When it comes to DC Comics most notorious bad guys, who comes to mind? Lex Luthor? Of course. The Joker? Without a doubt. Mr. Mxyzptlk? Jury's out on that one. But the name that hardly ever comes up, even though it should be right at the top is, in our mind, Amanda Waller.
Created by writers John Ostrander and Len Wein along with artist John Byrne, Amanda Waller made her DC Comics debut in "Legends" #1, all the way back in November 1986. Affiliated with just about every organization from the United States Government to Project C.A.D.M.U.S., Waller has been most associated over the years as the head of the Suicide Squad.
While Waller's not exactly "evil" in the classic sense, what makes her truly frightening is her lack of moral compass, her ethical ambiguity. Yes, over the years Waller's worked for the United States Government in one capacity or the other. So, in theory, that makes her a "good guy," but her ruthless nature completely says otherwise. With that in mind we present Amanda Waller's ten most badass moments.
10 "Suicide Squad" #39
Amanda Waller isn't one to go down without a fight, or at least not until the job is finished. As an example, take "Dead Issue," from "Suicide Squad" #39 Vol 1. With the news breaking that Task Force X is still in business after it was presumably being shut down, Amanda Waller's back is against the wall, knowing full well she's about to be out of a job. So, Waller does what she does best, go on the offensive.
And top on Waller's take-down list is the "mystical underworld" organization known as the LOA. Led by the triumvirate of Damballah, Bocor and Mambo, the organization is spreading a bad batch of drugs onto the streets of Louisiana that will "zombify" the user, making them answerable only to the wicked Damballah. LOA's plan? To kill any and all "who would make war upon our drug trade" using the now zombified masses.
With the Suicide Squad effectively shut down, Waller calls in the remaining criminals under her command -- Poison Ivy, Deadshot and Ravan -- to help her take down the despots. And none too soon, because reports are circulating that LOA's toxic drug is already making users sick.
Tracking them through the back alleys of Louisiana, Waller, Ivy, Deadshot and Ravan confront the heads of LOA on their own turf. It's not much of a fight, though, as Bamballah, Bocor and Mambo quickly give themselves up. But Waller's having no parts of their surrender. "I don't care. I'm not part of the law. Not anymore." She tells them. With that, Waller and Deadshot dispatch the three of them to their makers.
Now that LOA's effectively finished, Waller frees Ivy, Deadshot and Ravan, taking the fall for the murders. And what becomes of the former leader of the Suicide Squad? Only a year's time in prison. Just enough time for Waller to put together a plan on getting back at all those bureaucrats who shut her down in the first place.
9 "Batman: Assault on Arkham"/ "The Doomsday Sanction" from "Justice League Unlimited"
If there's one thing Amanda Waller likes to do, it's provoke Batman. In just about every incarnation of any DC Comics animated show or movie involving Amanda Waller, you can be sure at some point she's going toe to toe (and nose to cowl) with the Dark Knight.
One such confrontation between the two of them comes from the animated "Batman: Assault on Arkham." When an angry Dark Knight infiltrates Waller's private office to call her out on the questionable use of her "suicide squad" in Arkham Asylum, Waller responds to Batman's accusations with a casual, "Oh. It's just you."
Batman's not put off by Waller's condescension, though. He continues to toss accusations at her, criticizing the messy way she tried to kill the Riddler, threatening to stop Waller "next time." A threat to which she doesn't take too kindly, chidingly asking the Dark Knight if he's "going to start a blog and expose us?"
She's got Batman cornered, or as she declares to him, "checkmate." But the caped crusader has long since vanished, as he's apt to do. Waller's not surprised, or shaken by the encounter either, going as far as calling him "a punk."
Then there's the memorable scene between the Dark Knight and Waller, from "The Doomdsay Sanction" episode of Cartoon Network's "Justice League Unlimited." This time around, Batman greets Waller inside the bathroom of her highly secure residence, early one morning. "Get dressed." Batman tells her, handing her a towel as she turns off the shower. "It's time we talked."
While Waller robes herself, Batman takes the time to rattle off some of Waller's major accomplishments. "Am I supposed to be impressed?" she counters, both of them standing in front of her toilet. "Maybe I should rattle off your resume now?" The two of them, once again, go toe to toe, accusing the other of wrongdoings, until it's Waller, once again, leaving the Dark Knight speechless. "We're the good guys, protecting our country from a very real threat," Waller tells Batman, leaning forward. "You."
8 "Absolute Justice Part 2" from "Smallville"
Even in her first live action appearance on television, back in the 2010 episode of "Smallville" called "Absolute Justice," Amanda Waller (this time played by Foxy Brown herself, Pam Grier) proves that she's no one to mess around with. Enlisting the assistance of Icicle (aka Cameron Mahkent), Waller orders him to take on the Justice Society of America, killing the Star-Spangled Kid, Sandman and even Doctor Fate, along the way.
Using Doctor Fate's helmet, Icicle then turns his attention to the Justice League. He's no match for the likes of Hawkman and Martian Manhunter, though, who quickly apprehend and imprison him in a heated cell at Checkmate.
But Waller's not quite done with Icicle. Demanding to speak with her, the depowered Icicle does his best to convince Waller to let him go; to let him have another go at the Justice Society. "You got them back into the game, back into the public eye," Waller tells the restrained Mahkent. "That's mission accomplished, Icicle. That's all I needed you to do."
Icicle isn't happy with her response, telling Waller that isn't what he signed up for. Waller quickly corrects him, though. "Oh, but it is," she tells him, casually producing a gun. "Welcome to the Suicide Squad." And proceeds to shoot poor Icicle in cold blood, once again proving it's never a good idea to sign on the bottom line with Amanda Waller.
7 "Suicide Squad" #22
Amanda Waller has a funny way of setting people up. Like the time Colonel Rick Flag got it into his head that he was going to "off" Senator Joe Cray and former Task Force X liaison Derek Tolliver. Flag overheard the two of them blackmailing Waller with threats of blowing the Squad's cover if they didn't help get Cray re-elected. Which is kind of a weird job for the Suicide Squad, if you think about it, but that's really neither here nor there.
The thing is, Waller conveniently never told Flag that she was in turn blackmailing Tolliver with some intel that she had acquired. Flagg just took it on his own to go after Cray and Tolliver. Now it's up to the Suicide Squad, to stop Flag "by whatever means necessary." And you know that's never good.
The team knows what that means, too, and they aren't having any part of it. That is, until Waller informs them that the squad is the best hope of bringing Flag back alive, because once the deal is done, Flag's as good as dead to the government.
Nothing motivates a team more than veiled threats, so the squad takes off for Washington to track down Flag, Cray and Tolliver. It's a little too late for Tolliver who Flag already killed, but Deadshot shows up in the nick of time to save the Senator from Flag's wrath.
Well, sort of. Good old Lawton does stop Flag from dispatching Senator Cray, by doing it himself. Yup, that's right. Deadshot saves Flag's good name, by shooting the Senator square in the forehead.
In the end, Waller pretty much got everything she wanted. A dead Senator, and a cleared Flag. Master manipulator.
6 "Divided We Fall" from "Justice League Unlimited"
When Lex Luthor unwittingly merges with Brainiac, it's up to the Justice League to stop him them. But not before Amanda Waller gives it her best shot.
While the members of the Justice League stand around listening to the LuthorBrainiac mixture monologuing about how they came together in the first place, the Flash steps forward to finally do something. "I hate to break up this special live performance of the man with two heads," The Flash quipped. "But it's time to go to jail now."
Sensing her opening, Waller wastes no time firing laser beam after laser beam into LuthorBrainiac with a quip of her own: "What he said." And, as you'd expect, Waller keeps on firing, walking closer and closer to them as she does.
Of course, this is LuthorBrainiac were talking about here, and it's going to take more than a bunch of shots from a laser handgun to stop them. LuthorBrainiac are up and at them in no time, making life miserable for the Justice League once again.
You have to admire Waller's moxy, though. Taking matters into her own hands while the Justice League, the most powerful beings in the world, just stood around like a bunch of slack jawed yokels.
5 "Suicide Squad" #20-21 Vol 2
Let's say you're Amanda Waller. What's at the top of your to-do list? Besides try and get under the Batman's skin, that is? Right. You want to psychologically test the metal of your "employees." In this case, the Suicide Squad. Waller does just that, bringing in a "classified" psychologist to help her determine the breaking points of the Squad in the "Discipline and Punish" two-part story arc.
Taking up residence in Belle Reve Penitentiary in issues #20 and #21 are Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Voltaic, The Unknown Soldier and King Shark. Waller and our unnamed psychologist go about setting up elaborate psychological tests for each member of the squad, paramount to torture. Having King Shark taunted by a woman in a short red dress, setting up The Unknown Soldier to kill Voltaic in front of Harley Quinn, and probably the most heinous of them all, forcefully having Deadshot watch Voltaic be resurrected from the dead, all the while being reminded by Waller that she did the same to him. Not once, but twice.
And, as predicted by Waller, things turn sour for the team members. King Shark, revealed as a virgin, ends up ripping the woman in half (who turns out to be an elaborate android) and getting himself a nice electric shock along the way. Harley gets a visit from a Joker look-alike who, after "wooing" Harley for a bit, is put down by The Unknown Soldier. And Deadshot is left begging for Waller to turn off the video of Voltaic's botched resurrection, his eyes held open a la Alex in "A Clockwork Orange."
There is something of a happy ending here, though. Harley's onto Waller as she shanks the Unknown Soldier, and quickly goes off grid, only to end up in command central, getting Waller at knife-point. In the process, freeing Deadshot and coming face to face with Waller's psychologist helper who turns out to be, James Gordon Junior, "the lunatic."
It's a sticky situation for Waller, who Harley now has tied up to a chair. But things have a way for Waller, as Harley and Gordon negotiate "a better deal." And by the end of the issue, the gang's back together, with Waller and Gordon in command and Deadshot, King Shark and Harley taking on a big ugly in Vegas.
Only fairy tales have better happy endings.
4 "New Suicide Squad" #14
The thing about Amanda Waller is, you just never know when she's telling the truth. Take "New Suicide Squad" #14, "Road to Redemption," for instance. Once again, Task Force X has been targeted and compromised. This time around, it's by Vic Sage and he's gunning to take down Waller.
Waller suspects something's up, so before heading out on a mission involving Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and Boomerang, she disables the remote control access to the Squad's neck bombs. No more separating heads from shoulders, at least remotely. When she later informs the Squad that the remote has been disabled, the three of them don't miss a beat, and attack Waller at once.
Using their defenses against them, Waller schools the three of them up and down, until finally, Deadshot manages to get the upper hand. And just as he's about to put a bullet through Waller's head, she reveals to all of them who's really the fool.
Sure, Waller disabled the remote control access of the neck bombs, but she didn't disable the bombs. Letting the three of them know that while she didn't trust central command, she had re-routed and synced the bombs to her pulse. Meaning, if she dies, they all die. Deadshot hesitates, finally putting his gun away.
C'mon guys! This is Amanda Waller we're talking about here! She's fooling you, again! As we find out later, she really did disable the neck bombs entirely (spoiler alert?). Waller just has that way of manipulating things to her advantage.
3 "The Doomsday Sanction" episode of "Justice League Unlimited"
In , "A Better World," a three part episode from Cartoon Network's "Justice League," Doomsday had a run-in with the Justice Lords (alternate dimension versions of the Justice League) who were, in turn, having a run-in with the "prime" version of the Justice League. The Justice Lords would go on to defeat Doomsday, courtesy of the Justice Lords' version of Superman using his heat vision to lobotomize Doomsday.
It isn't until "Justice League's" successor, "Justice League Unlimited" that we find out the truth about Doomsday. In the episode "The Doomsday Sanction," which aired in season 2 of the "JLU," it turns out Emil Hamilton and Cadmus created Doomsday, through the direct order of who? Yep…Amanda Waller.
In response to the super-human beings making their presence known throughout the world, Cadmus creates Doomsday, using Superman's genetics. But slicing and dicing Kryptonian genetics ain't like dusting crops, and Doomsday ends up a bit of a mess. Still, Waller, along with Hamilton and Hugo Strange condition the failed clone to hate Superman. And are surprised when the clone ends up being unstoppable nightmare.
Gee… thanks for protecting us, Amanda!
2 "Suicide Squad" #66
Waller is truly the master of manipulation. When face to face with what appeared to be an invulnerable, despotic island ruler known as Guedhe, Waller does what she does best: Lie. She tells the decrepit ruler that she has a "metagene" giving her the ability to kill people by touch alone. The old despot doesn't believe her, though. That is, until Waller turns to his wife, Maria, grabs her face, and kills her right on the spot.
Guedhe, realizing he's been beat, succumbs to Waller's "lethal touch."
Turns out the whole thing was a ruse, though, as Waller later wakes Maria up. Rather than kill the innocent woman, she only pricked her with one of Poison Ivy's fast acting neurotoxins and after convincing Guedhe he was better off dead,"woke" Maria by giving her the antidote.
Guedhe, on the other hand, was actually already dead. His mind just didn't know it. In a bit of 'inside baseball' info, Waller informed Maria that Guedhe was keeping himself alive with an "extraordinarily large amounts of psionic power." And Waller just gave his mind the reason it needed to be at final rest.
Awwww… who says Waller has no heart?
1 "Suicide Squad" movie
If there's one thing that we've learned about Amanda Waller, it's that she's not afraid to pull the trigger, be it figuratively or literally. Nor does she allow moral or ethical codes stand in the way of getting the job done.
Nowhere is that better defined than in Warner Bros' "Suicide Squad" movie. Played by Viola Davis, in terms of sheer ruthlessness, Waller could've been the scariest bad guy on screen.
When things turn really bad for Waller and the FBI agents monitoring Task Force X due to all the mayhem Enchantress created in downtown Midway City, it was up to Rick Flag and the Suicide Squad to evac Waller and the agents from all the destruction they're caught up in.
Once the squad reached the tower, Waller and the FBI agents are discovered holed up. The area secured, Flag, along with Deadshot, heads in to retrieve Waller and her team. Only, as it turns out it's not a "them" the squad is rescuing, it's only Waller. As the FBI agents are following Waller's orders, erasing all the data on the organization's computers, she one by one kills every single one in cold blood. No regrets. No remorse. Seven agents, dead. Just like that.
Or, as Deadshot said to Flag, watching the whole event go down. "Damn. That is just a mean lady."