I find it hard to believe there are actual people who read comics in 2011 who don't know who Bane is. I mean, I know Knightfall was a long time ago, but I was under the impression that it was kind of a big deal. Even then, he was in 'Batman and Robin.' Yes, internet law requires I tell you how bad the movie was as though you didn't know, but it was a major motion picture and he was in it.
I don't know if it was Shane, my brother, or Terry who told me that Bane wasn't just a muscle freak that lucked into breaking Batman's back, but a cunning, mastermind muscle freak that plotted his way into breaking Batman's back. Whoever it was, thanks guy.
Chris Sims breaks down Bane.
iO9 also gives a Bane writeup.
And yes, it looks like he and Catwoman will be the villains for The Dark Knight Rises. I'm fine with that. Bane, according to the Chris Sims writeup would be a fascinating counterpart to Batman. Whereas Batman first has to fight criminals and rally a chosen few to help save Gotham in Batman Begins, in The Dark Knight he has to fight an idea and the people of the city itself begin to help save Gotham. In the last movie, perhaps Batman can do two things he's never been able to do in comics: die and win.
If even the people of Gotham are realizing how they can each make the city a better place by fighting crime and corruption, then Batman (labeled a criminal or not) will have found himself tackling only the occasional criminal that lives above the bar. For example, Catwoman. Without whats-her-name, Bruce doesn't have anyone else and at the cusp of his retirement, he finds a woman so much like him that he can be tempted by her wiles. Meanwhile, at the edges, Bane can see a city with little to no organized criminal element and a protector who is only human.
While I don't know if giving Knightfall the treatment that Year One got in Batman Begins is a good idea, if anyone could destroy Batman in the Nolan movies, it would be Bane. Bane isn't a hapless criminal, a scheming mastermind, or a walking eye of chaos; he's a man who punches things and extensively plans to punch things, much like Batman. He can provide the mix of cunning, explosions, and fisticuffs that have made the Nolan movies enjoyable, and I'm certainly looking forward to it.