Graphic Novel Review: Batman Versus Bane

10:27 22 March 2012

Batman Vs Bane

Batman Vs Bane

Archant

(Titan Books, £10.99)

ONE of the most inexcusable elements of the lacklustre movie Batman and Robin was producer Joel Schumacher’s decision to transform one of the most multi-faceted characters within the Batman comics universe into little more than a masked wrestler.

In reality, there’s so much more to Bane than the clichéd role of strongman, as hopefully his appearance in the new Christopher Nolan movie, The Dark Knight Rises, will highlight when it is released this summer.

The man who would become Bane was the son of a revolutionary in the Caribbean republic in Santa Prisca, sentenced to serve out his father’s life sentence from birth after the older man escaped the island. For years, all Bane knows is the amoral environment of the prison system, but he uses his time to hone his mind and body, until he eventually controls the entire jail.

It is then that he is chosen to become a test subject for the powerful steroid Venom, a drug which had killed all other recipients, but which vastly increases Bane’s physical strength to near superhuman levels.

Accompanied by his three accomplices Trogg, Zombie and Bird, Bane escapes Santa Prisca and heads to Gotham City, a place he knows fear rules in the form of the Batman, and resolves to defeat the Dark Knight and claim control of Gotham…

The story of how he brings down and breaks the Batman is revealed in the multi-part story Knightfall, as is Bane’s subsequent defeat and imprisonment at the hands of stand-in Batman Jean Paul Valley.

A keen strategist, scientist, linguist and tactician, gifted with a photographic memory and a master of various martial arts, Bane’s physical acumen is only one in a wide range of talents at his disposal, which lead him to be selected as heir to the Demon’s Head, aka Ra’s Al Ghul, an honour previously bestowed upon Bruce Wayne.

This collection includes the character’s debut in Vengeance of Bane, and some of his key appearances in subsequent stories. Read alongside the Knightfall trilogy, they provide a perfect introduction to Bane’s motivations and origins, and works as an excellent companion to the forthcoming movie.

Despite the book’s title, there aren’t actually any confrontations between Batman and Bane in this volume, and some of the issues included only offer tasters of longer story arcs, but it does prove why Nolan was so keen to use the character in the final instalment of his trilogy, and hopefully suggests Bane’s second cinematic appearance will be much more interesting than his first.

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