Batman & Bane: blood brothersPosted: 07/19/2012
With the Dark Knight Rises coming out today, I’d be a real jerk not to do a Batman/Bane article. And fortunately, everyone already knows about Batman, plus I’ve already covered Bane’s back story and history in a previous article. So let’s fast forward to Batman: Gotham Knights #33-36, written by Scott Beatty and drawn by Mike Collins. Y’see, Bane has been running around trying to destroy all the Lazarus Pits, used by Ra’s al Ghul to keep him immortal. Oh, let Robin explain:
But I’m getting ahead of myself. We start a few pages back as Bane makes a surprise visit to Wayne Manor. Remember, Bane figured out Batman’s secret identity back in his comic premiere.
While Bane ain’t exactly trustworthy, Ra’s al Ghul is a common enemy. Plus, even though Batman spends most of his time breaking criminals’ limbs, he’s a softy at heart. Also as you can tell from his hundreds of repeated drop offs to Arkham Asylum every year, he’s a huge fan of rehabilitation and second chances.
Luckily for us, Nightwing guesses correctly because his word boxes exactly match the action.
I must not be the only one who thinks bat-jetpacks would have been a way cooler idea than a whirly-bat. Though to be fair, I don’t have the decades of ninja training and detective skills to make the correct choices regarding infiltration missions. Either way, this little escapade has nothing to do with the rest of the story except to set up the rest of the magnificent arc. Y’see, because Batman helped Bane out, Wayne gets a reward. And it’s a doozy.
Being that Bane was born and raised in prison, he doesn’t have much of a clue to the identity of his father. Well, turns out he received a lovely little photograph on a cruise (which I’m not showing you) displaying Thomas Wayne’s arm (Bruce’s dad) around Bane’s mother. Normally, this shouldn’t be cause for concern as the odds for the two super dudes being related are astronomical at best. But this is the crazy world of fiction, where one man wears a batsuit and the other’s a killer luchador. Trust me, panic should set in.
Until the blood testing comes back, why not the siblings enjoy their new relationship? After all, they have quite a few years of catching up to do.
Y’see, the real problem with Bane and Batman being related occurs with Thomas Wayne. As you imagine, if the blood test comes back positive, that meant the Wayne patriarch cheated on his wife Martha and his good character besmirched. His values and morality instilled in Bruce may very well be the main reason Batman fights crime. Though as Alfred will explain, he doesn’t believe Thomas’ infidelity for a second:
Don’t worry, I won’t leave you in the dark (knight). Blood tests don’t take that long. Probably, I’m not sure. Either way, while Batman is out on patrol, Bane scurries to find out the results. His future depends on it.
Now, Wayne’s a major figure in the city. Playboy philanthropist billionaire and whatnot. The doctor’s not above selling the results to a third party. I think that breaks the Hippocratic Oath. But no matter the results, Bane would like a word with the reporter. Supervillain style.
Oh, can you guess why Bane’s depressed? Yup, blood test.
Look, the Bat family hasn’t been terribly supportive of Bane joining their little group. I’ve skipped a dozen pages of Nightwing, Oracle, Robin, Batgirl, Huntress, etc. screaming and arguing about Bane’s inclusion. He is a supervillain. On the plus side, Thomas Wayne’s reputation as a devoted husband remains intact. Though the same can’t be said for Bane’s heart.
Unfortunately, the big guy doesn’t have time to grieve. His almost-brother is in trouble. I’m sorry for neglecting Batman’s side story. A tattoo artist has been killing dudes by making their tattoos turn real. Yeah, I’m serious. His detective work leads him to the killer’s apartment. We’ll join in halfway through the fight.
So Bane hasn’t really reformed. Sort of. Let’s be fair, Bane will never be a good guy. His awful childhood and warped ideals made sure of that. But he did save Batman, and that has to count for something, right? Though any chance of them being friends flew out the window the second the blood test came back negative.
By the way, Bane actually does find his father ten issues later. Read it yourself, it’s a fun one. Bane has a lumberjack beard.
And I don’t think this is a sad ending. Because despite all the almost-tears Bane shed not being the almost-brother of Batman, it opened the character up to a tiny shining sliver of redemption. Will he accept the challenge? Kind of, though the status quo always eventually gets restored. The Riddler became a very successful private eye for a while before going back to crime. I’m just saying. As we wrap up this arc, let’s let Alfred have the last word. After all, he’s the only character whose job includes scrubbing up bat guano.