WARNING! Disturbing images and spoilers ahead!
When Batman returns on the big screen in next year’s The Dark Knight Rises, he will battle the villain Bane (Tom Hardy)
NO! Not that one! The real one. the cunning one. The dangerous one.
Bane is one of the lesser known Batman villains (at least for people who are fans only by the movies). But comic-fans know, he is one of Batman’s most significant foes, as he was the one that literally broke the Bat. All that happened in the Knightfall event.
The Dark Knight is dead…
Bane is a mysterious man, raised on a prison island and he has trained his body hard to become the ruler of the world. He is extremely smart and his strength gets increased by the drug “Venom“. After his arrival in Gotham he organizes a mass break-out of Arkham Asylum in order to bring the Batman down. Batman now has to fight all of his arch enemies as well as smaller foes. The endless and restless confrontations weaken him, so Bane, who found out that Batman is Bruce Wayne, has an easy game with him. After a cruel and short beating, the unthinkable happens: Bane breaks Batman’s back:
Who rules the night?
Batman is defeated. Broken. Bane rules the city. In a moment of despair, Bruce Wayne announces not Dick Grayson, but Jean-Paul Valley aka Azrael as his successor. Trained and brainwashed by the mysterious Order of St. Dumas, Valley is a much grimmier and more brutal Batman than Bruce. He builds his own Bat-armor and is eventually able to defeat Bane (In a showdown that became the model for the showdown in Batman Begins)
As Bruce Wayne has slowly recovered (in KnightQuest), Azrael-Batman became more and more insane, resulting in the deaths of two people (interesting hereby is the fact that Valley refused to rescue a criminal and left him for death. The same thing Batman (Christian Bale) in Nolan’s Batman begins, who honors his “no kill”- rule, did the exact same thing in Batman Begins)
This causes Bruce Wayne to return. But first he must regain his strength, agility and spirit. Meanwhile, Valley wants to kills his father’s murderer, being not aware that this man has already died (Gee, I wonder whether Nolan took this as an inspiration for another of his movies…)
After Bruce Wayne is ready to become once again the Dark Knight, the battle of the Batmen begins. Will vs strength, costume vs armor. It’s a long fight, that eventually leads into the Batcave, and is brought to an end at the exact place where Bruce Wayne for the first time had encountered his destiny. Bruce Wayne is Batman. Always has been and always will be. But as he lets Jean-Paul Valley – his mistake – walk away in the sunlight, he has to overthink his role as the Caped Crusader.
The Knightfall-Saga has its lengths, but also has its moments. Two very interesting villains are introduced, and the pain Wayne lives through is always noticebale. It’s one of the best and most memorable Batman stories. Even if the ending to part three is arguable (hey, actually there should be five parts, but the real part three – KnightQuest wasn’t published as a whole, and the last part is actually an epilogue . A very very long epilogue), it’s still a good conclusion to the saga.