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.

History

Black Mask prior to his scarring

Personal History

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.

Black Mask

War Games

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.

The End

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.

Black Mask returns

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.

DCnU

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.

Powers/abilities

  • 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.

    Roman Sionis in his original mask.

  • 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.

Henchmen

  • 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

Television

DC Animated Universe

Black Mask in the Animated Series tie-in comic

  • Though he never appears in Batman: The Animated Series, Black Mask appears in the tie-in comic series Batman Adventures. In the continuity, Roman Sionis was a businessman who turned his failing company, Sionis Industries, into a corporate juggernaut. However, he lost the company and influence after a corporate war with Wayne Enterprises. Following this, he became a member of the False Face Society, alongside Sportsmaster, Gorilla Boss, Black Spider, Bronze Tiger, Firefly, and Deadshot and led by a mysterious criminal called the Red Hood. 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. Due to later appearances of some of these False Face Society members in later DCAU projects (all of whom are not associated with the False Face Society), the canonicity of these appearances are up to debate.

The Batman 

Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Black Mask on Batman: The Brave and The Bold

  • He also makes an appearance in Batman: The Brave and The Bold.

Gotham

Main article: Richard Sionis

Film

Batman: Under the Red Hood

Birds of Prey

Main article: Black Mask (Snyderverse)

Video Games

Black Mask in Batman: Dark Tomorrow

  • In Batman: Dark Tomorrow, Black Mask and his gang fought the Ventriloquist in a gang war, with weapons supplied by Ra's al Ghul.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Batman: Arkham Series

Black Mask in Batman: Arkham Origins

Main article: Black Mask (Arkhamverse)

Gallery

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