Bane Honored Batman’s “Death” by Protecting Gotham


After nearly killing each other many times over, Batman and Bane have developed a begrudging respect for one another, which prompted the Man Who Broke the Bat to protect Gotham when the Caped Crusader was believed dead. With the knowledge of Batman’s demise, Bane made it clear that he found it disrespectful for opportunists to rush in and commit heinous crimes in an unprotected Gotham. For a brief time, he acts like the Batman, sounds like the Batman, and, despite half-hearted denials, even considers becoming the Batman.

Batman’s death happened in DC’s 2008 event Final Crisis at the hands of Darkseid, who blasted Wayne with his Omega Beams after the Dark Knight managed to wound him with a radion bullet. During this time, Bane was a member of the third incarnation of the Secret Six, a badass team who rivaled the Suicide Squad in terms of its villain roster, humor, and overseer (revealed to be Lex Luthor). This sets off an interesting time in Bat-lore as many vie to become the new Batman as part of the Battle for the Cowl storyline. Bane and his fellow Secret Six member Catman are clearly at a loss without their foe and so confused that they are considering protecting Gotham.

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In Secret Six vol. 3 #9 by Gail Simone, Nicola Scott, and Doug Hazlewood, Bane is joined by Catman and Ragdoll in his mission to stop the plot that they were originally recruited for. Having been mentally and physically challenged by Batman for so long, Bane finds his recruitment to steal and murder children insulting to the man’s memory, saying that “it is disrespectful” and “he deserves better.” This is a deeper sign of respect still when considering that Bane’s new origin suggests an artificially manufactured hatred for Batman. When he saves the first little girl and the father asks for his name, he says that it was Batman who saved the child, making it clear that his unexpected heroics are in honor of his fallen adversary. In a darkly comedic moment, he also refuses to break the kidnapper’s back in a recreation of his iconic Bat-breaking moment, again to “honor” Batman, throwing him out the window instead.

When opponents battle so fiercely, their existences become helplessly intertwined, leading them to deeply feel the sudden loss of their sparring partner, especially when the final blow comes at the hands of another. Batman seems to have this effect on many of his villains, as he and Joker can’t kill each other given their diametrically opposed motivations and limitations. To see Bane also lost without Batman’s presence is a bit of a surprise since they have not been presented as the yin to each other’s yang.

Though three of the Secret Six’s members deny wanting to be the next Batman, their conversation at the issue’s conclusion shows that that they are hurt by not being considered. It was a fun exercise in role reversal and a good way to honor their sworn enemy, but Bane ultimately had to be content with just one day of saving Gotham in Batman’s place.

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