- "A mask hides the face, but frees the soul. A mask speaks the truth."
- —Richard Sionis to Detectives Gordon and Bullock[src]
Richard Sionis was the owner and CEO of Sionis Investments.
Sionis was the owner of an extremely successful investment firm, Sionis Investments. As part of the process of hiring new staff, he would force male applicants into an abandoned office building, where they would fight each other with their bare hands and whatever office supplies they could get a hold of until one of them had come out on top. While the death of the opponent wasn't a condition, at least four men were killed in the fights. After one of the applicants is killed with a paper cutter and dumped at the Gotham docks, James Gordon and Harvey Bullock started investigating. They went to the Sionis Investment office and noticed that a lot of the workers had serious cuts and bruises. They talked to Sionis, who kept a collection of antique Japanese kabuki masks and swords in his office. When he started to get under Gordon's skin, the detectives became aggressive and Sionis asked them to leave.
Later, when Gordon went to investigate one of the buildings suspected of hosting the fights, Sionis knocked Gordon out and placed him in a fight with the remaining three applicants and offered a million dollars to whichever of them killed him while the firm's staff watched the fight on a TV in the office. When all the men failed, Sionis took a katana and his signature black mask and tried to kill Gordon himself, but was defeated as well and arrested.
Sionis was committed to Arkham Asylum, and while in there managed to establish himself as the shot-caller for the more violent and dangerous elements in the prison, such as Jerome Valeska. He was attracted to Barbara Kean on her incarceration, and formed an alliance of sorts with her which he at least seems to have viewed as boyfriend status. Sionis was one of six inmates broken out by Tabitha Galavan as part of her brother Theo's master plan to put together an outlaw 'supergroup'. Sionis declined the invitation to join The Maniax and was butchered in front of the others by Tabitha as an object lesson. His death does not seem to have distressed Barbara to any noticeable degree.
Powers and abilities
- Expert strategist/Tactician/Manipulator:
- Expert businessman: Sionnis was able to run his very own successful business company.
- Wealth/Vast resources: As a businessman, Siuonnis is a rich man and has access to various resources.
- Skilled combatant: Sionnis has shown some skill as a hand to hand combatant. He was able to grapple with Jim Gordon, though lost to the more experienced fighter.
- Expert swordsman: Sionnis is capable of wielding a katana sword in combat. This is seen during his fight with Jim Gordon who was armed with a paper cutter, where he held the upper hand, even manging to slash Gordon's shoulder.
- Black Samurai warrior mask: Sionnis kept this mask in his office. He wears it whenever he is in the office fight arena.
- Katana: Sionnis kept this sword in his office. He used it during his fight with Jim Gordon.
- Taser: Sionis used this handheld taser to knock Jim Gordon unconscious.
- Various masks and weapons: Sionnis possesses many different masks and weapons in his office.
- "The Mask"
- Richard shares the last name Sionis with Roman Sionis, otherwise known as the villain Black Mask in the DC Comics Universe. Also, the episode of Richard's debut was titled "The Mask".
- Richard Sionis was later introduced into the comic books as the father of Roman Sionis, the precursor to Black Mask, and the founder of the False Face Society in Catwoman (vol. 4) #51, as part of the New 52 relaunch. This makes him the first character created specifically for Gotham to be later introduced into the main comics, with the second being Bridgit Pike.
- Before the relaunch and the premiere of Gotham, Roman himself was the founder of the False Face Society and he created the Black Mask persona from the ground up.
- Originally, Roman had wealthy, abusive parents and his father was businessman Charles Sionis (seemingly erased from continuity following the introduction of Richard Sionis).
- Io the show, Richard Sionis' relationship with Jerome Valeska seems to have similarities to the Joker and Black Mask's relationship in the Batman: Arkham Origins video game.
- In the tv series, Jerome at first seems only too willing to gain Sionis' approval whilst also giving him excessive fan praise. This eventually leads to Jerome willingly turning his back on Sionis when he is attacked and killed by Tabitha Galavan. In the video game, Joker steals Black Mask's identity, completely taking over Black Mask's criminal empire and exploiting his reputation throughout the game's storyline, leaving Black Mask ruined in more ways than one.