In Drawing Crazy Patterns, I spotlight at least five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics).
Today, we’re looking at instances when multiple people have escaped from the special maximum security prison designed for supervillains known as The Vault.
Interestingly enough, the Vault was first introduced in Avengers Annual #15 (by Danny Fingeroth, Steve Englehart, Steve Ditko and Klaus Janson), where it was used to actually keep the AVENGERS locked up! In that issue, the government task force known as Freedom Force was enlisted to arrest the combined forces of the East Coast and West Coast Avengers (on trumped up charges leaked to the government by Quicksilver during one of his “hey, I’m a villain for some reason!” periods). Freedom Force somehow succeeded (I did a whole The Wrong Side about how silly it was for them to be able to defeat the Avengers. Spiral seriously took out, like, the entire combined Avengers by herself).
The whole deal throughout the issue was how there was no way that the Avengers could get out, and to be fair, that seemed to be true. Luckily for them, though, one of the member of Freedom Force, Spider-Woman, was sick over the fact that she was part of the capture of the Avengers. She thought that they were being railroaded, so even though she knew it meant going from being a government operative to suddenly becoming a fugitive, she needed to stand up for what was right (this was the same thing she did later during Civil War). So she smashed enough stuff in the Vault that the Avengers were slowly able to free themselves and escape…
The first time that the Vault actually suffered a superVILLAIN breakout came during the famous “Armor Wars” storyline. Iron Man, you see, was trying to remove all of his technology from other suits of armor, since he didn’t want anyone to be able to reverse engineer armor like his and kill people. This meant turning on good guys as well as bad guys. Among his targets were the Guardsmen, the armored guards at the Vault. The Captain (Captain America during one of his times when he was no longer Captain America) showed up to stop his old friend and they fought. Iron Man won. He disabled the Guardsmen and accidentally led to a breakout from the prison, as well…
Luckily, Cap’s friends were all nearby, so they were able to nip the breakout in the bud.
Next up, for the major company-wide crossover known as “Acts of Vengeance,” it only made sense that for Loki and his cabal of top-level villains to coordinate a nationwide system where the regular villains of various heroes would switch up their normal foes to take advantage of the heroes not being familiar with them, that they had to first free enough supervillains for this to work, so in Avengers Spotlight #26 (by Dwayne McDuffie, Dwayne Turner and Chris Ivy), that’s just what happened, with the Wizard allowing himself to be captured so that he could start the breakout…
Read on for the last two breakouts from the Vault!
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