Batman‘s most dangerous nemesis isn’t the Joker, but rather Black Mask, thanks to his gruesome backstory. Bruce Wayne has made a lot of enemies, some of whom are made as a result of his choices as Batman. However, Roman Sionis should ascend to the status of Batman’s greatest enemy due to his past being a dark reflection of Bruce Wayne’s.

Roman Sionis made his first appearance in 1985’s Batman #386 by Doug Moench and Tom Mandrake. His origin story serves as a guide on how to create a supervillain. At birth, Sionis is dropped on his head by his doctor, leading to many psychological issues that would haunt him for years to come. Roman is the heir to a wealthy cosmetic company known as Janus Cosmetics run by his socialite parents. They were the root of all of Roman’s trauma and pain towards becoming the Black Mask. Roman’s father and mother only care about their looks and the “social masks” they put on to impress the likes of the Wayne family.


Related: Black Mask Shows He Has the Worst Gimmick of Any Batman Villain

Black Mask and Batman’s Origins Are Similar In The Darkest Way

Black Mask Kills His Parents

Growing up, Sionis slowly turns into a darker version of Bruce Wayne. While young Bruce was loved deeply by his parents, Sionis grew to hate his parents for forcing him to act as a puppet to their demands. Sionis grew to feel jealousy and hatred towards the Waynes and their son even after Thomas and Martha Wayne were murdered. As Bruce was slowly becoming the Dark Knight thanks to his fear of bats and tragedy, Roman would use his childhood trauma to become something much more frightening. Instead of bats, Roman encounters a raccoon with rabies that he relates to as someone being forced to wear a mask like him.

Roman wears a mask but not for a mission of justice like Batman. As an employee of Janus Cosmetics early on in life, Roman falls in love with the cover girl of Janus, Circe, but his parents force him to break up with her due to her lower social status. Roman complies with his parents’ wishes and months later, he burns down their mansion, killing them both. Roman takes control of Janus only to run it into the ground, which leads to Wayne Enterprises taking over the company from Sionis. With nothing left to lose, Roman seeks revenge on Bruce Wayne and his company by crafting a mask made from his father’s tomb. With his mission to destroy Wayne Enterprises set, Black Mask is introduced as a mobster/cult leader of vengeance with his own team, The False Face Society.

Black Mask Channels His Trauma Into Evil

False Face Society

Black Mask and Batman are cut from the same rich cloth and turn their childhood trauma into a personification of revenge. Despite his parents’ death, Bruce is given unconditional love and important lessons on how to protect others, which leads to him becoming Batman. However, Roman Sionis becomes a sadistic criminal due to his parents’ neglect of their son’s very real mental health issues. Black Mask is a product born from a sad upbringing but instead of turning to justice like Bruce, Sionis embraces to pain and suffering. Batman learns how to control his trauma and turn it into a positive but Black Mask learns how to hide his pain through mask from his vanity-obsessed parents.

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