  • Characterization Marches On: Bane that was originally introduced was much crueler and petty than the version that has endured today. Though he was arguably portrayed as smarter than he often was afterwards, he also murdered prostitutes and was out to destroy Batman for little reason other than the "find the toughest guy in the place and beat him up" gambit. Flash forward to years later, after Bane has actually adapted to life outside the hellish prison he grew up in, and he's one of the few villains honorable and articulate enough that Batman will actually chat with him as they fight.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Even without Venom he is extremely durable and strong. In one story, Robin is amazed by his physical feats and assumes he's on venom, but he wasn't.
  • The Chessmaster:
    • Engineered the events in Knightfall to "break" Batman. It started with him and his henchmen using rocket launchers to blow up Arkham Asylum, releasing The Joker, Two-Face and at least a dozen other deranged super-criminals to causing chaos in Gotham and thus forcing Batman to have to hunt down all of them at once, thereby ensuring that Batman wasn't running at anything close to 100% when they fought, so Bane could beating down Batman in a brutal Curb-Stomp Battle that ended with Bane delivering a Game-Breaking Injury to Batman by breaking his back and leaving him alive but crippled, which made Bane so feared in Gotham that it allowed him to Take Over the City, just like he planned.
    • He also defeated another expert Chessmaster, Ra's Al-Ghul, in chess without ever having played it.
    • Batman (Tom King) played up this side of him particularly heavily. His scheme to break Batman mentally and take over Gotham required the exact actions of Hugo Strange, Gotham Girl, Psycho Pirate, Holly Robinson, the Ventriloquist, and additional villains to work together without giving away his involvement prematurely. It also required convincing Batman of Bane's own "defeat" multiple times, influencing Batman's own strategies for picking out his "I Am Suicide" team, correctly predicting how disconnected individuals like Joker and Booster Gold would react in the right situations, AND how Scarecrow's fear toxin would need to influence Batman's mind in a controlled way. Not only do the pieces fall into place successfully, but he is also TERRIFYINGLY effective all the while.
  • Chosen Conception Partner: During Bane of the Demon, Ra's al Ghul picked him to be his Heir-In-Law by having Bane marry Ra's daughter, Talia al Ghul so that Bane's and Talia's children could one day rule the world on continue Ra's legacy. Bane was pleased with the arrangement, but Talia was not and viewed him as an Abhorrent Admirer, much to Bane's distress. When he was defeated by Batman in Batman: Legacy, Ra declared Bane a failure and canceled the entire arrangement.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Given his upbringing in a brutal prison, Bane naturally had to become this just to survive. Additionally, in contrast to the also pragmatic Bat-Family and due to his rather villainous nature he isn't afraid to use lethal force or firearms if the situation warrants it. In fact, given his great strength, he can make use of much heavier artillery than most of Batman's other foes, who usually stick to handguns. Bane on the other hand has made use of a bazooka to blow Arkham wide open, a gatling gun to demolish Two-Face's army of goons, and a miniature nuke to destroy some evidence.
  • The Comically Serious: Much like Bats himself, he ended up as this in Secret Six, as a result of being The Stoic.
  • Companion Cube: His only real companion while imprisoned as a child was a teddy bear he named "Osito", and in the Batman: Arkham Series at least, he kept it even long after he escaped.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: He acted this way towards Talia al Ghul during the brief period they were "engaged" (In reality Ra's simply picked Bane as Talia's Chosen Conception Partner and she just had to bear with it). Bane was very stricken to learn Talia loved Batman (his Arch-Enemy) and to add further salt on the wound Batman defeating him during Batman: Legacy caused Ra to see Bane as unworthy and having his engagement with Talia annulled. Just another reason to break the Bat.
  • Cruel Mercy: Bane pulls this on Batman in Knightfall for why he breaks the hero's back rather than killing him after he defeats a worn-out Batman in combat.
    Bane: Death would only end your agony... and silence your shame.
  • Corrupted Character Copy: Bane was designed as an Evil Counterpart to Doc Savage, apropos given Batman heavily draws on the Shadow a major sales rival back in the day.
    • Like Doc Bane was raised in an atypical all-male environment that heavily affected his emotional development, was introduced with three talented 'assistants' (Bird, Zombie and Trogg), and is arguably the peak of human mental and physical development. But Savage Doc strove to use non-lethal methods wherever possible even if he was willing 'dirty' his hands now and then. It also would never have occurred to Doc to take over a criminal enterprise as he saw criminals as anathema to social order rather than a reality to be exploited.
  • Deadly Upgrade: While using the Venom Super Serum does give him a significant power boost, it's also something of a Psycho Serum that can often make his mind clouded or impairs his judgment. Sometimes he even becomes The Berserker. The constant usage also has its drawbacks in the long term, although specifically what and how severe tends to change Depending on the Writer. Sometimes it causes him to become mentally unstable or even insane, sometimes it makes him physically weak whenever he's not on Venom.
  • Delinquent Hair: Depending on the Artist, underneath his mask, Bane styles his hair in a short mohawk.
  • Depending on the Artist: His Cool Mask varies between luchadore and S&M. Also, does it only have eyeholes or have an opening for his mouth and/or nose? If it has an opening, is it zippered?
  • Desires Prison Life: Played With. As part of his Evil Plan he let himself be defeated by Batman and sent to Arkham Asylum, where he could control his scheme while seemingly not looking like a threat.
  • Despair Gambit: Knowing Batman is the Determinator, Bane often tries to break him not only physically, but mentally. Best demonstrated in his elaborate plan as the Big Bad in Knightfall and Batman (Tom King)
    • In Knightfall Bane released several of Batman's rogues in Gotham at the same time to cause chaos and mayhem, Batman was physically and emotionally exhausted from his crusade. Only then did Bane confront him, and gave Batman a brutal Curb-Stomp Battle that ended with his back being broken by Bane, who leaves Bruce alive, but defeated and crippled, and with the fear that he may never walk again, much less be Batman.
    • In Batman (Tom King), Bane masterminded a long and complex scheme to systematically dismantle Bruce's life to break him completely: He sabotages Bruce's relationship and impending marriage with Selina Kyle by manipulating events so that Selina gives up on the marriage, he hires KGBeast to take down Bruce's oldest partner Dick Grayson, he manipulates events to alienate his relationship with Commissioner Gordon, and even gaslights Bruce into believing he may actually be incapable of loving. In the final arc City Of Bane, Bane also teams with Flashpoint Thomas Wayne just to provide Bruce the extra hurt of having to fight an Evil Alternate Self version of his father. And near the runs end he kills Alfred.
  • Determinator: This is what makes him so dangerous, rather than Venom. His backstory includes growing up in a Hellhole Prison right from his birth due to crimes his father commited. For several years he was held to solitary confinement, which there meant a barred-off pit where all he could eat was rats, and the tides would cause it to flood twice a day. Instead of going insane or dying, it only made him stronger. The warden tried to get rid of Bane by putting him up as a test subject of an experimental drug called Venom, which had killed all the previous subjects. It made him stronger. Once Batman manages to put Bane into prison he decides that reliance on Venom has made him soft, and he kills another inmate because he wants to be sent to solitary so he can purge his addiction by going cold turkey and training to build his body back up without distractions. It worked exactly as planned.
  • Disappeared Dad: His father was Edmund Dorrance, a disenfranchised British noble who became a mercenary known as King Snake, who had worked for the failed revolution and fled the country afterwards, leaving his lover and unborn son to face the wrath of the military government.
  • The Dreaded: He isn't called Bane for nothing. He earned his name by murdering another inmate at a young age while growing up within a Hellhole Prison, and he only became more fearsome after that. During Knightfall, Batman himself was afraid of Bane, because he knew Bane had put him at a great disadvantage and was indirectly causing more chaos than any other enemy before. Ever since that incident, Batman has known not to take Bane lightly. And by breaking Batman, Bane earned such a reputation that at least most street levelers of DCU are intimidated by him.
  • Drugs Are Bad: He's been used a couple of times to deliver An Aesop on the dangers of steroid abuse. In the DCAU, he's reduced to a vegetable who needs venom to stay alive - and still needs machines to breathe for him anyway. In the comics, Bane has once kicked his Venom addiction and relies on his natural strength—still way above average, but no longer quasi-superhuman.
  • Dumb Muscle: Far from it in the comics as he is able to go punch-for-punch with Batman at an intellectual level beyond his ability to do so (and more) at a physical level. However other adaptions tend to give him such traits (most notably Batman & Robin).
  • Empowered Badass Normal: When he's using Venom, the ultra steroid that boosts his muscle mass, he's several times stronger than a normal man. But (even without it, he's already monstrously powerful).
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": He never had a birth name due to his unusual upbringing in the Hellhole Prison he was born, and simply adopted the nickname Bane he gained in prison. His adaptations in Batman & Robin and Gotham did give him a name Antonio Diego in Batman & Robin and Eduardo Durrance in Gotham (Based on Bane's Disappeared Dad Edmund Dorrance).
  • Evil Counterpart: In Rebirth, Bane's backstory is depicted as a dark reflection of Bruce's, with the deaths of their mothers being their common connection, before their different upbringings cause them to diverge.
  • Evil Is Bigger: Typically, he's larger than Batman but once he starts pumping the venom, he can grow to humongous proportions.
  • Fantastic Drug: One of the foremost "fictional drug" users in comics, as he is almost always shown with his Venom super-steroid.
    • He does have a replacement "drug" he abuses in the I Am Suicide storyline, complete with what appears to be an addiction and a more laid-back complacency when using: Psycho Pirate's mood-altering powers. He's so addicted that "withdrawal" leads to him taking up venom again for his Roaring Rampage of Revenge in the following arc, I Am Bane.
  • Flanderization:
  • Foil: To Batman himself. He is every bit as brilliant, skilled, strong, manipulative, and strategic as the Bat, but where Bruce Wayne came from privilege and uses his abilities for justice, Bane fought his way to the top from the darkest, most oppressive environment possible, and uses his powers to sow evil.
  • Force and Finesse: His style of attack and action act in direct opposite to Batman's since he focuses on brutal physical force and vicious assault to get his way. Even lampshaded by Ra's Al Ghul during a sword duel which he used as part of a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to describe how despite Bane's strength he lacks the finesse and grace of the Batman.
  • Freudian Excuse: He was born and raised in a maximum-security Hellhole Prison because his mother was arrested for crimes she did not commit, which left him with a pretty dim view of the world.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: He was once just a young boy who was expected to die in prison but he survived to become one of the DC Universe's deadliest threats.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: He spends the entirety of I Am Suicide completely naked, and he's still no less terrifying.

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Alternative Title(s): Bane

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