DC Animated Universe

"You don't want my services? OK, but you'll wish you'd listened to me, pal. You keep my number handy, because you'll be calling Tony Zucco very soon."

Anthony "Tony" Zucco was a gang enforcer and the estranged nephew of mob boss Arnold Stromwell. He was directly responsible for the death of Dick Grayson's family.


Tony Zucco ran a racket in Gotham City, in which he offered "protection" from "accidents" to various performing acts and visiting attractions. In actuality, this was an extortion racket. Whereas gangsters usually offered protection from rival criminals, Zucco was "protecting" the victims from himself. Those who refused to pay would suffer "damage" he would otherwise inflict.

When the Haley's Circus visited Gotham for a Wayne Charity event, Zucco paid the circus owner and ringmaster, Mr. Haley, a visit. Haley refused to be intimidated and told Zucco to get out and stay away from his circus. Zucco countered with his own threat, stating Haley would wish he'd taken his offer. At the next performance, Zucco disguised himself as a crew member, and infiltrated the circus tent. He took the aerial ropes in hand and slashed them, weakening the overall durability but not to the extent of notability, as such the crew would inspect them and declare them fit for performance. A 10-year-old Dick Grayson, whose parents were famous acrobats known for performing without safety nets, had been performing in a family act that night. After finishing one stunt, Dick remained perched on a ledge while his parents got ready for another stunt. The combined weight of the two acrobats proved too much for the sabotaged ropes, and they broke, shocking everyone present, but worst of all, Dick watched his parents die in a gruesome manner.

Zucco makes a move

Zucco tries to run over Batman in his car.

Bruce Wayne, who was watching the tragic spectacle, took the young Grayson in, and Batman began a savage hunt through Gotham for Zucco. Knowing this, Zucco laid low, taking refuge with his uncle Arnold Stromwell. It didn't take the Dark Knight long to track him down. Batman confronted Stromwell about the circus disaster, to which Stromwell denied his involvement - in the strictest sense, Stromwell was innocent, as he did not participate in the sabotage nor was the murder within the sphere of his organized crime empire. In fact, Stromwell even indirectly sympathized with Dick Grayson's plight, being disgusted with the news of the Graysons's murders. Stromwell, however, correctly surmised that his nephew was responsible, and was fed up with the heat he was taking at the expense of his nephew's extortion scams, which were unauthorized and (in Stromwell's opinion) not worth the trouble for the expected payouts. Arnold Stromwell kicked Tony Zucco out of the crime family and disowned him from his business, which suggested that Tony was Stromwell's nephew by marriage, not blood. The weak familial ties and problems caused had meant that Zucco was a liability and fairly expendable. Even so, Stromwell declined to report his nephew's crime to the authorities.

Taking refuge in Gotham's Lower East Side, Zucco made plans to skip town. Batman soon found Zucco, even though young Dick reached him first. During the struggle, Dick fell into the Gotham River, and Batman chose to save the future Boy Wonder's life rather than apprehending Zucco and risking Dick's death. This gave Tony Zucco an opportunity to flee to freedom. However, the mobster had plans to return and start his own extortion crew, confident in due time his killings would be forgotten.

Nine years later when Batman and Robin broke up a sabotage ring, one of the captured cons revealed the man behind the operation, one "Billy Marin", an alias for Tony Zucco. Aware of this connection, Batman ostracized Robin from the investigation, pursuing Zucco on his own. Robin, however, wasted little time in discovering who Marin really was, and began his own pursuit against Batman's orders.

Zucco petrified

Nine years later, Robin finally captures his family's killer.

Batman found Zucco first, but the mobster managed to get the jump on the Dark Knight. Out of ammunition, Batman (his leg injured from a fall) bought some escape time and took cover in the very abandoned amusement park used for Zucco's gang hideout. Batman methodically eliminated Zucco's thugs by use of heavy stealth until the big fish himself remained. But before he could apprehend Zucco, Robin arrived. Zucco and Robin engaged each other in a furious fight until Robin gained the upper hand and prepared to take his revenge. Batman protested, and despite his innermost desires, Robin let the police arrest Tony Zucco. In a rare show of emotion, Batman admitted that he forbade Robin from facing Zucco because he was afraid that Robin would be killed.

Equipment and abilities[]

Like most mobsters, Tony Zucco relied on guns for his self-defense. He was a physically average male, capable of fighting normal people, but easily outclassed by comparison to the highly trained Batman and Robin. He did have some hired goons on his payroll, although with Zucco's rather poor leadership and limited financial means, his hoods were considered second-rate by other bosses.


Batman: The Animated Series