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DC Classics.Com: Club Infinite
Earths Black Mask Review

DC Comics has got a slew of characters that wear boring ol’ suits. Mattel has a figure subscription specifically targeted at collectors. When Mattel announced Club Infinite Earths, I was excited at the prospect of getting some boring ol’ suit figures. Black Mask wasn’t on the top of my list though.

I’m not a big fan of the Black Mask, but it’s not his fault really. Though I used to be a lifelong DC reader, Black Mask’s first appearance and heaviest use fell into that middle-80s period where I wasn’t really reading comics.

The creation of Doug Moench (Moon Knight, Deathlok) & Tom Mandrake (Grimjack, The Spectre), the first Black Mask appears shortly before Crisis on Infinite Earths. He’s kind of an anti-Bruce Wayne. Roman Sionis was born to wealthy parents, but it’s all downhill from there. They drop him on his head as a baby. They treat him like crap and don’t die when he’s young (they probably never even took him to movies!), but his big beef with his parents is how fake they were. This would lead to a youthful obsession with masks.

Roman grows up and runs the profitable family company into the ground by releasing defective makeup that disfigures women. Rightfully, that kinda sends him over the edge. He kills his parents and, because he’s always been obsessed with the power of masks, carves a black mask out of his Dad’s casket. He then goes on to set himself up as a powerful crime lord and leader of the False Face Society that would prove to be a big thorn in 80s Batman’s side.

Now, I’ve really never read that Black Mask. By the time I’m finally introduced to the character, Brubaker had come along and pretty much ignored all of that. Treating him like a blank slate, Brubaker turned Black Mask into more of a solo act and not to mention sadistic douchebag. After an altercation with Catwoman, Black Mask killed her brother-in-law and fed his eyeballs to her sister (Mattel left that out of his packaging bio).

Black Mask was also used as the primary antagonist is Batman: Wargames. I kinda hate that whole mini-series. I’m a big fan of Stephanie Brown as a character, particularly her brief time as Robin, and I’m still harboring some resentment over her stint in Robin being used to get readers invested in her shortly before killing her off. If you read Wargames, you got to see Black Mask, stab, torture, shoot, and kick Stephanie down a flight of stairs (this was followed up with Leslie Thompkins letting her die to prove a point to Bruce. Ugh.). That stupidity would ultimately be undone, but I’ve never really cared much for Black Mask none the less.

Anyway, I’ve gone and started ranting about Stephanie Brown again. Black Mask ended up getting tossed off a building by Catwoman. He survived that, so she made sure on his second attempt on his life by putting a gun to his head and blowing his face off (this was also left off his bio). Later, in another asinine plot twist, Jeremiah Arkham would become the second Black Mask (maybe the nu52 washing some things away isn’t so bad after all…) .

Like I said, I wasn’t all that thrilled we were getting this figure, but it is a new character that we don’t have. He pads out the shelf, right? The figure represents Black Mask as he was seen in the Brubaker stories when his look was redesigned into a black “Red Skull” look. Continue to Page 2…

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46 comments to DC Classics.Com: Club Infinite
Earths Black Mask Review

  • Jon

    Hey Noisy, the link to “Continue to page 2” goes to Movie Masters Ras, I was too tired to realize I walked into another review and read all the way through wondering when Black Mask was going to appear in the picture timeline ><

    • In your defense, that figure has the same body just shrunk a bit, so it probally doesn’t read too differently until the accessories part!

      Thanks for the catch. I’m too tired too!

  • Great review…someday I would love to see a pic of all your suits (including trenchcoats)

  • Bigbot

    So this coat is different than the one Riddler came with in Wave 5? It looks the same to me, but I’ve had my Riddler in storage for a while now so I can’t say for sure.

  • J. Lee

    Man I missed that Steph Batgirl, know its DCDirect but dunno if we will see her in the matty line. I did hate that ending in wargames too. How did she come back though?

    On Black Mask I did like the fig and I am miffed about the cowl cause I spent a half hour trying to find that hole in the cowl to pose him with the cowl on the blade. Think he would look cooler that way.

    I think now in the nu52 Mr. Bones replaced him. Guy looks the same just white like Tombstone.

    He’s an okay fig but know I hope we get a small change with Ivy with some flat hands or a clawed hand and a plant of some sort. Thinking the lil guy fron MH Venus Mcflytrap.

    • They retconned Leslie to have faked her death to get her away from Bruce. It was dumb, but it made more sense for Dr. Thompkins at least!

      I’m think about drilling out the cowl a bit to get the blade in there. It’s a shame it wasn’t done!

    • CopperZeus3626

      I really want the cowl accessory to be cool, but it definitely falls short since the blade doesn’t go through and can’t even be held that well. Noisy, I’m not sure how you got it to stay in Batman’s hand. If you do it just right it can balance on the end of the knife through the mouth opening, which looks okay.

      I’m also a little annoyed at the amount of words printed on the accessories. I know it must be a legal thing, but it seems like plenty of accessories have been made without even “China” on them, and those blades look pretty bad from the other side.

      • Heli

        And, you know, I own a lot of Star Wars and GI Joe figures (and Marvel Legends, come to think of it) that don’t have “China” stamped on every one of their accessories.

        I guess it’s just another Mattel safety standard.

        • It’s always just a shame they can’t put it on the handles. Even if it’s round, just make a flat spot big enough for the stamp. If done right, it wouldn’t affect how the figure holds it all and the grip would cover up the stamp.

  • dayraven

    i actually thought prometheus was the “anti-batman.” after of course azrael was the anti-batman… after the black mask was the anti-batman… after the farging joker was the anti-batman.

  • Sandman

    Nice review as always.

    Not a figure I’d like to own, honestly. Like you I was not a fan of this version of the character one bit. Still he seems ably executed.

    • This is one of those hard calls on which version is more popular. I’m not a fan of how he’s depicted, but it does seem to have done a better job of putting him on the map (and got him two figures).

  • j1h15233

    Nice pic with BB and Batman haha.

  • TwoFisted

    Thanks for mentioning that pickle fork thing. I have no idea why they decided to give him that. Especially when he has a gun in his hand on the damn packaging. Deathstroke has gotten guns and Vigilante has gotten guns…so its not like Matty is against giving figures guns. I’m definitely giving him one of the extra guns from either of those figures.

    • Since the fork is in the artwork, I’d presume there was a gun in the mix at some point. On the bright side, guns are easier to obtain. This might’ve been our only shot at the pickle fork.

  • Brainlock

    I think I know more about this guy from the Brave & Bold cartoon than anything else? I knew about his role in Wargames with Steph, but just always thought he was another Capone wannabe with a death mask?

    The Lex and double Bats pics are funny, because you know this guy’s going to end up turned into suit Lex and, if they can pry off that springloaded head from DCSH/Batman QC Bat/Bruce, a passable Wayne figure, If you haven’t used an extra Question or two for them (or Clark) already.

    J.Lee’s mention of Mr Bones would be a good alternative, either simply painting the skull white for DEO Bones or using that popped head on a Mr Miracle/Dr Impossible body for Infinity Inc Bones. Any good bases for Atomic Skull’s body(-ies)? He would be a good “skull face” character to custom. I’m trying ot think how he looked before the better (imo) JLU look or they went retro with the orange/green 70s look, teamed with color-twin/partner Metallo. He does seem to change his whole appearance every time he shows up, doesn’t he?

    • I always thought the Mr. Freeze would make a good Atomic Skull base, but I prefer that gray/white 90s look.

      And, yeah, lesser known characters get screwed like that. Everyone’s trying to make their stamp.

      • Brainlock

        If we’re thinking of the same look, I think the JLU style was based on it, only with a bit more Ghost Rider-y green glowing/flaming skull tossed in.

  • Megatherium

    I need to get this figure, and a MM Ra’s Al Ghul to make a DCUC sized Movie Ra’s Al Ghul. He’d just need some paint(tie, shirt, neck) and the hands of the MM figure and he’d be pretty perfect.

  • TC

    Yeah, I’m not the biggest Black Mask fan either, Noisy, so it was hard to get excited about this figure. I never thought he was that interesting a character in the comics, though I do realize his significance to the bat-mythos and why he made a good candidate for toyhood (I loved his appearances in the 2004-2008 “The Batman” cartoon series, though. Very cool). It didn’t help matters that this was yet another occassion for Mattel to trot out the ol’ tried-and-true, generic “suit” body. *Sigh* again with this thing? Y’know, Matty, not everyone is built the same. Middle-age guys that exercise regularly actually look diffent in a suit than, say, a 60 year-old butler. And to phone it in like this on the subscription? Kind of irritating. That said, the figure actually turned out pretty cool. The head sculpt is good, and I actually really like his tie for some reason. And I didn’t get the reasoning for not giving him a gun, either. It’s right on the box, for Pete’s sake! So all-in-all, not great, but not horrible, either. Black Mask is just kinda…there.

  • Matthew Cody

    I believe black mask is actually a dcsh clark kent figure…based on his height and articulation. But anyway..Originallyi was a bit miffed about two additions to cie(black mask and poison ivy) that to seemed more obviosly better suited to the (less utilized) batman legacy/unlimited lines. But upon further thought, I realized that black mask was too gruesome a character, both visualu and idealogicaly and poison ivy too “sexy” for mass retail release. Incidentally, I dig my black mask but only one complaint….the picture on the back of the box shows him with a pistol, amd the figure is sorely lacking of any firearm. Funny?..Yes.

    • I hear this a lot when suit figures come out and then easiest way to differentiate between the Two-Face buck & the Question buck is the tie. The Two-Face/Clark Kent/Riddler body has a molded tie with a bifurcated line running through it.

      If the tie is a separate softer plastic piece, it’s the new Question body (which was also shrunk down and had its legs swapped for use as a Movie Masters buck).

  • CopperZeus3626

    I agree that a couple more guys in suits could be a good thing. I might be alone on this, but I would be really excited to get the Gray Ghost. He could reuse most of the suit buck and the fedora, but would need a new torso.

    I also hope that when it would be useful, Mattel doesn’t forget about Sandman’s suit with that nice little loop.

    • He might be a hard sell (a (mostly) animated figure in the subscription would surely drive some contingent mad, but who wouldn’t), but I’d love to see him as figure.

  • You know, it’s a funny thing. I was buying comics back in the ’80s. Not everything but a goodly amount. I have zero memory of Black Mask and any of the events that you mentioned.

    So, the knife doesn’t go thru the cowl after all? What’s that about? I thought that was the whole point. Sudden fear that little kids will go on a mad cowl stabbing spree? Masked Mexican wrestlers will be in fear? We have to stop packing guns in with figures but stabby knives are A-OK?

    Bah.

    I don’t see why Matty can’t do a box set of ‘secret identities’ with Bruce, Clark, Lex, maybe Vic Sage sans mask, maybe that TV reporter guy that turns into The Creeper, maybe Ollie (I heard a rumor that there was a TV show that was kinda sorta maybe in a vague way related to Green Arrow going on. 🙂 ).

    Wow, it could just go on, huh? Barry as a CSI. Alfred. Gordon.

    I weep.

    • Either to be a Mattel standards issue or a factory error. I think that Clark & Bruce should be done for sure, Lois, Alfred & Gordon too. Beyond those I get a little unsure myself.

      • Brainlock

        Jimmy Olsen, esp now that Doctor Who has made bow ties cool again.
        Perry hasn’t changed much over the years and DCD did a 70s/SA version of him.

  • Great review on an average figure. Black Mask falls squarely into the “Got stuck with him through the sub but still makes for a good buck” department. Those post-80’s stories don’t exactly make him kid friendly material either. 🙁

    • Thanks! I pretty much agree. He’s still filler to me. Constantine will be too honestly, but everything else should be great for the rest of the year.

  • SilntAngl5

    YEEEEESSSSSS!!!!!!! (You know why!)

  • […] If you’re curious what other people thought about these guys, you can read reviews of both Black Mask and Mirror Master over at itsalltrue.net. Pixel Dan also has a video review of Black Mask […]