Roman Sionis, a former business executive and mafia boss who originally hated Bruce Wayne rather than Batman, wears a black wooden mask and leads the cult like society of False Facers. Black Mask eventually became a mob boss controlling large sections of Gotham City's criminal underworld. Following the suspicious death of his multi-millionaire parents, Sionis had inherited their fortune and went on to bankrupt their company. Saved by a buyout by Bruce Wayne, Sionis came to resent and hate Wayne. Fixated on the concept of masks, Sionis carved one from his father's black coffin and sought revenge; his ensuing battle with the Dark Knight caused his mask to be burned into his skin, remaking him as the Black Mask. Sionis is now a feared gang leader and one of the most powerful mob bosses in Gotham, with a burning hatred for Batman.
Young Roman Sionis came from a rich family, his father a successful industrialist. His parents only cared for their social status, and were more concerned about that then their son's well being when a nurse dropped him on his head after he was born. They would frequently drag him around to parties, and force him to be friends with the children of other wealthy Gothamites like the young Bruce Wayne. His parents hated other people like the Waynes though, but put on almost social masks in public to seem like more charming people. Roman hated the masks his parents wore. He would later inherit the prosperous Janus Cosmetics Corporation after his parents died in a suspicious fire. Roman quickly drove the company into the ground, leaving the company open to a Wayne Industries buyout. Driven mad by losing his legacy, he turned his hatred on Bruce Wayne. Donning a mask carved from his father's coffin, he began murdering Wayne employees. In the ensuing battle with Batman, Sionis's mask became permanently burned into his face as a living death mask. Over time he would become one of Gotham City's most ruthless and sadistic crime lords, commanding the "False Facers," a masked army of henchmen. With each subsequent loss to Batman, his empire shrank and his sadism grew. Among his many crimes were the destruction of a community center on Gotham's East End, the painstaking murder of Catwoman's brother-in-law, and driving her sister Maggie insane.
Believed dead at Catwoman's hands, Black Mask survived, and when Gotham City's gang wars erupted part of a "war game" created by Batman that went horribly wrong - they created a power vacuum in the underworld that he could exploit to build a criminal empire.
Murdering Orpheus, a costumed gang leader working secretly with Batman to end the unrest in Gotham, he took the tragic hero's identity and gained the trust of the teen hero Spoiler (who had triggered Batman's "war games" in a misguided attempt to prove herself), learning information vital to his cause before betraying and torturing her.
Following Batman's plans, the faux Orpheus rallied all the factions, revealed his true identity and initiated a spree of carnage culminating with Spoiler's death. Black Mask became undisputed ruler of the entire Gotham underworld.
Deathstroke later approached Black Mask offering him a place within The Society. Eager to strengthen his increasingly tenuous grip on the underworld (Batman and the new Red Hood had both been targeting his operations), he accepted, and Captain Nazi, one of the Hyenas, and Count Vertigo were sent after Batman and Red Hood. However, these villains were defeated, and Batman ultimately prevented the Society from securing a foothold in Gotham.In an attempt to "improve himself" after this debacle, Black Mask threatened the most important people in Catwoman's life, from Slam Bradley to Holly Robinson.Still thinking that she adhered to a strict no-kill rule, Black Mask was caught by surprise when Catwoman retaliated by shooting him in the head and blowing off his jaw, seemingly killing him.
After the shooting, Selina Kyle passed the mantle of Catwoman to her friend Holly Robinson. Not long after, Holly was arrested for the killing of Black Mask.
Black Mask II
- See: Jeremiah Arkham
In the "Battle For The Cowl" storyline, a new Black Mask surfaces. He has drugged several of Arkham Asylum's inmates, including The Great White Shark, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, Mr. Zsasz, Firefly, Jane Doe, and the Scarecrow, with a substance that can kill when triggered. Black Mask is quickly acknowledged as the leader of the group when he blows up much of Arkham Asylum, and then prepares for his ascension by destroying Two-Face's and Penguin's reign and becoming Gotham City's crime lord once again.
Mask eventually comes under fire by the National Guard, as well as Mario Falcone and Penguin, and barricades himself in a part of Gotham called Devil's Square. He establishes the Ministry of Death, made up of Hugo Strange, Doctor Death, and Fright, who resurrect The Reaper to serve the Black Mask. They also create an army of mind-controlled "False Facers" to aide them. Eventually, the new Black Mask is revealed to be Jeremiah Arkham, administrator of Arkham Asylum. After being defeated by Batman, he is imprisoned in the rebuilt Arkham Asylum.
It is revealed that Arkham is no longer Black Mask but merely "had a ride" with Sionis' friend. Roman Sionis turns himself over to Arkham's care apparently hoping Arkham can save him from the mask. During a storming of Arkham Asylum by a Talon of the Court of Owls sent to kill Jeremiah Arkham, Sionis asks Arkham to give him his mask so he can stop the Talon. The mask is revealed to have mind control abilities granted by the ebony it's carved from. He commands the other inmates to attack the Talon and seals it inside with them. Sionis is then defeated by Batman and returns to Arkham's care.
Black Mask is revealed to have been the leader of a gang called the False Facers Society who wore masks of the same wood that his own mask was carved from giving him direct control of their minds and letting him operate the gang like fingers of a glove.
- Criminal Mastermind: He is arguably the greatest criminal strategist and organizer in all of Gotham, having taken complete control of the entire Gotham underworld on at least two occasions.
- Torture Master: Perhaps his most defining skill is his mastery in both physical and psychological torture, which he often uses to extract information or to punish his enemies.
- Hand to Hand Combatant: His fighting skills are at least on par with people such as Nightwing, The Red Hood, Robin, Catwoman, even Batman.
- Peak Physical Conditioning: His strength, speed, endurance, durability, reflexes, and agility are all in peak physical condition.
- Marksman: He is an excellent marksman who is, 9/10 times, successful at hitting a target.
- Master of Disguise: He appears to be a master of disguise and a highly gifted actor.
- False Facers - The False Facers is a criminal organization founded by Black Mask. Each of its members wears a mask that was in Black Mask's collection.
- Tattoo - Member of the False Facers. He has a face that is covered in tattoos.
- Tupeng - Member of the False Facers.
In Other Media
- In the DCAU comic Batman Adventures, Roman Sionis was a businessman who turned his failing company, Sionis Industries, into a corporate juggernaut, but lost it all as soon as he took on Wayne Enterprises. Following this, an associate of The Red Hood (who in a cancelled issue would be revealed as Victoria Beaumont) approached Roman to become his personal Black Mask, to lead The False Face Society, which consisted of Sportsmaster, Gorilla Boss, Black Spider, Bronze Tiger, Firefly, and Deadshot. Unfortunately for Roman, he was unable to fulfill the Red Hood's first command—to take out the Batman. He was subsequently betrayed by the Phantasm, who was promised his old position in the False Face Society. However, Batman thwarted her before she could deal the killing blow, and Roman was taken into custody.
See: Black Mask (The Batman))
- Black Mask appears in The Batman, voiced by James Remar. Unlike other incarnations of this character, this Black Mask's mask is unremovable and covers his whole head. He is a major mob boss in Gotham City and is all about escape and timing. This precision, and his suit, bears some resemblance to Phileas Fogg from Around the World in Eighty Days. He is later captured by Rumor in "Rumors". He also hires Shadow Thief in the episode "What Goes Up..."
- In Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu, the DCAU video game based on The New Batman Adventures, Commissioner Gordon found his emergency phone lines jammed with reports in the chaos covering Gotham, one of which was a desperate plea from a policeman named Bock, who reported he was trying to suppress an incident single-handedly: Black Mask and his gang were facing The Luckhand Triad Gang in Chinatown in a looming gang war. Black Mask is not mentioned again, nor does he make an actual appearance in the video game.
- In the videogame Batman: Dark Tomorrow, Black Mask and his gang fought the Ventriloquist in a gang war, with weapons supplied by Ra's al Ghul.
- LEGO pieces to create Black Mask in the character creation feature can be unlocked in LEGO Batman: The Videogame after obtaining all the mini-kits in the villain chapters. He is also featured as an unlockable character in the "Villain Hunt" mini game in the Nintendo DS version. Black Mask in the games resembles his animated versions.
- In Batman Begins, after Jonathan Crane is exposed to his own Fear Toxin, he views Batman as having a black skull-like face. This could possibly be a nod to the Black Mask character.
- He also makes an appearance in Batman: The Brave and The Bold.
- Black Mask also appears in the episode of the same name in the series Gotham. This particular version, however, is named Richard Sionis, and is implied to be a relative of Roman Sionis. He was a former CEO who often forces any potential recruits in his company to fight to the death to get a spot, and usually has them remove a body part as compensation. He is ultimately arrested by Jim Gordon and sent to Arkham Asylum. He later ends up killed by Tabitha by being repeatedly stabbed in the face after rudely refusing Theo Galavan's offer to "have a piece in the fun" of upsetting Gotham's status quo upon being broken out of Arkham.
Batman: Arkham series
- Main article: Black Mask (Arkhamverse)
DC Extended Universe
- Main article: Black Mask (Ewan McGregor)
Looking for further power, he began to hunt down the Bertinelli Diamond, an extremely valuable jewel which belonged to the massacred Bertinelli crime family. This lead him to conflict with Renee Montoya, Cassandra Cain, Helena Bertinelli and Harley Quinn who went on to form the Birds of Prey. He then assembled a small army's worth of criminals which tracked the Birds down to Amusement Mile where he was ambushed and killed by the Birds of Prey when they planted a grenade on his person and kicked him off the pier.