The man who broke The Bat.
Bane was first introduced in the 1993 comic Batman: Vengeance of Bane and his backstory was established in Knightfall.
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.
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.
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.
Tropes which describe Bane
- 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.
- Adaptational Wimp / Adaptational Badass: Different incarnations zig zag with his established physical capabilities and strategic mind. In several works he is largely impotent without venom, rendering his intake pump a huge weak spot. This is the default method of defeating him in works like Batman & Robin. In The Dark Knight Rises venom is replaced with an anesthetic gas in his mask to keep him stable from chronic pain, but otherwise meaning that his physical abilities are entirely him. In Batman: Arkham Origins he's portrayed as a 7 foot tall, 500 pound monster who uses venom only after a lengthy fight with Batman where they seem evenly matched.
- Adaptation Distillation: Is often applied to him when he appears in an animated show.
- Adorkable: Unexpectedly portrayed as this when Scandal sets him up on a date and he reveals his only knowledge of relationships is prostitution.
- 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 eachother.
- 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!"
- 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.
- Batman Gambit: Releasing every single inmate from Arkham Asylum allowed him to wear down Batman enough to confront him and break his back.
- Berserk Button: Do not, under any circumstances, threaten or attempt to harm Scandal Savage in his presence.
- 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.
- Catch-Phrase: He tends to give out the phrase, "I WILL BREAK YOU!", quite a bit.
- Characterization Marches On: The Bane that was originally introduced was much more cruel 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.
- The Chessmaster: Engineered the events in Knightfall to defeat Batman. He also defeated another expert Chessmaster, Ra's Al-Ghul, in chess without ever having played it.
- 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.
- 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.
- Delinquent Hair: Underneath his mask, Bane styles his hair in a short mohawk.
- Destination Defenestration: Used hilariously in one of the Secret Six books.
- Determinator: This is what makes him so dangerous, rather than Venom.
- Disappeared Dad: His father was Edmund Dorrance, the British 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 of the military goverment.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Bane's fate in Batman Beyond is that he's become a man trapped in an iron lung for the rest of his life in a crippled body. It's deliberately meant to invoke steroid abuse.
- The Dreaded: During Knightfall, not so much later.
- Drugs Are Bad: He's been used a couple 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 breath for him anyway. In the comics, Bane has kicked his Venom addiction and relies on his natural strength—still way above average, but no longer quasi-superhuman.
- Empowered Badass Normal: When he's using Venom, he's several times stronger than a normal man (even without it, he's already monstrously powerful).
- Expy: Bane was designed as an Evil Counterpart to Doc Savage, which is appropriate since Batman is an Expy of Doc Savage himself (as well as the Shadow). He can also be seen as a thematic equivalent of Doomsday, as his first appearance was to definitively defeat the hero, albeit Doomsday succeeds in killing Superman, whereas Bane simply cripples and demoralizes Batman.
- 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 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: For a long while after Knightfall, the writers forgot he was supposed to be a Genius Bruiser and wrote him as a Dumb Muscle. This has since been thankfully fixed courtesy of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy and Gail Simone's run on Secret Six.
- 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 "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 prison 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.
- Generic Doomsday Villain: He started out as this, (though he did at least get an issue to explain his backstory beforehand), rolling into Gotham, easily breaking Batman's Rogues Gallery out of Arkham, quickly deducing Batman's secret identity, before ultimately breaking his back and, having served his purpose, gets thrashed by Azrael in what almost seemed like a bit of an afterthought. Eventually the writers fleshed Bane out more, giving him an identity beyond being "the guy who broke Batman's back once". Unfortunately, there is also a tendency for some of his portrayals (especially in adaptations to other media) to focus on the steroidal "Venom" aspect of his character and nothing else meaning that once someone cuts his tubes, he goes down quick.
- Genius Bruiser: Stronger than Batman and the 600-year old Ra's Al Ghul once said that he had a mind equal to the greatest he had ever known across history.
- In prison, he learned how to read six languages, he devoured every book in the library while training himself. All thanks to his Eidetic Memory.
- Hoist Hero over Head: It's his Signature Move. The first time, he delivers the iconic back-breaker. The one pictured on the trope page is actually after that.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Twice in DC Rebirth. First, Batman has Catwoman break his back, then Batman forces Bane to run a gauntlet of Arkham inmates to exhaust him and take him out.
- Masked Luchador: His design evokes this image, especially with his mask. Whether or not it brings out the Wrestler in All of Us, is up to the writer. When Bane was brought to Batman '66, it did.
- Morality Pet: Scandal becomes one of these to Bane. He, essentially, adopts her despite her being a woman in her late-twenties to mid-thirties. Also qualifies as an Odd Friendship given this comes out of nowhere.
- Subverted with The Dark Knight Rises as his similar relationship with Talia al Ghul damns him rather than saves him.
- Motive Decay: Bane wanted to overcome his fear of bats by defeating Batman and taking over his city, which he did. After that, there was really no reason for Bane to want to go after Batman since it wasn't even Bruce Wayne who defeated him. Thus, the writers have often had to come up with rather oddball reasons for Bane to want to go after Batman since the former doesn't really have anything against the latter anymore.
- Mr. Fanservice: Usually played straight, with the wide-open shirt and copious muscle, although sometimes subverted with emphasized green veins from his venom.
- No Social Skills: As a result of his upbringing, Bane has little understanding of how social interaction outside prison works.
- Off the Wagon: When he first appears Batman (Rebirth) he has weaned himself off Venom. Then Batman invades his home and Catwoman breaks his back. He immediately has a Villainous Breakdown and screams for Venom.
- Only One Name: Unlike many others in Batman's Rogues Gallery, Bane's real name has never come up. The best his backstory can muster is his father's name, Edmund Dorrance, so it's safe to assume Bane shares the same surname. But as far as he's concerned, he is only just Bane.
- Papa Wolf: Becomes this to Scandal as well as a substitute father figure. Which is, given their ages, rather strange.
- Phlebotinum Rebel: A prison inmate used as a test subject for a Super Serum. Turned out the serum is good enough for him to break out.
- Poirot Speak: While Bane often drops Spanish words into his speech in the various adaptations he appears in, he's almost always written with perfect English in the comics. If you only know him from there and don't know his origin, you might not even realize that he's supposed to be Latin-American.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Bane's first plan to take down Batman was simple, brutal and effective: He arranged a mass breakout from Arkham Asylum, allowed Batman to run himself ragged taking down one dangerous psychopath after another, and came to deliver the finishing blow himself to a physically and mentally drained Batman.
- Prisons Are Gymnasiums: When Bane decides to get himself clean of Venom, he gets himself locked in solitary confinement in Blackgate and uses the time to rebuild his physique back till he is almost as tough as he had been on the drug.
- Essentially, Bane's entire childhood was this as he became a physical paragon in prison. Where he gained his extensive education and Detective skills has never been touched upon.
- Raised by Orcs: Was raised and trained by the worst murderers, thugs and rapists in South America, eventually becoming one of the most dangerous criminals of all time.
- Rated M for Manly/Testosterone Poisoning: Depending on the writer, Bane is surely large piece of meat. Thanks to his muscular and hairy body.
- Recycled In Space/This Is Your Premise on Drugs: Bane's was created as Doc Savage except EVIL AND ON STEROIDS!
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The "I am Bane" arc of Batman (Rebirth). After Batman invades his island, Bane returns to Gotham City, beats and lynches Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Damian Wayne in the Bat-Cave, abducts and tortures a number of Batman's other allies, and completely tears through every other member of Batman's rouges gallery in Arkham Asylum before finally facing Batman in a brutal brawl that leaves both men near death.
- Secret Keeper: One of the few villains to know Batman's Secret Identity and the location of the Bat-Cave. Although he keeps it to himself in order to toy with Batman.
- Self-Made Orphan: A major goal of his. The only time he wasn't interested in it was when he thought he was Thomas Wayne's illegitimate son.
- Shadow Archetype: When he first appeared, the impression was given that he was comparable to Batman in terms of intellect and physical prowess; essentially, Batman if he had grown up hated, abused, and imprisoned rather than loved, privileged, and free.
- Signature Move: Hoist Hero over Head, followed by cracking over the knee.
- Sinister Shiv: Kept one inside his childhood teddy bear. Being born and raised in prison can do that to a kid.
- Sins Of The Father: His mother was locked up while pregnant for him due to his father's crimes.
- Sociopathic Hero: At his best. Unlike Batman, he has no problem in committing murder.
- Super Serum: The Venom formula, a military project to create a super-steroid that could be used to make super soldiers.
- Super Strength: When juiced up on Venom, Bane's strength is beyond human, making him one of the most dangerous of Batman's opponents in hand to hand.
- Super Toughness: In his original appearance, part of the Super Soldier project he underwent was implanting subcutaneous armor implants — or, in layman's terms, peeling him open and inserting slabs of bullet-proof plastic into his flesh over his vital spots. This made him extremely resistant to damage, as most attacks would penetrate the skin and then be absorbed by the armor plating.
- Super Intelligence: Of the super learning and Photographic Memory kind. However, he doesn't boast on his intellect. Or apply the knowledge he has learned to practical use, except strategic skills. Willpower and discipline are his more defining attributes anyway.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Bane dislikes the possibility of the Joker-Scarecrow alliance defeating Batman, as the hero is his to break. Besides, he keeps Bruce's identity as a secret because he likes to have that trump card for his own use only. He beat the Joker to a pulp during the No Man's Land arc for possibly ruining his chance to confront Batman.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Bane had three very close friends in Knightfall who have hardly ever appeared since.
- Worthy Opponent: Bane considers Batman to be this. Batman zig-zags on this in reverse since Bane is a monster but has a crude form of honor. Ra's Al Ghul proclaimed Bane as the second most dangerous man in the world after his Batman Gambit to outwit Ra's to the point he declared Bane the only suitable mate for Talia besides Batman himself.
- Wrestler in All of Us: It's a bit exaggerated with the Luchadore mask, but his signature Backbreaker is indeed a wrestling move.