5718 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Amanda Waller of the Suicide Squad (DC Comics)

Amanda Waller

(Yale-Ostrander original take)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Amanda “the Wall” Waller is the core character in the new version of DC Comics’ Suicide Squad that appeared in 1987. Written by John Ostrander and Kim Yale, Suicide Squad was a new sort of super-hero comic book. It was mostly about super-villains, dysfunctional people, politics, death and stress. And it was good.

As the soul of the book, Waller was also different in numerous ways. She was a short, fat, old, Black woman from the projects in a position of genuine authority. She was a career politician trying to make the world a better place, albeit without illusions about politics. She looked credible as a senior, insider public servant in Washington, D.C..

She also received a lot of attention and character development. She was shown to be an extremely intelligent and determined woman, albeit she worked in situations where there often was no good choice and things would probably go right into the toilet because it was just that bad. In some respects she resembles characters in TV series that came much later, such as The Shield or Game of thrones.

This profile is solely about the 1987 Suicide Squad run and the Wall’s contemporary appearances (which were almost always written by Ostrander). After that many uses of the character were markedly less convincing. DC would later reinvent her as being young, tall and sexy, which… which… okay, let’s just roll the profile.


Background

  • Real Name: Amanda Waller (later Dr. Waller), née Amanda Blake
  • Marital Status: Widowed
  • Known Relatives: Joseph Waller (husband, deceased), Joseph Jr, Martin, Jesse (sons – Martin and Jessie are twins), Coretta (aka Sareetha, aka Sereetha) (daughter), Damita (daughter, deceased), Odalys Milagro Valdez (later code-named Havana, daughter), R.J. aka “Bubba” (son-in-law), Dr. Mary White (older sister), Edna Mae (cousin), Flo Crawley (cousin, deceased)
  • Group Affiliation: Director of the 1985 version of Task Force X (which included the Suicide Squad and Checkmate), later director of the freelance Suicide Squad
  • Base Of Operations: Belle Reve Prison, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana
  • Height: 5’1” Weight: 200lbs
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown


Powers and Abilities

Amanda Waller’s determination, intelligence and sheer strength of character are truly exceptional. She managed to overcome a mountain of obstacles, and started at about the lowest level. Within years an old, fat, short, homely, Black, impoverished, poorly educated single mother of 5 from a decayed ghetto made herself a Washington insider and shady figure of power.

Waller became an influential, well-connected intelligence insider within but years. Information has a marked tendency to flow her way — if it’s out there, Waller will inevitably hear about it — and she very quickly learned to play the Great Game.

She understands manipulation, lies, intimidation, deceit and death like few do, and is entirely willing to play dirty. She even picked up the essentials of special military operations command, presumably from Colonel Flag, and has a good understanding of how to use all sorts of exotic assets.

How she developed her extensive intelligence network is unrevealed, but it seems likely that much of it comes from Checkmate. It is probably where the Wall got to develop her contacts with spies, counter-spies, police, the military, mobs and the like, learned to play the game, and started extensive favours-bartering.

Amanda Waller punches a fool

Waller’s smarts should never be underestimated. Though from the outside her operations seem messy, one should keep in mind that she’s taking on cases that nobody else will touch, using mostly thugs and psychopaths.

Many of the setbacks her Squad encountered were things she didn’t actually care about (such as some rotten criminals getting KIA, or losing her Checkmate (UN version) access) or realistically expected to go wrong at some point.

The Wall particularly excels at perceiving at a glance what’s on the table. Who wants what, who has what constraints, what are the weaknesses and moral imperative she can use as leverage to force people to do her bidding, who hates whom, what sort of figurative ammunition she has against whom, etc.

She can enters a balls-out negotiation with no preparation against skilled operators and prevail, using every little bit of leverage.

Having raised numerous children helps, particularly when it comes to spotting lies.

Other abilities

Waller is an expert at deprogramming brainwashed people. She knows of advanced techniques used by the best intelligence agencies in a comic-book world. She can even induce a light hypnotic state in willing subjects to help confront their conditioning and explore their memories. Waller also seems to be a superior interrogator, presumably using much of the same skills set.

Amanda Waller confronts Vixen

The Wall was fully able to represent herself in front of Senate Special Investigation Committee, though she had a professional lawyer to back her up (she’s not crazy, or at least not in that way). How broad and deep her knowledge of law and legal defence is is unrevealed, but given her background and competence she presumably is a solid Constitutional law expert.

Waller is physically unimposing, and is visibly athletically challenged. Howbeit, she should nevertheless not be underestimated in a physical confrontation. She’s not afraid of violence, there’s 200 pounds of her, she has a superior killer instinct, and she clearly was trained as a firearms operator.

Waller once took down the Blue Beetle – though she attacked by surprise and by putting all her weight behind a kick with a heeled shoe that hit a recent wound. She could also prevent Count Vertigo, a strong and skilled fighter, from stabbing her. She generally seems to have non-trivial brawling experience.

She’s no field agent, but it is entirely possible that she might prevail against a well-trained, experience hand-to-hand fighter thanks to sheer aggression, mass and determination. Waller could even accurately fire Duchess’s mega-gun, a heavy weapon with a fierce kick, thanks to her weight, strength and low centre of gravity.


History

As usual on writeups.org, all the dates use years of publication rather than the sliding time scale – and are thus non-official.

Amanda Blake was presumably born circa 1940. She grew up in the Cabrini-Green area of Chicago. Given her date of birth she was probably raised in one of the Frances Cabrini Rowhouses .

Amanda Waller, Batman and Sarge Steel

This area of Chicago had been impoverished and disenfranchised for decades. If the DCU area resembles the real-world one, Ms. Blake saw during her childhood and adolescence White flight  take place as the mostly American-Italian families secured better housing elsewhere. The area became chiefly African-American – and soon a ghetto.

Amanda Blake married one Joe Waller when she was 18, circa 1958. The times were violent, with the Watts riots  almost contemporary to the marriage, but the newlyweds were optimistic and determined to found a family.

They were certainly successful in that area. Their son Joe, Jr. was followed by a daughter, Damita. Damita was followed by twin boys, Martin and Jessie, and eventually by a second daughter, Coretta. Coretta later changed her name to something more African when she started her modelling career, not wanting to bear a “slave name “.

(It seems that Mrs. Waller had another daughter, named Odalys. The information is unclear but it seems that she was actually her first child, which she had at barely 16. Joe Waller presumably wasn’t the father, both for chronological reasons and since Odalys seems to be mixed-race, with the father being of unspecified Latino heritage – perhaps Cuban. From context one assumes that Odalys was raised by her father, presumably one Mr. Vasquez).

Amanda Waller in prison

Amanda Waller presumably raised her children full-time, as no other occupation was ever mentioned. She ran a tight ship, and ensured that none of her kids ended up doing drugs or running with a gang.

The Wallers’s oldest, Joe Junior, grew up tall and strong. He leveraged that into becoming a superior basketball player so he could get a scholarship. He had a bright future ahead of him, and was almost assured to enlist with a high-end college.

Unfortunately, when he was about 17, 2 hoods accosted him to extort money. Joe was shot dead when he fought back. 6 months later, Damita was tortured and killed by a drugs pusher when she rejected his advances.

Damita’s death broke Joe Waller. When it became obvious that the police would do nothing he went down town with his blue steel .44 . Mr. Waller shot the man who had killed Damita, but took fatal return fire.

Widow and orphans

With Mr. Waller dead, Mrs. Waller couldn’t pay the rent and was evicted with her few belongings and three pre-teens children. They ended up in a shelter for a while, and Amanda had to apply to the welfare programs to keep her kids fed.

Her considerable pride and fiercely independent spirit were badly battered by the humiliation she had to go through to get food and money, and Amanda Waller’s personality became warped by rage.

Amanda Waller vs. the Thinker's helmet

Social services referred her to a community health psychologist, Dr. Simon LaGrieve. LaGrieve tried to help Waller overcome the seething anger within her, but all she did was turn it into a weapon to clear her path.

She swore that she would save all her surviving kids, that she would clean up the streets, and be the one wielding power over her own life – and, preemptively, that of others.

Amanda saw every one of her surviving children through college, apparently working several jobs on top of her responsibilities as a single mother to keep her house running. Once Coretta had graduated, the Waller widow got herself through college as a student in political science.

It is unclear whether she went all the way to a PhD. Stories set in the 2000s refer to her as Dr. Waller, but that was not the case earlier on. We would assume that she graduated circa 1983, in her early 40s, with a Master’s Degree and later resumed her studies part-time to get a PhD circa 2002.

It was presumably during her studies that Mrs. Waller became an expert deprogrammer, able to break professional-level brainwashing using retrogressive hypnosis and psychological techniques. How and why she acquired such specialised skills was never discussed, though it may stem from her obsession with control.

Amanda Waller and Simon LaGrieve

After her graduation, Waller approached a politician named Marvin Collins – also a civic-minded African-American Chicagoan. From dialogue, Collins was a progressive and to the Left of the Democratic Party.

Since he refused the backing of the Cook County Democratic Organisation (the famous “Chicago political machine ” mobilising Democratic voters), his chances of getting elected were slim to none. Waller was undeterred, and his was the political stance she wanted to support.

Despite her lack of experience, Waller — now Collins’s campaign director — ran an impressive electoral campaign. She built his organisation from the ground up, hustled money and hustled votes, working like a maniac and leveraging her charisma and her knowledge of the Chicago streets.

The maverick campaign was successful. I’d assume that Collins joined the 99th United Congress in 1985, either as an Independent or after the Democratic Party ended up endorsing him to avoid vote-splitting.

Mrs. Waller thus left the dilapidated Cabrini-Green ghetto and became Collins’s aide at the Capitol. Congressman Collins continued to champion progressive causes such as social programs, becoming a thorn in the Republican administration’s side.

Amanda Waller eyes closeup

While researching a bill for the Congressman, Waller happened upon intriguing classified information about the Suicide Squadron. She bulldozed her way to more documents, until she gained a detailed understanding of its, and the Suicide Squad’s, history.

Legends

The unrelenting Amanda Waller worked on resurrecting the Suicide Squad concept. The Squad had always employed problem individuals and sent them on high-risk missions as expendable assets. Waller took that reasoning one step further by staffing her ops teams with super-villains.

She wanted ruthless, expandable, deniable, powerful operatives to handle problems that more timid and law-abiding politicians were unwilling to touch.

Despite being on the minority side of the aisle, she somehow obtained authorisations to have a pilot team put together as a proof of concept. She even got herself an office in the Pentagon – presumably one of the mothballed Task Force X assets she secured.

To head the field team, Waller needed a professional – she wanted the Bronze Tiger (Ben Turner), who had recently been recovered by a CBI team led by King Faraday. Turner had been brainwashed for years by the League of Assassins, but his programming was successfully broken.

Waller was involved in the deprogramming, and given the skills she later demonstrated it is possible that conducted much of this work herself – Turner seemed to consider that he owed her his free will.

Amanda Waller manhandles the Thinker

However, having the Tiger as her field leader was not possible, as he posed a security risk after having been brainwashed for so long. Furthermore Turner was blacklisted — so to speak — by some racist officials.

Instead, Waller had to go through many rounds of horse-trading and ended up accepting Colonel Richard Rogers Flag as her field leader. This was to to mollify General Wade Eiling, the most influential man in the military when it came to projects involving superhumans.

While distrusting Flag and seeing him as a plant, Waller got to recruit the Bronze Tiger as his field lieutenant. The Wall also contacted the third person who had been on the CBI team along with Faraday and Flag – Eve Eden aka Nightshade.

Finally, she located a former FBI agent turned vigilante, Thomas Tresser aka Nemesis, in a government hospital. She hired him as a special agent and infiltrator. Eden and Tresser were sent to carry out advance infiltration work in Qurac.

The rest of the pilot team was made up of C-list super-villains – Deadshot (Floyd Lawton), Blockbuster (Mark Desmond), Enchantress (June Moon/Enchantress) and Captain Boomerang (George Harkness).

These had to be recruited in a hurry. Months before Waller had planned to be ready, Darkseid assaulted Earth through a variety of deceitful means, including the self-proclaimed fallen angel Brimstone. Half the team was fitted with remote-controlled explosive bracelets to keep them in check, and they were sent to intercept the gigantic Brimstone at Mount Rushmore.

Amanda Waller briefing the Squad

Waller’s rushed preparations worked out. The analysis of Brimstone that she ordered while Firestorm was fighting it was correct. The hastily-modified laser rifle she had ordered was actually able to disrupt the cohesion of the force fields holding the creature together. Brimstone was destroyed, at the cost of Blockbuster’s life.

Waller and the Squad then moved to the Belle Reve super-prison in Louisiana and started operations in earnest. See the post-Crisis entry for Rick Flag for the operational details, and an account of those operations not mentioned here.

Suicide solution

The Squad’s missions had a decent success rate for special intelligence missions – which still meant failures and casualties on a regular basis. Furthermore, though the Squad was the perfect tool for Waller to take on situations and have those stomped into the ground, various government agencies tried to abuse its service as a powerful, deniable field team.

Early on, Waller discovered that a NSC political appointee named Derek Tolliver had authorised a half-failed mission to the USSR without proper backing. This triggered a vendetta between the 2 that would have awful consequences.

Waller also developed an enmity with General Eiling, the commanding officer of the Captain Atom project, whom she had hated since the Rick Flag deal.

Amanda Waller shooting zombies

Despite these difficulties, Waller’s early successes led to a revival of the old Task Force X concept. She was made director of the revived Task Force X. This was apparently an attempt at gradually recreating a superhuman operations government capabilities.

Like the Task Force X of old it oversaw 2 specialised forces.

The Suicide Squad did metahuman black ops. The brand new top-secret agency Checkmate did special counter-intelligence and law enforcement. Waller started by tying loose ends and discovering what had happened to Argent, though it would be months before she obtained results.

Harry Stein held the position of King within Checkmate, running the agency day-to-day. Waller, giving Stein his orders, was Queen – though she refused to be called that. Early on Waller kept a close eye on Stein, but she soon came to trust him enough not to micro-manage Checkmate.

During the Squad’s first years of operations, Batman came to suspect that something was up. With the help of Commissioner James Gordon of the GCPD, he infiltrated Belle Reve prison and soon acquired the full organisational documents about the Squad. Waller and her security managed to briefly corner him, and Batman announced that he was going to shut the Squad down.

The hardnosed Waller threatened back, listing the information she had at hand to hurt him and his allies. The Wall and Batman were stalemated, and agreed not to take action against each other for the time being.

Amanda Waller and explosion

Some time later, Checkmate had its first major blunder when Black Thorn, a vigilante whom Stein trusted and wanted to recruit, escaped from Checkmate’s secret HQ. Stein was confident that she wouldn’t betray them, but Waller would have none of it and ordered her terminated.

However, traitors within Checkmate directed Thorne toward confidential information, allowing the vigilante to blackmail Waller into leaving her alone lest she expose a Suicide Squad operation in Nicaragua to the press.

The Squad’s head physician Dr. Karin Grace sacrificed herself to destroy a Manhunters base during the Millennium crisis. To replace her, Waller recruited her older sister Mary White, though Dr. White made it clear to her younger sister Amanda that she would have none of her attitude and intimidation.

The Tolliver plot

Meanwhile, Tolliver of the NSC had been plotting against Amanda Waller to break her before she’d break him. Tolliver allied with Joe Cray, a corrupt Senator facing poor reelection prospects after a string of scandals. They blackmailed President Reagan into authorising the use of the Squad as plumbers to have Cray re-elected.

Waller refused to go through such shenanigans, and prepared for the eventuality of an end to the Squad.

Amanda Waller threatening/>

With this prospect in mind, she authorised Eve Eden to launch a mission she had been promised in exchange for volunteering. That mission mostly failed, but led to an encounter with otherdimensional policeman Rac Shade. Shade explained the threat of Meta Zone infiltrators on Earth, and Waller immediately launched a mission that efficiently eliminated this threat.

Flag then deployed the Squad to counter terror attacks by the Jihad throughout Manhattan. Waller ordered Flag to stand down but he refused, as did Turner and (implicitly) Eden – leaving Waller without reliable field operatives. The mission was successful, and the Squad even secured the services of two Jihad operatives – Ravan and Ifrit.

Shortly after that, Deadshot and Black Orchid eliminated another drugs lord, nicknamed El Jefe, in the US.

At the same time, Wade Eiling’s operative Captain Atom went rogue in South America, trying to put an end to a Cold War proxy civil war. Gleeful at the chance of making Eiling look bad, Waller sent in her operative Nightshade, who shared an history with Captain Atom. The mission was successful, and Nightshade brought Atom back without violence.

Amanda Waller and the Thinker

Waller faked accepting Tolliver’s demands to buy time, while she sicced Checkmate — whom Tolliver did not know about — to dig up dirt on Tolliver and Cray. Flag accidentally overheard Tolliver bragging to Waller, and may have been about to shoot him when Waller covered him with her own gun to force him to stand down.

Harry Stein of Checkmate then found unspecified intelligence about Cray and Tolliver, which the Wall could use to blackmail them back. Waller chose to only blackmail Tolliver, both to keep her cards about Cray in reserve and to force Tolliver to face Cray’s wrath.

Ghosts and shadows

Meanwhile, Argent — a rogue US intelligence agency once part of Task Force X — went after the Squad. They considered that Waller’s forceful approach to international matters was making the international balance of power too brittle, and knew that she was investigating them.

One of Argent’s higher-ups, pretending to be a hapless pawn manipulated by the rogue agency, set a trap up by pretending to defect.

Amanda Waller making guarantees

This was a typical Argent manipulation to have their enemies fight each other. They did trick the Squad into raiding a Kobra cult hideout they thought was an Argent base. However, though she went along with the raid, the keen Waller had anticipated the Argent plot.

Argent’s attempt at killing her was foiled since “Waller” was actually Nemesis wearing several kilos of Kevlar. All the Argent agents involved were shadowed by Nightshade, and Waller soon shut down the rogue spooks after they spent decades drawing strings in the shadows.

The secretive Waller had not told anyone about her plots to end Tolliver’s machinations. This was a mistake – at that point Flag had snapped due to personal psychological issues, and decided to die protecting the Squad. Flag murdered Tolliver.

Waller sent the Squad to stop him from killing Cray, but Cray was shot anyway – by Deadshot, one of the operatives Waller had sent to stop Flag but who was also suffering from psychological problems. The Bronze Tiger became field leader of the Squad after Flag’s disappearance.

Not only was this a waste since Tolliver had already been checkmated, but a corrupt police detective sold Tolliver’s documents to the Daily Planet. After Tolliver and Cray’s death the paper assumed that the story was genuine and published it.

Invasion

The Squad was exposed, but got a reprieve. In 1988 a major alien invasion struck Earth, pushing the Suicide Squad scandal off the headlines. After Australia was overrun and became the aliens’s beachhead, it was agreed to have US forces coordinate global defence.

Waller was one of the 4 chiefs of this staff, overseeing combined intelligence assets. The other three were Gen. Eiling (military command), Captain Atom (superhuman forces) and Maxwell Lord (Justice League International). Waller hated Eiling, despised Lord and distrusted Atom since he was an Eiling man, but the priorities were obvious for everyone.

Amanda Waller reading a briefing

President Reagan ordered the Squad itself to stand down, but Waller had no intention to comply. By this point, Reagan was a lame duck president at the end of his second term and Waller was operating as part of an international coalition. She convinced the other 3 to enlist the services of super-criminals to bolster the firepower available to Earth’s metahuman forces.

A much-extended Squad team led by Nemesis and Captain Boomerang helped retake Australia. A far smaller unit commanded by the Bronze Tiger joined up with Soviet forces defending Moscow. Both units were successful, which Waller intended to use as ammunition to defend the Squad when it would be officially investigated.

The Dominators leading the invasion force retaliated by infecting all of Earth’s metahumans with a terminal, fatal disease. Waller and Eiling assembled a small force of still-valid heroes that narrowly saved everybody and finished off the invasion.

Just like Eden

Though the defensive effort had been a great success, Waller had gone through a staggering amount of stress. Furthermore she was now back to facing the exposure of the Squad to the press, Flag’s actions (which she knew were the results of her withholding information) and Deadshot’s actions (which were the results of her sending him in the field against medical advice).

During the drive back to Belle Reve, she experienced mild hallucinations caused by mental pressure and fatigue.

Amanda Waller giving orders

Waller defended the Squad in front of a special Senate subcommittee investigation led by Sen. Eden. She was assisted by Antoine Hearns, a famous Cajun lawyer.

Meanwhile she sent the Squad to free a famous nun leading humanitarian efforts in a rotten corner of Somalia. This was both to gain brownie points with the Senate, and to invoke national security tied to an ongoing operation so as not to have any team member subpoenaed.

As the investigations continued, Waller chose to perjure herself on national TV to protect the secret of Checkmate’s existence.

Despite Waller’s efforts to save the Squad, her forceful management was coming back to bite her. Flag had reportedly sneaked out of the country, Nemesis left after denouncing Waller in front of the team, Dr. LaGrieve and Dr. Herrs quit, and Eve Eden was strongly considering leaving.

Amanda Waller aiming revolver>

After the nun was rescued, Waller amped the media coverage of this Squad mission and hammered a deal with Senator Eden, telling him that his daughter was Squad agent Nightshade and threatening to make this information public.

The other part of the deal was that Waller publicly stepped down and was replaced by J. Danfield Kale, an intelligence man. Kale didn’t exist – he was an actor using a deep cover ID previously set up by Checkmate, to serve as the public face of the Squad whilst Waller ran the show.

Nightshade immediately quit as a consequence of Waller throwing her secret identity to her father.

Kobra attack

In 1989, Waller was called in by her bitter rival Max Lord – as an expert deprogrammer. Justice League member Blue Beetle had just been discovered to be brainwashed, and nearly killed Lord and Oberon after he was activated by a key phrase over the phone.

Waller tried several brash, risky methods after the Martian Manhunter established that the Beetle had extensive defences against telepathic surgery implanted as part of the brainwashing. She established that Beetle was beyond medicine’s ability to help, and Batman decided to turn to magic by contacting Kent Nelson.

Amanda Waller giving orders

While Waller was driving home the Jotunheim fortress in Qurac, hosting the Suicide Squad’s opposite number the Jihad, was destroyed by an atomic blast. Eve Eden received a letter from Col. Rick Flag, revealing that Flag had launched one last suicide mission and blown up the entire Jihad project for good, fulfilling the Squad’s first goal.

When she got back home, the Wall was ambushed by a doppelgänger  sent by Kobra as part of a master plan to destroy the US intelligence apparat. The double was to impersonate Waller and launch attacks that would turn the paranoid agencies against each other in a devastating shadow war.

With the American spooks killing each other, the Kobra cult would be free to launch their gambit to destroy technology worldwide using a gigantic orbital cannon, triggering their prophesied age of chaos.

Kobra underestimated Waller, though. She somehow beat up the doppelgänger and interrogated her, gaining enough intelligence about Kobra’s plan. Waller decided to play along even though that meant actually ordering hits and attacks against US interests, as she needed to buy time and stay alive to decipher Kobra’s plan.

The Janus Directive

Applying Kobra’s “Janus Directive” plan, Waller sent the Squad against the Force of July. She then warned the Force of the impending attack. Two Force of July operatives were nevertheless killed, as was their backer. She also sent Checkmate and Peacemaker to raid the Captain Atom Project.

Amanda Waller with detonator and in-ear phone

Checkmate’s Harry Stein realised that something was wrong and kidnapped the C.A. Project’s Dr. Megala rather than kill him as ordered. When his off-the-records investigators — Black Thorn and Col. Valentina Vostok — turned up no information backing Waller’s allegations, he sent a team to capture her in Belle Reve, but she escaped.

Meanwhile, the Captain Atom project sent Major Force against Checkmate to recover Megala. The uncontrollable Peacemaker engaged him in the open, blowing the cover of the top-secret agency’s headquarters.

Waller sent a Squad team against Checkmate to kill Megala – apparently Waller-pretending-to-be-a-doppelgänger had realised that “Dr. Megala” was also a double sent by Kobra.

Though the situation spiraled down quickly, Stein forced a back-channel negotiation with Gen. Eiling. Waller also discreetly contacted allies outside of the scope of Kobra’s Janus Directive plan – specifically King Faraday who recruited 2 retired operatives, Nightshade and Captain Atom, and Sarge Steel who had a pair of agents (John and Cherie Chase) investigating the Kobra cult.

Waller also contacted the Manhunter (Mark Shaw) to act upon the intelligence gathered by the Chases. Shaw was nearly killed, but turned the situation around by deeply infiltrating Kobra and gathering critical intel.

Kobra Blackadder kill teams leveraged the confusion to eliminate US intelligence special agents. Checkmate was hit particularly hard, with their headquarters destroyed and 38 Knights — two-thirds of the roster — being murdered.

Amanda Waller dealing with Rick Flag

After realising that “Dr. Megala” was a doppelgänger, Stein assumed that Waller was also a double. He brokered a truce with Gen. Eiling, and they pooled everything they had to storm Belle Reve.

However by that point Waller had gathered enough intelligence thanks to Shaw. She even received unexpected backup from the powerful elemental Firestorm, sent to Belle Reve by Dr. Simon LaGrieve who feared for the safety of his former colleagues.

Waller negotiated a cooperative effort, but there was too much bad blood between the agencies for it to run smoothly. Furious, President Bush Sr. put Sarge Steel in charge, though what was left to do was mostly mission planning.

Everything that remained of the Suicide Squad, Checkmate, Project Peacemaker, the Captain Atom Project, the Force of July and off-the-record allies was thrown at Kobra’s immense and heavily-defended satellite.

Though there were significant casualties, the plot was stopped. Shaw captured Kobra, and Lady Liberty of the Force of July sacrificed herself to destroy the cannon as it was about to be fired.

Task Force X no more

Though Waller’s gambit had saved the world, she was singled out by President Bush during the 1989 reorganisation of special intelligence services that followed the Janus Directive. Task Force X was shut down, and Sarge Steel became special intelligence czar.

What was left of Checkmate was attached to Steel. Though Waller retained control of the Squad President Bush made it clear that her lone wolf attitude meant that he considered her a problem and that Steel had orders to closely supervise her.

This loss of power and independence made Waller furious for weeks. President Bush Sr. compounded the insult by assigning Major Victory, the sole survivor of the Force of July, to the Squad for the Wall to handle.

Amanda Waller and John Economios

The Squad was sent to Iran to rescue an ex-Savak  butcher from being executed – as the man had received a US diplomatic passport after the fall of the Shah’s regime. The mission was a complete success, with the key part being broadcast on live TV. It was to be followed by severe problems, however.

The Female Fury Lashina, from Apokolips, had joined the Squad months before as Duchess. She pretended to have amnesia while she was stranded on Earth. All along she had plotted to return home, but she needed soldiers to keep the opposition occupied whilst she fought to reclaim her position.

She kidnapped Big Barda and, using her mega-rod, kidnapped or tricked the most suitable warriors at Belle Reve — including Amanda Waller — then returned to Apokolips.

Lashina and her captives were immediately beset by hordes of para-demons, then by the Female Furies. During the fray the Squad took casualties. Waller herself received Lashina’s personal rifle so she’d be useful in a fight, and briefly engaged Granny Goodness.

Thanks to the intervention of the Forever People and to Darkseid’s schemes, the survivor got out.

Amanda Waller facing General Eiling

However Amanda’s niece, Belle Reve staff member Flo Crawley — whom Lashina had taken along as a gift for Granny Goodness — was among the dead. This affected Waller – she knew how it felt for her cousin Edna Mae, who had never liked her, to lose a daughter. Edna Mae refused to allow Amanda to attend the funeral.

I fought the Loa, and the law won

For some months, the Wall had had feelers out to investigate a powerful drugs syndicate in Louisiana. These were called the Loa and themed after Haitian voodoo. The Loa had previously tried to manipulate her into believing that they did not exist, in order to buy time for their master plan.

Waller eventually realised that the Loa existed, but by that time the syndicate was close to its goal. They used altered cocaine to turn junkies into zombie-like servants, and wage war on the War on Drugs to relieve law enforcement pressure.

The Loa’s scheme would kill hundreds of thousands, but the syndicate had based its successful growth on fear and their mystique. Odds were good they could ride the carnage to national domination of the cocaine market.

Amanda Waller facing Batman

To keep Waller out of their hair, the Loa exposed the whole “J. Danfield Kale” deception. They had the press reveal that it was a lie and that Amanda Waller had never stopped running the Suicide Squad. This occurred mere days before a Squad mission to take out the Loa was to be launched.

Having never trusted Waller and seeing the Squad as a failure, Sarge Steel decided to pull the plug. He had agents and support personnel start leaving immediately, and had the infrastructure dismantled.

He also considered Turner to be a security risk, and forced him to flee after confronting him with some of the brainwashing techniques that the League had used against him. This wrecked Waller’s deprogramming work.

Waller doggedly continued investigating the Loa through personal resources, sensing that something bad was afoot. As the first junkies started dying from modified cocaine, Waller realised what was going on and rounded up a team despite having no agents left.

Poison Ivy and Deadshot, whom the Bronze Tiger had illegally procured from Arkham Assylum to launch the rescue mission on Apokolips, had not yet been transferred back. Also, Ravan the Thug was kept at Belle Reve to be tried for his acts of terrorism as a Jihad member. Poison Ivy analysed the modified cocaine within hours, allowing Waller to deduce the whole plan.

Amanda Waller and Deadshot gunning down zombies>

The Wall went rogue, taking the 3 murderers with her. She hit the New Orleans streets to take the Loa down before it was too late and the bulk of the cocaine was distributed. They swiftly worked their way up the distribution chain, using Poison Ivy’s truth serums for rapid interrogation.

By the time the Wall and her killers located the headquarters of Loa, 45 minutes were left before the distribution order was given. Waller got her defensive carry .45 and multiple clips out of her purse and the quartet killed their way to the Loa’s leadership, whom they executed.

Waller told the 3 villains to leave, called the New Orleans PD and waited in the building full of corpses and cocaine to be arrested.

Being at the end of her endurance and aware that she was on a spiral of hatred and violence, Amanda Waller wanted to be sent to prison. She requested a plea bargain without playing hardball with the government, the charges were dropped to manslaughter and she was denounced as a vigilante having acted without government sanction or support.

Amanda Waller spent a year in prison.

Back to the Wall

Though Waller wanted to do time, she never expected to serve her full sentence. She knew that sooner rather than later, a situation would arise where the government needed the services of the Suicide Squad. The genie was out, and the concept was both too useful and too difficult to implement without her experience.

Amanda Waller briefing Poison Ivy, Ravan and Deadshot

In 1990 a situation arose in the Eastern European country of Vlatava. Factions in the US and USSR attempted to fan the last fires of the Cold War there. Even Sarge Steel couldn’t tell which reports were fabricated by sympathisers, and needed off-the-records operatives who could take on Vlatava’s best-known superhuman, Count Vertigo.

Given the time constraints, this meant Waller.

Mrs. Waller had prepared her pitch months before. Her offer was to run the new Suicide Squad as a mercenary force with access to prisons as their sole government tie. This meant superior deniability and minimal commitment for the government, while it gave Waller the independence she craved.

Steel thought that the scheme was workable and agreed to Waller’s terms.

Batman, who had contacted Steel while investigating Soviet involvement in Vlatavan schemes, was also present. He agreed to work with Waller. While he still did not trust her, her actions and willingness to go to prison had changed his view of her. In return, Waller agreed to help bring Soviet operative Stalnoivolk to justice, as he had murdered a man in Gotham City.

Amanda Waller arrested

While she and Batman rounded up a team — Bronze Tiger, Vixen, Captain Boomerang, Ravan, Poison Ivy — Waller contacted the Vlatavan government to offer her services. She correctly anticipated that they would pettily try to force her into working for them at cutthroat rate, and thus manipulated them into being a part of her cunning plan.

International operations

Despite some minor problems — such as Deadshot having been sent by an old foe, William Heller, to murder her — Waller executed a nearly flawless play. She successfully manipulated all opposition and countering the foibles of her operatives.

The Soviet intelligence operatives present were checkmated, the Vlatavan conspiracy beheaded, their patsy Count Vertigo was captured, and Stalnoivolk was kidnapped.

The Atom (Ray Palmer) then contacted Amanda Waller and Sarge Steel. He told them of his brutal clashes with a rogue cabal within US intelligence agencies. Steel and Waller were interested in investigating this and helped Palmer fake his death.

Waller then recruited an imprisoned burglar, Adam Cray, to become the new Atom. She correctly assumed that most people would think that the new Atom was a disguised Palmer. This left Palmer free to investigate. Steel agreed to contract the Squad when the time would come to strike, since he didn’t know whom to trust within the intelligence community.

Amanda Waller mourning Flo

Waller was next hired by Egyptian officials. They were concerned with Kobra cult activities in Israel and wanted her to make sure that the Mossad had things under control.

Egyptian suspicions were correct. Kobra had somehow suborned the Dybbuk, an artificial intelligence working for the Mossad. He then had deliberately let himself be arrested to finish convincing the Dybbuk to control Israeli forces into blowing up the Dome of the Rock .

The team lost Ravan as the fanatical assassin attempted to murder Kobra. But Waller’s ace-in-the-hole the Atom (Adam Cray) determined what Kobra’s plan was before it was too late. The Squad was too short-handed to bring the situation under control, but delayed the Dybbuk long enough for the Hayoth, the Mossad’s metahuman commando, to react.

Hayoth’s leader Ramban convinced the Dybbuk to stand down by engaging him in a rabbinical debate, defusing the situation. Thankful for Waller’s help in averting a catastrophic holy war, Ramban shielded the Squad from the Mossad’s anger and had Israeli soldiers drive her back to the airport.

Back in the US, Dr. LaGrieve — who had become the head of the Institute for Metahuman Studies after leaving Belle Reve — was helping take care of Squad members needing medical attention. He requested Waller’s help in dealing with a problem inadvertently created by the Institute – the new Thinker, Cliff Carmichael.

Waller was convinced when she learned that Carmichael was after an ally of hers and LaGrieve, Oracle (Barbara Gordon).

The Wall essentially solved the entire case by herself, tracking Carmichael down and beating him up just as he was about to kill Oracle. The Wall offered to Gordon to renew their partnership. Thankful that Waller had saved her life then prevented her from killing Carmichael, Gordon agreed.

Amanda Waller vs. Granny Goodness

In the wake of the Carmichael case, Waller was approached by Gen. J.E.B. Stuart to rescue Rick Flag’s son. The boy had been kidnapped by the forces of Koshchei the Deathless. Considering that she owed Flag, Waller rounded up people who felt the same.

She started with Bronze Tiger and continuing with people who only agreed to work with her to honour Colonel Flag’s memory, such as Nightshade and Nemesis. Deadshot also volunteered out of the blue, bringing a knocked out Captain Boomerang with him. The operation was successful, and little Richard Flag III was exfiltrated without casualties.

During this operation, Waller was once again fighting in the field. Knowing that if she kept that up she’d eventually be killed, she asked Oracle to consider leading the Squad in her stead when she’d buy it. Furthermore Eve Eden agreed to continue working with Waller, seeing that he had changed while in prison and that the Squad was serving essentially benign goals.

Spooks

The Squad was then contracted by a Japanese industrialist and foe of the Yakuza. He wanted a large shipment of weapons meant for the Yakuza destroyed. During the operation, Waller was caught in a trap and shot up multiple times, though the intervention of the Atom (Adam Cray) saved her and got her to the hospital in time for emergency surgery.

With Waller out, Oracle was forced to assume command. Thankfully, all operatives but Cray were experienced professionals, and the martial artist Katana came to their help for familial reasons. The operation was successful and the weapons destroyed. Waller survived her wounds through sheer orneriness.

Amanda Waller grinning

As she was still in her hospital bed, Black Adam contracted the Suicide Squad to assist in an assault against Circe during the War of the Gods. Waller agreed to help save the world and assembled a large team that stormed Circe’s island, running into Bana-Mighdall warriors and bestiamorphs. The team took casualties, and had to retreat when the island tore itself asunder.

Steel and Palmer then launched a sting operation to trap those members of the intelligence cabal who had been after Palmer for years. The plan worked despite the Cabal tricking 3 JLA members and the Hayoth into opposing the Squad.

Waller and Steel learned about the full extent of the cabal, the links between the US and the Jihad, and President Clinton’s implication in the conspiracy. Waller threatened Clinton with briefing the JLA about the intel she had gathered to ensure that the cabal would be suppressed.

While the operation was successful, Adam Cray was killed by intelligence agents who thought that he was Ray Palmer. Waller was also taken aback when she realised that her Squad had been, since its creation, viewed as the model after which the government superhuman wetwork task force that the cabal wanted to set up would be patterned.

Flattery will get you nowhere

The US intelligence cabal wasn’t the only organisation that wanted a Suicide Squad-like structure. In the Caribbean nation of Diabloverde the indestructible dictator Guedhe, backed by the CIA, hired super-criminals from American prisons as an enforcement cadre.

The small resistance thought that this pseudo-Suicide Squad had been organised by Waller, and sent an amateur assassin after her.

Amanda Waller facing a court

The hit failed, and through Steel Waller soon learned about the Diabloverde “Suicide Squad”. She went ballistic and had the assassin hire the real Suicide Squad to eliminate the Diabloverdan one for one peso, paying for the mission on her own funds.

Unbeknownst to Waller, the intelligence cabal that she had hoped to shut down by threatening the President was still active. It had finally formed its own team of superhuman operatives, which they called Task Force X.

Amanda Waller and her big sister

Waller’s Suicide Squad clashed with the Squad assembled by the CIA for Guedhe, and was attacked by Task Force X whilst so doing. Despite these odds, Waller and her operatives beat all comers and took out the reputedly invulnerable Guedhe, freeing Diablo Verde. Several Task Force X assassins were taken alive, and convinced to talk.

President Waller

By that point, however, Waller had decided to retire the Squad. Though she considered that it had done some good, seeing even darker reflections of her concept in Guedhe’s Squad and the new Task Force X confirmed her intuition that the Squad had been flawed from the beginning – which she was now willing to accept.

As Waller cleaned up to close the Squad, the former Diabloverde resistance asked her if she would consider becoming the President of Diabloverde. The country was in utter chaos and had next to no elites left after the ghoulish reign of Guedhe.

Waller agreed to help, and presumably became the interim presidenta of the tiny island nation to help its recovery after these difficult times.


Description

Amanda Waller is essentially a cube – short, fat and broad-shouldered. She’s approaching her 50s, and her general looks and manner of dressing will feel quite familiar to those acquainted with the Washington Federal bureaucracy.

She insists on wearing an outdated pearl necklaces – perhaps for sentimental reasons tied to her late husband. Waller usually works in a suit with a skirt, though as she started being in the field she switched to pantsuits or street clothing.

Amanda Waller confirming orders

Back in her youth, Amanda Waller had a Diana Ross and the Supremes -style hairdo. That was totally great. By the 1990s though she occasionally them dyed in a burgundy tone – one suspects that by that point she had a noticeable amount of grey hair from age and stress.


Personality

Waller is an uncompromising bulldozer made of ruthlessness, cold intelligence, stark willpower and inexhaustible drive. She will get what she wants, things will get *done*, and the ends justify the means.

Her forcefulness should not hide her subtlety and crafty manipulations, though. She’s an excellent spymistress and can pull off plans relying on at least 2 levels of cunning deception. If a plot against Waller seems to be working it’s probably a trap, and what you assume is the trap will probably be a decoy. Unless it’s the other way around.

Amanda Waller deducing Duchess' identity>

The Wall likes being in charge of cool stuff, wielding power, and solving problems. Each of these is both a means toward the other, and an end. If there’s an issue that needs fixin’, and Waller assumes that her special touch is what’s needed, she will build some sort of power base to tackle the problem and pound it into the ground.

Both will be done with great efficiency, energy and political cunning.

In the end, Waller is driven by anger at the world for having taken her children and husband, and wants to beat it into shape. She does have a sense of humour, but it’s highly sarcastic and corrosive.

As kid, Amanda Waller decided that she didn’t have to do anybody’s bidding unless they could force her to. She’s a lone wolf – a very poor team player, with an almost irrational passion for independence, making her own rules and controling information. The Wall has a deep need to be the one in authority, and a deep defiance toward the authority of others.

Waller’s tolerance for racist remarks is exactly zero. This can have serious consequences given how she treats obstacles and annoyances – and the muscle that usually accompanies her.

She also has something of an old-fashioned African-American consciousness. Mrs. Waller was in her mid-20s when Malcolm X  was shot and her family seems to have developed a Black pride  sensibility during these times, which they keep to this day. She occasionally wears small accessories with an African theme, such as earrings patterned after tribal masks.

Amanda Waller throwing hammers

The Wall has no patience for stupidity, the definition of “stupid” overlapping to a significant degree with “anybody who disagrees with Amanda Waller”. Waller’s anger issues are significant, and she has actually punched people out out of ire during bureaucratic infighting – something that nobody in the administration expected.

Amanda Waller doesn’t mind having enemies. In fact, she likes having enemies – it keeps her angry.

Though operatives of hers such as Deadshot, Colonel Flag or Count Vertigo are the ones known for their death wish, Waller shares that problem to a large extent. Her uncompromising, bulldozer-like anger cannot win against the entire world, even with her fearsome intelligence and some luck.

Her path is simply not sustainable, as she inevitably makes mistakes, cannot admit that she made mistakes and just soldiers harder, increasingly clashing with people who are just as hard and ruthless as she is as she rises in the hierarchy.

This results in failures that Waller is incapable of handling since she cannot stand to be defeated. Though she’ll do a good job pretending that she doesn’t care and is a pragmatic woman moving on with her responsibilities, every loss of power and control irremediably builds up inside her and slowly leads to hatred.

On some level, Waller realises that she’s the type of people she fights against. With the anger endlessly building up and turning to hatred, she know that she’s likely to take violent, ruthless decisions in the name of crushing problems and seeing her foes driven before her.

She thus tends to hire people who will act as checks and balances before she goes bad and becomes even worse than 24’s Jack Bauer. Rick Flag, Ben Turner and Eve Eden played that role, though Turner less so than the others since he can’t quite say no to the woman who gave him back his free will.

Many of the heroes brought aboard — such as Vixen — were there in part to prevent Waller from going bad, and this is why, beyond their professional skills, she hired her psychologist and her big sister.

Amanda Waller menacing

Amanda Waller is a keen negotiator and can choose her words and nuances very precisely. However most of the time — when it’s not necessary to project such respectability — she prefers to keep it real. She expresses herself in a forceful, direct manner much better suited to the streets than to the corridors of power. This is even more surprising as it comes from a well-dressed Woman Of A Certain Age.

Even when keeping appearances up, Waller is sharp-tongued and confrontational, though in more subtle and middle-class ways. When she’s being spontaneous, Waller’s diction and grammar becomes markedly closer to that of a 1960s Cabrini-Green resident and she tends to slap the adjective “fool” in front of anything she doesn’t like (“this fool mission”, “that fool boat”, etc.).

Waller never liked Rick Flag, with him being a Eiling-made man rather than a Waller-made man or a peon. Her relationship with the Colonel was curious. She saw him as a risk, a hazard and something of a loser but at the same time completely trusted his devotion to the good of the Squad.

On the other hand, Waller has a clear fondness for Ben Turner. One gets the impression that she regards him as a substitute for her dead son Joe Junior, and there have been occasions where she was almost protective of him. By extension, she sometimes acted in an obliquely motherly fashion toward Vixen, and seemed to want her relationship with Turner work out for the best.

Waller is paranoid – which is understandable in her line of work. She has a multitude of small security rituals, such as shoving matches in her apartment’s door to know if anybody enters it in her absence.

She’s generally a control freak. Though there were exceptions — such as not micro-managing Harry Stein’s Checkmate — she wants to supervise everything, have a finger in every pie. She’ll make at least one forceful attempt to turn things her way before she considers cutting her losses.

She controls who knows what, she puts pressure on everybody even when it’s not quite necessary, she controls who gets implanted with explosives, she controls everything. That means she runs a tight ship, but when a situation plunges into the toilet it dives that much harder.

Amanda Waller vs. Rick Flag

Though it has occasionally been misunderstood, Waller is well to the Left of the average US politician – with an emphasis on supporting minorities and the poor so as to give them a fighting chance to improve their lot. Her politics rarely play a role in her work, though she prefers not to associate with reactionaries.

While she was a devout Christian of an unspecified denomination in her youth, she stopped going to church decades ago – presumably after she went through the state welfare process.

After spending a year in prison and facing what she had done and whom she had become, Waller was a stronger, calmer, even smarter woman. Her escalating anger and control issues were handled. In part because she was now and independent operator Waller was more relaxed and free to concentrate her amazing intellect on the missions.

She also respected her operatives more as persons, dealing with them as contractors – and perhaps as friends of a sort in the cases of the Bronze Tiger and Vixen. She took their peculiarities into account rather than just imposing her will upon them and trying to control everything.

She smiles when she is on top of the situation — which is often — whereas the old Waller was said to have invented foul mood.

Post-prison, Waller is no longer a politician and an administrator. She is closer to being an international adventurer and mercenary. She’s in control of her destiny, she gets things done and she tries to make the world a better place.

At this point Waller was relaxed enough to act in a friendly manner and connect with people on a personal level – beyond Turner, she seemed to develop a connection with “Amy Beddoes” (Barbara Gordon) and Ramban of Hayoth.

The Wall has an inexplicable predilection for Charles Dickens’s books. She apparently doesn’t like fool planes, and prefers to drive — even across several states — unless it’s an emergency.


Quotes

(Late 1970s) “I ain’t letting these damn streets have no more of my family. By God in Heaven, I swear I’ll get them out or kill myself trying.”

(Late 1970s) “I need that anger or the damned project’s gonna swallow up what little I have left of my family. Can’t let no one take it away from me.”

“I’m fat, Black, cranky and menopausal. You do not want to mess with me.”

Bronze Tiger : “Forget it. I’m not the man you remember, Waller.”
Waller : “I’m not hiring memories”.

“That’s the game, girl. Pretend to play into their hands so they don’t see how they’re playing into ours”.

“Somewhere, somehow, someone’s gotten the idea I’ve gotten soft. Get that idea right out of your brains while your brains are still inside your head. I will kill you stone dead if you play games with me now, and I’ve got enough muscle here to keep Rover there occupied until I do it.”

“I’m a practical woman. I see a problem, I wanted it solved. There are things, here and abroad, that need doing, but for one reason or another, the government cannot do them. That’s fine. I understand that. But those things still need doing. What’s needed is a covert group of agents — utterly ruthless, totally expendable. Prisons are full of those kind of people and it costs to keep them there. Especially the super-villains. So why not let them contribute to their country ? Make them a deal : do what needs doing, succeed and survive, and keep your trap shut, and we’ll commute your sentences to time served.”

“A tactical nuclear strike was considered and discarded because it wasn’t considered a sure enough bet to wipe out the Jihad. The administration has also determined that a direct attack by U.S. forces would not be politically advantageous at this time. The administration needs something they can disavow if things go wrong. That’s us.”

“Worries me, too. Fought like the Devil when it was proposed. Told them I didn’t want any purely political missions. But it was this or Nicaragua.”

(After flooring a NSC official with a right hook) “Who authorised this fool mission besides you, Tolliver ? Like I thought : no one. You done it on your own, assuming an authority you don’t have. You better hope I get all my people back in one piece, Tolliver. Or I will make it my personal business to see your butt is used for shoe leather.”

(About a Colombian drugs lord) “Men like Cujo or Jorge Ochoa Vasquez, or the Ballesteros – they rule through intimidation and reprisal. No way they can be touched legally. So we’re going to touch them illegally. We’re going to raze Cujo’s fortress and destroy all the snow we find in there. And we’re going to kill Cujo.”

“In case you’ve forgotten, murder is a big part of what we do here. Learn to take the heat, you slob — or get the hell out of my kitchen !”

(To a kidnapped super-villain) “Hello. My name is Amanda Waller. Let me explain a few things to you. Starting right now, I own your ass.”

Angry, corrupt politician: “What if I KILLED you, Waller ?”
(Waller freezes then turns her head with a wicked rictus) “Try it, Derek. Please please try it.”

Dr. LaGrieve: “I wash my hands of it ! If Lawton goes off the deep end on this mission, the responsibility will be on you !”
Waller: “That’s where it’s always been, Simon.” (meanwhile, Deadshot goes off the deep end).

Amanda Waller, Duchess, Deadshot and guards

“Hey, it’s just another fight for survival. It’s what I’m good at.”

(Giving her terms to Sarge Steel) “I’m out [of jail] now — no strings. Presidential pardon. I get access to prisoners with the same deal as before. Batman helps me on this case oh — and you give me a million dollars.”
Sarge Steel: (long beat) “You’re crazy.”
Waller: “The new Squad will be autonomous – we’ll hire out on a case-by-case basis. The million is our fee. The client covers our expenses. They have no control but they also have reduced liability. The Squad gets no more HQ, no more support or protection, no rescue in case of capture. Even at a million, we’re cheap. And we’re expendable. And we’re just what you want. Right ?”

“Fine. Let’s get cutting. Life is short and none of us are getting any prettier.”

Batman: “I don’t know what happened to Turner — but [he]’s not a [mentally healthy] man [now].”
Waller: “Do I hear the pot calling the kettle something ?”

Waller: “How much they paying [you] to [kill] me ?”
Deadshot (pointing his gun at Waller) “A hundred thou.”
Waller: “That all ? Hell, I’m insulted. You should be, too. You’re worth more than that. Tell you what — I’ll match the offer, plus a dollar… to work for me again.”
Deadshot (long beat) “Okay.” (lowers his gun, is sent to kill his former employer by Waller)

(Explaining to Dr. LaGrieve why she chose to go to prison, and referring to the Loa executions) “I crossed the line, Simon. I knew it and I did it deliberately. Given the same situation, I’d do the exact same thing again. If I did it and just got away with it, I’d undermine everything I’m supposed to be defending. I had to pay a price – and I did. Mind you, I’m not pretending to be a saint. I took the first legitimate out they offered me. And, I’ll admit, I figured Steel would turn up with a deal sooner or later. But I was willing to serve my time.”

(Realises that the Thinker helmet is controlling her, looks at it with sheer hatred) “*I’m* in charge here. I. AM. IN. CHARGE. HERE !” (smashes the helmet against a table with blood coming out of her nose and ears)

(Waller is barely out of her hospital bed after intensive surgery. In a bathrobe, she starts giving orders to nearby metahumans)
Maser: “Excuse me, but is there a reason I should be taking orders from you ?”
Waller: “Yes. Because I am a sick old woman who is trying to save the world and if you give me any backtalk I will get up out of my death bed and skin you alive starting where it is most sensitive ! You understand me ?”
Maser: “Yes ma’am.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Amanda “the Wall” Waller

Dex: 03 Str: 03 Bod: 03 Motivation: Power/Uphold Good
Int: 05 Wil: 07 Min: 06 Occupation: Public servant
Inf: 07 Aur: 06 Spi: 07 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 017 HP: 010

Skills:
Accuracy (Sense deception): 06, Charisma*: 07, Detective (Law): 06, Martial artist: 04, Medicine (Treatment): 06, Scientist (Research): 06, Vehicles (Land, Sea): 03, Weaponry (Firearms): 04

Bonuses and Limitations:
Medicine is limited to deprogramming brainwashed people

Advantages:
Credentials (US Government, Medium ; US Intelligence, Medium), Area Knowledge (Washington D.C. insider), Expertise (Politics, Intelligence, Costumed and metahuman criminals in the US), Familiarity (Special operations planning, Superhuman assets, High technology, International adventurers and metahumans), Iron Nerves, Omni-Connection, Schtick (Mighty Thews (Firearms))

Connections:
US government (Powerful, Low), Suicide Squad (Low), US Congress (Low), US intelligence community (Low), Checkmate (US version) (High – Low after Task Force X is shut down), Manhunter (Mark Shaw) (Low), Bronze Tiger (Ben Turner) (High), King Faraday (Low), Major US Police Departments (Low), FBI (Low), Dr. Simon LaGrieve (Low), Maggie Sawyer (Low), Oracle (“Amy Beddoes”/Barbara Gordon) (High), Ramban of the Hayoth (Low), Belle Reve staff from her time there (Low)

Drawbacks:
MPR (Amanda Waller’s movement is one AP lower than her DEX would indicate, and she has limited physical endurance (for climbing stairs, for instance)), MPR (Waller needs glasses to read)

Equipment:

  • .45 Colt Defender [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 04, Range: 03, Ammo: 07, Limitation: Projectile weapons has No Range, used the listed Range instead, R#02]. A compact version of the Colt M1911 designed for concealed carry.
  • If she has to arm herself while in Belle Reve, Mrs. Waller will grab the standard Uzi issued to security – the older carbine model with wooden stock [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 07, R#02, Advantage : Autofire]


Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Amanda Waller (Classic) — Averaged PL 4.6

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
01 01 -1 01 04 05 02 03

Combat Advantages

Close attack 1, Defensive Roll 1, Ranged attack 2

Other Advantages

Benefit (Head of the Suicide Squad), Connected, Contacts, Equipment 2, Second chance (Fear/Intimidation), Skill Mastery (Insight), Well-Informed

Skills

Deception 7 (+10), Expertise (Senior civil servant) 7 (+12), Expertise (Intelligence and counter-intelligence) 9 (+14), Expertise (Special operations) 4 (+9), Expertise (Current events) 5 (+10), Insight 7 (+9), Intimidation 3 (+6), Perception 3 (+5), Persuasion 4 (+7), Ranged combat (Firearms) 2 (+5), Treatment 4 (+9) (Limited 2 to deprogramming), Vehicles 4 (+5) (Limited 1 to common land and sea vehicles)

Equipment

Light pistol

Offense

Initiative +0
Unarmed +5, Close, Damage 1
Light Pistol +5, Ranged, Damage 3

Defense

Dodge 4 Fortitude 3
Parry 5 Toughness 2/1*
Will 9

* Without Defensive Roll

Complications

  • Responsibility Waller wants to fix what’s wrong with the world
  • Obsession/Temper To her the ends justifies the means, though she’s aware of her dark side and has it kept in check
  • Enemy/Rivalry Innumerable foes and rivals
  • Relationship With her family and with a handful of Squad members and crew members (such as Bronze Tiger)
  • Secret Most of Waller’s activities are top-secret and beyond

Power levels

  • Trade-off areas Attack & Effect PL 4, Dodge/Toughness PL 3, Parry/Toughness PL 4, Fort & Will PL 6
  • Point total 86 Abilities 32, Defences 15, Skills 27, Powers 0, Devices 0, Advantages 12. Equiv. PL 6.



And then somehow, things get worse

The classic Suicide Squad stories took place in a different Genre than most of the then-contemporary DC Universe — one where things often go wrong and people die with some regularity. This was both a source of dissonance (as the rules of reality changed for some reason when the Squad was involved) and the occasion for Ostrander and Yale to write stories that were unusual back then.

In DC Heroes RPG terms Suicide Squad stories are generally Gritty, when most of the DC Universe was still using the Action Genre.

Thus Suicide Squad has a certain importance in the evolution of the medium. Howbeit, like with even more influential work (Watchmen, Dark Knight, Squadron Supreme, etc.) later writers tend to draw inspiration from the more indecorous elements — the death and violence — rather than the strongest ones – the characterisation, plotting and approach to realism.

Beyond Genre considerations, Squad stories can be helped by special rules. The 1988 supplement Commando  written by Dave Cook for TSR’s game Top Secret/SI has remarkable rules for describing the way that special operations tend to go wrong.

Cook’s rules describe how an amount of points (called Friction) randomly builds up. This accrual is based on the basic parameters of the mission (how political it is, the quality of intelligence, how complex the plan is, how many persons know about it…) and the incidents during the operation.

Once Friction reaches 100, something bad happens (and in DCH the Genre could get worse), then the accrual of Friction resumes – with a higher starting total before than before. Once things go wrong, it tends to keep getting worse.

Such optional rules would be a very good fit for Suicide Squad mission, with an important factor being how unstable and unreliable the members of the field ops team are.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: The appearances of the Wall as written by John Ostrander and Kim Yale. This chiefly means Suicide Squad volume 1 (1987-1992) – later appearances by Waller tend to be different from the original take. After some hesitation we’ve included content from all contemporary (1987-1992) appearances in others books, since Ostrander was usually involved in plotting those or writing them outright.

Helper(s): Michael, Capita_Senyera, Mike Winkler, Gareth Lewis

Writeup completed on the 18th of December, 2011.

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