[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Black Mask has returned to Gotham City, and he’s getting back into The Life with a classic armored truck robbery. He decides to entertain his hostage with the story of his youth, but it looks like the GCPD have Black Mask pinned down. Thankfully for Roman, one of Lex Luthor’s drones arrive on the scene to make him an offer. Luthor sets Black Mask up with his on pharmaceutical company in Atlanta and the means to run it without blowing his cover. However, Batwoman has started operating out of Atlanta, and Detective Renee Montoya has kept an eye out for signs of the Black Mask’s return.
Year of the Villain: Black Mask #1 picks up on the story of Black Mask after his escape from the Teen Titan’s underground jail. Roman Sionis isn’t one to stay down, and he wants his position as Gotham City’s top crime boss back.
Black Mask has been varying degrees of unhinged over the years, and he seems to be more on the crazy end of the spectrum in this comic. He cracks macabre jokes, kills with little provocation, and shows a penchant for torture. He still has that traditional “Italian mob boss” thing down, which is one of my favorite things about the Black Mask. He would be at home in Goodfellas (sans the mask).
I’m more than happy to see Batwoman back in a DC comics. She’s easily one of the best members of the Bat-Family, and she needs her ongoing series back–or she could just join the Outsiders.
Cully Hamner is the artist on this venture, and he does an excellent job of making Black Mask’s world just a little unsettling. Hamner’s style is excellent, and he knows how to make characters detailed and expressive. In addition, everything in Roman’s life looks just a little off, and that suits Roman perfectly. Dave Stewart’s color work is well-balanced and often grim and grimy. That suits Roman quite well too.
Year of the Villain: Black Mask #1 is a fun and deviant little ride through the newest exploits of Roman Sionis. You can’t keep a good boss down, and Black Mask is one of the best bosses Gotham has. This is a good read and easily worth a recommendation. Check it out.
Year of the Villain: Black Mask #1 comes to us from writer Tom Taylor, artist Cully Hamner, color artist Dave Stewart, letterer Wes Abbott, and cover artist Mitch Gerards.
Final Score: 8/10
[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]