Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
22. Black Mask
Created by Doug Moench and Tom Mandrake, Black Mask was advertised on his first appearance as being crazier than Joker and deadlier than Ra’s Al Ghul. He was also described as a villain for the 80s. Well…of those three, he WAS created in the 1980s, so we have to give them that much, right?
Seriously, though, Black Mask has a WEIRD origin. He was dropped as a baby. He was then bitten by a rabid raccoon. He was never quite the same after that (seriously? A rabid raccoon?) and when he grew to adulthood, he ends up killing his parents and taking over his father’s cosmetic company. However, his plans are awful and Wayne Industries has to step in and take control when he launches a new line of make-up that CANNOT be removed – it bonds with your face completely. Ruined, he blames Bruce Wayne and his company for his failures, as well as his own father. This leads to him making quite a discovery…
Over the years, Black Mask has been a very capable crime boss (Moench later brought him back during Moench’s 1990s run on Batman with Kelley Jones). During the War Crimes storyline, Black Mask actually seemingly KILLED Robin (Stephanie Brown). In addition, he was a major player in Ed Brubaker’s Catwoman series, with Catwoman ultimately being driven to kill Black Mask after he threatened her friends and family one too many times.
Black Mask has re-appeared in the New 52 alive and well (well, as “well” as can be expected, that is).
21. Red Hood
Serving as the second Robin, Jason Todd always felt a little out of sorts with his role as Batman’s sidekick. Eventually he began to become more and more reckless and after running afoul of the Joker, Jason lost his life to a crowbar beating and an explosion. Jason was revived in the Lazarus Pit by Ra’s Al Ghul. He returned to Gotham using an old identity of the Joker’s, the Red Hood and took on both the gangs of Gotham AND Batman before he revealed himself…
In the end, it appears as though Jason was more misguided than truly evil, and during the New 52, he has turned over a new leaf and is basically a superhero in his own right, just with his own way of doing things that differ from Batman’s.
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