Black Mask Origin Story (New Earth)

Macabre and menacing, turning his back on the mirror, he strides from sanity into shadow, a stranger within his own skin. He will lead an army from the darkness, swearing to slay first Bruce Wayne and then – Batman.

Origins/Bio Black Mask

Today we’re talking about the origins of a villain who will be getting a lot of attention soon as a central figure in the upcoming Birds of Prey movie – Black Mask. We’re going to talk about his origins as a villain in the 1980s, and just where he got his legendary mask from all those years ago.

The first thing he ever saw was a mask. Then, unfortunately, he was dropped. It was said ever since then, Roman Sionis always had a strange look in his eyes. Roman was born to a wealthy and well connected family that ran a company called Janus Cosmetics. They were influential and knew other well-off families in Gotham such as the Waynes. Roman came to despise Bruce and his parents, and always felt he had to wear a mask around them and others. Roman became obsessed with the concept of masks, leading to a traumatic childhood experience, when he became fascinated by a raccoon and its markings, which resemble a mask. The raccoon bit him, and infected him with rabies. Roman was saved by his chauffeur but was never the same again. His parents began looking at him differently, but refused to seek any further treatment for their son fearing the damage it would cause to the family name.

In spite of these childhood issues, in nine years Roman was 21 and allowed into the family business, and in just a month, he quickly rose to the rank of vice president, dazzling other employees with his ability. Three days after his promotion, Roman met a model named Circe, but his parents forbid such a relationship. In retaliation, Roman burned down the family home. By the next day, he was in charge of Janus Cosmetics.

Still, Roman couldn’t help but think of masks. His parents were sealed in ebony coffins, their death masks unable to be salvaged from the fire. His empire was built on selling people masks for those who did not want to show their true faces. And he began collecting actual masks from all around the world. The obsession led to Roman insisting on a line of face paint cosmetics, which bombed financially. For the first time ever, Roman lost face at his own company. Other disasters led to a downturn in the company’s fortunes. Circe left him, and Roman was left out of power in his own company, which only survived thanks to a bail out by the Wayne Foundation.

Roman agreed to those terms, but came to despise the name he used to sign away his last bit of true power. He travelled to he parent’s mausoleum, shattered his father’s coffin, and carved a piece of it into the mask. This is the story of how Roman Sionis became the Black Mask. He began to recruit others, until, a month later, Batman begins to notice masked individuals perpetrating crimes all over Gotham. After observing one of Black Mask’s victims, it is not difficult for the Caped Crusader to deduce that Roman is behind this. But elsewhere, Roman’s first true plans begin with a plot for revenge… against Bruce Wayne.

And the rest is history in terms of this character! Those are his origins, and let me know what you think in the comments section below. This character was created by Doeg Moench and Tom Mandrake. They do a pretty good job. I think Mandrake does a better job visually with the artwork than Moench does with the writing, which feels a little tacky, even by the relativistic standards I might judge something from 1985, but still, this is a fun origin story and good beginning for a character that would only get better.

Over time, I really do like the direction the visual design of Black Mask took. He would also go on to be responsible for all sorts of cool and twisted Batman stories and moments throughout the years. He’s a great character I’m glad I had a chance to talk about today. Thanks for watching, let me know what you all think in the comments section below, and don’t forget to like, subscribe, and keep reading comics.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply