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Black Mask
200px-Black Mask 1
General Information
Real name: Roman Sionis
First Appearance: Batman #386
Created by: Doug Moench
Tom Mandrake
Affiliations: False Facers
Gotham Organized Crime
The Society
Portrayed by: James Remar (Voice)
John Di Maggio (Voice)
Wade Williams (Voice)
Nolan North (Voice)
Brian Bloom (Voice)


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

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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.

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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.
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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.
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    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

  • 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
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    Black Mask in the Animated Series tie-in comic

    Enterprises. Following this, an associate of The Red Hood 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.
Black Mask

Black Mask in 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.
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Black Mask in Batman: Dark Tomorrow

  • 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.
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Black Mask in Batman: Under the Red Hood

  • Black Mask appears in the animated feature Batman: Under the Red Hood. He is the first kingpin to gain control of Gotham in 20 years according to the film, having enough influence that he can get whatever he wants, and had drug dealers under his control that he generally kept most of the profits. During the events of the film, Black Mask had bought the metahuman-based robot Amazo with what was presumably millions of dollars, while fighting against other bidders for the robot including various puppet dictators and psychos who were "as long as [his] arm", and had planned to use Amazo as a means to buy his way up to high-end international trafficking. However, before he could get the chance to use it, a new criminal kingpin known as the Red Hood had ordered for its theft, with Amazo itself later being destroyed by Batman and Nightwing by having its head blown off during the fight against it. He was left furious at these events, as it meant he was forced to keep rooting around in Gotham, and because Batman tended to keep any wreckage from his fights, he was unable to even sell the remains for scrap, and vowed to have Red Hood killed, saying that "he's dead, take care of him." He then met up with a new recruit to his organization (who had arrived just as he learned the bad news), and after threatening him with cutting his eyes out if he kept staring at his deformities, proceeded to punch him in the face before demanding for a status update regarding weapons shipments, with the recruit informing Black Mask that the weapons cache (this time containing ten cases of assorted SMGs and PDWs, along with 5000 .45 caliber ATG rounds [Black Mask's favorite] as well two cases of RPGs and some cases of C-4) had their dropoff point being redirected as well as security being doubled in light of Red Hood's recent actions. Unfortunately for Black Mask, due to his office being bugged by Batman (and by proxy, Red Hood due to him formerly being Jason Todd), Red Hood learned of this and proceeded to steal the shipments and nearly crash the helicopter. Afterwards, Black Mask then called his men to his office and then, deciding his previous request was too mired in subtlety, bluntly tells them that he wants Red Hood dead, giving an increasingly graphic description of how he wanted him dead. Although Ms. Lu indicated that they were being careful to monitor any transactions, Black Mask rejected that idea, deciding he intends to have Red Hood learn that this is a "contact sport" by having his men rough up his various business venues to force him out into the open so that when he tries to take them down, he'll arrange to have a "party" meet up with Red Hood (and further elaborating that by "party", he means several assassins wanting him dead). Ultimately, this failed due to Red Hood calling for Batman's assistance to fight off the Fearsome Hand of Four, with him learning that Red Hood had not just stole his weapons shipments, but also destroyed them, and is also targeting people within Black Mask's province with death instead of recruiting them. Black Mask initially thought this meant he was a more lethal version of Batman, although Ms. Lu corrected him and informed him that more likely, he's just trying to take out his competitors. Black Mask then lashes out at his men, and implies that he knows that one of the Fearsome Hand of Four had been killed due to saying in response to Ms. Lu "Four? Sounds like they need a new name!" while beating his present men down. He also rejects Ms. Lu's suggestion that Batman is simply letting them fight so he could take on the winner, and starts deducing that whatever Batman's reason was for not stopping Red Hood, it had to be something else, realizing they're in the middle of the crossfire. Just then, however, Red Hood attempts to fire a rocket launcher at his office, forcing Black Mask to flee and narrowly avoiding being killed by a fire exit door being flung off its hinges. He then tells Ms. Lu that he's forced into negotiating the release of a psychotic to fight fire with fire against the Red Hood, more specifically the Joker. He makes clear that he was not happy with this and knows its a bad idea, stating it was going to be a nightmare. He then arranges for several guards under his payroll and killing other guards to secure the Joker's release, and then hires him to kill Red Hood. Although shocked at Joker slaughtering his men, he nonetheless hires him and makes sure he has access to his standard uniform and a truck, as well as some guards. However, Black Mask ultimately is thrown in with the drug dealers that they captured so he could draw out Red Hood and has his life threatened, with him yelling at Joker that him being killed was not part of the deal and demanding his release. Red Hood then arrived, with Black Mask then realizing even his release of the Joker had in fact been part of the Red Hood's plan all along. He nearly ended up burned alive until Batman interfered. He was arrested, although he ultimately was released on bail.
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Black Mask on Batman: The Brave and The Bold

  • 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 Origins

Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City & Batman: Arkham Knight

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