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This issue presents the first appearance and full origin of the Black Mask!
When the heir of Janus Cosmetics is born, the doctor accidentally drops the baby, whose life is all downhill from there. From then on, something always seems off about little Roman Sionis, all the more so after he’s attacked by a rabid raccoon. In truth, Roman felt dead inside all his life, but at least tried to put on a mask of civility for his parents’ high-society friends like the Waynes.
When Roman rises in the ranks of Janus, he falls under the “spell” of a bewitching model named Circe. Shortly after Roman’s parents disapprove of the romance, they both die in a fire of mysterious circumstances. Roman inherits Janus, but soon drives the company into ruin, first with makeup designed to cover the face, then with untested waterproof makeup that causes horrible skin damage.
Circe and Janus both dump Roman, after he’s bailed out by Wayne Enterprises. For Roman, this gesture of friendship represents his greatest humiliation, causing him to “lose face.”
Snapping completely, he destroys his parents’ ebony coffins, and decides to carve a mask. Shortly thereafter, the new president of Janus Cosmetics is murdered, and the next target is Bruce Wayne.
Continued in Detective Comics #553.