5 People Who Have Outsmarted Batman

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by Ben Furse

in Comics

Being a huge fan of Batman, it is sometimes hard to accept the reality of his fragility. It’s easy to get caught up in the internet’s mantra of “Batman could beat anyone with enough prep time” or “Batman wins… because he’s Batman”. This is all well and good, but let’s not forget why most of us fell in love with Bats in the first place: he’s human. He’s vulnerable, one punch from Superman to any part of his body would practically kill him, if not entirely finish the job. He knows this, we know this, and yet… he still manages to come out on top every time (so far).

This list isn’t about the people who have physically outmatched Batman; it’s about those who (if even for a brief moment) have managed to outsmart him. Those few that have managed to blindside him and take the World’s Greatest Detective on a journey he never saw coming.

I’d like to point out that in all of the entries on the list, Batman has eventually (sometimes as much as 6 months later) come out on top of the situations in hand… “Because he’s Batman.”

bane

5. Bane (Knightfall)

Background: The first character on the list is Bane, someone who you’d be forgiven for thinking was somewhat of a mindless brute due to his sheer size and violent demeanor; he is in fact, quite the opposite.

Born to an incarcerated mother in Peña Dura Prison, and forced to live out the sentence of his father (King Snake) due to the archaic laws of the Caribbean Republic of Santa Prisca, Bane had what could be called an “unconventional upbringing”. After his mother died, he was knocked from a prison balcony and into a 31 day coma, in which he saw a vision of himself as an adult who told him “Conquer the fear in your heart and you may have anything you desire… You will be second to no man… And master of all”. During these coma-induced visions, his future-self showed him his fear as represented by yep, you guessed it… a giant bat.

After many years inside solitary confinement, Bane was subject to experiments with a drug called Venom. Not long afterwards he fakes his own death and is thrown from a cliff to what they believe will be his final resting place. Bane of course had other ideas and broke free from his restraints, ripped a sharks jaw off and returned to the prison to free his fellow inmates; securing their loyalty and putting in place the first step of his plan.

bane knightfall comic book panel

Present day: Bane, having previously been told about “The Bat that rules Gotham”, started to follow Batman around and watch him. After a short while Bane hatches a plan and swiftly puts it into motion; he and the three ex-inmates he had kept close would steal crates of weapons and after blowing a few holes in the side of Arkham Asylum would drop them into the madhouse by way of helicopter, giving the inmates just enough firepower to make their escape.

This leads to about 250 pages of Batman having to fight every villain that was on the run, including The Joker, Two Face, The Riddler (on venom), Victor Zsasz and so many, many more. But this is where Bane’s brilliance had come into play; Not only was he observing every battle to learn as much about his soon-to-be opponent as he could, but he was intentionally waiting, using Batman’s own humanity against him. Bane knew that Bruce’s indomitable will would keep him fighting far past the point that his body could handle and in-turn keep him in a situation where he was unable to stop long enough to even research Bane. He fought a hero with his need for heroism.

bane alfred knightfall

As soon as Bane deemed it an appropriate time, he just strolled into Wayne Manor, knocked out Alfred and after an incredibly short confrontation (with Bruce unable to put up much of a fight due to his condition); he simply picked up the Batman and broke his back over a knee. Proclaiming his feat, he then proceeded to chuck Bruce off the roof of a building to a terrified community below.

bane knightfall

This left Bruce out of action for a long time and left Jean-Paul (Bruce’s apprentice in training) to take the mantle of Batman for the time it took him to heal. In Bruce’s own words, it was “Chaos– perfectly orchestrated with a single master stroke”.

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