(1986-1994, part #3)
This profile is intended to be read as part of our series of Suicide Squad team profiles.
Here’s the page that lists these articles in order.
In the meanwhile, another crisis had been brewing. Powerful alien spinal-fluid-drinking parasites had been accruing quite a body count in the US.
President Clinton requested that President Waller take charge of an effort to eliminate these.
The effort enlisted a small army of super-heroes. Justice Leagues, Titans, Global Guardians, Superman, Batman (Jean-Paul Valley), Superboy, etc.. Plus STAR Labs scientific facilities, UN clearances and US Army vehicles.
The parasite Glonth was captured. Waller used him as bait to learn the location of the parasites’ spaceship.
During the difficult assault on the huge alien, organic vessel, Waller again outmanoeuvred the opposition. The small non-powered team that was sent through a backdoor also was bait. They had an escort of invisible, shape-changing, size-altering, etc. heroes.
Though the plan succeeded, the mostly defeated aliens still produced a mountainous monster, the Taker. This global menace kaijuJapanese term for a rampaging giant monster, like Godzilla. captured most heroes on the force, using them to further power itself.
Though Mrs. Waller was briefly caught in the Cthulhu-like’s psychic field, she survived. Along with Superman (Clark Kent) and the Flash (Wally West), she organised a second effort.
Amanda took command of additional assets from the National Guard, LexCorp, STAR Labs and the Metropolis PD’s Special Crimes Unit. The SCU’s commander, Cpt. Maggie Sawyer, seemed to be her second-in-command.
But the main push was done by “new blood” metahumans – who had been accidentally empowered by exposure to the alien parasites. They eventually found out how to combine their abilities to form an anti-kaiju.
With the Taker defeated, it was taken off-planet by the L.E.G.I.O.N. private sector space police force.
Amanda Waller is essentially a cube – short, fat and broad-shouldered. She’s in her 50s.
Her general looks and manner of dressing will feel familiar to those acquainted with the Washington Federal bureaucracy of that era.
She insists on wearing outdated pearl necklaces. Perhaps for sentimental reasons tied to her late husband.
Waller usually works in a suit with a skirt. But if she’s to be in the field she’ll switch to pantsuits or even street clothing.
Back in her youth, Amanda Waller had a Diana Ross and the Supremes -style hairdo. That was totally great.
By the 1990s though she increasingly dyed them in a burgundy tone. Perhaps to hide her hair greying from age and stress.
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.
Furthermore, she’s as subtle, manipulative and crafty as she’s forceful. She’s an excellent spymistress.
Waller can pull off plans relying on at least two 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.
The Wall likes :
- Being in charge of cool stuff.
- Wielding power.
- 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 thinks that her special touch is what’s needed — she will build some sort of power base to tackle the problem…
… then pound it into the ground. With great efficiency, energy and political cunning.
However, she does have a sense of humour – she’s not 100% business. But it’s highly sarcastic and corrosive.
Like, really driven
In the end, Waller is driven by anger at the world for having taken her children and husband. She wants to beat it into shape.
As a 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 terrible team player.
She has a passion for independence. Amanda :
- Needs to make her own rules.
- Needs to be in control of information, which can result in counterproductive secrecy.
- Has a deep need to be the one in authority.
- Harbours deep defiance toward the authority of others.
Waller’s tolerance for racist remarks is zero. This can have serious consequences for racists given how she treats obstacles and annoyances. And given the muscle that often accompanies her.
Amanda Waller doesn’t mind having enemies. In fact, she likes having enemies. It keeps her angry.
Say it loud
She also has something of an old-fashioned African-American consciousness.
Mrs. Waller was in her mid-20s when Malcolm X was murdered. 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.
She also continued to use old Black Chicago turns of phrase. Interestingly, she doesn’t bother with code-switching even during most formal discussions. Mrs. Waller has enough power, seniority and independence not to have to sound respectable.
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 – but in more subtle and middle-class ways. 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 real talk.
When she’s being spontaneous, Waller’s diction and grammar becomes 1960s Cabrini-Green. She tends to slap the adjective “fool” in front of anything she doesn’t like (“this fool mission”, “that fool boat”, etc.).
Rage against the machine
The Wall has no patience for stupidity. And her definition of “stupid” strongly overlaps with “anybody who disagrees with Amanda Waller”.
She has angrily punched people out during bureaucratic infighting. Though Tolliver’s behaviour and crimes amply deserved this, it’s another example of Mrs. Waller feeling much less bound by decorum than other civil servants.
The Blake family was Baptist. But Amanda herself seems to have a dour disposition toward religion. Perhaps she left the flock when she lost two of her children, then her husband.
Games of death and deceit
Squad operatives such as Deadshot, Colonel Flag or Count Vertigo are the ones known for their death wish. But Waller shares that problem to an extent.
Her uncompromising, bulldozer-like anger cannot win against the entire world. Even with her fearsome intelligence and some luck.
Her path isn’t sustainable :
- She inevitably makes mistakes.
- She often cannot admit that she made mistakes.
- She just soldiers harder, increasingly clashing with people who are just as hard and ruthless as she is as she rises in the hierarchy.
- Which occasionally results in defeats, which she cannot stand. She runs a tight ship, but when a situation plunges into the toilet it dives that much harder.
She’ll do a good job pretending that she doesn’t care and is a pragmatic woman moving on with her responsibilities. But 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.
Likewise, it only seems that she’s remorseless about sending expendable criminal scum to their death. Underneath, she feels responsible for almost everyone’s death. These haunt her – but she’d never mention it to anyone.
Checks and balances
She thus tends to hire people who will act as checks and balances before she truly goes bad.
Rick Flag, Ben Turner and Eve Eden played that role. Albeit less so in Turner’s case, 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 rotten. This is also why, beyond their professional skills, she hired her psychologist and her big sister.
(Ironically, Waller condemned Argent over their policy of only taking in family members, to make infiltration impossible. Yet she kept recruiting friends and family into Task Force X, for pretty much the same reason).
The apex of this likely was to give Flag, whom she had come to trust and respect at long last, the code to her explosive cranial implant.
Waller never liked Rick Flag. He was a Eiling-made man rather than a Waller-made man – or a peon.
She saw him as a risk, a hazard and something of a loser. Yet she came to completely trust his devotion to the good of the Squad. Mrs. Waller understood Col. Flag’s abnormal level of drive.
Part of her defiance toward Rick Flag was because his duty-bound, principles-first nature reminded her of her husband Joe, and how he died.
On the other hand, Waller has a clear fondness for Ben Turner. She may have seen him as an echo of Joe Waller Junior, and on occasion she was almost protective of him.
By extension, Amanda sometimes acted in an obliquely motherly fashion toward Vixen. She wanted Turner and Macabe’s relationship to work for the best.
And so as you hear these words telling you now of my state
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 a control freak, though she’s not irrational about it.
- She prefers to supervise everything, to 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.
- Implanting people with explosives is definitely okay in her view.
There are exceptions to this, though. For instance she stopped micro-managing Harry Stein’s Checkmate. She just didn’t have the time, and she had come to trust him. Well, trust him enough.
Furthermore, her need for control doesn’t stem out of ego. She has a pragmatic view of what she can achieve. Notably, a conspiracy such as the Suicide Squad *will* have security breaches – there are too many people involved.
She accepts that and handles those in a practical, calm manner. Cost of doing business.
A ten-point program
Waller is well to the Left of the average US politician. She puts an emphasis on supporting minorities, women and the poor so as to give them a fighting chance.
Her politics rarely play a role in her work. But she prefers not to associate with reactionaries, and sees going after authoritarian far-right targets as a nice bonus when it happens.
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 under better control, and she was now free of the constraints of public service.
She also respected her operatives more as persons, dealing with them as contractors rather than cannon fodder. She took their peculiarities into account – rather than just imposing her will upon them and trying to control everything.
Post-prison Waller smiles when she is on top of the situation — which is often — whereas the old Waller was said to have invented foul mood.
At this point she 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.
The Wall has an inexplicable predilection for Charles Dickens’ books.
She doesn’t like fool planes, and prefers to drive — even across several states — unless it’s an emergency.
Some of her approaches such as “okay, what if I had you killed ?” could be misconstrued as throwing her weight around and chest beating. It’s not – it’s a negotiation point, without emotion behind it.
(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.”
“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.”
Tolliver: “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).
“Hey, it’s just another fight for survival. It’s what I’m good at.”
“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.”
DC Heroes RPG
Tell me more about the game stats
Amanda “the Wall” Waller
|Dex: 03||Str: 03||Bod: 03|
|Int: 05||Wil: 07||Min: 06|
|Inf: 07||Aur: 06||Spi: 07|
|Init: 017||HP: 010|
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.
- Credentials (US Government, Medium ; US Intelligence, Medium).
- Area Knowledge (Washington D.C. insider).
- Expertise (Politics, Intelligence, Costumed and metahuman criminals in the US, Super-abilities analysis).
- Familiarity (Special operations planning, Superhuman assets, High technology, International adventurers and metahumans).
- Iron Nerves.
- Schtick (Mighty Thews (Firearms)).
- 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 of the CBI (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).
- Vixen (Mari Macabe) (Low).
- Belle Reve staff from her time there (Low).
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).
Power + Uphold Good.
Civil servant, later mercenary.
.45 Colt Defender pistol [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 04, Range: 03, Ammo: 07, Limitation: Projectile weapons has No Range, used the listed Range instead, R#02].
This is a compact version of the Colt M1911, designed for concealed carry. She once added a basic sound suppressor, but it was circumstances-specific.
During the early 1990s Waller’s Wealth was higher. But she seemingly spent this money on financing the mission in Diabloverde.
DC Adventures RPG
Tell me more about the game stats
Amanda Waller (Classic) — Averaged PL 4.6
Close attack 1, Defensive Roll 1, Ranged attack 2
Benefit (Head of the Suicide Squad), Connected, Contacts, Equipment 2, Second chance (Fear/Intimidation), Skill Mastery (Insight), Well-Informed
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)
|Unarmed +5, Close, Damage 1|
|Light Pistol +5, Ranged, Damage 3|
* Without Defensive Roll
- 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.
- 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.
Source of Character: The appearances of the Wall as written by John Ostrander and Kim Yale, plus a few later ones to reach Zero Hour.
Helper(s): Michael, Capita_Senyera, Mike Winkler, Gareth Lewis.
Writeup revised on the 4th of March, 2023.