I have said it before and I shall say it again; a really good villain can be even more enticing than the hero of any story. A villain exists for the sole purpose to torment and tempt the moral integrity of the hero. The villain might be maniacal, using extreme actions to carry out their acts, or the villain might be methodical and seek out to slowly unhinge the hero until the hero finally breaks. I say break because in this particular instance, that is exactly what happened. The Bat was broken. It did not happen in this exact story but that action serves as fuel for the overall fiery premise.
A little known movie is to be released in theatres this summer and may or may not make a significant dent in the box office. Raise your hand if you have heard of it….The Dark Knight Rises. Anyone?…anyone? Bueller…Bueller? Ok, so maybe a few of you have heard of this being the last in the epic trilogy of reimagined Batman films directed by visionary director, Christopher Nolan. But have you really had the time to investigate the movie itself? Everyone points to the Dark Knight being such an amazing film because of the brilliant performance of the late Heath Ledger (the Joker), and this only harkens back to my original notion of the dynamic between the hero and the villain. The Joker was always known as being Batman’s most formidable foe because he was his foil. They completed each other in a sick and twisted way, at least according to the Joker. They were destined to duke it out forever. How could Christopher Nolan hope to top one of the biggest blockbusters in cinema history? Easy; utilize the only villain that actually broke The Bat. Bane.
Batman versus Bane is a collection of two stories, Batman: Vengeance of Bane and Batman: Bane of the Demon which tell the origin of the man that broke The Bat (note to reader: Batman Knightfall Part 1– a must read). This is a bind up from stories which were written in the mid 1990’s. Bane is probably one of the most cunning and intelligent of Batman’s foes. In these stories, Bane’s life is told in such a way that makes him almost a sympathetic character. From the time of his birth, he is imprisoned to pay penance for the crimes of a father which he had never met. He grew up in darkness and only found comfort in reading and studying to become the ‘Bane’ of humanity. He trained his body to peak physical condition and became a brilliant tactitian and master strategist (in one instance of a story, he deduced the identity of Batman just by studying him for a period of time). That is the story of Vengeance of Bane. In Bane of the Demon, he garners the attention of the League of Shadows, a secret organization run by the immortal Ra’s Ah Ghul, also known as ‘The Demon’. Without giving too much of the story away, it would seem as though this story is what inspired some of the events which will take place in ‘Dark Knight Rises’ (I checked up on spoilers, sue me).
This was a quick read for me but a read that made me realize that Bane is not truly ‘evil’, but solely a product of his environment. Imagine yourself being imprisoned for crimes committed by a father you’ve never known. You spend your youth being beaten and kept in the dark recesses of a jail cell. You know nothing of comfort or compassion. Love is a fictional entity. How would you react or better yet, what would you become? It is in these tales the reader comes to understand the deep fascination Bane has with the Dark Knight and it is in these tales the reader comes to realize the most dangerous of foes are the ones that were born of darkness and misunderstood by all.
I enjoyed these tales and found them to leave me salivating at the thought of these actions being depicted on the big screen. For anyone wanting to see ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, I would most certainly recommend reading this as supplemental material.