DC's Zombie Bane Is Secretly [SPOILER], Red Hood's Perfect Nemesis

Warning: MAJOR spoilers ahead for Task Force Z #11!

As the leader of Task Force Z, Red Hood has been misdirected numerous times by both his superiors and adversaries, with the sole release being his ability to bully an unkillable Bane in revenge for the death of Alfred Pennyworth. However, events in Task Force Z and Joker have shown that this 'Bane' is a fake, with the real version very much alive. So who is the superhuman killer Red Hood has been abusing? New DC art provides what seems like a definitive answer.

Task Force Z is DC’s latest super-powered group, in which Red Hood leads a coterie of resurrected supervillains. Successes are met with the Lazarus Resin, a compound which keeps the villains alive, and as they consume more, they become more like their old selves. Most of the team consists of Batman villains who perished sometime in the last few years, including Deadshot and Man-Bat, implying that while the zombie 'Bane' isn't who he seems, he is secretly a villain fans already know. Now, a hint as to his true identity suggests he could soon become Red Hood's perfect nemesis. Task Force Z is currently on issue 9, so don't read any further if you don't want the upcoming reveal spoiled by the cover for issue 11.


Related: Batman Broke Red Hood Forever with One Devastating Sentence

At the end of Task Force Z #9 - from Matthew Rosenberg and Eddy Barrows - "Bane" can be seen floating off the ground, with a net draped over him for a cape. This follows geneticist Mr. Bloom's admission that he wanted Task Force Z to have its own Bane, and that he experimented on another villain to create the zombie fake. While the image of Bane floating before Bloom clearly draws comparisons to Superman, these various hints actually seem to indicate that his true identity is Gotham (Hank Clover), the Superman-tier hero introduced in Tom King and David Finch's Batman run. The released cover for Task Force Z #11 seems to confirm this, showing a zombified Gotham reflected in Red Hood’s helm. Gotham’s return makes particular sense at this point, as Gotham Girl (his ally and sister) likewise returns in the ongoing Detective Comics, bringing the duo back at around the same time (she even joins her brother on the cover.)

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While Red Hood normally doesn’t have a real recurring nemesis, Gotham may just be able to fill that slot for a few key reasons. Like Jason, Gotham was an ally of Batman who ultimately lost himself to brutality and began to use his powers to kill. Ultimately, Gotham died trying to emulate Batman. In many ways, Jason is the perfect mentor for Gotham, having gone through a less extreme version of his journey. Red Hood lived the same tragic fall from grace, and with his time in the Outlaws and friendship with Bizarro, he also has past sympathy with tragic replicas of the Man of Steel.

However, that's unlikely to happen, as Red Hood has taken every opportunity to brutalize this 'Bane.' Once Gotham regains all of his faculties and reveals himself to Jason, it is sure to make for a compelling confrontation, and perhaps the birth of a new adversarial relationship. What's more, the Lazarus Resin makes Gotham more deadly than ever. Possessing similar powers to Superman, the drawback of Hank's might is that using his abilities shortens his lifespan - a limit which may no longer apply now he can be brought back from the dead.

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While Task Force Z has answered a lot of questions regarding the Lazarus Resin, and brought back several villains readers saw die previously, one of the latest questions posed by issue #9 is just who is masquerading as "Bane." With issue 9’s last panel and issue 11’s cover art, it seems safe to assume that Red Hood will soon face a rejuvenated Gotham - a superbeing who will potentially combine the physical might of Bane and Superman.