Amazon was running a “Buy Two, Get One Free” sale a couple weeks back, and this was among the titles that I picked up while it was running. I know that means I’ve arrived at this particular party over three years late -- and as the series has undergone its latest relaunch -- but writer Rob Williams’ run gets off to a pretty strong start here. After the “Rebirth” issue reintroduces us to stalwart leader Rick Flag, the series wastes no time in sending the team off to a super-prison to steal some “cosmically powered” object. Said team includes Flag, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Killer Croc, Enchantress, Katana, and Captain Boomerang -- most of the cast from the movie. While the team nearly dies getting into the prison, the Super-trouble they find inside the Black Vault will quickly make them wish they had.
Even if Williams may have had to take his team roster from the movie it’s not a bad thing for this comic. He’s got a good handle on the characters and their roles for this kind of thing, while also giving them plenty of snappy lines to say -- even for their antagonist here. There’s also a logical escalation of chaos over the four issues here, which gives main artist Jim Lee time to properly warm up when the Russian Supervillain Team shows up to make things even crazier by the end. This probably read excruciatingly slow when it was first serialized, but condensed into one go “The Black Vault” reads short sharp shock of superhero action.
The main reason I say that this series read slow while being serialized is because each issue that Lee drew only contained 13 pages of story. They were filled out with short stories written by Williams about other members of the cast -- Deadshot, Boomerang, Katana, and Harley -- illustrated by some of DC’s heaviest hitters: Jason Fabok, Ivan Reis, Phillip Tan, and Gary Frank. So while they all look good, only the Reis-illustrated “Boomerang: Agent of Oz” story rises to greatness thanks to the utter ridiculousness of the character’s self-narrated origin story. So while I’m coming to this series quite late, I’m nevertheless interested into digging further into Williams’ run.