|First appearance||Detective Comics #66 (August 1942)|
|Created by||Bob Kane
|Alter ego||Salvatore Vincent Maroni|
|Notable aliases||The Boss, The Italian|
Salvatore "The Boss" Maroni is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, usually as one of Batman's first enemies, and among the toughest gangsters in Gotham City. Maroni is most famous for being the one who scarred Harvey Dent, setting the stage for the young attorney's transformation into Two-Face.
Fictional character biography
Maroni's first Pre-crisis appearance was in Detective Comics #66 (August 1942) as "Boss" Moroni, a mobster on trial for the murder of a man named "Bookie" Benson. Harvey Dent is the prosecutor at the trial. He calls Batman as his first witness. During Batman's testimony Maroni calls Batman a liar, leading Dent to show his proof: Maroni's lucky two-headed silver dollar found at the scene with Maroni's fingerprints on it. Enraged, Maroni throws a vial of acid at Dent, horribly disfiguring him and transforming him into the insane gangster Two-Face.
Two-Face later shoots and kills him, after which Two-Face surrenders and voluntarily goes back into police custody.
By presumed coincidence, in All-American Comics #25 (April 1941), a criminal named "Killer" Maroni blinds Dr. Charles McNider, who subsequently becomes Doctor Mid-Nite of the Justice Society of America. In Adventure Comics #76 (July 1942), Starman (Ted Knight) battles the Moroni Gang (note variation in spelling).
During Bronze Age recountings of Two-Face's origin, Maroni's role was unchanged, but his name was changed to Morelli. Harvey Kent's surname was altered to Dent, which has become that character's permanent name.
In this version, Batman is there at the trial and tries to prevent the mobster from throwing the acid, but Dent is still disfigured.
Prior to COIE, Maroni returned in DC Superstars #14 and Batman #328 to 329. He survives an assassination attempt by a still-bitter Two-Face in the first story, but his legs are left paralyzed. In the latter story arc, he undergoes plastic surgery and changes his name to Anton Karoselle to avoid attention. His first act is to murder Dent's former wife Gilda's new husband, Dave Stevens, as retribution against the former DA. By the story's end, he is murdered by Two-Face.
In the graphic novel Batman and the Monster Men, Maroni lends money to Norman Madison (father of Julie Madison, Bruce Wayne 's girlfriend) to cover some debts of its activities, and Professor Hugo Strange for his genetic experiments. After Maroni sends his henchmen to put pressure on Strange, the mad scientist responds by sending one of his creatures to kill everyone in one of his establishments of gambling and stealing the money they would need to pay Maroni off. When Maroni realizes Strange might be responsible of the attacks, he sends enforcers to further pressure and intimidate him. Strange decides to get rid of Maroni once and for all, and sends one of his creations to kill him. Maroni is saved by Batman, who as a favor to Julie Madison, forces him to call off her father's debt.
In the sequel, Batman and the Mad Monk, Norman tries to pay off his debt to Maroni, unaware of Batman's intervention on his behalf; Maroni refuses it, terrified that Batman would visit him again. Norman instead gives the money to Carmine Falcone, which humiliates Maroni. Later, near the end of the story, Norman is killed by Maroni's thugs when he snaps and tries to kill Maroni.
Maroni is featured prominently in Jeph Loeb's maxi-series Batman: The Long Halloween, which retells Two-Face's origin. In this version, Salvatore Maroni is the scion of the Maroni crime family, headed by his father Luigi "Big Lou" Maroni. He is the most powerful mobster next to Carmine Falcone, and both believe that serial killer Holiday (so named for assassinating mobsters on holidays) is working for the other (although they also think that Harvey Dent has something to do with the murders). Their business relationship becomes strained as a result. When his father is killed by Holiday, Maroni makes a deal with Dent to reveal all of Falcone's criminal activities, in exchange for leniency.
However, Falcone's daughter Sofia — Maroni's secret lover — visits Maroni in jail, where she convinces him that Dent, not Falcone, is responsible for the killings and his father's death. Dent's assistant Vernon Field provides him prior to court with "stomach medicine" for a supposed ulcer. During the trial, Maroni throws acid into Dent's face, disfiguring him. Maroni gets into a scuffle with a bailiff who shoots him twice in the chest. He survives, however.
When he is moved out of his cell, Maroni is finally killed by Holiday (who is revealed to be Alberto Falcone) who acted out against the family to make a name for himself.
Sal Maroni appears in the Elseworlds story, "Citizen Wayne" which was published in 1994. Set in the 1930s, the story depicts Maroni as an Al Capone-like crime lord who is involved in bootlegging, resides in a luxury hotel suite and who lures his enemies into a trap when they are led to believe that they can get him for tax evasion (Capone was eventually jailed for tax fraud). In this version Maroni scars Harvey Dent's entire face with acid. This leads Dent to assume the Batman mantle and break up Maroni's operations before finally killing him. Bruce Wayne is a newspaper publisher and fierce critic of Batman who, following Maroni's death, goes after the Caped Crusader; he feels that Batman has overstepped the mark. The pair are killed during the fight and, much like Citizen Kane, their story is told in flashback as a young Assistant District Attorney interviews their friends and acquaintances, including Maroni's henchmen.
In other media
- Maroni makes a brief cameo in the 1989 Batman film, as one of the nine crimlords on Carl Grisom's mob.
- In a scene in Batman Forever, Bruce Wayne is watching a news story which features a man in a courtroom witness box throwing acid into the face of District Attorney Harvey Dent, the film's main antagonist. The reporter refers to the man as "Boss Moroni", who is portrayed by Dennis Paladino.
- Sal Maroni is featured in two segments of Batman: Gotham Knight voiced by Rob Paulsen. In these two stories, Maroni is at war with the Russian's mob. In "Crossfire," Sal Maroni and his gang end up in a shootout with the Russian's mob until Batman arrives. When Sal Maroni threatens Anna Ramirez at gunpoint, Batman knocks him out with a Batarang. In "Field Test," Sal Maroni and the Russian end up fighting until Batman ends the fight. Upon restraining both Sal Maroni and the Russian, Batman forces them into a truce with Sal Maroni staying in the slums while the Russian keeps the docks. Batman then quotes "That's the arrangement 'til I can get something on you. And then you can fight over who gets the top bunk in Blackgate. Got it?!"
- Eric Roberts portrays Maroni as an antagonist in The Dark Knight. In the film, Maroni has taken over as boss of Carmine Falcone's crime family following Falcone's fall from power in the previous film. Prior to the events of The Dark Knight, he has been embroiled in a violent turf war with rival gangsters Gambol and the Chechen, with whom he has now formed an apparent truce. At the beginning of the film, Maroni is put on trial by district attorney Harvey Dent. The informant testifying against him takes the fall for Maroni and tries to shoot Dent, but the attempt fails. However, Dent could not trace the attack to Maroni, who is acquitted. Later, Maroni meets with fellow crime bosses to discuss the matter of their funds being jeopardized by Batman, the Joker (who had robbed one of their banks), Harvey Dent, and the Gotham police. The mobsters receive help from a Chinese Triad accountant named Lau, who hides away his and other mob factions' money in an undisclosed place. The Joker himself barges into the meeting and offers to kill Batman for half of all their money, a proposal they eventually agree to. Lau's testimony allows Dent to put all the mobsters in Gotham on trial, but as one of the bosses Maroni is able to make bail. Batman attempts to question Maroni for the Joker's location, but even after he drops Maroni from a fire escape and breaks both of Maroni's legs, Maroni refuses to talk, noting that the knowledge of Batman's one rule—never to kill—is less intimidating in the face of the Joker's complete lack of rules. Seeing as to how the Joker's reign has become too dangerous, Maroni turns up outside Dent's hospital room and gives Gordon information on the Joker's location. Maroni is next seen getting into his car to flee Gotham where he is confronted by the recently disfigured Dent now a violent vigilante called Two-Face. He interrogates Maroni as to the identity of the police officer that led to his fiancée Rachel Dawes' death. Hoping that the injured DA will spare him, Maroni reveals the officer's identity, but Two-Face still flips his coin to decide on his next course of action. The coin lands on its "good" side, sparing Maroni. Two-Face flips the coin again for the driver's life and it lands on the scarred side. Two-Face secures himself in his seat belt and shoots the driver causing the car to crash in the train yards. Maroni is not seen again after this and his fate is left ambiguous. Commissioner James Gordon later mentions that Two-Face killed five people. It is not made clear whether or not Maroni was one of these five, though it is likely he died in the crash.
- A Vincent Maroni is mentioned in Two-Face's past in a hidden link in Lego Batman: The Videogame.
- A restaurant bearing Sal Maroni's name is in Batman: Arkham City. Scanning various items related to the Falcone Family and the Maroni Family tells about the Falcone Family apparently winning their war with the Maroni Family by first offering to parlay with them in the Maroni's restaurant only for Carmine Falcone's men to brutally start shooting up the building killing most of the Maroni family while the survivors of the attack later ended up in Arkham City.
- Kane, Michael (2007-05-14). "HEROIC SAVE - New York Post". Nypost.com. Retrieved 2010-12-30.