The Black Mask is the 'big bad' of Batman: Arkham Origins

By Steve Watts, Apr 16, 2013 11:30am PDT

Batman: Arkham Origins is said to star Black Mask as its primary antagonist, taking a break from the usual Joker threat. But Warner Bros knows that some fans don't know much about this villain, and are picking and choosing pieces of his comic history to tell the story of Batman's early, less experienced years.

Game Informer detailed the character's plans and motivations. The name has applied to two separate characters, but this Black Mask will be based on the character Roman Sionis who debuted in 1985. Sionis had rich parents like Bruce Wayne, but killed his parents and fashioned a mask out of his father's casket to signify that he was taking over the business, presumably because "CEO" business cards are kind of boring. When he's caught in a fire (that he started himself to cover his past), Batman attempts to save him and inadvertently drops him into the flames, merging the mask onto his face. Oops.

In the game, Sionis is the public head of his father's corporation, Janus Cosmetics, but has been running the Gotham mob on the side. The game begins as he's solidifying power, and exploiting his dual identities as both Sionis and Black Mask to pull strings. Standing in his way, of course, is the Bat. So he targets Batman by recruiting eight of the best assassins in the world--which is, one imagines, how Deathstroke comes into play. They come together on Christmas Eve to kill Batman, all under the employ of Black Mask.

"The sadistic nature of Black Mask is a fun thing for us to play with--the lengths to which he's willing to go to get what he wants,” said senior producer Ben Mattes. The early glimpse of the game is said to show a deep hatred for Batman, which is probably what you'd expect if a young hero's fumbling attempts to save you resulted in an ugly mask being welded to your face.

For more on how the comics may be influencing Arkham Origins, check out our analysis.

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