Suicide Squad Volume 1: The Black Vault
Written by Rob Williams
Art by Phillip Tan
Colonel Rick Flag is brought into Task Force X by Amanda Waller to lead the latest iteration of Suicide Squad. This time around the team is intentionally modeled after the line up in the film adaptation. We have Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Katana, Enchantress, and Killer Croc. Along the way, a couple more additions are made, but the intent to shape the team after the film is very apparent. The Black Vault where powerful cosmic items are stored and one particular item becomes the crux of this story.
I found this version of Suicide Squad to be incredibly forgettable. In trying to remember the plot of this collection I could recall a character death and the reveal of the cosmic item. Other than that, the series has a strong sense of generic 1990s Image Comics style. The characters feel like tryhard badasses who kept posing as if they are the worst of the worst while failing to prove that fact. Harley Quinn devolves into more of a parody of her original character, turned into a sexpot rather than a subversion of the villainous henchwoman. Rick Flag who is apparently the audience’s surrogate is way too generic and has almost no characterization. These are just two examples of the wrong way in which characters are developed over the course of the story.
The reveal of the cosmic item should be a moment where the story finally gets its legs. However, writer Williams seems to squander all the potential of adding this new element to the Squad. It becomes a standard slugfest between characters and feels painfully anticlimactic. I think part of this is because Rob Williams just isn’t a dynamic writer when it comes to these characters. His short lived Martian Manhunter series had a lot of intriguing ideas that, while not developed fully, were at least interesting. I suspect the character lineup was determined by editorial to sync up with the film’s release and may have not been the crew Williams would have chosen.
Overall, there is nothing here that makes this run of Suicide Squad worth picking up. It’s quite a shock to come from Priest’s Deathstroke revival which genuinely surprised me with how good it was to this volume which ends up being boring, uninspired dreck.