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The False Face Society also known as The False Facers are a criminal organization in Gotham City which revolve their modus operandis around wearing masks. The team is presumably named after an unrelated Iroquois medicinal society. They first appeared in Batman #152 in the December of 1962 and were created by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff.

The team is often shown as being lead by the super-villain Black Mask. It should be noted that that they appeared in comics a full 23 years before Black Mask's first appearance.

History

Pre-Crisis (Earth One)

The False Face Society was created when the Joker decided to start a tournament of crime in Gotham's criminal underworld while under an assumed criminal alias and hidden behind a mask. The one condition of the tournament was that all members involved would have to wear masks. Whichever criminal won the tournament would receive the pooled money of all the crimes however Joker planned on betraying the False Facers and steal the pooled money for himself.

Batman managed to infiltrate the team due to one of the False Facers deciding to commit crime while wearing a batman costume. Batman took out this criminal, and assumed his identity. Eventually the Dark Knight discovered the False Face leader's plot and foiled it before revealing that he was the Joker all along.

After this, the rest of the False Face Society attempted to continue their operation without Joker but were for the most part unsuccessful.

Post-Crisis (New Earth)

Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, the False Face Society was reimagined as having been founded by bronze-age super-villain/gangster Roman Sionis AKA the Black Mask. Black Mask himself was established as having had an obsession with masks.

After Roman Sionis found he had an amazing aptitude for crime, he soon had a large gang working for him. Calling them the False Facers, the one requirement was that all members must select a mask from his collection and wear it at all times when on the job and in his presence. They were successfully gaining power in the Gotham underworld, until Black Mask decided it was time to take his revenge on Bruce Wayne. He began kidnapping Wayne Enterprises executives, putting masks on their faces that were coated in the deadly make-up once made by Janus Cosmetics. He also targeted his former girlfriend Circe and forcibly disfigured her with the chemicals in order to force her to reunite with him. Circe would ultimately kill herself, leading Black Mask to replace her with a mannequin that he talked to as if it were a real person. These kidnappings drew Batman's attention, and he began hunting down the False Facers. He slowly began to dismantle the organization until he finally found Black Mask in the ruins of the Sionis Family home. Black Mask lit the wreckage on fire trying to escape, but was caught in the burning house. Batman was able to save him, but the mask had been burned onto his face and left him disfigured.

Black Mask spent some time in Arkham Asylum, but escaped and subsequently restarted the False Facers. He took on a new second-in-command, Tattoo (whose face was covered in a tattoo mask pattern), and began burning down Wayne properties. The False Facers kidnapped Lucius Fox, CEO of Waynetech and friend of Bruce Wayne. Batman infiltrated the False Facers and was able to save Fox from Black Mask's torture, and even brought in Tattoo, but Black Mask escaped. This contributed to Batman's deteriorating confidence prior to Batman: Knightfall. Most of the False Facers were captured by Batman, but a few escaped. However, Black Mask never tried to revive the False Facers again, and the team is safe to be deemed disbanded.

New 52 (Prime Earth)

In the New 52, the False Face Society was originally founded by mob-boss Richard "The Mask" Sionis. When Richard's son Roman became a young adult he began working with the Society although Roman never saw eye-to-eye with his father. The False Face Society would eventually spread its influence to Europe through David Franco, the thief boyfriend of Selina Kyle who faked his death to become the villainous White Mask.

Years later, the False Face Society would be splintered into three distinctive groups: loyalists to the dying Richard Sionis, supporters of the rising Roman Sionis, and a splinter faction devoted to David Franco which had secretly returned to Gotham from Europe. Ultimately Roman won after murdering his father in the hospital and supposedly murdering White Mask as-well.

Members

Earth One

  • The Joker (founder): Joker founded the team under an assumed alias, wearing a mask with pronounced grooves and features to hide his identity while in a tuxedo and top-hat. He did this as a means of trying to steal from the criminal members of the society.
  • Scuba Member:
  • Knight Member:
  • Racer member:
  • Asian Masked Member:

New Earth

  • Roman "The Black Mask" Sionis (founder): Roman Sionis was a failed businessman from an emotionally abusive household. After losing his company Janus Cosmetics to Bruce Wayne, Roman had a mental breakdown and took up the criminal-alias of Black Mask. Obsessed with masks and false appearances, he founded the society to be his criminal-syndicate.
  • Circe: Circe was a model for Janus Cosmetics who manipulated Roman Sionis for money, leading to him losing the company to Wayne Enterprises. Following his descent into madness, Roman mutilated and tortured Circe into being his disfigured henchwoman.

Prime Earth

  • Richard "The Mask" Sionis (founder): The Society's founder. Eventually he was murdered in the hospital by his estranged son Roman.
  • Roman "The Black Mask" Sionis: Richard Sionis' son who never saw eye to eye with his father. Roman began taking over the society as he wished to control the criminal-underworld as a means of making Gotham a safer place.
  • David "White Mask" Franco: David Franco was a professional-thief who robbed Richard Sionis alongside his girlfriend Selina Kyle. The two were planning on running away together until David was confronted by Richard who offered him a position in the society to expand their influence in Europe. David agreed and took up the identity of "White Mask".

In Other Media

  • Batman: Dark Tomorrow: The False Facers appear briefly in the videogame Batman: Dark Tomorrow, battling the Ventriloquist's men in a massive gang war, armed with weapons supplied by Ra's Al Ghul.
  • DCAU: See, False Face Society (DCAU).
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold:
  • Batman: Arkham Origins: While not named the False Face Society in the game, Black Mask's false-facers appear as his henchmen and respective criminal-syndicate. True to their silver-age incarnation, it is eventually revealed that they were secretly being lead by the Joker disguised as Black Mask.
  • Birds of Prey (DC Extended Universe): Black Mask's syndicate in the film Birds of Prey is modelled after the False Facers although not mentioned by name. Here they serve Roman Sionis who operates out of his club The Black Mask Club. In the climax of the film, they attack the Birds of Prey in Amusement Mile but ultimately are defeated. Mister Zsasz is shown to be a member as Roman's right-hand-man until his death at the hands of Huntress.
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