Black Mask …and you think your job is rough!

By  Phil Perich for Before the Bat: The Gotham Podcast


That was another great episode of Gotham this week, huh?  “The Mask”.  Those not familiar with comic books might not realize the villain’s name was Black Mask.  Black Mask is Roman Sionis and his first appearance was in Batman #386 (August 1985).

Roman Sionis was born to wealthy, self-absorbed parents who cared about public perception more than their own son.  Roman’s parents became friends with Thomas and Martha Wayne, not out of feeling of friendship, but to further their position in high society.  Roman would go on to a high level position in his father’s company, Janus Cosmetics.  He met and fell in love with a secretary named Circe.     When his parents voiced their disapproval, Roman burned down the family mansion with his parents inside.  Roman lost the family company when his line of water proof makeup turned out to be a toxin that disfigured hundreds of women.  Bruce Wayne and Wayne Enterprises bought the company and forced Roman out.  Circe, now Roman’s fiancée, broke up with him.  Roman went to the cemetery to visit his parents crypt.  As he was opening the door, he was knocked off his feet by a nearby lightning strike.  Roman takes this as a sign and carves a mask from a piece of his father’s coffin and becomes the crime lord known as Black Mask.  Black Mask forms a gang known as the False Face Society.  Their first job was the attempted murder of Bruce Wayne before Batman locked Black Mask in Arkham Asylum.  Years later Black Mask would climb the criminal ladder and become the #1 crime lord of Gotham despite the efforts of Batman and Catwoman.  

After finding out Catwoman’s true identity, Black Mask captures some of her friends and family and tortures them. Catwoman hunts down and kills Roman Sionis.  A little while later, Jeremiah Arkham would take on the role of Black Mask after his personality splits into two separate people.  After a few months he was captured by Batman (Dick Grayson).  

Roman Sionis was resurrected during the Blackest Night event and attempted to kill his murderer Catwoman before all the dead went back to their rest.  

In the recent episode of Gotham, actor Todd Stashwick played the role of Richard Sionis, who was only referred to as the Mask.  Richard is a businessman who runs a fight club comprised of his employees.

Why Richard and not Roman?  Did the writers just change the name? Or is the theory on the internet true? Since Gotham is a prequel show, Is Richard Roman’s father?  Let me know what you think!

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Until next week, be good. Remember it’s not just the heroes that hide behind dark masks!

Posted on November 18, 2014 and filed under Comics.