When DC relaunched their entire publishing line last Autumn they rebooted decades worth of continuity, much to the annoyance of some fanboys, especially when they boldly – and perhaps mistakenly – stated that in this ‘new’ verison of the DC universe the Justice League had only been around for about five years. Holy blashphemy, Bat-fans! What would this mean for such seminal stories as The Killing Joke, The Knightfall Saga or the entirety of Grant Morrison’s franchise-defining run ? Surely they wouldn’t be forgotten, lost to the continuity eraser that is DC’s ruthless editorial team?
Well, at least for the Batman franchise, it seems that The New 52 has altered very little! As we learned within the first month of the relaunch, the Joker still shot Batgirl, Batman Incorporated remains fully functional and now, in The New 52′s sixth month, we learn that Bane – he who broke the Bat – did in fact still break the Bat, as evidenced by his appearance in The Dark Knight #6.
It’s hardly a surprise that such a momentous event remains in continuity, what with the Batman franchise being both critically and commercially successful prior to the reboot. It seems to be a case of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But, compared to his previous incarantion, how does Bane’s first appearance in this all new DCU fare? Judging by his brief appearance here, he once again appears to be nothing more than a two-dimensional brute which is enormously dissapointing, especially when you consider the excellent work that Gail Simone did with him over in the pages of Secret Six. With The Dark Knight Rises out in the summer, all eyes will be on Bane. Let’s just hope that all those eyes won’t be looking here, as writer Paul Jenkins and co-writer/artist David Finch fail to deliver the goods. #
If you’re looking for a decent Bane story then I recommend the following: Knightfall Volumes 1, 2 & 3, Batman: Legacy and Gail Simone’s Secret Six run (which Batman barely register in). Actually, in all honesty, the latter is the only one worth reading, as Simone is the only writer to treat Bane as more than just an intelligent brute, giving texture and layers to a character that was originally overly simplified. It will certainly be interesting to see how Christopher Nolan and Tom Hardy choose to portray him, if not just to see where they draw inspiration from.