In Winds of Change, I spotlight retcons that I think should be implemented, like how I think Apocalypse should have been behind Wolverine getting his adamantium.
Today, we look at why I think that Hugo Strange should be behind Bane's origin.
Now, before we even get into it, I get it. "Wait, you want to reveal one established villain was secretly behind another villain's origin? Isn't that, like, 80% of all comic book stories already? Enough already!" I understand the impulse. I also understand that the very first time I did this column I specifically talked about a similar situation with Wolverine and Apocalypse and I don't want this column to be just about me saying, "Hey, remember character X? He/she should be secretly behind the origin of character Y!" That said, while Wolverine and Apocalypse have the most obvious reason for a connection between them (being that that is what Chris Claremont was intending to reveal at one point), I think that Bane and Hugo Strange have nearly as good of a connection as that! Well, okay, it's hard to beat "it was going to happen," but I think you'll see what I'm getting at.
Okay, first off, what do you think of when you think of the comic book version of Bane (because it doesn't count to think about Tom Hardy's awesomely weird Bane voice)? You naturally think about the time that he, you know, BROKE BATMAN'S BACK!
But beyond that, Bane's whole deal is that he grew up in a prison somewhere in the Caribbean nation of Santa Prisca, which Denny O'Neil had introduced in the pages of The Question as basically being one of the worst and scummiest places in the DC Universe. So Bane worked his way out of that island and hooked up with the drug, Venom, which had been introduced in another Denny O'Neil story arc that revealed how it was sort of like a super steroid. So Bane was a really smart, clever guy who was also constantly pumped up on a super-steroid. That was why he was able to break Batman's back. He was a really tough adversary.
Okay, so what do we know about Hugo Strange?
Nowadays, he is most commonly known as a psychiatrist who figured out Batman's secret identity and then became a villain.
That was in a story set early in Batman's career. He later showed up in the present day as a pretty standard criminal mastermind (it is kind of funny that "criminal masterminds" are standard fare in Batman comics but, well, that's the truth. They really are normal enough).
However, back when he was one of the first recurring villains of Batman in the early days of Batman comics (and in later re-tellings, as well, like Matt Wagner's Monster Man miniseries), Hugo Strange flat out turned people into hulking monsters!!
That's the story infamous because of how Batman just has to straight up murder all of those monsters and not in normal ways. He guns down a couple of them with a machine gun and then he hooks one of them with the Batplane and then flies around with him, choking him to death, so Batman's just cruising around with a giant corpse hanging from a hook on the Batplane. Golden Age Batman was no joke.
Anyhow, read on to see why that story is so important (but I think you get it already, but you'll likely not guess what weird event in Bane's first appearance really lends itself to my theory)...