What’s in the Box – Issue #3

I’m still having a trouble keeping to an every Wednesday schedule but at least I am keeping up a once a week schedule.  Small victories.

Batman: Vengeance of BaneThis week’s book was an easy, and quite frankly obvious, choice.  With The Dark Knight Rises now in theaters, it is time to talk about Bane.

Batman:  Vengeance of Bane – 64 Page Special

January 1993

By: Chuck Dixon, Graham Nolan, & Eduardo Barreto

I remember when this issue came out.  This was before the Internet so it wasn’t common to know what was coming up story wise in comics.  The only way a ready knew something was coming was from ads in the books or from other printed sources and those you had to kind of dig around to find.  I wasn’t that kind of person.  Before this book came out, however, the guys running my LCS told me to be sure I picked this one up because something “interesting” was coming to the Batman books.  Some of the ground work for the “Knightfall” story line was already being laid by this time with the Azrael character that was introduced the previous October but I don’t know if anyone knew what was coming.

Vengeance of Bane introduced Bane and his back story.  Bane was born in a third world prison and charged with the crimes of his father.  Bane’s destiny was to spend life in the prison never to experience freedom for himself.  As might be expected, he grows up in a tough world.  He watches his mother die by the age of six upon which he is thrown into the general prison population to fend for himself.  He grows into the toughest hombre in the prison but also spends much of his time reading and learning and is as intelligent as he is powerful.

While in prison, Bane learns of Gotham City and its protector, Batman.  He develops a desire to conquer the city and its protector to basically show the world he has conquered fear and is the biggest bad-ass on the planet.  After being experimented upon by government officials, Bane’s physical conditioning is enhanced and he escapes the prison and heads to Gotham where he has his first meeting with Batman where he promises to one day make him beg for mercy.

Today was the first time I have read this book since 1993.  Bane’s obsession with Batman didn’t seem quite real to me back then and after re-reading the story I still feel the same way.  It seems a little too simple.  I also still think Bane’s design is silly.  Why the Lucha Libre mask?  Why the wrestler outfit?  There is no reason for him to dress like in that fashion.  I am sure they had a reason for designing him that way and may they explained it eventually but it isn’t discussed in the book.  In 64 pages the character goes from embryo to serious threat to Batman.  It’s a very “comic booky” story so maybe I should not be complaining but my opinion is that it isn’t convincing.

If you see The Dark Knight Rises you will see a version of this origin story but it has been changed to fit the Nolan Batman universe.  For the most part I really like Bane in the movie but you still don’t get the intelligence of Bane as portrayed in comics.  In the books he is shown as both a physical AND intellectual equal to Batman and when they pit them against each other in that way Bane becomes interesting.

Vengeance of Bane is an original origin story but I would have liked to see the character develop a little slowly before being thrown into the ultimate fight with The Dark Knight.  I feel like if this character was introduced today his origin would slowly trickle out of a year before he became a focal character and I enjoy the slow burn stories better.

Next week I’ll look at a non-Batman book.  Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.

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