No one goes up against the Black Mask and lives.
~ The Black Mask

The Black Mask (real name: Roman Sionis) is a villain from the Batman series. He was the greedy son of a very wealthy couple, that died in a fire, in which he caused intentionally. He got their money and their company, but went bankrupt. His company was saved by Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Sionis hates him for that. His mask is carved out of the black coffin of his father. Despite being sent to Arkham Asylum, his mild insanity is overshadowed by his greed that he was often reconsidered to be relocated to a regular prison instead of an institution due to knowingly and competently committing his crimes. He is a supporting antagonist in the 2010 direct-to-video animated movie Batman: Under the Hood.


Personal History

Roman Sionis came from a rich family, his father being a very successful industrialist. His parents only cared for their social status; when a doctor dropped Roman on his head after his birth, they were more concerned about covering it up from their friends than their son's well being. When he was child, Sionis was attacked by a rabid raccoon, but his parents forbade him from telling anyone about the incident. They frequently dragged him around to parties, and would force him to become friends with the children of other wealthy families in Gotham City, including the young Bruce Wayne. His family hated other people like the Waynes though, but they put on "social masks" in public to seem like more charming people; these "social masks" were what Sionis grew to despise. After his high school graduation, Sionis was given a high ranking position in his father's company, the prosperous Janus Cosmetics, where he fell in love with a working class model named Circe. However, he was outraged when his parents disapproved and demanded that he break off his relationship with her. This proved to be the last straw for Sionis, who proceeded to burn down the family mansion, killing his parents.

With his father dead, Sionis inherited Janus Cosmetics, but lacked the skills needed to successfully run the company, ruining it by funding a failed line of face-paint makeup. In an act of desperation, he poured his money into an experimental waterproof makeup, which he quickly released to the public without proper testing; the makeup turned out to be a deadly toxin that left hundreds of women disfigured. Following the incident, Circe, to whom he was now engaged, broke up with him in front of the entire staff. Afterward, Bruce Wayne, now head of Wayne Enterprises, bought out Janus Cosmetics, relenquishing control from Sionis and appointing his own Board of Directors,

Sionis was driven mad from losing everything he had; unable to admit to his own mistakes that ruined his life, he turned his hatred on Bruce Wayne. Donning a mask carved from his father's ebony coffin, he began murdering Wayne employees, planning to eventually assassinate Bruce himself to fulfill his revenge. In the ensuing battle with Batman, Sionis' mask became permanently burnt into his face as a living death mask, ironically granting his wish of removing all traces of his former identity. In the next years, he would become one of Gotham City's most ruthless and sadistic crime lords, commanding the False Face Society, an army of masked henchmen. With each 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.

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 horibly wrong - they created a power vacuum in the underworld that he could exploit to build a criminal empire. He murdered Orpheus, a costumed gang leader secretly working with Batman to end the unrest in Gotham, and he took the tragic hero's identity and gained the trust of the teen hero Spoiler. This way he learned information vital to his cause before he betrayed and tortured her. Following Batman's plans, the fake Orpheus rallied all the factions, revealed his true identity and initiated a spree of carnage. Black Mask became the undisputed ruler of the entire Gotham City underworld.

The End

Deathstroke later approached Black Mask offering him a place within the Society. Black Mask was eager to strenthen his increasingly tenuous grip on the underworld since Batman was targeting his operations. He accepted the offer and Captain Nazi and Count Vertigo were sent after Batman. 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. Still thinking that Catwoman adhered to a strict no-kill rule, Black Mask was caught by surprise when Catwoman took revenge by shooting him in the head and blowing his jaw off. After the shooting, Selina Kyle passed the mantle of Catwoman to her friend Holly Robinson. Not long after, Holly was arrested for the murder of Black Mask.

Black Mask II

Black Mask II

Black Mask II

In the "Battle For The Cowl" storyline, a new Black Mask surfaces. He has drugged several of Arkham Asylum's inmate, including the Great White Shark, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, Victor Zsasz, 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. He then prepares for his ascension by destroying Two-Face's and Penguin's reign and becoming Gotham City's crime lord again. 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.

Blackest Night

During the Blackest Night event, Roman Sionis was reanimated as a member of Black Lantern Corps and intended to hunt down and kill Selina Kyle. However, when Selina refused to show him any fear, Roman decided to provoke her by torturing her traumatized sister Maggie. Although Black Mask was eventually stopped, the experience proved too much for Maggie who later becomes an adversary of Catwoman.

New 52

Black Mask's history was altered for the New 52 continuity. Roman Sionis managed to survive being shot by Catwoman and eventually turned himself in at Arkham Asylum in exchange for medical treatment. Jeremiah Arkham only became Roman's brief successor while Roman himself recovered from his injuries. It soon becomes evident that Sionis is also more unhinged than before, as he now believes his iconic mask to be sentient and is compelled to carry out it's wishes.

Other Media

The Batman

Main article: Black Mask (The Batman)

Batman Arkham Series

Main article: Black Mask (Arkhamverse)

Batman: Under the Red Hood

Main article: Black Mask (Under the Red Hood)

Black Mask is a major antagonist in the animated movie.


Main article: Richard Sionis

A character loosely based off Black Mask named Richard Sionis appears in the first season of Gotham in the episode "The Mask" as the CEO of Sionis Investments who pits his candidates against each other for a position at his company. Richard makes a reappearance in the opening of season 2 where he ends up being killed. He is played by Todd Stashwick.


Kill him and I will pay you whatever you want. Make him suffer and I'll double it!
~ Black Mask in Batman Arkham Origins
All the martial arts ninja training in the world doesn't matter a thinker's damn. The only thing that counts is weather or not you have the will to do what needs to be done. That's why I win eventhough you beat me.
~ Black Mask
First you fall then Gotham.
~ Black Mask game over in Batman Arkham City



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