black mask dc comics

Black Mask Will Be the Villain in Margot Robbie’s Upcoming Birds of Prey Movie

The Batman foe will take on Harley Quinn's gang of anti-heroes.
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Warner Bros. has announced that the villain of the upcoming Birds of Prey movie will be Black Mask. Black Mask (or as Princess Weekes calls him, “Red Skull’s cousin”) is the alias of Roman Sionis, a sadistic kingpin in Gotham’s crime-ridden city with a penchant for kittens. Did I say kittens? Just kidding, I meant black masks. The character was created by Doug Moench and Tom Mandrake, with his first appearance in Batman #386 (August 1985).

Roman’s origin story describes him as a foil to Bruce Wayne. He was also raised in high society Gotham by wealthy parents, but suffered massive neglect, including being dropped on his head as a baby (as My Favorite Murder fans know it, step one to becoming a serial killer). He also suffered a rabid raccoon attack, which seems like a major missed opportunity for a raccoon-themed super villain.

Roman burns the family mansion down and assumes control of his father’s company, Janus Cosmetics. Things go terribly, because raccoon bites. Roman drives the business into the ground, and creates a make-up that permanently disfigures the women who use it. After losing his business, he turns to a life of a crime, fashioning himself a black mask out of his father’s ebony casket. He then leads a group of rogues known as the False Face Society (a little on the nose, but okay).

Roman’s story and use of the mask has varied over the years, as is the case with comic book characters. In some versions, Roman’s mask contains mind control powers. In others, a tragic accident has forced the mask to fuse to his face, disfiguring him. As Black Mask, he leads a massive criminal organization, and is known for being brutally violent. In addition to being a Batman villain, he has also battled Catwoman in several stories.

Black Mask has the potential to be a truly scary villain for the Birds of Prey to take down. He’s basically toxic masculinity personified. Casting has yet to be announced, but we’ll see what happens.

What do you think about Black Mask? Who would you like to see play him? Let us know in the comments,

(via The Wrap, image: DC Comics)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.