Amanda Waller
Interior artwork from Suicide Squad #8
(February 2017). Art by Jim Lee.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceLegends #1 (November 1986)
Created byJohn Ostrander
Len Wein
John Byrne
In-story information
Full nameAmanda Blake Waller
Team affiliationsSuicide Squad
Checkmate
A.R.G.U.S.
Shadow Fighters
Team 7
United States Army
Abilities
  • Skilled strategist
  • Utilizes political influence
  • Skillful use of firearms
  • Expert markswoman

Amanda Blake Waller is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Legends #1 in 1986, and was created by John Ostrander, Len Wein, and John Byrne.[1] Amanda Waller is an antagonist and occasional ally to the superheroes of the DC Universe.

Amanda Waller is an ambivalent character in the DC Universe. She is the director for the deadly missions of the Suicide Squad and a specialist who oversees research into people with powers. Although she lacks superpowers herself, the character is a ruthless, high-ranking government official who uses guile, political connections, and sheer intimidation to achieve her goals, often in the name of national security. Waller is commonly associated with the fictional government agencies Checkmate and A.R.G.U.S.

In recent years, the character has been substantially adapted into animated and live-action media. Several actresses have voiced or portrayed the character: CCH Pounder for various animated projects; Pam Grier on the live-action series Smallville; Angela Bassett in the live-action film Green Lantern; Sheryl Lee Ralph in the animated series Young Justice; Cynthia Addai-Robinson in the live-action series Arrow; Yvette Nicole Brown in the animated series DC Super Hero Girls; and Viola Davis in the live-action DC Extended Universe film Suicide Squad. Davis will return to portray the role in the sequel.

Publication history

The people most responsible for shaping the character in her earliest appearances were John Ostrander and Kim Yale, in the pages of the Suicide Squad series in the late 1980s.

Nicknamed "the Wall", she is a former congressional aide and government agent often placed in charge of the Suicide Squad, a semi-secret government-run group of former supervillains working in return for amnesty. She later served as Secretary of Metahuman Affairs under President Lex Luthor, before being arrested in the wake of Luthor's public fall from grace. Waller was reassigned to the leadership of Checkmate as White Queen, but was forced to resign because of her involvement in Operation Salvation Run.

Fictional character biography

Early history

Amanda Waller in Who's Who in the DC Universe #1 (August 1990). Art by Luke McDonnell and Geof Isherwood.
Amanda Waller in Who's Who in the DC Universe #1 (August 1990). Art by Luke McDonnell and Geof Isherwood.

Amanda Waller has been established as a widow who escaped Chicago's Cabrini–Green housing projects with her surviving family after one of her sons, one of her daughters and her husband were murdered.[2] Waller excelled in political science and became a congressional aide. During that time, she discovered the existence of the first two incarnations of the Squad. Taking elements from both of these, she proposed the development of its third incarnation to the White House and was placed in charge upon its approval.

Federal service years

The Agency was formed by Amanda Waller to serve as a small, quasi-independent branch of Task Force X.[3] Valentina Vostok brought former NYPD Lieutenant Harry Stein into the Agency as an operative. Amanda Waller later promoted Stein to the command position and demoted Vostok. Harry Stein would later reorganize the Agency and name it Checkmate.

Waller's tenure as the official in charge of the third Suicide Squad was tumultuous and controversial. Despite many successes, she developed a habit of defying her superiors in Washington in order to achieve goals both legitimate and personal on more than one occasion. The earliest conflict between her and her superiors revolved around the leadership of the Suicide Squad. Although she proposed the Bronze Tiger, the man she had helped out of his brainwashing, lead the team he was instead relegated to second-in-command, and Rick Flag Jr. was made the leader. Waller resentfully presumed the situation to be racially charged, related to not only her own status as a black woman, but also Bronze Tiger's own skin tone, although the Tiger himself did not believe this was a factor, instead believing this was a result of mistrust due to the brainwashing imposed upon him by the League of Assassins.

Her relationship with the Squad itself was one of mutual dislike. Most of the team's criminal members did not really take to Waller's methods (most notably Captain Boomerang), and even the team's heroes were often at odds with Waller. Waller's inability to deal and compromise with her troops led to Nemesis's departure from the team and the death of a US senator, which indirectly caused the death of Rick Flag Jr. Those type of conflicts, however, were not only limited to her superiors and her team, but also extended to Batman, who opposed the forming of the Suicide Squad (although he would later help to reform it). Nonetheless, the team remained loyal to her, often choosing to side with her instead of the government.

It was ultimately revealed the reason Amanda Waller kept the heroes such as Nightshade around, was in order for them to act as her conscience. Over the course of her first run with the Suicide Squad, her actions became increasingly erratic as she fought to retain control of the Squad. This was heightened by the public revelation of the Suicide Squad, and her being officially replaced, although her 'replacement' was in fact an actor, and Waller remained the team's director.

Even that secret would eventually be revealed and Amanda Waller would be put on trial. During this time, the Squad also became involved in an interagency conflict in a crossover between the Checkmate and Suicide Squad titles called the Janus Directive.

One of the field missions is against her will, as many members of the Squad, Waller included, are forcibly kidnapped and taken to Apokolips. This is because team member Duchess remembered her past as Lashina of the Female Furies, instead of being amnesiac as she pretended, and wished to return home with suitable sacrifices. The Squad suffers fatalities battling Apokolips' forces, with Waller personally confronting Granny Goodness. However, the confrontation ended with the deaths of Dr. Light and one of Waller's own nieces, and Count Vertigo near-fatally wounded.

She eventually found herself serving prison time for her pursuit of an organized crime cartel based in New Orleans called the LOA and killing its leadership, using Squad operatives Ravan, Poison Ivy and Deadshot in the process.

The Suicide Squad's rebirth

Waller is eventually pardoned and released a year later to reorganize the Suicide Squad as a freelance mercenary group at the behest of Sarge Steel to deal with a crisis in Vlatava, Count Vertigo's home country; Waller allowed herself to enter prison because she knew two things perfectly well: one, by confronting the LOA with Squad operatives, she had crossed the line, and two, she would return to her position quite easily if she was ever needed again. Afterwards, the Suicide Squad performs a variety of missions, often treading dangerous political terrain when dealing with Soviet and Israeli interests. Most notably, the Squad help destroy the plans of the Cabal to throw Qurac, Israel and the US into political disarray.

During the course of her renewed tenure with this team, Amanda became closer to her operatives, even accompanying them on their field missions. This allows for her and her team to bond more effectively, although she retains her dominant and threatening personality.

Waller quits after a later field mission, in which she personally takes down the seemingly immortal dictator of a small, South American island nation. As it turned out, he wasn't immortal, but had an immense amount of psychic power, and by tricking him, Waller merely provided a form of assisted suicide.

Soon after, Amanda Waller organizes the Shadow Fighters to confront the villain Eclipso. Again, she would confront Sarge Steel. Her first attempt at a team, formed with the assistance of Bruce Gordon and his wife Mona, did not go well. Most of the team are brutally murdered infiltrating Eclipso's stronghold. Her second attempt with a much larger team has much more success.

During the Bloodlines debacle, the President sends Guy Gardner to fetch Waller from her island 'retirement'. She leads a multi-hero affair that results in the destruction of the alien parasites.[4] She rejoins federal service, initially as Southeastern regional director for the Department of Extranormal Operations. She is promoted to Secretary of Metahuman Affairs as a member of the Lex Luthor Presidential Administration.

International service

Lex Luthor's brief tenure in office leads to Amanda Waller being jailed. This does not last long. She is released by Luthor's successor Jonathan Vincent Horne, who orders her to take command of the secret agent organization Checkmate. The organization had been shaken up due to the OMAC Project debacle and the related murderous leadership of Maxwell Lord whom Waller has had previous history with. Waller takes the rank of Black King until the United States and United Nations decide what to do with that organization. In the latter issues of 52, Waller is shown commissioning the imprisoned Atom Smasher to organize a new Suicide Squad to attack Black Adam and his allies. This ends with the death of Squad member Persuader and the expected public relations turn against the Black Marvel family.

In the revamped Checkmate series set in the One Year Later continuity, Waller is shown to have been assigned by the UN to serve as Checkmate's White Queen, a member of its senior policy-making executive. Due to her previous activities, her appointment is contingent on her having no direct control over operations.[5] Regardless, she continues to pursue her own agenda, secretly using the Suicide Squad to perform missions in favor of American interests[6] and blackmailing Fire.[7] It is also implied that she may have betrayed a mission team in an attempt to protect her secrets[8] and facilitated an attack on Checkmate headquarters for her own gain.[9]

Amanda Waller as the White Queen in promotional art for Checkmate. Art by Jesus Saiz.
Amanda Waller as the White Queen in promotional art for Checkmate. Art by Jesus Saiz.

She then is in charge of Operation Salvation Run, an initiative involving the mass deportation of supervillains to an alien world. When this was discovered by the rest of Checkmate, she was forced into resigning as White Queen in exchange for their delay in revealing what the US government was doing.[9] She continues to run the Suicide Squad, and has been implanted with nanotechnology to allow her to directly control Chemo during missions.[9]

During the Superman/Batman storyline "K", it is revealed that Waller has hoarded Kryptonite and used it to power an anti-Superman group called the Last Line, and a Doomsday-like creature codenamed "All-American Boy", who has Kryptonite shards growing out of his body. All-American Boy, (real name: Josh Walker) was deceived into an experiment to use Kryptonite to bond cell scrapings taken from Doomsday to a human host, battles Superman, devastating Smallville in the process. Batman, with the help of Brannon, the Last Line's leader, locate Josh's parents who convince him to stop. Waller is forced to pay towards repairing Smallville in return for her dealings in the AAB project to remain secret. 'Last Line' itself rebels against Waller because of her deceptions.[10]

In the eight-issue series of Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag, she is again seen leading the Suicide Squad at some point when the General returned to Earth after his exile, and was promptly drafted into the Squad with special explosive implants grafted into his arm and brain to make him compliant with Waller's demands. Here, she personally uses technology devised by Cliff Carmichael to gain a measure of control over Chemo, allowing her to use the toxic behemoth for the Squad's benefit. Rick Flag is revealed to have survived the events at Jotunheim and was returned to Waller, who revealed to him Rick Flag Jr. was never anything but an alias, and that he was in reality a brainwashed soldier remade into Flag to serve Eiling's ends.

She leads, as Chemo, an attack on a Dubai supercorp intending to release a deadly virus. However, Carmichael, with Eiling and part of her team, betrays her as part of Eiling's plan to benefit from the release of the virus, and she is nearly killed when Eiling orders a compliant Flag to use her pen, actually a transmitter, to detonate her own explosive implant. Instead, Flag, tricking him, detonates Eiling's own, releasing her and ultimately rejoining the Squad, refusing the chance of a normal life.

She later attempted to forcibly return several members of the Secret Six (Bane and Deadshot) into the Suicide Squad, and when her plan backfired due to the events of Blackest Night and the defiance of the Six, she was shot by Deadshot and privately revealed to King Faraday to be their new secret leader, Mockingbird. When Faraday questioned the need to be informed of the situation, and even the need to bring the Six under the banner of the Squad when she already controlled them, Amanda merely shrugged it off, stating "her left and right hand only knew what the other was thinking" in a strict need-to-know basis, implying Faraday will one day need that knowledge.

The New 52

In The New 52 (a 2011 reboot of the DC Comics universe), Amanda Waller is shown to be in direct command of the Suicide Squad, choosing its members and having final say over when and if their implanted explosives are detonated. It is revealed she requested a command of a unit she could send to their deaths without regret after an operation she was involved in resulted in the death of all other squad members, including several she had personally recruited. She was also involved with Team 7 in some capacity while serving in the United States Army as a Captain, which led to her temporarily leaving the spy business. Also, this version of Amanda Waller is re-imagined as a young, thin woman in contrast with her original design.

Amanda Waller later formed the Justice League of America that is separate from the main Justice League where she is shown as the Director of A.R.G.U.S.[11] Recently, she has recruited James Gordon Jr. who was revealed to be alive despite his apparent death at the hands of his sister Barbara while saving their mother. However, it is shown that James Jr. only agreed to join as he is in love with Waller.

During the "Forever Evil" storyline, Amanda Waller is shown at Belle Reve trying to get Black Manta to join the Suicide Squad at the time when Deathstorm and Power Ring infiltrate the prison.[12] Amanda Waller later contacts Deadshot in order to get the Suicide Squad back together.[13] Later clues point to an imposter Amanda Waller causing trouble behind the scenes.[14]

DC Rebirth

Amanda Waller returns to her original design with the DC Rebirth initiative. When confronted by Barack Obama about Task Force X, she convinces him the Suicide Squad needs to exist to deal with threats neither the President or the Justice League can be aware of, while conceding to nominate a non-criminal field leader to carry out her directives during missions and keep the convicts in line. She visits Rick Flag in Guantanamo Bay, where he had been imprisoned for disobeying direct instructions in order to save his teammates, and tries to convince him to work alongside supervillains for a greater good; she succeeds, releases him and makes him the field leader of Task Force X.[15]

Faked death

In issue #11 of Suicide Squad (2016), as a part of DC Rebirth, Amanda Waller is shot and killed. Her death is confirmed in issue #12. However, it is revealed in issue #15 she faked her death with the help of Deadshot, who fired a bullet at her heart, and Enchantress, who magically moved the bullet to the most reparable part of the human heart. Because of this, she is able to use Deadshot against the villain Rustam and the international cabal known only as the People.

Other versions

Flashpoint

In the alternate timeline of the "Flashpoint" event, Amanda Waller is an advisor to the President of the United States who tells him Hal Jordan is insubordinate and irresponsible. However, the President tells her the world needs Hal as a hero.[16]

Batman Beyond

Amanda Waller appears in the Batman Beyond comic series, set before the events of "Epilogue", where she was involved in the creation of Dick Grayson's clone to create a new Batman, reasoning that Grayson was more stable than his mentor, only for the clone to become the new Hush and start killing off Batman's old rogues' gallery, including retired villains such as Signalman and Calendar Man. Even after the clone's attempt to destroy Gotham is only narrowly averted by Terry McGinnis, the real Dick Grayson, and the new Catwoman, Waller is shown to still be working on further clones of the original Batman and his allies.[17]

Arrow

In Arrow tie-in comic, Arrow: Season 2.5, Waller sends Suicide Squad to deal with situation in Kahndaq where a terrorist members and its leader Khem-Adam begin executing a lot of people due to Khem-Adam's desire to save a country from foreign influence. Her squad is successful in killing members of the group, except for Adam who is taken away by Nyssa al Ghul and Sara Lance in Nanda Parbat where he is executed by a member of the League of Assassins.

The Flash

In The Flash tie-in comic, Season Zero, Waller sends Suicide Squad (consisting of Cupid, Captain Boomerang and Floyd Lawton) to survey King Shark destroying an aquarium, then sends them to extract him. Waller takes Lamden to A.R.G.U.S. detention center to be chained up. She takes a woman to see him, before cutting him open to carefully dissect him. After dissection, Waller sends him across the other side of the country to begin as part of the Suicide Squad. Soon, Barry Allen comes to rescue him, but Waller sent some drones after him, created by General Wade Eiling. They eventually find where King Shark had been, but Barry is quickly captured and is told of what happened to Lamden.

DC Comics Bombshells

In DC Comics Bombshells, Commander Amanda Waller is the head of the "Bombshells" project during World War II.[18] In DC Comics Bombshells Annual 1, she is shown to also be Superintendent of the United States Military Academy.

Injustice 2

In the prequel to Injustice 2, Waller breaks into the Quiver (Green Arrow's hideout) to arrest Harley Quinn, believing Harley should still be punished for her crimes despite Harley's role in taking down Superman. After Deadshot aids her in capturing Harley, she forces Harley into the Suicide Squad.[19] However immediately afterwards, she is killed by Jason Todd, who was going around as an impostor Batman.[20][21]

DC Comics Secret Hero Society

Amanda Waller is the guidance counselor, truancy officer, and head of detention at Justice Preparatory Academy.

In other media

Television

Animation

Amanda Waller in Justice League Unlimited
Amanda Waller in Justice League Unlimited

Live action

Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Waller in the television series Arrow
Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Waller in the television series Arrow

Film

Animation

Live action

Video games

Web series

Miscellaneous

Further reading

References

  1. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 322. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
  2. ^ Greenberger, Robert; Pasko, Martin (2010). The Essential Superman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. pp. 465–466. ISBN 978-0-345-50108-0.
  3. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. pp. 365–366. ISBN 9780345501066.
  4. ^ "Bloodbath" #1-2 (December 1993)
  5. ^ Checkmate (vol. 2) #6
  6. ^ Checkmate (vol. 2) #7
  7. ^ Checkmate vol. 2 #5
  8. ^ Checkmate (vol. 2) #18
  9. ^ a b c Checkmate (vol. 2) #20
  10. ^ "Superman/Batman" #44-49 (2008)
  11. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 3 #1
  12. ^ Forever Evil #1
  13. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 3 #7.1
  14. ^ "Suicide Squad" Vol.4 #27 (Jan. 2014)
  15. ^ Suicide Squad: Rebirth (August 2016)
  16. ^ Flashpoint: Hal Jordan #2 (July 2011)
  17. ^ Batman Beyond #1-6 (July–November 2010)
  18. ^ DC Comics Bombshells #8
  19. ^ Injustice 2. #1
  20. ^ Injustice 2. #2
  21. ^ Injustice 2. #46
  22. ^ Flicks And The City (May 24, 2015). "Willa Holland Interview - Arrow, Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn & Female Superheroes" – via YouTube.
  23. ^ Narcisse, Evan (February 21, 2014). "EXCLUSIVE: AMANDA WALLER UNLEASHES THE SUICIDE SQUAD ON "ARROW"". Comic Book Resource.
  24. ^ Mayimbe, El (May 19, 2008). "Supermax: Green Arrow Story Details + Villains/Inmates Gallery". LatinoReview.com. Archived from the original on October 13, 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  25. ^ "News: How Stella Got Her Green Lantern Back". Latino Review. 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  26. ^ Kroll, Justin (December 2, 2014). "'Suicide Squad' Cast Revealed: Jared Leto to Play the Joker, Will Smith is Deadshot". Variety. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  27. ^ Rl Mayimbe (December 14, 2014). "EXCLUSIVE: Viola Davis Bags Amanda Waller Role In 'Suicide Squad'". Latino Review. Archived from the original on December 17, 2014.
  28. ^ Blyth, Antonia (August 24, 2015). "Viola Davis: 'How To Get Away With Murder' Season 2 "Starts With A Bang" – Emmys". Deadline.
  29. ^ Gonzalez, Umberto (April 5, 2019). "Viola Davis to Return as Amanda Waller in James Gunn's 'The Suicide Squad' (Exclusive)". The Wrap. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  30. ^ Totilo, Stephen (October 25, 2013). "Today's New Batman Games Tease A Very Cool Possible Sequel". Kotaku. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
  31. ^ Boccher, Mike (December 23, 2014). "Lego Batman 3 Beyond Gotham Interview With TT Games' Arthur Parsons". 1080 players. Archived from the original on December 27, 2014. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  32. ^ yvette nicole brown [@YNB] (October 23, 2015). ""Just heard that #DCSuperHeroGirls got a pick up for more episodes! And there are DOLLS! I voice #PrincipalWaller! 😊 t.co/p/gDBKPqacHR"" (Tweet). Retrieved November 11, 2015 – via Twitter.
  33. ^ Green Lantern online tie-in lets fans do real, useful astronomy research; at BoingBoing; by Cory Doctorow; published June 1, 2011; retrieved June 9, 2013
  34. ^ Green Lantern: "This is my angry swan. There are many like it, but this one is mine." Archived 2013-07-20 at the Wayback Machine at HideAndSeek.net; by Tom Armitage; published August 30, 2011; retrieved June 9, 2013