What only comic book fans know about Batman’s rivalry with Bane



Over the years, Bane has become one of Batman’s most powerful enemies. A standout comic for the character was the Knight’s fall bow that includes the iconic panel of him breaking Batman’s back. Despite the violent history they share, the two have also joined forces in unlikely situations.

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Much like the Joker, Bane develops a symbiotic relationship with Batman. The two characters become attached to the city of Gotham and wish to become its protectors in their own way. The clash of ideals between the two leads to much of their conflict in the comics.


Bane had an intense fear of bats

Bane shatters the Batmans back in DC Comics

The History of the Batman Comic Book of the 1990s Knight’s fall reveals that since he was young, Bane was extremely afraid of bats. In fact, a giant bat haunted him in his dreams. This contrasted with his otherwise fearless and tough personality.

When he arrives in Gotham, he believes he has met his equal in Batman. He is sure it was fate that led him to defeat the vigilante and overcome his fear. Since Gotham is dominated by fear of Batman (much like Bane instilled fear in Peña Duro’s prison), he wishes to usurp his position.

Batman’s Snake King Nemesis is Bane’s father

Bane hugging King Snake in DC Comics.

The dark knight rises mentions Ra’s al Ghul as Bane’s mentor, recruiting him into the League of Shadows. However, in the comics, Bane’s father is another Batman comic book villain known as King Snake.

The master martial artist and mercenary was helping rebels in Santa Prisca when the country’s authoritarian government thwarted his plans. While King Snake was on the run, the government also captured the child he had with a local rebel there. Imprisoned at a young age, this child grew up to be Bane. All the while, Snake moved to Gotham and sought to establish his criminal supremacy by fighting rival gangs in Chinatown and the duo of Batman and Robin.

The new Batman defeated him

Azrael works as Batman.

With Bruce Wayne broken and beaten by Bane’s attacks in Knight’s fall, he passed on Batman’s mantle to the murderous anti-hero Jean-Paul Valley (or Azrael as he liked to be called). Azrael is first seriously injured while impulsively fighting Bane.

At the end of Knight’s fall, the alternate version of Batman strategizes more and also decides to give the classic Batman costume a modern update. With metal armor, razor-sharp projectile weapons and metal gauntlets, he manages to weaken Bane. Finally, he cuts the tubes that pump the venom into the villain’s body, leaving him weak enough for Valley to beat him.

Ra’s Al Ghul disowned Bane when he failed to defeat Batman

Bane talks to Ra's al Ghul in DC Comics

In search of his “dead” father, Bane somehow met Talia al Ghul, eventually befriending his father Ra’s al Ghul in the comics. The latter was so impressed with Bane’s physical strength and intellectual prowess that he wished his daughter would marry him. During the Gotham takeover, Bane was also his henchman.

This mission in Police comics # 701 brought him into a direct hand-to-hand combat with Batman. This much-anticipated recovery ended up being in favor of the Capped Crusader as he gained the upper hand and beat Bane. As a result, Ra’s al Ghul was so embarrassed that he denied him as a member of the League of Assassins and called off his daughter’s marriage.

Bane once believed he was Batman’s brother

Bane and Batman on the cover of Gotham Knights

In the relentless search for his father’s villains, a Jesuit priest has revealed the possibility that an American doctor is Bane’s biological father. Based on his research, Bane comes to the possibility that Batman’s father, Thomas Wayne, was close to Bane’s mother when the first visited Santa Prisca.

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This makes him come to the conclusion that he is Batman’s father. In the Knights of Gotham “Tabula Rasa” scenario, Bane continues to fight the Dark Knight on the streets while staying at Wayne Manor until the DNA results arrive. Finally, it is medically proven that Thomas Wayne did not father Bane. The villain peacefully leaves Gotham and resumes his research while Batman agrees to fund his trip.

Bane burned down Wayne Mansion

Side images of a Kingdom Come and Wayne Manor sign

The Classic 90s Justice League Comic Book kingdom come was released under the Elseworlds imprint, implying an alternate reality for DC heroes. While the story focused more on the main set’s philosophies than the action, Bane cannot engage in any of his “challenges” against Batman. Instead, he’s just mentioned passing by a Bruce Wayne who is past his prime.

Wayne reveals that since his superhero identity became public, Bane and Two-Face ended up burning the entirety of Wayne Manor. The only place that remained intact on the ground was the Underground Batcave.

They teamed up against King Snake

King Snake surrounded by his armed henchman in DC Comics

Bane finally discovers that King Snake was his father in the “Veritas Liberat” arc of Knights of Gotham. However, his anti-heroic side is awakened when he decides to stop his father’s plans for a global takeover. Batman also arrives on the scene and the two enemies decide to unite for a change.

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When King Snake shoots Batman point blank, Bane steps in to protect the Dark Knight. While Bane is fatally injured after this attack, Batman helps him heal by bathing him in one of Ra’s al Ghul’s Lazarus pits. This scenario definitely makes for an unlikely and emotional team for the two of them.

Knightfall even inspired a metal album

Album cover art for Knightfall featuring Batman tilting his head by Silent Images

Bane and Batman fans recognize the legacy of Knight’s fall with the comic even serving as inspiration for The dark knight rises, the final chapter of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The comic even inspired Swedish metal band Silent Images who released a concept album of the same name in 2016.

The album Knight’s fall paints a philosophical tale that examines Bane and Batman’s rivalry through modern socio-political issues and even a subtle homoeroticism between the two rivals. For example, a track like “I Am The City” reveals the different ideologies they have while controlling Gotham City through a reign of fear.

He couldn’t break Batman’s back in Batman ’66

Bane smashing Batman's back in Batman '66.

A tribute to Adam West Batman series, Batman ’66 the comics are intentionally campy and over the top. One of those issues involved Bane challenging Batman to a wrestling match. In a scenario similar to Knightfall, Bane manages to lift Batman and break his back, but it is revealed that Batman had a Batarang on his back! The small weapon prevents Bane from breaking his spine.

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Later, Batman even attaches a gadget to Bane’s face that prevents him from ingesting venom. This makes him weak and Batman emerges victorious again.

Bane discovered Bruce Wayne’s Alter Ego in a year

Two panels showing Bane watching an injured Batman at Knightfall

Bane is a villain with both brain and muscle. For the first, the Demon plague the script also mentions that he has eidetic memory which allows him to recall images accurately after seeing them just once.

In Knight’s fall, he carefully observes the body language of Batman as well as everyone he meets in Gotham. Within a year, he’s easily able to deduce that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Besides the physical manners, Bane was also able to accurately compare Wayne and Batman’s facial structures as being similar.

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