|First appearance||Detective Comics #66 (August 1942)|
|Created by||Bill Finger|
|Alter ego||Salvatore Vincent Maroni|
|Team affiliations||Maroni Crime Family|
|Notable aliases||The Boss, The Italian, Morelli, Anton Karoselle|
Salvatore Vincent "Sal" Maroni is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with Batman. The character is portrayed as an infamous gangster in Gotham City and enemy of Batman. Maroni is most famous for disfiguring Harvey Dent, setting the stage for the young district attorney's transformation into the supervillain Two-Face. In live-action, he is portrayed by Eric Roberts in The Dark Knight and David Zayas in Fox's Gotham.
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 (here named "Harvey Kent") is the prosecutor at the trial. He calls Batman as his first witness. During Batman's testimony, Moroni calls Batman a liar, leading Dent to show his proof: Moroni's lucky two-headed silver dollar found at the scene with Moroni's fingerprints on it. Enraged, Moroni throws a vial of acid at Dent, horribly disfiguring his face in the way that visibly depicts his eventual identity as the insane gangster Two-Face, who eventually shoots Moroni dead and then surrenders and goes to prison.
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 present at the trial and tries to prevent the mobster from throwing the acid, but Dent is still disfigured.
Prior to COIE, Maroni appeared in DC Superstars #14 and Batman #328 to #329. He survives an assassination attempt by 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. He kills Two-Face's former wife Gilda's new husband, Dave Stevens, as retribution against the former DA. By the story's end, Two-Face murders him.
In the graphic novel Batman and the Monster Men, Maroni lends money to Norman Madison (father of Bruce Wayne's girlfriend Julie Madison) to cover his debts, and to 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 massacre one of his gambling establishments 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 tries to kill Maroni, whose thugs gun him down.
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 in Gotham next to Carmine Falcone and was shown to have Tony Zucco as a henchman. Both Sal Maroni and Carmine Falcone believe that the serial killer Holiday (so named for assassinating mobsters on holidays) is working for the other. 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. The killer is revealed to be Alberto Falcone who acted out against the family to make a name for himself. His sons Pino and Umberto later offered their services to Sofia Falcone and are later killed in the Columbus Day Massacre orchestrated by Two-Face.
The New 52
In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, Sal Maroni met with Mr. Haly at Haly's Circus. When it was mentioned that his son CJ helped Dick Grayson back to Haly's Circus, Sal offered that he would be indebted to the circus should they ever need help.
The following are relatives of Sal Maroni:
- Luigi "Big Lou" Maroni - The father of Sal Maroni.
- C.J. Maroni - The son of Sal Maroni who met a younger Dick Grayson.
- Pino Maroni - The son of Sal Maroni.
- Umberto Maroni - The son of Sal Maroni.
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, 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 Batman '66, Maroni, renamed "Boss Moroni", snapped during a trial conducted by Harvey Dent and threw acid in Dent's face, causing the DA's transformation into Two-Face.
In other media
- Salvatore Maroni appears in the Fox series Gotham, portrayed by David Zayas. He first appears in "The Balloonman", where he is the owner of a restaurant that serves as a front for his crime family. Maroni takes an interest in one of his employees, Oswald Cobblepot, promoting him to manager, and using him as a source of information on Falcone's operations; he is unaware that Cobblepot is secretly an informant for Falcone. When Jack Buchinsky targets Maroni for abandoning him years ago during a heist, he and his associates seek refuge in the GCPD. There, he begins to suspect Cobblepot's duplicity when he deliriously stammers about meeting Falcone. When Falcone's associate Fish Mooney goes into exile from Gotham City, she contacts Maroni and informs him of Cobblepot's deception, resulting in Maroni interrogating Cobblepot into confession, and eventually attempting to execute him in a junkyard car compactor. When Cobblepot manages to escape and gains Falcone's protection, Maroni and Falcone make a deal: Falcone will get rid of one of Falcone's enemies in return for sparing Cobblepot's life. Maroni appears at the newly christened "Oswald's" to tell his former manager that he is safe for now, but that he will perish as soon as Falcone dies. Maroni also tries to ruin Cobblepot's business by cutting off his liquor supplies. Cobblepot sends a hitman to one of Maroni's old establishments and instructs the hitman to tell Maroni that Falcone sent him. Cobblepot sabotages his own hit in order to ignite a turf war between Maroni and Falcone. In the season finale "All Happy Families are Alike," Mooney takes Falcone, Cobblepot, James Gordon, and Harvey Bullock prisoner where she intends to kill them all in exchange for Sal Maroni to get all her old territories back to her. While Mooney wants an equal partnership however, Maroni insists on her being his second-in-command. When Maroni belittles Mooney with sexist nicknames, she turns on him and shoots him in the head.
- The Maroni Crime Family appears in the Titans episode "Jason Todd." It was mentioned by Tony Zucco's son Nick Zucco that the Maroni Crime Family killed Tony Zucco and the rest of Nick's family which led to Nick Zucco blaming Dick Grayson for their deaths.
- In Batman Forever, the character is referred to as "Boss Moroni" (portrayed by Dennis Paladino) and appears in a brief flashback explaining the origin of Two-Face. As in the comics, Maroni throws acid in district attorney Harvey Dent's face, transforming him into Two-Face. His fate is left unrevealed.
- Sal Maroni is featured in two segments of Batman: Gotham Knight (which takes place between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight), voiced by Rob Paulsen. In these two stories, Maroni is at war with the Russian's mob. In "Crossfire," Maroni and his gang end up in a shootout with the Russian mob until Batman arrives. When Maroni threatens Detective Anna Ramirez at gunpoint, Batman knocks him out with a batarang. In "Field Test," Maroni engages in another fight with Russian mobsters, which Batman breaks up. Batman forces the Russian mobsters into a truce with Maroni, who will keep his operations in the slums while the Russians keep the docks. Batman then says "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 in The Dark Knight. In the film, Maroni has taken over as Mafia boss of Carmine Falcone's crime family following Falcone's fall from power in Batman Begins. At the beginning of the film, Maroni is put on trial by district attorney Harvey Dent, but he is acquitted after an underling takes the fall for him. Later, Maroni meets with his fellow crime bosses to discuss the threats they face from Dent and the Joker, who has robbed several of their banks. The mobsters receive help from a Chinese Triad accountant named Lau, who hides away his and other mob factions' money. The Joker 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 interrogates 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. Seeing that the Joker is too unpredictable, Maroni gives Commissioner James Gordon information on the Joker's location. Maroni is next seen getting into his car, where he is confronted by Dent, who is targeting those he holds responsible for his disfigurement. He interrogates Maroni as to the identity of the police officer who led his fiancée Rachel Dawes away to be killed. Maroni reveals the officer was Detective Ramirez, but Two-Face still flips his coin to decide whether to kill him. The coin lands on its "good" side, sparing Maroni. He flips the coin again for the driver's life and it lands on the scarred one. Dent secures himself in his seat belt and shoots the driver, causing the car to crash in the train yards. Whether Maroni survives or not is unknown, but because he isn't wearing his seatbelt or seen for the rest of this film. Gordon later mentions that Dent killed five people, although it's left ambiguous as to whether Maroni is one of those five.
- Sal Maroni appears in Batman: The Killing Joke, voiced by Rick D. Wasserman.
- Sal Maroni is mentioned in a hidden link in Lego Batman: The Videogame.
- A restaurant bearing Sal Maroni's name appears in Batman: Arkham City. The game's back story explains that most of the Maroni family was murdered in the restaurant that is in Arkham City on orders from Carmine Falcone when both of the families were having a peace meeting in the restaurant. It is then said that the surviving members of the Maroni family were all imprisoned in Arkham City or fled to Bludhaven, but it is never said if Sal was one of the ones killed at the restaurant or if he was one of the members that was imprisoned.
- Detective Comics #66. DC Comics.
- Batman: The Long Halloween #9. DC Comics.
- Batman: The Long Halloween #12
- Batman: Dark Victory #13. DC Comics.
- Nightwing Vol. 3 #25. DC Comics.
- Andreeva, Nellie (2014-07-31). "David Zayas To Play Mobster Sal Maroni In 'Gotham'". Deadline. Retrieved 2014-07-31.
- "Rogues' Gallery". Gotham (TV series). Season 1. Episode 11. January 5, 2015. Fox.
- "The Fearsome Dr. Crane". Gotham (TV series). Season 1. Episode 14. February 2, 2015. Fox.
- "The Scarecrow". Gotham (TV series). Season 1. Episode 15. February 9, 2015. Fox.
- "The Anvil or the Hammer". Gotham (TV series). Season 1. Episode 21. April 27, 2015. Fox.
- "All Happy Families Are Alike". Gotham (TV series). Season 1. Episode 22. April 28, 2015. Fox.