SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Batman #75 by Tom King, Tony S. Daniel, Mitch Gerads, Tomeu Morey and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
The events of Tom King's Batman have largely occurred outside of those elsewhere in the DC Universe. While King has sparingly used guest stars throughout the DCU, those appearances had no impact on other DC titles.
That is, until now.
Tom King and Tony S. Daniel's "City of Bane" storyarc begins in Batman #75. While the arc's first chapter focuses primarily on the fruits of Bane's ongoing labors, its final pages tie into the longstanding plans of another villain: Lex Luthor. Those plans, as shown unfolding in Justice League, are the impetus of DC's impending event, DC's Year of the Villain, and this issue reveals Bane's part in it.
Yes – Bane Really is a Part of DC's Year of the Villain
As shown in the DC's Year of the Villain one-shot, Luthor and his Legion of Doom have taken control of the United States. Luthor then faked his own death, but has since been reborn into a new, ever-evolving lifeform. Meanwhile, the final eight pages of the double-length Batman #75 show the culmination of Bane's own plan throughout Gotham, with Batman villain patrolling the city's streets as police officers. Overlaying the sequence is a narrative between Bane and Luthor discussing their terms of agreement.
Part of Luthor's plan has been to equip the world's villains with the might they need to defeat its heroes. Bane, however, has already taken Batman off the board – for the time being, at least – without Luthor's help. Since Bane's longstanding goal of breaking Batman perfectly aligns with Luthor's own plan to defeat the world's remaining heroes, Luthor needed to take no action specifically against Batman.
Instead, Bane asks for Luthor's help in coercing the U.S. Government into walling off Gotham and ceding the city to Bane – to which Luthor agrees. It's a logical move that Luthor is all-too willing to make, since it doesn't just take Batman off the table. It also isolates Bane by giving him a comparatively tiny sandbox he's asking for in exchange for lessening, if not eliminating, his potential later interference with Luthor's plans.
Why Doesn't Bane Set His Sights Higher?
As Luthor himself points out to Bane, the scope of Bane's plan could have rivaled Luthor's ambitions if Bane chosen to broaden his efforts. After all, Bane has employed the Psycho Pirate, who he's used to control the other villains in his plan. Luthor calls Pirate "perhaps the most powerful weapon ever conceived," and undoubtedly would have welcomed the mind-controlling villain into his own ranks if Bane not beat him to it. While might not seem too fierce, it's important to remember that Psycho Pirate played a key role in saving the universe in Crisis on Infinite Earths. When Luthor subtly cautions Bane not to ever challenge him, his threat is almost more of a plea asking Bane not to try anything.
For the most part, Bane has historically been contained to the confines of Batman's corner of the DC Universe, but it doesn't mean his awareness of the multiverse, and the various crises that threaten it, is lacking. Bane even, makes an ironic observation regarding the same as it applies to Batman. While Batman has partaken in saving the world, the universe, and the multiverse many times over, there is one place he's never truly succeeded in winning: Gotham. The city has largely been one where its threats are only ever contained for a time before rising again. However, Gotham is largely at peace under Bane's rule. Granted, that peace is under the threat of terrible retribution, but its peace nonetheless in Bane's eyes.
In making Gotham his own, Bane has succeeded where Batman has failed. For all the times Batman has saved the very fabric of reality, he's never truly saved his own city. And while Bane knows he could never lord over the multiverse, Gotham is a different matter entirely.