Venom is a highly addictive super-steroid. It was originally based on Hourman's Miraclo formula (albeit without the 60-minute time limit). The drug, usually injected in a constant supply into the base of the neck, would instantly transform someone into a hulking mass of unbridled physical strength. Bane's apparatus included a special "boost" button to give him a jolt of Venom when needed.
However, as the drug wore off or when the user was cut off from its constant supply, their body would rapidly return to its original state or sometimes even weaker, at which point the user would suffer from massive, debilitating withdrawal, usually accompanied by terrifying hallucinations.
Batman became addicted to the drug while searching for a way to cope with his physical limitations and imperfections, forcing him to eventually lock himself in the Batcave to "detox" himself when he realized how dependent on it he had become.
Some time later, a new strain of Venom was developed in Santa Prisca. The scientist who developed this new version experimented among the prisoners of Peña Duro, without success until Bane was the first prisoner to endure the procedure. This Venom enhanced the stamina and other abilities of the subject, transforming him into an almost super-human being. Bane used Venom to escape Peña Duro and traveled to Gotham City, with ambitions of defeating Batman.
Once in Gotham, Bane tested his venom-enhanced strength against Killer Croc, and won handily. Shortly after, Bane used a diluted strain of Venom to temporarily strengthen the Riddler as a preemptive challenge for Batman; by then already severely fatigued, Batman was unable to outfight the Riddler, who only fell when Trogg, Zombie, and Bird shot him from behind, so Bane could reserve Batman's defeat for himself.
These hopes were quickly realized, as the venom allowed Bane to crush Batman in one-on-one combat, even breaking Batman's back over his knee. Bane's victory would be short-lived, however, as a new Batman soon emerged with better equipment and a much more savage fighting style. In response, Bane dosed himself with more venom than ever before, only for the new Batman to destroy the venom's delivery hose; deprived of his main weapon, Bane quickly fell.
Following Bane's defeat, various strains of venom continued to circulate throughout the criminal underworld. One strain, developed by the same scientist who had originally experimented on Bane, became popular among professional athletes.
- ↑ Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1
- ↑ Batman #489
- ↑ Batman #490
- ↑ Batman #497
- ↑ Batman #500
- ↑ Batman: Vengeance of Bane #2
- ↑ Detective Comics #848
- The Knightfall novelization implies that, apart from being generally addictive, venom also afflicts its users with impotence.
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