Ranking The TV Appearances Of Batman’s Bane, From Least To Most Spine-Crumbling

If last week was Breaking Bad Week here on UPROXX, then this week we’re all about The Dark Knight Rises, or more specifically, Bane, the film’s physically-intimidating antagonist. We’ve already put together a non-spoilery collection of GIFs showing Tom Hardy’s brute of a “man” from Rises and told you about the oversensitive nature of Batman fans, but we’ve spent very little time on Bane’s non-film appearances. If you want his full comic background, click here, but let’s talk about his TV history, shall we?

Bane, an escaped convict from a prison in South America who’s fueled by the super-steroid Venom, made debut in the comics in “Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1” in January 1993. A year and a half later, bolstered by the character’s instant popularity, he made his first appearance on a Batman TV show, Batman: The Animated Series (also the best Batman series). Since then, he’s popped up eight other times in five different series. Here they are, ranked by his respective spine-crushing abilities in that particular episode.

No movie spoilers, puh-leeze. Unless you wanna talk about Batman & Robin. Then go ahead.

Show: Young Justice
Episode: “Usual Suspects” (S01E25)
Voiced By: Nick Chinlund

Best Threat: /growls

How He’s Defeated: Electrocuted.

Overall Level of Spine-Crumbling Ability: Low. Bane should never hold a gun. Never.

Show: The Batman
Episode: “Team Penguin” (S04E02)
Voiced By: Ron Perlman

Best Threat: /roars

How He’s Defeated: Electrocuted.

Overall Level of Spine-Crumbling Ability: Low. Bane barely factors into “Team Penguin,” which refers to a group of Batman’s greatest villains that the Penguin is assembling to beat that rascally Bat once and for all. But before Bane can be recruited, he’s defeated by Batgirl, Robin, and Batman, who throws an electrified Batarang at his Venom source, robbing him of his powers. And that’s about it really. Sorry, Clay Morrow.

Show: The Batman
Episode: “The Batman/Superman Story, Part One” (S05E01)
Voiced By: Clancy Brown

Best Threat: N/A (doesn’t speak)

How He’s Defeated: Punched into some boxes.

Overall Level of Spine-Crumbling Ability: Low. In a crossover episode, Superman is in Gotham to stop Lex Luthor from teaming up with Batman’s usual array of enemies, but he temporarily loses his powers (and quickly gains them back). Bane’s only on-screen for roughly two minutes and is quickly thwarted and punched into a stack of wooden boxes. I think every fight on every Batman show involves boxes somehow.

Show: Batman: The Brave and The Bold
Episode: “Menace of the Conqueror Cavemen” (S01E17)
Voiced By: Michael Dorn

Best Threat: N/A (doesn’t speak)

How He’s Defeated: Electrocuted.

Overall Level of Spine-Crumbling Ability: Low. I hope Christian Bale’s Batman has watched the TV animated series; he’d know that the best and easiest way to defeat Bane is to electrocute him. Bane only appears in the cold open, in which Batman and Wildcat (who’s hilarious looking in Brave and the Bold) spare with the big brute. It’s a short scene, and the only real lesson is: don’t underestimate the pre-Venom Bane. You’ll be sorry.

Show: Batman: The Animated Series
Episode: “Bane” (S03E01)
Voiced By: Henry Silva

Best Threat: “You have nothing! Beg for mercy! Scream my name!”

How He’s Defeated: Pumped full of too much venom, before Batman rips the cord away, deflating him to the size of a non-freak.

Overall Level of Spine-Crumbling Ability: Moderate. He’s intimidating, yes, but also obvious. There’s nothing to him other than “BANE SMASH.” This is the Bane closest to Batman & Robin‘s Bane: he’s a strong, goofy lump of a human, who screams things like, “Prepare to meet your master,” looks like a luchador, and is a hired goon (hired goon?). In literal spine-crumbling abilities, this Bane should rank higher, but I can’t do it. He’s just so…bland. Or maybe I just don’t like the “Bane” episode because Batman says, “Later, gator” to Killer Croc. Oof.

Show: Superman: The Animated Series
Episode: “Knight Time” (S03E07)
Voiced By: Henry Silva

Best Threat: “Anything that’s standing in my way, I will break.”

How He’s Defeated: Punched until he’s unconscious. His Venom source is then disconnected.

Overall Level of Spine-Crumbling Ability: Moderate. Getting your ass whooped by Superman, especially Superman in Batman’s outfit (it’s a long story involving Brainiac and other “notable ne’er do wells”), isn’t anything to be ashamed of. But Bane working alongside the Riddler and the Penguin, among others, doesn’t really fit his MO. Bane works best when he’s working solo. Plus, again, Superman kicks his ass really quickly.

Which is why: Batman > Superman.

Show: Young Justice
Episode: “Drop-Zone” (S01E04)
Voiced By: Danny Trejo

Best Threat: “Such clever niños…”

How He’s Defeated: Kicked out.

Overall Level of Spine-Crumbling Ability: Moderate. Meet Spanish mercenary Bane, who speaks with a thick accent (befitting a character voiced by Danny Trejo) and gets beaten and bruised by the Kobra Venom-infused Mammoth in a factory on Santa Prisca, where the Cult of Kobra now reign. Bane’s pissed, so much so that he joins forces with Young Justice — made up of a young Batman and Robin, as well as Aqualad, Kid Flash, Miss Martian, and Superboy, among others — to get some payback. That lasts for all of 10 minutes, which is approximately how long it takes for Bane to reveal his true intentions: to kill everyone. Needless to say, Bane’s plans don’t go well for him. He’s knocked out by Superboy and later tied to a tree.

Show: The New Batman Adventures
Episode: “Over the Edge” (S01E11)
Voiced By: Henry Silva

Best Threat: “Give your dear Barbara a kiss for me.”

How He’s Defeated: He isn’t.

Overall Level of Spine-Crumbling Ability: High, but with an asterik. Stick with me here, folks, because this episode is all kinds of awesome. While Batman and Robin are busy dealing with some ol’ fashioned henchmen, Batgirl goes after Scarecrow — and is thrown off a building in the process. Commissioner Gordon finds her lifeless body in the street and discovers her true identity: his daughter, Barbara. Gordon blames Batman for her murder and goes after the Caped Crusader. In a brash move, the usually level-headed Gordon recruits the services of Bane to get the job done. Naturally, this doesn’t end well; although Gordon wants Batman to spend the rest of his life in Arkham Asylum, surrounded by everyone he’s helped put away, Bane has other plans. Namely, he wants to CRUSH Batman, so he tries to throw Gordon off a building, too, but the commissioner survives, assisted by Batman, who had recently fought and seemingly won a battle with Bane, who’s now lying nearly unconscious in the remains of the Bat-Signal. Looks are deceiving, however, and Bane picks up the Signal, rolls it towards to Batman and Gordon, knocking them off the multiple-story building, onto the hard street below…And then Batgirl wakes up, and it’s revealed the whole thing was a Scarecrow-induced hallucination.

So, yeah. A lot happens, most of it great. Even if it was a dream, Bane is unstoppable in “Over the Edge.”

Show: The Batman
Episode: “Traction” (S01E02)
Voiced By: Joaquim de Almeida

Best Threat: “I left you with some dignity last time, but now I will unmask you and break the rest of your bones.”

How He’s Defeated: By Batman in a metal suit

Overall Level of Spine-Crumbling Ability: High. Batman can’t beat Bane as himself; he needs to become, well, a robot (or a Bat-Bot, as it were, because of course) to take down the mad man, who’s four times the size of everyone else in The Batman series. Bane’s on a rampage for most of the episode, punching his way into an armored bank car, and when Batman meets the red-skinned brute for the first time, Bane thrashes him so badly that Batman breaks his arm and is put on life-support. This is a kid’s show. It takes Batman three weeks to assemble the Bat-Bot, and even then only barely beats Bane. Man’s a monster.

Never forget.