Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
Women in Comic Books who are More than Skin Deep: #2
Name: Amanda Waller
Creator: John Ostrander, Lee Wien. And john Byrne.
Appearance: Suicide Squad, Checkmate, 52
Occupation: Leader of several US covert agencies. Secretary of Meta-Human Affairs under president Lex Luthor.
Quote: “I know exactly what you used to do for the Brazilians before you got your power and I know exactly how much you enjoyed yourself while doing it. Now get to it, killer.”
If you have been following Women in Comics Who are More than Skin Deep, you may have notice that so far all of them have come from indy comics. That may be more of my bias than anything else. It’s not that I don’t like the big two, I just like the little guys better. I think Marvel and DC have gotten so big that the writers occasionally just phone in some of their titles. Sure there is some good stuff out there, but pound for pound I go with the likes of Dark Horse, Oni and Vertigo. So it may surprise some of you that today’s pick comes the backbone of the DC Universe.
When you think of the average DC female character you think of someone who is young, hot, curvy, and white. Until recently Amanda Waller has been none of these things. She is a strong willed middle aged woman of color and one of the few people who could intimidate Batman.
My first contact with ‘The Wall’ was about twenty years ago, before I got into comics in a big way. The local hobby store I use to go and buy gaming books from decided it was getting out of the comic business so they were selling of their back supply, dirt cheap, so on a whim I picked up a copy Suicide Squad, for fifty cents. It was the first comic I bought since I graduated high school. I caught the last act of the Loa arc and was amazed, I didn’t know comic books could have such deep characters and deal with very touchy moral issues.
For those of you not familiar with the Suicide Squad, it revolves around captured supper-villains of the DC Universe, who are given a chance at redemption by US government if they go on dangerous missions for them. Amanda Waller was the in charge of this project.
The Loa was a voodoo based gang who was selling deadly drugs. The Suicide Squad was being shut down by the federal government, and the Loa was going to get off Scott free. Waller took the prisoners Ravan, Poison Ivy and Deadshot hunted down the gang and then massacred them. She kept her word and let the villains go then turned herself over for trial.
Eventually she is set free and put in charge of different government covert agencies. In a way Amanda Waller embodies America. An America that we both fear and crave. An America that will do whatever is necessary to keep us safe. But also an America that does some dark things in the pursuit of its citizen’s safety.
With the new DC reboot 52, Waller has gone from a large middle-aged woman to a sleek young action chick. To me this is a total sell out. There are enough hotties running around the DCU, can’t we have one average looking person. Let’s have at least one who is interesting for her brain not her body. I guess this more than anything exemplifies why I like the indy books.
So for being a normal person in an ocean of beauties, for doing what she thinks is right, even if may be wrong in certain ways and for taking no gruff from anyone even Batman, (Pre-52) Amanda Waller is a woman in comic books who is more than skin deep.