If there's one classic* Batman villain I've come to hate over the past ten years, it's Black Mask.
Thanks to his prominent roles in War Games
, he dominated the Bat-books for a couple years, getting big parts in Nightwing
, and Under the Hood
, thus also appearing in the last one's DVD adaptation, as well as Teh Batman
. So I really shouldn't be surprised that this one-dimensional, nasty, pointless, generic, hollow non-character actually has fans
. Not surprised, but disappointed.
But why? How the hell did this character become a thing, while better gangster-style villains (the Penguin, Harvey, the Ventriloquist and Scarface) got shoved to the side?
So, as I was already writing about a related Two-Face story from 1985, I decided to check out the original Black Mask appearances by Doug Moench. What I was surprised to discover was that Moench's original Mask in no way, shape, or form
resembles the version which DC rose to prominence a few years ago.
I'm not saying he's a good
character, mind you. But he's a far more interesting (and cracktacular) character. Hell, just look at the cover blurb:
So yes, prepare for the ultra-modern Batman villain who makes all the other villains look like CRAP! At least, according to Doug Moench. ( Push it to the limit (LIMIIIIIIIT) behind the cut )
When Selina killed Roman a second time, I reacted with a weary "finally." But now, after reading Moench's originally stories, I feel disappointed for Ed Brubaker and subsequent writers for wasting what little potential there was for this character, and further distaste for anyone who actually likes
the skull-faced version of Black Mask.
Finally, a question: anyone else think that Jeph Loeb ripped off Black Mask when he created Hush? Really, everything that Loeb tried to say with Tommy Elliot, I feel like Moench already said better with Roman Sionis. Just another little way that Moench's original creation has been swept under the rug by DC.
*I hate Hush and Dr. Hurt more, but they ain't "classic" just yet.