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The man later known as Bane was an inmate of Pena Duro, a Cuban prison meant to contain the hardest, most dangerous convicts. He was chosen as a test subject for "Project Gilgamesh", a government project to create super-soldiers with a new "super-steroid", Venom. The experiment was too successful—Bane escaped Cuba, stealing the formula for Venom with him, and hired out his services as a freelance assassin, he also presumably kills everyone related to the project as Batman states Bane is the only one who knows how to manufacture Venom. Eventually Bane built his reputation to the point where he could demand five million dollars per job.

Being hired by Rupert Thorne to eliminate Batman was the job Bane had been waiting for. In his career, Bane had become fascinated by Batman, and had studied him carefully in prison in the hope of one day defeating him. Bane had also schemed to supplant Thorne as head of organized crime in Gotham City with the help of Thorne's moll Candace, who took little convincing to shift her allegiance from Thorne to Bane. Bane went about getting Batman's attention by destroying the Batmobile with his bare hands, beating Killer Croc so severely that it left him in traction, and kidnapping Robin. In the end, Bane came close, but just as he was about to "break" Batman, the Dark Knight defeated Bane by jamming a Batarang into his Venom distributor, giving him a dangerous Venom overdose. A moment later, Batman pulled the Venom tube out of Bane's head before he suffered a heart attack, then dragged the defeated Bane back to Thorne's office. There, he pulled off Bane's mask and taunted the crime boss to do better, along with revealing Candace's treachery.[1]

Bane later returned to Gotham City with a new, enhanced form of Venom. During Batman's unexplained absence from Gotham, Bane proposed an alliance with the Riddler and the Mad Hatter to rule the city, but this scheme was foiled by Superman, who had temporarily taken on Batman's costume. Even though Bane was stronger than ever, he was only barely a match for Superman, until he pushed the Man of Steel too far and took a vicious beating from him.

Under the influence of the Scarecrow's fear toxin, Barbara Gordon had a nightmare in which she was killed, and her father James Gordon, went mad with grief upon learning of her alter ego. Gordon blamed Batman for Barbara's death and launched a massive yet unsuccessful manhunt for the Caped Crusader. Desperate to see Batman brought to justice, Gordon cut a deal to release Bane from Stonegate Penitentiary in order for Bane to capture Batman. In the final moments of the hallucination, Bane double-crossed Gordon and flung the Bat-signal at him and Batman, knocking them off of the roof of GPD headquarters before seemingly dying himself.

Unlike many other of Batman's enemies, Bane had no diagnosed mental problems, and so was usually incarcerated in Stonegate instead of Arkham Asylum.

Still later, Bane was hired by the Penguin and Rupert Thorne to help protect an arms deal they had arranged with the Kaznian military. He went up against Batman and the new vigilante Batwoman. The fight ended aboard a burning cruise liner, where a heavily wounded Batman managed to cut Bane's venom pump and throw him off board.

Decades later, after Bruce had retired and Terry McGinnis had become Batman, Bane's constant use of Venom had degraded his body and transformed him into a wheelchair-bound invalid, barely able to move and needing constant infusions of Venom just to stay alive. However, Bane became so weak that he had to trust an assistant, Jackson Chappell with the secret formula of Venom to supply and administer his Venom dependency. Soon Bane became a shadow of his former self. Chapell decided to cash in by turning Venom into easy-to use "slappers". The new Batman stopped Chapell, but during the adventure, Bruce Wayne paid Bane the tribute of telling his protege that Bane was a "formidable opponent".


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