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Comic Influences on The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Posted on
Sun, 29th Jul 2012

After leaving Bruce in the Pit, Bane returns to Gotham and goes public with his plans, beginning with the assassination of Mayor Garcia. The Mayor in The Cult met a similar explosive fate when he was killed by the blast from a car bomb.

This plot point in the comic and the movie may also have been influenced by The Dark Knight Returns, in which the Mutant Leader slaughters the Mayor when he tries to negotiate with him in his prison cell.

After the Mayor's death, Bane arrives on the football field to announce his plans. His objective to finish Ra's al Ghul's campaign against Gotham is similar to the plot of Chuck Dixon's Batman: Bane (May 1997), a one shot that rounded off the Legacy story arc.

In the comic, Bane plans to destroy Gotham by overloading the reactor core of a nuclear power plant. As in the movie, the nuclear core in the comic was meant to be an energy source, but Bane repurposes it into a bomb.  

Bruce in the story is aware of its capabilities due to Wayne Enterprises having made similar progress in clean energy. In the movie, the nuclear device actually comes from Bruce's own company.


In both stories, Bane gives a public ultimatum to the city, threatening doom if they do not comply with his demands.

As in the movie, this is merely a distraction. Bane fully intends to detonate the core anyway once it's ready to blow.

Bane then isolates Gotham from the rest of the world; destroying bridges, putting up barricades, and threatening anyone who tries to enter the city or oppose his plans.
Once again, his actions are quite similar to Deacon Blackfire's in The Cult.
Blackfire, like Bane in the movie, also encourages his followers to execute the wealthy and powerful, leading to riots and murders in the streets. While Nolan has cited A Tale of Two Cities as the inspiration for the class warfare element of his film, The Cult explores similar revolutionary ideas of the poor rising up against the rich and well-to-do.
In both stories Batman is absent for an extended period of time, leaving his enemies to rule Gotham. The villains execute anyone who defies them and hang their bodies in public as a warning to others.
The government attempts to intervene in the crisis.
But the military are no match for the villain's own army, and they are promptly ambushed and killed upon attempting to restore order to the city.
The No Man's Land story arc (1999) may also have influenced this part of the film. In this story Gotham is ravaged by an earthquake and cordoned off by the military. No one is allowed to enter or leave the city, and to make certain of this the army destroys all the bridges leading into Gotham. The surviving members of the Gotham City Police Department are the only ones left to enforce order as crime lords and Arkham inmates take over the streets.

Much like the movie, Bruce Wayne/Batman is absent from the city when this happens. When he returns he spray paints the Bat symbol on the Gotham streets as a means of bringing hope to the people.

This is carried over in the movie, when Blake puts up the chalk Bat symbol for the same reasons.


Lastly, Bane's breakout of Blackgate Prison is very similar to his breakout of Arkham Asylum in Doug Moench's 'The Freedom of Madness' (Batman #491, 1993) in the Knightfall story arc. In both stories he uses high-grade weapons to blow open the doors and then equips the liberated prisoners with firearms.

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Feature written by
Ben Yip is a writer in Los Angeles whose obsession with all things Batman have lead him to contribute interviews and articles to Batman Online.
Silver Nemesis
Silver Nemesis is a writer and a lifelong fan of Batman comics, movies and TV shows.
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