- "No one arrests Black Mask. No one!"
- ―Black Mask to the TYGER Guards[src]
One of the first crime lords to seize complete control of Gotham City, Roman Sionis was born into a wealthy family but was nonetheless raised by abusive, selfish, and neglectful parents. Finally reaching his breaking point, Roman set fire to his family mansion, completely burning it to the ground and murdering his parents at the same time. Left with their massive fortune, Sionis embezzled his inheritance money and started numerous lucrative business ventures, which he eventually used as a front for illegal operations.
Carving a mask from the black wood of his father's coffin, Roman Sionis became known to the criminal underworld as Black Mask, a sadistic and vicious mass murderer, and crime boss, using the mask as inspiration to create and recruit a massive gang known as the False Facers. However, over the years, Black Mask's power and control were diminished a great deal as other villains of the criminal underworld took over pieces of his fallen empire for their own designs, which started with the Joker, the villain who destroyed his empire to begin with and took over his operations and henchmen.
During one of Black Mask's earlier plans to regain his power, which were eventually foiled by Batman, a massive explosion and fire resulted in his mask violently being grafted onto his face permanently. Still intent to regain his lost power over the entire city, Black Mask, from within Arkham City, a massive prison that was built right in the heart of Gotham, took advantage of the gang wars to build up his own forces and made plans to escape from the prison in order to resume his criminal activities in Gotham and beyond. In the end, his schemes were once again spoiled, this time due to the timely interference of Tim Drake, the third Robin.
After he was released from Arkham City following its highly illegal nature coming to light, Joker's death, and the subsequent failure in the plans of his remaining rivals nine months later, Sionis became the ruling elite once again within Gotham's rapidly declining criminal underworld, and dealt out weapons, drugs, and other illicit materials. While he slowly began to regain his power, Black Mask's operations were put to an end once and for all, along with his life, by Red Hood, who slaughtered his men, shut down his bases, and kicked Sionis out a window in his hideout, plunging him to his death.
The Early Years and Masks of Society
Roman Sionis' childhood was scarred with several incidents that left him in extreme pain, including being dropped on his head shortly after he was born in the hospital. His parents were always more concerned on how it would affect their public image however, rather than their son. As they always left their son behind to engage in social events in order to uphold their reputation, even if they despised those that they attended with, Roman developed an intense hatred for his parents, an aptitude toward the concept of masks, and believed that his parents were hypocrites who wore figurative masks in order to uphold their family image. Over the years, Roman collected various masks that made up a massive collection, which served him and his criminal activities years later.
Among the socialites that the Sionis' frequently engaged with were Thomas and Martha Wayne, with Roman being forced to become friends with Bruce Wayne by his parents. As Roman knew his parents' true feelings about the Waynes, he began to despise them all. Despite that, Roman was eventually able to complete his education and got a job at his father's massive company, Janus Cosmetics, where he met a beautiful young woman named Circe, whom he eventually fell in love with. However, his parents forbade him to see her due to Circe being of the lower class compared to them: that was the last straw for Roman. Roman then started a massive fire within his family mansion with his parents inside in order to finally be rid of them once and for all.
After Roman set fire to his family mansion and completely burned it to the ground and murdered his neglectful parents at the same time, he became rich in wealth, power lust, and tainted ambitions. With his parents out of the way, Roman took control of Janus Cosmetics and became engaged to Circe, with Roman believing that he may finally had a chance at being happy. However, Roman was not the business man that his father was and nearly bankrupted the company with several ill-conceived and rushed products, which left him no choice but to accept help from Bruce Wayne in exchange for giving up control of the company: that intensified Roman's hatred of Bruce even more. To make matters worse for Roman, Circe broke up with him in front of the entire company, which destroyed the last shreds of humanity that may have been left in him.
Roman then decided to take his business activities into the criminal elements in order to capitalize on Gotham's violent streets and the criminal underworld. Still left with a massive fortune, Sionis embezzled his inheritance money and started numerous lucrative business ventures, which he eventually used as a front for illegal operations in conjunction with his late father's corporation, which he managed to uphold the control of with his newly formed and massive profits. After he carved a mask from the black wood of his father's coffin, Sionis became known to the criminal underworld as Black Mask, a sadistic and vicious mass murderer, and crime boss.
Building a Criminal Empire
Recruiting dozens of other thugs and murderers to form a group called "The False Facers", Black Mask led his gang into performing incredible and daring heists, using his family crypt as an initial base of operations to direct his affairs from. Black Mask and his organization gripped all of Gotham in a massive crime wave and murdered countless individuals who crossed him in the past, including Circe, who eventually committed suicide to avoid extensive torture that was done daily to her by Roman, as well as several Wayne Enterprises employees.
Consequently, Roman became extremely wealthy and powerful in a relatively short period of time, gaining the attention of Batman himself, as Sionis bought and started several more businesses. By Batman's second year patrolling the streets of Gotham, Black Mask was by far the most powerful man and crime lord in the city, possessing immense wealth and resources and controlled Gotham's criminal underworld with his massive gangs.
Using his massive wealth and ties to the criminal underworld and hiring corrupt public officials, such as Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb, and similarly bent cops, Black Mask also effectively and completely controlled the Gotham City Police Department, with the exception of Captain James Gordon and a few others, which allowed him to easily stay out of prison with any evidence against him mysteriously going missing and witnesses ending up dead. Additionally, judges, councilmen, and even guards at Blackgate Prison ended up on Sionis' payroll, which effectively made Sionis the true law who controlled Gotham with his criminal empire in a seat of supreme power.
To serve as a personal squad of enforcers for Black Mask within the GCPD, Commissioner Loeb initiated a SWAT team comprised of handpicked officers who used stolen equipment and gear in their "assignments"; the worst of the worst with Howard Branden as their trigger happy leader. This team served Black Mask and Loeb most loyally of all and stole weapons from the GCPD Evidence Locker and transferred them to Sionis, helping the crime lord in selling drugs, expand his profits, eliminate evidence, frame other individuals for his crimes, kill witnesses, and turn a blind eye to his criminal activities. Serving their own interests at the same time, Loeb and Branden also used their connections to Black Mask and intimidated Gotham's citizens into handing over protection money, used the homeless to do their dirty work or suffer beatings, and secured their own financial situations with bribes.
While most police officers who did not take Sionis' bribes or orders were horrifically tortured and murdered, Black Mask had other plans in mind for Captain Gordon. While Gordon was previously attacked by his fellow coworkers, including his partner, Arnold Flass, under the orders of Loeb for not being a "team player", Black Mask believed that Gordon would be far more useful to their plans and cause if he was controlled instead, as his respectable public image would help to preserve the reputation of a thoroughly corrupt police department. To this end, Loeb ordered Harvey Bullock, another officer who bordered on corruption as well, to become Gordon's partner in order to uncover information on Gordon that could be used to blackmail and effectively control him for their own designs.
In the meantime, Gordon was given a task that kept him busy, out of Loeb and Branden's operations and focused on a task that would benefit Black Mask and the corrupt police department as a whole: capturing Batman. To this end, Gordon was put in charge of a task force whose sole assignment was hunting down and capturing vigilantes, with Batman at the top of the list. This sparked conflict between Gordon and his daughter, Barbara, who believed that Batman accomplished much more than the broken legal system in Gotham.
With Black Mask using sadistic torture, fear, and punishment in order to exert his control over his henchmen, enemies, and the entire city alike, and the entire GCPD and infrastructure serving as little more than a secondary gang for his forces, few stepped up against Black Mask, despite most believing of his involvement in the numerous crimes that he was alleged of, but never convicted of, committing. After he wiped out most of the competition and began to consolidate his power, Black Mask issued forth a crime wave with his gang and capitalized on his reign over the city. Forming a truce with other criminals within Gotham, including Oswald Cobblepot, also known as the Penguin, who agreed to assist in his plans for his own purposes, Black Mask also sought to completely wipe out the entire Falcone Crime Family, one of his last remaining and competing adversaries.
Wearing a Black Mask when he lead his men, who also similarly wore masks in order to represent their personalities, as a disguise and part of his persona when he headed up his criminal activities, Black Mask was able to publicly run his company as Roman Sionis and kept himself from being connected to any crime, while he also used his businesses as a front for drug trafficking and other illegal operations. Roman's businesses primarily consisted of Janus Cosmetics, which he often used to conceal illegal chemicals and drugs that were sold onto the streets, and Sionis Industries, which fell into disrepair.
However, Roman still kept control over the Steel Mill, using it as a storage facility, and received shipments of illegal materials that were used in the construction of his drugs. Within the Steel Mill Warehouses, there was a secret passageway that led to a massive drug lab, where Sionis made and shipped his drugs and also kept a private office and torture chamber, which he used to brutalize, intimidate, and slaughter his enemies and other who did not take his orders in order to further feed his sadistic appetites. Roman also kept stashes of his ill-gotten gains within the Steel Mill as a failsafe fortune for his illegal activities.
The remainder of his ill-gotten gains were stored within the Gotham Merchants Bank, yet another business that Roman owned and used as a secondary front to launder his ill-conceived fortune. Through his control of the Merchants Bank, Roman also embezzled city funds, which left many clients broke and homeless as Roman bought up numerous resources and miles worth of real estate throughout New and Old Gotham that served as secondary headquarters and safe houses. With Sionis selling large quantities of drugs each week, most of Gotham's infrastructure on his payroll, and owning much of the real estate, Gotham became rifled with corruption, crime, and poverty, and many turned to a life of crime in order to support themselves.
Roman also was an old accomplice of the Falcone Crime Family, more specifically Carmine Falcone. At some point, Roman also encountered Carmine's son, Alberto Falcone, and offered him a private place to talk after Alberto made a statement about his family at Cucinotta's the night before. However, that later came back to haunt him when Alberto, who had a history of mental instability, made a threatening call to Roman late at night in his alternate persona.
- "This time tomorrow, Gotham's gonna be mine."
- ―Black Mask[src]
Toward the start of a particularly snowy winter, Roman made his final plans to cement his control over the city and have Commissioner Loeb, now a fully loyal agent for Black Mask, become the next Mayor of Gotham. While Loeb and Sionis were originally enemies during Loeb's initial campaign for Mayor as he took bribes from the crime lord's competitors, the pair soon formed an alliance as Sionis promised Loeb that he would be rewarded handsomely as long he continued to follow his orders as Mayor. With Loeb as his puppet Mayor, the entire GCPD under his complete control, and Gordon under careful surveillance, Black Mask would be the one and only law who governed Gotham.
In order to further Loeb's political ambitions, the GCPD took credit for the capture of a recent and brutal serial killer who planned his murders around holidays, known as Julian Day, who used the name, Calendar Man. The reality, however, was that the killer was actually located and subdued by Batman. Manipulating Warden Martin Joseph at Blackgate Prison, Loeb was able to have Day deemed sane, even in spite of all the evidence pointing to the contrary, in order to arrange his execution on Christmas Eve as a form of twisted, yet poetic justice for the people of Gotham. This act, in conjunction with the falsified news articles printed by corrupt journalists praising Loeb, would undoubtedly ensure in his victory with the political points he would gain and, with his victory, would usher in a city under the complete control of Roman Sionis/Black Mask.
While Black Mask was on the verge of ruling Gotham and seemed to be untouchable by any law, authority, or individual, Sionis' luck took a turn for the worse with the emergence of a psychopathic mass murderer and villain who called himself simply "the Joker", who began to steal chemicals from Sionis' Steel Mill and constructed explosives as part of a much larger scheme. To this end, Roman had his henchmen follow the Joker to find out what he was planning while he also moved his girlfriend, Tiffany Ambrose, to his safe house at Lacey Towers in the Coventry district when Joker began to survey her activities as well.
However, Joker learned of Tiffany's location and began to stalk her, which resulted in Tiffany texting Roman for help. Unfortunately, Joker was able to break into the safe house, violently knocked out Tiffany, and tied her to the chandler in the living room. When Roman arrived at the safe house, he had one of his henchmen, Giovanni Luchese, disguised as himself enter the room while he snuck in the back in order to surprise the Joker. The plan went horribly wrong as Joker shot and killed Luchese and violently beat Roman, despite the latter surprising the former. Joker then torched the room with a Molotov Cocktail incendiary device and forced Roman to shoot Tiffany through the heart. After he abducted Sionis, Joker tortured him over the course of several days and learned every detail about his life, which he then used to disguise himself as Black Mask for his own plans. By that time, Sionis was 37 years old.
As Batman continued to investigate Black Masks's activities, he learned that Sionis, who was a disguised Joker in reality at that point, seemingly strove to kill him above anyone else, placed a bounty of $50,000,000 on his head, and brought in eight of the world's most deadly assassins, including Bane, Deathstroke, Deadshot, Copperhead, Electrocutioner, Firefly, Killer Croc, and Shiva to Gotham for one night on Christmas Eve to kill Batman. That bounty and the enlistment of assassins set into motion a chain of events that lead Gotham down a road of death and destruction as Batman faced, for the first time in his career, the most iconic of Gotham's villains and criminals who went and became his immense rouges gallery and the most notorious inmates at Arkham Asylum.
However, as Batman investigated the crime scene in which Tiffany, as well as the impostor Black Mask, who served as a decoy, were slaughtered by the Joker, Batman learned that the new criminal had taken the real Black Mask hostage in order to use him to gain access to his money that was stored at the Gotham Merchants Bank (thanks to a piece of cloth that was torn from Black Mask's white suit that was caught on a glass shard and shoe polish that was left behind while Joker dragged him out). After he arrived at the bank, Batman learned that Joker had impersonated Black Mask, seized complete control of his operations, and slaughtered any of Black Mask's Henchmen who did not turn. While he impersonated Black Mask, Joker was the one who hired the assassins, used Warden Joseph to lead a breakout at Blackgate that saw the death of Commissioner Loeb, and ordered the bombing of the GCPD.
- "You son of a bitch! You think you can steal from me and get away with it?! You're a dead man, dead!"
- ―Black Mask foolishly threatening The Joker while at the villain's mercy.[src]
After he murdered dozens of the bank's employees, stole billions of Roman's ill-gotten profits, and beat the fallen crime lord into unconsciousness after the latter attempted to threaten the former for his actions, Joker escaped in a stolen ambulance and blew up the remaining money and vault with explosives. Joker then consolidated his power by killing his opposition and took control of Sionis' Steel Mill, as well as his drug manufacturing plant and trafficking operations that were hidden within. Joker then had his henchmen take Roman down to his old torture chamber to interrogate him for any remaining secrets or pieces of information that he may have kept from them and to then additionally brutalize and murder him.
However, Batman was able to rescue Sionis, and attempted to interrogate him regarding the Joker's location. However, Sionis refused to give any information and also told Batman that absolutely nothing that he could do would compare to what the Joker did to him, although Batman intended to prove Sionis wrong by attempting to accelerate his pacemaker. However, Copperhead arrived and poisoned Batman before he could get the chance. Sionis then attempted to seek revenge by offering to pay her to kill Batman, although Copperhead dismissed his offer, noted that he was a fallen crime lord, and revealed that she was already aware of the Joker's impersonation.
Nonetheless, Sionis managed to slip away. Despite his power diminished a great deal, Black Mask rallied his remaining and loyal followers and set up shop at the abandoned Gotham Cathedral, stored his remaining drugs, laundered money, weapons, and planned to control the rest of Gotham within the church. After he sent out his henchmen to continue selling his drugs, which were stored within canisters from his Cosmetics front operation, Sionis planned his revenge on the Joker and intended to retake his position as the top crime lord.
Unfortunately for Sionis, Batman destroyed his canisters of drugs and tracked him and his remaining henchmen to the Cathedral. However, Black Mask anticipated that Batman might show up, and confronted him at the church with several of his men shortly after Batman destroyed his last drug stash. Sionis then told Batman that his presence saved him the trouble of arranging for his men to track him down and agreed with him about their both being unable to give up. When Batman attempted to threaten Black Mask with how he'd get him and his men to surrender to the GCPD, Black Mask acknowledged the threat but informed Batman that the latter probably already knew his decision on the matter before he had his men attack him.
Batman consequentially beat them all to a pulp and left them for the GCPD to arrest. While Roman assured Batman that he would be out by morning thanks to the corrupt legal system on his payroll, Batman's exploits throughout the long night filtered out much of the corruption within Gotham's infrastructure as Gordon began to take the leadership of the GCPD, with Loeb, who was violently murdered by the Joker earlier during the brutal night, and rid it of the bent cops once and for all. Harvey Bullock himself became a trusted partner and friend to Gordon and reluctant ally to Batman after he gained a deep respect for Gordon after he became his partner and lost any potential for corruptness in the process.
- "I'm going to dedicate every waking minute to tracking you down and taking you out."
- ―Black Mask threatening Batman shortly before his arrest and incarceration at the Church.[src]
In the end, Roman was finally arrested, prosecuted, and sent to Blackgate by the renewed legal system, as Joker took his place as the criminal underworld's lead rouge with his men, resources, and money at his disposal. Roman was finally exposed for the criminal that he was, as his alter ego, Black Mask, was reduced to a fallen crime lord who lost nearly everything to the Joker and Batman. His hatred of both individuals was amplified further and ensured that he would return years later to continue in his criminal activities and strive to kill those who wronged him.
- "You'll die badly Batman. Making that happen is my personal mission in life. "
- ―Black Mask taunting Batman[src]
After the events of Arkham Origins, Black Mask was finally arrested and placed within Blackgate along with the other criminals within Batman's extensive Rouges Gallery. During his incarceration at Blackgate, Roman kept a photo of Tiffany with him at all times, which implied that, despite his overall persona as a sadistic and mass murdering crime lord with several female admirers, Black Mask truly cared for and loved his former girlfriend. With his hatred of Joker only intensifying every day, Black Mask had his henchmen within the prison watch the Joker and made notes of all his movements in preparation for his planned revenge.
Stealing various dental equipment from the prison's medical ward, Roman planned to slowly torture and murder the Joker in retribution for actions against him and his criminal empire and planned to wipe out the rest of his opposition. Three and half months later, a massive explosion within Blackgate commenced a riot that allowed Black Mask, Joker, and Penguin to seize complete control of the facility, carve up a portion of it for themselves, and advance their own and individual agendas. Using a homemade security override system and crowbar, as well as cut several power chords that controlled security systems, Black Mask was able to access several weapon caches, claimed the artillery for his gang, and made his way to the prison's power plants, in order to wipe out all resistance and planned on using the prison's power to flush the Joker out and use as his trump card and ultimate weapon against the rest of the prison population.
Believing the carnage was much more complex than just a simple prison riot and takeover, Batman arrived at Blackgate to investigate the situation further, which allowed Black Mask at a chance of ultimate revenge against his hated enemy. After he took over a section of the prison, Black Mask attempted to overload the prison generators in order to wipe out everyone at Blackgate, take out all of his rivals in the process, and leave himself the sole remaining criminal kingpin. After he forced a technician to overpower the generators, Roman shot the man dead after he completed the deed and ventured further into the Industrial District with several dozen of his henchmen. After he targeted a lone security guard, who made one final phone call to his wife to say goodbye, Roman murdered the man and cut off his thumb in order to use his fingerprint to activate the main electric controls to reroute even more power.
However, Batman was able to foil Black Mask's plans once again, stabilized the generators, defeated him and his men, and left them to be arrested and imprisoned once again. Black Mask, however, had a fall-back plan, where he had Catwoman rig the prison with various explosives (that revelation depended on which kingpin Batman defeated last). Catwoman didn't actually care about ensuring that the bombs went off, however, as she only needed a distraction to ensure that Bane was smuggled out. However, before Black Mask could be taken into custody by GCPD, regained consciousness and took a riot officer hostage before he could arrest him.
Black Mask demanded that the other two officers give him access to the Joker and were still hungry for revenge against him for everything that he had taken away from him. When the officers refused, Black Mask threw their colleague at them as a diversion and began to shoot, which forced the GCPD to fire back, which killed the officer and critically damaged the generator right next to Black Mask. As a result, the generator exploded and the resulting fire consumed Black Mask, who screamed uncontrollably, but was nonetheless able to escape into the night, with the guards who also speculated that wherever he went to, the Joker had better watch his back. However, Black Mask still received his due as the fires from the explosion grafted his mask to his face to the extent that it was unable to ever be removed short of sufficient blunt force.
Road to Arkham
According to Oracle in the Road to Arkham prequel oneshot, Black Mask was involved in a gang war and retreated to Bludhaven: the home of Nightwing.
While Black Mask did not appear in Batman: Arkham Asylum, his original wooden mask was mounted on the wall in Dr. Penelope Young’s Office at the Arkham Mansion. Scanning the mask unlocked Black Mask's Bio. A newspaper clipping about Sionis before he became Black Mask also appeared on a bathroom cabinet in the Patient Observation room at the Medical Center. Black Mask was referenced in the game in many of the Penitentiary Cells: for example, in the one cells was a drawing about a little boy and a house on fire, and then the devil rose up, took the remains, and the boy was happy.
After Arkham Asylum
Black Mask was one of the final criminals to be incarcerated in Arkham City and attempted to stay on the run and leave Gotham until the flames died down. Unfortunately, his family's Steel Mill was seized by Joker's forces, much to Roman's anger, and was later driven out of his own land by Harley Quinn and her hyenas, Bud and Lou. Black Mask also briefly appeared as a juror member at Two-Face's trial against Joker, where, in his anger for stealing his land, voted guilty.
Later, Penguin's crew forced Sionis to blow the Steel Mill sky-high in order to kill Joker, but Sionis instead decided to use the explosives that were given to him by Penguin and blew a hole in the perimeter wall and escaped. While he operating outside of Arkham City, Sionis reunited his old gang, including Firefly as his right-hand man, and plotted a raid on all of TYGER's military weapons and hop a train out of Gotham as he originally planned. After Lynns disappeared, Sionis and his henchmen were apprehended by Robin and Nightwing and were escorted back to Arkham City, which was rigged with sentry guns to kill anyone who approached the wall.
As Bruce Wayne was admitted into Arkham City, Black Mask was seen as one of the criminals who was transferred into the cell block and was finally recaptured by TYGER. Sionis was busy fending off the TYGER Guards with a chair: however, he was eventually detained. After he used that to his advantage, Joker was able to capture Sionis Industries and was quickly modified into Joker's Funland: Joker's base of operations in Arkham City.
With the growing violence in Arkham City, as the three primary gangs (Joker's, Penguin's and Two-Face's gangs) fought for control over prison, Black Mask secretly allied himself with the Riddler and slowly built up his forces for his plans to retake Arkham City in the confusion, although he was eventually stopped by Robin. Because of his earlier detainment, parts of Sionis' Mask were broken off, which revealed brown hair underneath.
Black Mask and Freight Train Challenge Maps
As Batman was preoccupied with his investigation into Protocol 10, Robin infiltrated Arkham City to investigate Black Mask's activities. After some work, Robin was able to determine the location of Black Mask's hideout and set out to take down Sionis. Robin fought against Black Mask's forces, which gave Sionis time to escape from Robin aboard a freight train. While in pursuit of Sionis, Robin was forced to fight his way through stray thugs who belonged to the various gangs and Mister Hammer of the Abramovici Twins.
In time, Robin was able to locate Black Mask and took him into custody.
In the Red Hood DLC, Black Mask appeared as the main antagonist and primary objective to target and neutralize. Red Hood, the new alias of the redeemed Jason Todd, went on a hunt for Black Mask, who became the dominant crime lord within Gotham once again with the Joker dead and Penguin behind bars, to seek retribution for his crimes. Jason targeted various weapon storage units and took out nearly all of Sionis' henchmen, save one whom he then interrogated and demanded the location of Black Mask, who was revealed to be situated at his downtown hideout.
Red Hood arrived and easily dispatched the remains of Sionis' henchmen before he brutally defeated him. After his defeat, Black Mask begged Red Hood to spare him, promised that he would leave Gotham and never return, and even suggested that Red Hood tell him where to go. However, Red Hood sarcastically asked Sionis: "How about you go to Hell?" before he kicked him out of a window and caused him to fall to his death apparently. Before he departed, Jason sarcastically stated:, "Say hi to Joker for me", in an ironic reference to the former crime lord's rivalry and Jason's immense hatred with the long-deceased Clown Prince of Crime.
Before the Joker's crime wave destroyed his empire, Roman Sionis was the most feared and powerful crime lord within Gotham City. He was the owner of several reputable businesses, among them Gotham Merchant's Bank, his personal restaurant, a massive Steel Mill and Janus' Cosmetics. Sionis could be affable to the specific clientele that would give him benefits or otherwise, but he also had a deep love for torture, which Batman stated that he utilized not only for interrogation and information but for entertainment as well. His traumatic past had a deep effect on his psyche, as shown by the password that Sionis had installed for the final drug canister; "DEAD PARENTS".
After he settled into his crime empire, Sionis became extremely paranoid that he was being plotted against or that a rival would take over his position. The reason that Sionis was able to survive for so long was because of that caution and paranoia, as he had an ability to plan ahead before his enemies were able to catch up with him. Examples of that were his sending a decoy to his safe house at Lacey Towers, which resulted in the man being killed in Black Mask's place by the Joker, as well as his bank being hardwired with enough security to make it impregnable. Unfortunately, Sionis had a habit of underestimating people and was extremely arrogant, to the point that it overshadowed his own caution until he underestimated the Joker, whom he previously deemed "nobody that mattered". That caused Sionis to be captured, tortured, betrayed by his men, and stolen from, although he attempted to rebuild from the gang that Joker destroyed, but was later stopped by Batman. Sionis was eventually able to amass a number of followers and substantial wealth, but it was only a fraction of his former glory.
Despite his paranoid nature, Sionis found the usefulness of aligning with other crime lords, including Penguin and the Falcone Crime Family. Another reason that Sionis was also able to stay ahead was because of his tendency of keeping anyone with influence within his pocket, including former Commissioner Loeb and most of the GCPD, which allowed him to be informed whenever the few ethical law enforcement and political individuals within Gotham were hot on his tail. Although Sionis found the solution to loyalty as money and stated that almost anything could be fixed with a little bit of profit, he treated all of his men poorly and most of his henchmen stated they were paid relatively nothing for the risky work that they undertook, which was one of the main reasons that they decided to abandon him for the Joker. By Arkham City, however, Sionis had seemingly learned from that mistake and most of his henchman then claimed to be treated well by their boss. Above all, Sionis greatly believed that there was a natural order to things and that balance was vital to survival: that the strongest should be on top and was prepared to eliminate Penguin, Falcone, and the Joker's gang to make sure that this balance went uninterrupted.
Sionis was also very prideful and narcissistic, which caused him to be an almost fearless individual, as he rarely begged for his own life, no matter who the opponent was. Even when he was tied up, gagged, and at the mercy of his henchmen, Sionis still persisted that he would make the Joker pay for what he had done to him and, despite being tortured and helpless before Batman with two broken ribs and at the threat of death, continued to defy him further. Sionis prided himself on his resilience, but it seemed that he became softer over the years as he begged to be spared at the hands of Red Hood who killed him all the same. Sionis had a habit of holding grudges, sometimes rather impractical ones, such as projecting his deep resentment of everything towards Bruce Wayne and how he vowed to kill Batman and Joker, a chance that he never got.
Outside of building his criminal empire and destroying his enemies, Sionis was shown an interest in relationships. Roman's first one was with Circe, although his parents forbade him from having a relationship with someone of a lower class than that of their family, which resulted in Roman murdering them in an act of arson to achieve what he hoped would finally be happy. However, Circe ended up humiliating Roman by ending their relationship in front of his entire company, just as he faced bankruptcy from several ill-conceived products, which ultimately pushed him over the edge of sanity and transitioned him into the persona of Black Mask. Well into his criminal career, Sionis was with Tiffany Ambrose, whom he did seem to have genuine love for, sent her to his safe-house in order to protect her, and vowed to avenge her after she was killed by the Joker, who sadistically forced Roman to pull the trigger on the gun that killed her. However, while he identified Tiffany's body at Lacey Towers, Batman stated that she was "one of [Sionis' girlfriends]", which implied that Sionis was in more than one relationship at the time.
Psychological Profile (Dr. Young)
Real Name: Roman Sionis
CANDIDATE FOR ADVANCE RESEARCH?
Psychological Profile: A mild psychopath, Sionis has narcissistic tendencies but the main malady he suffers from is resentful obsession with, of all people, billionaire Bruce Wayne. Sionis is fixated on Wayne possibly due to childhood traumas that he has projected onto the idle playboy. It is difficult to say whether the two actually knew each other as children, or if this is Sionis's invention. However, it is Sionis's criminal activities, and the role playing that resulted in the black skull-like mask accidentally burnt into his skin, that resulted in his committal to Arkham.
I'd question whether Sionis is actually insane, if not for the choice of his obsession; I can't imagine being interested in (much less stalking) such a pointless personage as Bruce Wayne.
Game Over Lines
- "First you fall, then Gotham."
- "What? Did you think you could beat me? Me?!"
- "No one goes up against the Black Mask and lives."
- This incarnation of Black Mask seemed heavily inspired by his depiction in the 2004 TV series,"The Batman", which was based on his default attire: a white suit and as well as an ornately-carved static skull mask. Unlike that depiction, however, Sionis' mask was removable (at least until the ending of Arkham Origins: Blackgate).
- Some of the promotional images of Black Mask during the development of the game were later used with the Joker in the final cut. The first, where he prepared to use a yanker on a keeling policeman who was held hostage by his men, was depicted when Joker's identity as the imposter Black Mask was revealed at the Gotham Merchants Bank. The second, where Black Mask got extremely close to a GCPD Lab Technician before he presumably tortured him, was later used by the Joker during his meeting with Bane, Firefly, and Electrocutioner, seconds before he killed the latter. Ironically, the actual Black Mask ended up being in the position of the police officer in the final version of the first promotional image. On that note, a screencap had him kicking a man resembling Alberto Falcone to the ground in a similar manner to how Joker kicked the actual Black Mask.
- Brian Bloom, Black Mask's voice actor in Arkham Origins, Arkham Origins Blackgate, and the Red Hood Storypack DLC, had previously voiced Ultra Man in the DC Universe Animated Original Movie Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, who coincidentally also was a huge criminal kingpin who held a lot of control over most of the setting until he was deposed by unexpected factors (in Ultra Man's case, the arrival of the Justice League from another dimension as well as that universe's equivalent of Lex Luthor, who mined for Blue Kryptonite in other realities). Both characters were also voiced with a Brooklyn accent to play up the Sicilian Mafia Kingpin Stereotype.
- When Bruce saw Black Mask when he entered Arkham City, it was likely that this was Black Mask's second time entering Arkham City, as Black Mask was the first and only inmate who ever escaped, as revealed by a riddle that unlocked an Arkham City Story. Therefore, the Robin DLC was most likely a second escape attempt.
- The Penguin may have had Sionis' first mask or a replica in the Iceberg Lounge, which indicated that Black Mask may have, at one point, been his main rival, an implication that was eventually confirmed within Batman: Arkham Origins.
- Black Mask's forces were oddly absent during the events of Batman: Arkham City, likely because Sionis was re-entering Arkham City during the game and had no henchmen under his control.
- The small part of Sionis' Mask that was broken showed an undamaged forehead and some hair, which suggested that either his face had healed at some point or that his mask was actually removable.
- Black Mask being the main villain of the Red Hood DLC story pack was presumably a reference to their rivalry, particularly in the comic arc Batman: Under The Hood and its animated adaptation Batman: Under the Red Hood.