Amanda Waller

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Amanda Waller
Amandawaller.PNG
Amanda Waller as the White Queen
Art by Jesus Saiz.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Legends #1, (November 1986)
Created by John Ostrander (writer)
Len Wein (writer)
John Byrne (artist)
In-story information
Alter ego Amanda Blake Waller
Team affiliations Checkmate
Suicide Squad
United States Government
Agency
Shadow Fighters
A.R.G.U.S.
Notable aliases White Queen, Black King, Mockingbird
Abilities Highly trained in logistics, strategic management, military tactics, game theory, and espionage.

Dr. Amanda Blake Waller is a character published by DC Comics. She first appeared in Legends #1 in 1986, and was created by John Ostrander, Len Wein and John Byrne. Despite not possessing any superpowers, she has persistently proven herself a powerful antagonist and sometime-ally of the superheroes of the DC universe, often serving as an antihero. In 2009, Amanda Waller was ranked as IGN's 60th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.[1]

Publication history[edit]

The people most responsible for shaping the character in her earliest appearances were John Ostrander and Kim Yale, in the pages of the second 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[edit]

Early history[edit]

Amanda 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. Waller eventually obtained a doctorate in political science (as revealed in Checkmate v.2 # 1 where she is addressed as "Doctor Waller") 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[edit]

The Agency was formed by Amanda Waller to serve as a small, quasi-independent branch of Task Force X. 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 that 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 people led to Nemesis' 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 that the reason that Amanda Waller even 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.

Amanda Waller and her operatives having massacred the LOA.

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 Squad's rebirth[edit]

Waller is eventually pardoned and released a year later to reorganize the 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.[2] 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[edit]

Lex Luthor's brief tenure in office leads to Amanda Waller being jailed. This does not last long. She is released and 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.[3] Regardless, she continues to pursue her own agenda, secretly using the Suicide Squad to perform missions in favor of American interests[4] and blackmailing Fire.[5] It is also implied that she may have betrayed a mission team in an attempt to protect her secrets[6] and facilitated an attack on Checkmate headquarters for her own gain.[7]

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.[7] She continues to run the Suicide Squad, and has been implanted with nanotechnology to allow her to directly control Chemo during missions.[7]

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 Lane' itself rebels against Waller because of her deceptions.[8]

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[edit]

In The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), 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 that 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, 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.[9] 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.[10] Amanda Waller later contacts Deadshot in order to get the Suicide Squad back together.[11]

Other versions[edit]

Flashpoint[edit]

In the alternate timeline of the "Flashpoint" event, Amanda Waller is an advisor to the President of the United States who tells him that Hal Jordan is insubordinate and irresponsible. However, the President tells her that the world needs Hal as a hero.[12]

Batman Beyond[edit]

Amanda Waller appears in the Batman Beyond comic series, set before the events of Epilogue, where she was involved in an attempt to clone Dick Grayson 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, the real Grayson, and the new Catwoman, Waller is shown to still be working on further clones of the original Batman and his allies.[13]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Animation[edit]

Amanda Waller as depicted in Justice League Unlimited.
  • Amanda Waller first appears in the animated television series Justice League Unlimited, played by C. C. H. Pounder who is the first actress to play Waller in animated form. In her first appearance, in "Ultimatium", she rattles Batman by subtly hinting knowing his secret identity by referring to the Dark Knight as 'rich boy' (likely thanks to Hugo Strange). Waller is a central character during the second season's four-part arc ("Question Authority", "Flashpoint", "Panic in the Sky" and "Divided We Fall"). In the second season finale "Epilogue" (set years after Batman Beyond), Terry McGinnis seeks out Waller to find out about his own origins of being Batman's partial genetic copy.
  • Amanda Waller appears in Young Justice, voiced by Sheryl Lee Ralph. This version is the warden of Belle Reve.

Live action[edit]

  • Amanda Waller appears in the ninth season of Smallville, played by Pam Grier. Introduced in the two-hour episode "Absolute Justice", Waller is a ranking agent of both Checkmate and the Suicide Squad. In the episode "Checkmate", Waller captures Martian Manhunter in the agency's headquarters after failing to kidnap and recruit Green Arrow for the government. In the episode "Sacrifice", Waller is working with the "White Knight" (aka Stuart Campbell) to track down Tess to lead Checkmate to the Kandorians.
  • Amanda Waller appeared on the CW series Arrow (played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson) as the Director of A.R.G.U.S., making her first appearance in the season two episode "Keep Your Enemies Closer". She had John Diggle abducted as she needs him and The Arrow's help in retrieving Lyla Michaels from Russia, and is aware that Oliver Queen is Arrow. She later appears briefly in the season two episode "Tremors" talking to Bronze Tiger after he returns to prison. She offers him a position on her unit, heavily hinted to be the Suicide Squad, in order to reduce his sentence and because she needs someone of his talents for her squad. In Suicide Squad, Waller assemble the team of Deadshot, Bronze Tiger, Michaels, Shrapnel and Diggle, to destroy a biological weapon. It is implied that Waller first met Oliver, who is on a first name basis with her, during his time as a castaway along with his former friend-turned-enemy, "Slade Wilson".[14] She is seen again in "City of Blood" where Diggle and Felicity ask for her to help them find Oliver, who has gone missing after his mother's death, and traces him down for them. In the following episode, "Streets of Fire" Waller is shown to be preparing to bomb Starling City to contain Slade's Mirukuru army. After Oliver reveals to her that he has the cure for the Mirukuru, she gives him until dawn to stop Slade and his army. In the season finale episode "Unthinkable", Waller stops the drone from bombing the city after Slade's defeat. In the finale scene in a flashback, she rescues and recruits Oliver in Hong Kong.

Film[edit]

Animation[edit]

  • Amanda Waller appeared in the movie adaptation Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, with C. C. H. Pounder reprising her role. This version is depicted as more sympathetic, betraying President Lex Luthor's offer of a prominent position in his "new world order" to provide Superman and Batman with information that they can use to destroy a Kryptonite Asteroid that is heading for Earth.
  • Amanda Waller appears in the Batman: Assault on Arkham animated movie (set in the universe of the Arkham video games) with C. C. H. Pounder reprising her role. She is shown in a rather negative light, sending the Suicide Squad solely for the purpose of killing Riddler (who knows how to defuse the Suicide Squad's implanted bomb). At the end of the movie, she is warned by Batman to avoid such action in the future. Waller dismisses the warning only to find a laser dot from Deadshot's gun on her in the final scene.

Live action[edit]

  • Amanda Waller appeared in the live-action Green Lantern, played by Angela Bassett.[15] This version is a scientist who works for the DEO under the command of Senator Robert Hammond, father of xenobiologist Hector Hammond. After Hector acquires the power to read minds from exposure to Parallax's DNA (a fragment of which remained in the body of Abin Sur until Hammond was called on to perform the autopsy), contact with Waller reveals that her family was killed by an unidentified gunman when she was younger. Hammond attempts to kill her using his telekinetic powers in a later confrontation, but Green Lantern caught her in a ring-formed 'pool' of water that subsequently carried her out of harm's way.

Video games[edit]

  • Amanda Waller appears in DC Universe Online, voiced by Debra Cole. In the Bludhaven Alert, Major Force mentioned to the players that Waller has sent him to Bludhaven to gather samples of Chemo and to test out the Chemoids.
  • Waller appears again in Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate voiced again by C.C.H. Pounder. She is heavily implied to be the true mastermind behind the prison uprising, having orchestrated the events and manipulated both the criminals and the agents in order to find the best candidates for the Suicide Squad. She purposely hired Catwoman to break Bane out of Blackgate, though the mission was a failure due to Batman's involvement. Waller, however, picked out two new candidates for her Suicide Squad: Deadshot and Bronze Tiger.[17]

Miscellaneous[edit]

  • Amanda Waller appears briefly in Arkham Unhinged (the comic book companion piece to the Batman: Arkham City video game). She is seen in a flashback where she recruits Deadshot into the Suicide Squad, and is implied to have had a hand in allowing him to infiltrate Arkham City.[18]
  • As an alternate reality game to promote the Green Lantern film, Amanda Waller's official blog—written by Waller's creator John Ostrander—was posted online. "Waller" invited readers to participate in the Zooniverse project;[19] participants were rewarded with audio clips of the film's characters.[20]

Toys[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Amanda Waller is number 60 , IGN.
  2. ^ "Bloodbath" #1-2 (December 1993)
  3. ^ Checkmate (vol. 2) #6
  4. ^ Checkmate (vol. 2) #7
  5. ^ Checkmate vol. 2 #5
  6. ^ Checkmate (vol. 2) #18
  7. ^ a b c Checkmate (vol. 2) #20
  8. ^ "Superman/Batman" #44-49 (2008)
  9. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 3 #1
  10. ^ Forever Evil #1
  11. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 3 #7.1
  12. ^ Flashpoint: Hal Jordan #2 (July 2011)
  13. ^ Batman Beyond #1-6 (July–November 2010)
  14. ^ Narcisse, Evan (February 21, 2014). "EXCLUSIVE: AMANDA WALLER UNLEASHES THE SUICIDE SQUAD ON "ARROW"". Comic Book Resource. 
  15. ^ "News: How Stella Got Her Green Lantern Back". Latino Review. 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  16. ^ "Supermax: Green Arrow Story Details + Villains/Inmates Gallery - Movie News". Latinoreview.com. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  17. ^ Totilo, Stephen (October 25, 2013). "Today's New Batman Games Tease A Very Cool Possible Sequel". Kotaku. Retrieved October 27, 2013. 
  18. ^ Batman: Arkham Unhinged #27
  19. ^ 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
  20. ^ Green Lantern: "This is my angry swan. There are many like it, but this one is mine." at HideAndSeek.net; by Tom Armitage; published August 30, 2011; retrieved June 9, 2013

External links[edit]