Bane: How Arkham Origins Nails The Character
Batman: Knightfall gave us one of the greatest villains in DC’s rogue gallery – Bane. In July 1993, DC Comics made history in the Batman mythology when Bane himself did the impossibe – breaking The Bat. With that monumental page, Bane was quickly established as one of Batman’s most renowned foes; an equal in both strength and intelligence. Ever since, Bane has had numerous portrayals and redesigns in movies, TV, and video games; each one deviating from its source material and bringing something to the character.
However, none have matched the exact fearsome presence for which Knightfall Bane presents – except for one. Batman: Arkham Origins is the game that brings in a truly accurate and excellent representation of one of Batman’s greatest adversaries. . With the 28th Baneiversary coming this July, we will be exploring the reasons why the game is the strongest version of Bane in media.
Disclaimer: The following will discuss the events of Batman: Arkham Origins. Spoilers are certain.
The Voice and Design of Bane
A character’s attire and voice is everything – but sight and voice reflect a character as a whole. Bane’s appears in Knightfall dressed in a luchador-styled outfit; geared with a black singlet and a mask. Batman & Robin (yes I hear your sighs) is the only live-action media that has accurately portrayed this costume.
However, the ’90s are over! Villains can’t go running around in spandex and looking like wrestlers right? Well, Arkham Origins has a great solution for that. Bane’s costume in Origins is flawlessly depicted with its composite of Knightfall’s traditional outfit and the modernised military look of it. This is an outfit that commands power, fear, and tradition. Bane kills it with this outfit, and also kills in general.
Origins manages to keep the luchador mask and still make it work with the army-based outfit. The iconic ‘Bane skull’ painted on the mask is a magnificent nod to comic fans whilst still showing Bane’s face. A welcoming balance between the original look with a fresh one. Furthermore, Bane’s outfit also looks practical – being outfitted with body armour, a venom dispenser, and a utility belt to rival Batman’s.
Outfits show a lot, but a voices go further.
The casting in Origins pulls out all the stops, and J.B Blanc was born for this role. You may know him as the voice of Caustic in Apex Legends, or Rost in Horizon: Zero Dawn, but I know him as the definitive Bane. Blanc breathes life to Bane by showcasing the voice of a man who could beat you at chess, whilst literally beating you with the board. Commanding, powerful, yet possessive of intelligence – these are the qualities that make up Bane as Batman’s greatest adversary. Blanc voices Bane beautifully; so much he got to reprise the role in Telltale Batman: The Enemy Within.
The Motivations of Bane
Bane was born and raised in the prison known as Peña Duro. In one scene, he envisioned his destiny to rule Gotham and conquer fear (envisioned as a bat-demon). Since then, Bane made it his destiny to destroy Batman and become Gotham’s new ruler. Arkham Origins, unlike the other games in the Arkham series, is the only game that closely matches its source material for Bane’s characterisation and motivation.
Bane is revealed to be one of the assassins in the game hunting Batman for Black Mask. However, as the two finally meet, Bane’s agenda becomes clearer and more personal. Bane claims to Batman that “I’ve long waited for this moment. With your death, I will find peace”. Readers of Knightfall will recognise this callback to Bane’s destiny, and his vision to finally defeat fear – the embodiment of Batman. Bane must destroy Batman to achieve peace.
Even his vision to rule Gotham, like in the comics, is shown in-game.
During the hotel battle, Bane will proclaim to Batman that “I will make this city kneel before me and then I will leave it in ashes”. Bane’s motivation to beat Batman is not at all about the bounty, it is so he can become the warlord of Gotham. But this is only achieved by battling its protector.
Even in the first boss fight with Bane, you will hear him lament about how his duel with Batman was envisioned. All of this conveys how Origins overall beautifully understands Bane’s destiny from the comics. They utilise these motivations to work in-game and turn him from a simple boss fight to the story’s secondary antagonist. Bane rises to become Batman’s priority rather than a henchman.
The Personality Of Bane
Bane, despite his overwhelming strength, is not the brute most people would assume him to be. In his origin story, Bane is a master tactician, a multi-linguist, and a polymath. More so, he inspires loyalty as well as possessing vast intelligence.
Origins portrays all of these qualities masterfully; and displays them in such a way that pushes Batman to his limits. Firstly, Bane’s intelligence is an attribute crafted accurately in the game. Bane shows his great study of Batman’s techniques and approaches, in which he manipulates this knowledge to his advantage. Bane shows this by using the Joker as bait for Batman, deducing that Batman was hiding on top of an empty elevator, and even realising that he was being tracked by the Dark Knight.
Bane deduces Batman’s identity as Bruce Wayne by “know[ing] him intimately” much like in Knightfall,. In the comic, Bane recognises Wayne’s alter ego just by looking at him, claiming that “he cannot hide from me simply by removing his mask”. Bane in Origins studies Batman from afar, forming notes and photos of his presence. Batman realises his exposure when he finds Bane’s computer. The Computer shows all of Bane’s findings and recordings of Batman’s slip-up to his identity.
Bane exploits this by mortally wounding Alfred and destroying the Batcave in a bid to demoralise the hero. Furthermore, Bane attempts to anger and goad Batman into fighting with the pain of loss rather than logically. This in turn allows Bane to gain the advantage against a now reckless foe.
Loyalty And Honour
We mentioned that Bane is an inspiring figure, both in the comics and also in this game. Most of this is seen in-game through the dialogue and actions of his soldiers. Through conversations, his mercenaries praise him, and hold his actions, leadership and strength in high regard. In addition, Batman can interrogate his soldiers, but it results in them not giving up the information easily. They proves their loyalty by being willing to die for him.
To add further, Origins implements an intriguing code of honour to the villain. Bane in Knightfall describes himself as someone who would “darken the light in eyes that dared look at me“. However he instils honourable acts such as not killing any of Batman’s allies. The Bane in Origins, though willing to kill Batman’s allies to antagonise him, still has his own code of honour.
Like Knightfall, Bane’s revelation at Batman’s identity was kept away from the world. Unlike the comic where Bane lets his inner circle know, Bane doesn’t expose batman outright to anyone but himself. Bane’s honours Batman by maintaining this secret, as he respect him, and refers to him as “Mr Wayne” in private.
Additionally, Bane’s honour is formed on the basis of respect – even for his foes.
Bane cares little for the other assassins or even Joker himself; even willing to keep the lunatic hostage despite being employed by him. Batman, however, is a worthy adversary and therefore earns his respect. Bane illustrates this by mortally wounding Alfred to allow Batman some final words, as opposed to outright killing him. Furthermore, Bane gives some last rites to his arch-nemesis as he is about to finish him, saying: “may you find the peace in death that you did not find in life”.
Bane’s Fighting Prowess
Batman is regarded as one of the best fighters in the DC universe. Skilled in various forms of martial arts, fighting styles and gadgets, Batman fights against the strongest of foes and wins. It’s safe to say that even with Bane’s training, the villain would lose in a duel between the two. Knightfall emphasises this with Bane himself stating that: “[Beating Batman] will take finesse. This one requires talent”. Bane knows the reputation of Batman’s career and recognises his own limits.
Origins changes this in a very appropriate way; with Batman in his second year of vigilantism. Batman isn’t quite in the prime level of skill and strength as he is in Arkham Asylum, City, and Knight; and is prone to overconfidence. We see Bane as the superior on the other hand; with Batman surprised that a strong foe such as him would be seen in Gotham. Bane of course is right to be feared by Batman, as his intelligence also moulds into his fighting skill and strength combined.
The first appearance of Bane shows him brawling 3 brutes his size at the same time.
Bane achieves this by ambushing the first brute to kill him, before separating the two through a series of blows, counters, and disorienting attacks. He then displays his strength by simultaneously breaking their necks at the same time, without the use of venom. Batman worries about this, and is curious about Bane’s role more than any of the other assassins.
To further add, Bane is victorious in both his duels against Batman in the game. His fight at the hotel was his first, and his battle at the prison was a second (before Batman uses his tools to gain the upper edge). This emphasises that Bane was the most formidable out of the Assassins to come close to killing the Bat.
With many adaptations of novels and comics into pieces of media, presenting the accuracy of a character is important. The developers have successfully painted the character from the page to the screen whilst maintaining their own vision. Arkham Origins creates the best representation of Bane with its brilliant character aesthetic, flawless casting, and mirrored motivations alongside the exact personality from the comic
Bringing back Bane as one of Batman’s greatest threats is a victory for all Bane’s fans out there; as the menacing king of Peña Duro returns to his rightful spot. Origin’s is a testament to how other media depictions of Bane should follow, noting what makes him unique from others and establishing that legacy. A movie adaptation of Knightfall would most definitely benefit from following this example.