If you've been playing Batman: The Telltale Series, you've been introduced to Carmine Falcone, the head mob boss in Gotham City who has reigned over it for decades. But now that Batman has entered the picture, his rule has been challenged.
This is pretty much the constant in the Carmine Falcone mythos. The character first debuted in Batman #404, the first part of the classic Batman: Year One. In The Telltale Series, we see that Falcone is a man of considerable influence and power. Just a meeting with him puts Bruce Wayne's reputation in jeopardy. But the Falcone featured in the game is relatively tame compared to the one featured in the comics.
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The character has appeared infrequently in the comics, but has done so enough to leave a lasting legacy. A legacy that shows that the version in The Telltale Series is nothing compared to the one introduced by Frank Miller.
Introducing The Roman
Year One is the story that introduced Carmine Falcone to the Batman mythos. He was the big bad of the story, and since this was the story of Batman's first year, the Caped Crusader did not have his infamous rogues gallery to deal with. Instead he had to deal with the man who helped turn Gotham City into a cesspool that would require a billionaire dressing like a bat to make a point.
Every powerful figure within the city is working for (or with) Falcone. In fact, his nickname is "the Roman," partially because of his Italian heritage but mostly because his empire is likened to the Roman Empire.
Falcone Is Someone Not To Be Messed With
The most infamous scene of the Year One arc is at a dinner party that Falcone hosts at his home, attended by numerous other power players, including the vastly corrupt Commissioner Loeb. The whole party is dismissive of Batman, thinking of him as a joke, but Falcone is the only one to recognize the threat Batman poses — which is proven true moments later.
Falcone's numerous encounters with Batman push him over the edge. By the end, he decides to deal with another one of his problems, Lt. James Gordon, by threatening Gordon's family. How exactly does he do that? By having one of his nephews kidnap Gordon's infant son with the clear intention of killing the child. Only the timely intervention of Batman stops this murder. By the end of the storyline, Falcone is on the ropes but still an active threat.
The Fall of The Roman Empire
To really flesh out Falcone, one must check out The Long Halloween. During Year One, District Attorney Harvey Dent was going after Falcone. Their feud is the focal point of The Long Halloween, as it shows Falcone losing control of his empire and becoming much more erratic and dangerous. Plus, a serial killer with a holiday-themed gimmick is targeting members of his crime organization. This is coupled with the fact that Batman and Gordon are also trying to put an end to his regime.
This series explores much more of Falcone's family dynamic, to juxtapose just how dangerous and vile Carmine is. He orders the death of his own nephew for failing to kill the baby Gordon. But when that fails, Carmine is now at odds with his sister. We also see two of his three children, Alberto and Sofia. Alberto is the ne'er do well son who wants to follow in his father's footsteps; Carmine does not want this and it is strongly implied that he does not know how to open up to his son. Sofia is a willing participant in the family lifestyle and in the sequel to The Long Halloween, Dark Victory. His other son Mario is also involved in the criminal lifestyle.
The series shows him going over the deep end as his "Roman Empire" crumbles around him. At first he is able to counter all opposition with murder and influence, but with the serial killings and Batman burning one of his cash houses, this sets up a chain of events that leads to his downfall. He eventually employs the "freaks" (Batman's growing gallery of costumed villains) and decides that Dent is the one enemy that he knows he can take care of, as Batman and Gordon have proved that they will not budge.
While Falcone is not the person who threw the acid in Dent's face that transformed him into Two-Face, he was responsible for getting the parties together with the intention of killing Dent with the acid.
The Whole Reason That Batman And His Rogues Gallery Exist Is Because Of Carmine Falcone
There would certainly be no Batman if Falcone hadn't run the city into the ground with only the rich and corrupt having any sort of benefit. Falcone was dismissive of the "freaks" because of their gimmicks, and truth be told, his casual use of murder and intimidation — and indifference to the suffering that he was causing others and the effect he had on the city — probably made him a bigger villain. While Batman's more colorful villains run the gamut of criminality, Falcone shows that true evil comes from the misuse of power.
The Telltale Series does a good job of setting up Carmine Falcone. Needless to say, he probably won't be having a major impact on the story past the second episode. But since his appearance in 2005's Batman Begins (played by Tom Wilkinson), the character has seen a resurgence. John Doman plays him on Gotham, and recently brought back in DC's "New 52," the character is once again in comics canon. Will they continue to portray the character as introduced in Year One and expanded on in The Long Halloween and Dark Victory? Or will new writers carve out their own path for the character in an effort to change things up, as Telltale has been doing with various aspects of Batman's mythos?
Either way, Carmine Falcone may just be a mob boss in a city with the Joker, but he is still not someone to be messed with.