Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Year of the Villain: Black Mask #1 Review and **SPOILERS**

Fake Faces Leave Traces

Writer: Tom Taylor 
Artist: Cully Hamner 
Colorist: Wes Abbott 
Cover: Mitch Gerads 
Editor: Rob Levin 
Group Editor: Jamie S. Rich 
Cover Price: $4.99 
On Sale Date: August 21, 2019


This year has been an unending hellscape of fear and terror, and it’s no small wonder since it’s the Year of the Villain! Seems like Lex Luthor is offering his former cohorts their hearts’ desires. Wonder what he’s gonna give to Black Mask? Well, wonder no longer, because I’ve reviewed Year of the Villain: Black Mask #1, right here!

Explain It!

Hey folks, you remember Black Mask, don’tcha? Brilliant gangster who ran the False Face society and also brutalized Stephanie Brown? Wears an ebony skull mask carved from his daddy’s coffin? Sometimes has spooky, magical powers, depending on how creatively bereft the writer of a given adventure is? Well, if you didn’t know Black Mask before, here’s another chance to meet the fella. And there’s not much more to it. You get Luthor’s holographic ghost offering Sionis his boon, and then Black Mask tells his life story. Which, I suppose, must happen periodically in the comic book biz, but is this really the best use for a “year of the villain?” 
There is a new wrinkle to his origin: young Roman Sionis knew young Bruce Wayne. How about that? In fact, the Wayne family’s collection of tribal masks gave Roman the idea of using false faces in the first place. Well that’s very convenient! Only the laziest retconned storytelling for me, thanks. All roads must lead back to Wayne Manor. 
Holographic ghost Luthor convinces Black Mask to think beyond his criminal trappings, and take over some other industry which will then be used to commit crimes. So it’s sort of the same thing in a roundabout way. Luthor gives Black Mask a jetpack and some kind of presto-change-o face-changing ability, so he can blend in with the crowd easier. If I had to guess, it’s some holographic thingie. But that’s not really important. What is important is that this fairly uninspired origin story coupled with the silly things bestowed by Lex makes for a pretty dull “event book.” Maybe the rest of the year is more exciting,

Bits and Pieces

A Black Mask origin story that has been told before, and better, with an extra wrinkle that is pretty disappointing. “Year of the Villain” fanatics only need apply,



  1. But they were family friends it the reason why bruce brought Romans family company,it's the reason why Romans went after Bruce during knightfall prelude

    Oh and welcome back

  2. Thanks for the review. The previous commenter is right, Romans’ family did have past interactions with the Wayne family. However, I think you hit the nail on the head with your line, “All roads must lead back to Wayne Manor.” Which is a big problem. Plus, the story spends so much time on their past history, in an uninspired way too, and not nearly enough on Black Mask overtaking an entirely new industry with a new techno-Chameleon power. Sadly, this is a very subpar comic book; the art was distracting, the story felt uneventful when it should’ve been much bigger and just felt like a wasted opportunity to reignite interest in a classic Batman super-villain.