- Black Mask
- Mainstream Universe, 1950s-2011
- Powers and Abilities
- Recommended read
Mainstream Universe, 1950s-2011
( mother, deceased ) Charles Sionis (father, deceased) Mrs. Sionis (mother, deceased)
Gotham Organized Crime, False Facers, Secret Society, Black Lantern Corps
Base Of Operations
Reading: Roman Sionis (New Earth)
Brown · No Hair
Earth-One · New Earth
Doug Moench · Tom Mandrake
|First Appearance||Appearance of Death|
|Catwoman Vol 3 #52
- I’m not happy, you all know, I’m not happy, and despite appearances… …this ain’t a damned smile on my face.
- — Black Mask src
Roman Sionis, better known by his criminal alias Black Mask, is a longtime enemy of Batman and one of the most big figures in Gotham City ‘s organized crime. once a extremity of Gotham ‘s social elect and president of makeup giant Janus Cosmetics, Roman ‘s own poor people business sense led to a series of decisions that largely destroyed his reputation as both. Humiliated, Roman sought revenge on those he perceived to be responsible for his misfortunes – namely, Bruce Wayne and his company. To this end, Roman created the identity of the crimelord named Black Mask, a well as the criminal organization known as the False Face Society.
Roman Sionis was born to a affluent Gotham City class in 1971 [ 1 ]. concisely after his parturition, the sophisticate dropped him on his head, possibly doing mental damage. Growing up, Roman ‘s parents cared far more about their own social stand than about the wellbeing of their child. Because of this, young Roman developed a fascination with masks, which he compared to the bogus way his parents would act around their socialite friends. Roman grew to despise his parents, and by extension their friends, which included Thomas and Martha Wayne, initiating a resentment for their family from an early senesce. When Roman came of age, he became the vice president of the united states at his church father ‘s makeup company Janus Cosmetics. however, ambitious for total manipulate of his family empire, Roman burned his family home down, killing both his parents inside, and was bequeathed all their wealth .
heighten and drop of Janus Cosmetics
nowadays the president of Janus Cosmetics, Roman enjoyed the fruits of his ambition and became fascinated with collecting exotic masks from every recess of the worldly concern .
however, ultimately, Roman was a poor businessman and about ran his family company into the ground. In a desperate undertake to save Janus Cosmetics as it hovered around bankruptcy, Roman approved an experimental, new cosmetic product, which backfired, as it turned out to be hazardous to humans. Janus Cosmetics was besieged by several hundred lawsuits and plummeted towards total destroy. Roman, humiliated, was forced to accept a bailout from Wayne Enterprises to save his company, on the condition that Roman resign as president of the united states of Janus Cosmetics. Having lost his conglomerate, Roman went to the crypt where his parents were buried and began smashing his founder ‘s ebony coffin with a stone in frustration. Roman decided, with no other prospects, he would turn to organized crime and, using the dark wood from his father ‘s coffin, fashioned himself a dissemble to use for his new identity – Black Mask. [ 2 ]
Black Mask started gathering members for his new criminal arrangement called the False Face Society. To differentiate themselves from all the early gangs in Gotham, Sionis forced his cronies to wear masks from his own personal collection that he felt corresponded to their personalities. With his new constitution assembled, Black Mask started his vendetta against the Wayne Foundation and their drawing card Bruce Wayne. [ 3 ] After a few of the False Face Society ‘s coordinate attacks, Batman deduced Black Mask ‘s true identity. In order to draw him out, Bruce Wayne invited Sionis to a fancy dress musket ball at Wayne Manor, where Sionis then attempted to assassinate Wayne. The hit was a failure though, and Black Mask fled from the premises. Batman and Robin chased after Black Mask and tracked him to the Sionis family estate. Black Mask ‘s former home had been rebuilt since his parents ‘ death but had since gone abandoned after he lost his fortune. Black Mask, in the lapp direction he killed his parents, intended to burn the house down again to far distance himself from his past. As the theater went astir in a blaze, Batman and Robin battled the False Face Society, defeating them all and setting their sights on Sionis. Black Mask attempted to escape through the fire of his own creation, but Batman caught him, causing Sionis to fall face-first into a down of fire below. Sionis screamed in agony as his coal black mask was burned into his font. Batman and Robin were able to douse the arouse and save Sionis ‘ life, but his face was permanently contorted into the shape of his black mask. Black Mask was taken in by the authorities and delivered to Arkham Asylum for the criminally insane. [ 4 ]
finally, Black Mask was broken out of Arkham by the new villain Bane as region of his plan to break the Bat. Black Mask, eager to return to crime, sought to reassemble the False Face Society. He hired a new, brawny lieutenant named Tattoo to help him. In his first mission back, Sionis ordered the False-Facers to burn down assorted Wayne Enterprises-owned buildings around Gotham. Batman, catching on to the design, infiltrated the False Face Society under the diagnose “ Skullface ”. From the inside, Skullface foiled another arson attack with the assistant of Robin, but he was unable to stop Tattoo from kidnapping Lucius Fox. [ 5 ] Black Mask interrogated Fox for data about Bruce Wayne back at his hideout, but “ Skullface ” came to the rescue. Though Fox was freed, Skullface ‘s cover was blown, and Black Mask now knew he was Bruce Wayne. After a brief crusade, Bruce secretly switched into his Batman costume and tried to apprehend Black Mask. Though the False Face Society and Tattoo were captured, Black Mask escaped into the river, leaving a decoy behind for he police to find. Batman – already in the throes of a mid-life crisis – took this failure extremely hard on himself. [ 6 ]
other Criminal Activities
Black Mask remained at large for a retentive time until he resurfaced, calm leading the false Face Society, and killed equal gangster “ Dirty Dan ” Doyle in an still-hunt gunfight. [ 7 ] late still, Black Mask was approached by a young hood named Johnny LaMonica, besides known as the Black Spider, who wished to join the False Face Society. Finding LaMonica irritating, Black Mask demanded that the young valet “ make his bones ” first by crashing another masquerade ball being held at Wayne Manor. Doing as ordered, Black Spider failed to hurt a single person and was barely able to escape Batman. Batman would belated learn, however, that LaMonica was a double agent for “ Turk ” Ottoman, a rival of Black Mask. Realizing that Black Spider intended to kill Black Mask one way or another to make way for his on-key employer, Batman tracked Black Mask to an abandoned dramaturgy. Though Batman was besides belated to stop LaMonica from killing several False-Facers, he was able to prevent LaMonica from killing Black Mask. Deeming the armed Black Spider to be the greater menace, Batman fought with LaMonica, having no choice but to allow Black Mask to escape in the confusion. The future night, Batman staged a desperate and violent manhunt for the crimelord, but to no avail. [ 8 ] When a newly and radical vigilante known as Lock-Up appeared in Gotham, Black Mask and the False Face Society became ignorant partners in a plan concocted by Batman and the Gotham police to capture the self-declared crimefighter. One of the False-Facers ‘ top enforcers, Joe Rabbit, was captured and pressured to turn state ‘s testify against Black Mask, receiving high promotion from the local media. This was meant to lure in Lock-Up, who targeted any and all criminals that managed to escape prison sentences. unexpectedly, however, Black Mask sent in a crowd of False-Facers to kill the “ double-crosser ”, closely scuttling the plan. For a abbreviated time period, Black Mask attempted to expand his operations into Gotham ‘s baby city Bludhaven by threatening the city ‘s vietnamese gang for control over the heroin trade. however, the outline was ultimately foiled by the city ‘s newly defender Nightwing. [ 9 ] On one occasion, Black Mask approached Detective Harvey Bullock with a conduct : in exchange for a disk filled with information about the False-Facers ‘ rivals in the underworld – “ enough potential cases for ten successful police careers ” – Bullock would give a fake testimony at the approaching trial of Johnny Poodles – a acme False-Facer. Bullock accepted the deal but, when it came meter to give his testimony, he gave a truthful argument anyhow ; Poodles ‘ conviction was assured. Angered, Black Mask sent respective False-Facers to kill Bullock, but Bullock escaped the hit alive. [ 10 ]
No Man ‘s Land and the True-Facers
When Gotham was destroyed by a massive earthquake and declared a “ No Man ‘s Land “, Black Mask, along with Gotham ‘s early lead criminals, seized portions of the city ‘s ruins for themselves – in Sionis ‘ character, the Fashion District .
Black Mask had undergone an enormous switch in personality after having researched the spanish Inquisition. His obsession with masks began to mutate, merging with a new interest in physical pain and torture. finally, Black Mask came to think of torture as an “ art form ”, and his own mask, which had been seared into his confront in his earlier crusade with Batman, as proof that he had survived his own personal anguish. [ 11 ] In the ruins of the fashion zone, no longer committing crimes for monetary gain, Sionis alternatively began to espouse a nihilistic philosophy that claimed Gotham ‘s “ true face ” had been revealed by the earthquake. Black Mask ‘s followers, now calling themselves the “ True-Facers ”, became a full-blown cult, horrifically disfiguring their own faces and doing the same to anyone who continued to uphold a “ delusive face ”. The former crimelord and his followers began to expand their empire and focused on overtaking the Gotham Clock Tower, which was inactive the al-qaeda of operations for Batman ‘s ally Oracle. As the True-Facers moved in on the tower, Oracle about shoot Black Mask with an emergency sniper rifle, but Black Mask ‘s life was unwittingly saved by the arrival of the new Batgirl, who beat many of the True-Facers into meekness before breaking Black Mask ‘s sleeve. Upon seeing their drawing card humbled, the rest of the True-Facers fled, and Batman soon arrived to take Black Mask to Blackgate Penitentiary, temporarily run by Batman ‘s early foe Lock-Up. [ 12 ] [ 13 ] finally wanting to end their flimsy relationship with Lock-Up, Batman assigned Nightwing to infiltrate Blackgate and depose the villain. Though Nightwing was captured, he temporarily allied himself with Black Mask and the Scarecrow to finish his mission and kill Lock-Up. Nightwing, however, had no purpose of letting the inmates run free once again and returned them to their cells. [ 14 ]
After the United States government lifted the No Man ‘s Land and welcomed Gotham back into the union, Black Mask returned to his traditional function as a syndicate headpin, though he completely abandoned the False Face Society in favor of ordinarily-attired criminals. soon, he turned his attentions to the drug deal in Gotham ‘s notoriously crime-ridden East end, enlisting the avail of many corrupt policemen to secure his hold over the area. His activities, however, finally led him to clash with the East End ‘s newly-appointed “ defender ” Catwoman .
After two policemen under Black Mask ‘s command snapshot Catwoman ‘s friend Holly Robinson, Catwoman retaliated with an elaborate revenge dodge, breaking up a heroin-diamond switch over that the crimelord had planned with Gotham ‘s russian throng ; the heroin was destroyed, while Catwoman kept the diamonds for herself. To top everything off, several of the policemen on the crimelord ‘s payroll were removed in a corruption flop. [ 15 ] The enrage Black Mask sought vengeance on Catwoman and finally caught wind of rumors concerning a woman named Sylvia Sinclair – an imprison woman who was a childhood friend of Catwoman ‘s and knew her mysterious identity. [ 11 ] In exchange for freeing her, Sylvia gave Black Mask all the information he wanted, allowing for his revenge on Selina to become a lot more personal. The crimelord masterminded the bombing of a community center that Selina had funded and ordered for Catwoman ‘s associates Holly Robinson and Slam Bradley to be assassinated, though they survived the hit. besides, unbeknown to Catwoman until former, Black Mask targeted her baby Maggie. Sionis kidnapped Maggie, physically tortured her, then murdered her conserve Simon Burton and forced her to eat his eyeballs. Catwoman, more ferocious at Black Mask than ever, confronted him at his headquarters, but she was forced to surrender when Black Mask revealed he had Holly and Maggie as his prisoners. Black Mask offered Catwoman a share – he would release them if Catwoman agreed to take their rate and be tortured to death. Catwoman agreed to the conditions, but after she had been properly chained, Black Mask went back on his word and ordered to have Maggie killed. Catwoman anticipated this betrayal though and activated a bomb calorimeter she had planted earlier in the crimelord ‘s penthouse, giving her a gamble to escape. In the chaos, Catwoman caught up to Sionis and began beating him mindless for everything he had done. The competitiveness got out of hand, and Black Mask was thrown to the border of his penthouse ‘s balcony, hanging onto the ledge by one hand. Black Mask begged for avail, but the revengeful Catwoman gave him none ; Black Mask ‘s grip broke, and he fell respective stories to his apparent death. [ 16 ]
Main article: Batman: War Games
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Unbeknownst to anyone, Black Mask actually survived his multi-story fall in his last conflict with Catwoman and bided his meter for his eventual return. Some clock time belated, when Spoiler by chance initiated an enormous cross-city crowd war in Gotham, Black Mask saw it as his opportunity to return. secretly building a net of allies throughout Gotham ‘s clandestine, Black Mask ‘s crowd began to rise back up in Gotham by capturing and torturing his rival, eradicating and assimilating the Escabedo Cartel, the Lucky Hand Triad, [ 17 ] and the Ventriloquist ‘s gang. [ 18 ] As Black Mask ‘s rise began to reach its read/write head, Sionis murdered the gang-leader Orpheus, who was secretly working for Batman, [ 19 ] and captured the Bat ‘s buddy Spoiler. He tortured the female child for information for days ahead obviously killing her. [ 20 ] [ 21 ] Black Mask assumed Orpheus ‘ identity to further his plan. [ 22 ] [ 23 ] As Orpheus, Sionis gathered the remaining belligerent criminal factions to Robinson Park and, rather of ending the war like Batman would have wanted, encouraged them to become more poisonous towards the city ‘s vigilantes. [ 24 ] Batman, betrayed, unmask Orpheus before Black Mask escaped into the night. [ 25 ] Using information given to him by the new villain Hush, [ 26 ] Black Mask went to the Gotham Clock Tower with a television receiver crew to record a alive circulate of what he was told was the location of the Batcave. [ 27 ] Though he was technically wrong, the clock tower was the headquarter of Oracle, and, after Black Mask ‘s gang bypassed all her defenses, he took her captive. [ 28 ] Batman sprung into action to save her, and, in a last ditch effort to defeat Sionis, Oracle activated a self-destruct sequence within the clock tower. When the countdown expired, the headquarters was destroyed, but Sionis survived and escaped. The gang war finally subsided, but Black Mask ‘s telecast baron motion made him the undisputed kingbolt of Gotham ‘s remaining hell, uniting all the gang ‘s under his leadership. [ 29 ]
When a valet called Aaron Black inspired Gotham to take a renewed sake in the events that led to the death of Stephanie Brown, Black Mask hoped to capitalize on the roll of veto promotion and impersonate Batman to incriminate the vigilante for mangle. Black Mask-Batman even attempted to murder Aaron Black himself but was interrupted by the Joker. [ 30 ] As Black Mask fought the Joker, the real Batman arrived on the picture, broke up the fight and chased Black Mask off. [ 31 ] A few days late, Black Mask re-donned his Batman disguise and interrupted a live circulate featuring Stephanie Brown ‘s mother Crystal. The real Batman appeared and stopped him, but Black Mask was able to escape again, burning Stephanie ‘s checkup records on the means. During his miss, Black Mask once again came across the Joker, who shot him in the leg. [ 32 ] Finally, after weeks of chasing both criminals, Batman caught up to both the Joker and Black Mask and captured them, apparently ending Sionis ‘ reign of terror. however, despite being delivered to the authorities, Black Mask managed to escape custody before his test by killing at least six people. [ 33 ]
Under the Hood
Main article: Batman: Under the Hood back on the streets, Black Mask continued to terrorize Gotham as its head of organized crime. He began actively recruiting supervillains to maintain his status, trying to hire Mister Freeze as an hatchet man. [ 34 ] Around this time, Black Mask ‘s operations were targeted by a condemnable, mysterious anti-hero calling himself the Red Hood. Though Sionis initially dismissed him, Red Hood truly caught the crime lord ‘s wrath when he hijacked Black Mask ‘s expensive cargo of Kryptonite. [ 35 ] Black Mask sent Mr. freeze to murder Red Hood, but the attack failed. [ 36 ] For weeks, Red Hood continued to undermine Black Mask ‘s operations, but Sionis decided to take a different set about. alternatively of fighting the problem, he simply waited for Batman to finally take out the problem for him. [ 37 ] Continuing business as usual, Black Mask allied himself with the Mad Hatter to use his mind-control engineering to brainwash Killer Croc as one of his grunts. This schema was finally stopped by both Batman [ 38 ] and Catwoman [ 39 ]. Croc, while on a bank heist with the False Face Society, managed to free himself from the mind control and murdered Black Mask ‘s men. [ 40 ] Black Mask tried to buy the Gotham Museum, valuing it for the real estate. unwittingly, this carry through entangled him in Hush ‘s latest scheme to kill Batman. In arrange to distract Sionis, Hush used the serial killer Murmur to frame Man-Bat for killing Black Mask ‘s employees, which in turn led Black Mask to declare war on Man-Bat. finally, Hush discovered Black Mask ‘s clandestine headquarters and burned it to the reason, forcing Batman to spring into natural process and save Black Mask ‘s life. [ 41 ] Red Hood ‘s attacks on Black Mask ‘s empire started to damage his occupation enough that he was forced to take a more active approach. Soon, Red Hood located Black Mask ‘s newfangled hideout and used a rocket catapult to destroy the place. angry and desperate, Black Mask accepted an offer from Deathstroke to join the new Secret Society for the resources to kill the Red Hood. [ 42 ] Black Mask was disappointed when the Society ‘s “ aid ” turned out to be Captain Nazi, the Hyena, and Count Vertigo, none of whom were particularly ill-famed or powerful ; his fears were quickly confirmed when the Red Hood, with Batman ‘s aid, defeated the trio. [ 43 ] Trying dicker rather, Black Mask struck a deal with the Red Hood. As per the agreement, Sionis gathered all his lieutenants into one room and killed them. Despite kneecapping his own operation to appease the man, Black Mask was double-crossed by the Red Hood anyhow. Sionis stabbed the Red Hood in the chest of drawers, apparently killing him, [ 44 ] until Batman revealed the man Sionis killed was one of the Red Hood ‘s decoy. Focusing his efforts of the Hood, Batman left Black Mask trapped in a minefield of miniature explosives for the police to apprehend. [ 45 ] Black Mask escaped this predicament anyhow and returned to running Gotham ‘s hell .
After a newfangled group of supervillains were chased out of the East end by Catwoman, Black Mask renewed his interest in terrorizing his old enemy .
Black Mask kidnapped Catwoman ‘s close ally Slam Bradley and subjected him to extreme physical anguish. Bradley was rescued by his son, an clandestine bull sitting as a supervillain called Smart Bomb, and Black Mask surrendered his mutilate ( but alive ) captive without a battle. [ 46 ] Black Mask ‘s attack on Catwoman ‘s allies could n’t have come at a worse time for her ; she was in the middle of an identity crisis from the revelation that Zatanna had brainwashed her into becoming a crimefighter. Catwoman, angered with a modern philosophy on crime, intrude on Black Mask ‘s penthouse and cornered the crimelord with a gunman. Black Mask, not believing that Catwoman would actually shoot him, taunted her with the promise to become her “ arch-nemesis ” by killing all of her love ones. however, Black Mask predicted wrong, and Catwoman shot him in the head at point blank, murdering him. [ 47 ] The Gotham City Police Department investigated Black Mask ‘s murder for over a year but did n’t find any attest to make a conviction. finally, a fresh Black Mask surfaced – Jeremiah Arkham – continuing the bequest of the original .
Main article: Blackest Night
When the embodiment of end Nekron sought to conquer the population during the Blackest Night, he sent Black Lantern rings throughout the galaxy to resurrect corpses to serve as his army. One of these rings reached the body of Roman Sionis, and he was temporarily resurrected as a zombie member of the Black Lantern Corps. The animate Black Mask immediately tracked down Catwoman, looking to avenge his own murder. however, Catwoman refused to show any fear, dampening Black Mask ‘s might. As a think of of provoking Catwoman, Black Mask invaded the Adams Psychiatric Institute, where the catatonic Maggie Kyle was hush being held and used his Black Lantern Ring to transform it into a replica of his old torture bedroom. Catwoman and her new allies Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy trapped Black Mask inside a giant pitcher implant that would continue to digest his regenerating zombie-body until the night was over. In one obedience, however, Black Mask was successful ; his reappearance at the psychiatric hospital triggered Maggie ‘s fragile mind, infusing her with a burning hatred for Catwoman. [ 1 ] After Nekron ‘s get the better of, Roman ‘s cadaver returned to the grave.
Powers and Abilities
- Criminology: Black Mask is arguably the greatest criminal strategist and organizer in Gotham, having taken almost full control of the city’s underworld on at least two occasions.
- Business Management: While Roman proved to be a poor businessman prior to becoming Black Mask, he eventually became skilled enough to maintain a massive criminal empire.
- Tactical Analysis
- Disguise: Black Mask is a formidable master of disguise as well as a highly gifted actor, as he was able to fool even the deductive skills of Batman when disguised as Orpheus. He most often uses face putty or plastic masks to hide his skull-head and look like someone else.
- Acting: He has led almost all of Gotham to believe he was Batman when donning his suit.
- Marksmanship: Roman Sionis is an excellent marksman who always carries at least two semi-automatic handguns. He has proven capable of hitting highly nimble athletes (like Jason Todd and Catwoman) in mid-air with relatively little effort and has also shot mid-flight batarangs away from himself.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced): Black Mask is a highly accomplished athlete and hand to hand combatant who has been shown fighting on par with the likes of Nightwing, Red Hood, Robin, Catwoman, and even Batman himself on at least one occasion. In the last case, however, Batman later mentioned that he had been previously exhausted by three days of nonstop fighting in Gotham’s citywide gang wars.
- Weaponry: Perhaps Black Mask’s most defining skill is his mastery of both physical and psychological torture, which he often uses either to extract information, or simply to torment his enemies.
- Interrogation: Black Mask is an expert on torture techniques that would make talk even the most strong-willed person.
- Criminal Insanity: While not traditionally insane by any recognizable disease or mental defect, Roman is criminally insane which means he cannot tell the difference between right and wrong.
- Toxic Masks: Early in his criminal career, Black Mask often made use of masks laced with Janus Cosmetics’ defective makeup. A heavy enough dose of the toxic makeup could kill a grown man in thirty seconds when applied to unprotected skin. Roman also occasionally used masks with more diluted amounts of the makeup as torture devices.
- Black Lantern Ring: While a member of the Black Lantern Corps, Black Mask possessed a Black Lantern Ring and was endowed with all of its abilities, including energy constructs, flight, strength, emotional reading, and a powerful healing factor.
- Firearms: Roman has used a variety of firearms throughout his criminal career, beginning with a single .45 pistol that he stole from the Sionis manor. Shortly before his death, he had progressed to the point of using a Thompson submachine gun with ease.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC’s Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character’s Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal.
- According to his headstone, Roman was born in 1971, and died in 2008, at the age of 36 or 37. 
- Metatextually, the issue that Sionis died in (Catwoman (Volume 3) #52) actually released in 2006.
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