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The power of Amanda Waller compels you! The power of Amanda Waller compels you! – Justice League America #27

July 24, 2011

That. Cover. Looks. Familiar. Hmmm.

Today we delve into the depths of the Justice League “BWAHAHAHA!” days, with an issue forged by Keith Giffen (Plot & Breakdowns), J.M. DeMatteis (Script), Ty Templeton (Pencils), Joe Rubinstein and Dick Giordano (Inks), with Kevin Maguire handling the tribute/swipe cover. The blocky, bitchy Amanda Waller steps into the Father Merrin role here, though she’s not out to exorcise any demons. She’s summoned to get to the bottom of whatever’s caused the Blue Beetle to lash out and injure his fellow Leaguers, as recounted here by Batman:

The “almost killed Max” part has taken on a bit of irony, no?

Waller gets called in by Oberon and Maxwell Lord for her expertise in de-programming brain-scrambled dudes, though her qualifications don’t cancel out others’ dislike(?) of her:

Batman is none too happy, either:

You have to admire a broad (an eminently appropriate term in this instance) that can laugh off a not-so-veiled threat from the cape and cowl.

Waller heads over to the room in the J.L.A. HQ where Ted Kord is being held. She goes in sans holy water, and Kord apparently has no pea soup in his innards. If you’re curious. The meeting with Beetle starts off slowly:

Things change fast when Waller utters the code word that sets him off (which was implanted by the Queen Bee):

It turns out that she’s Mike Singletary/George Foreman in pearls and a skirt:

Time for Plan B.

Hypnosis is the method of choice for this attempt, with Batman hovering nearby:

I’ll skip the uncovered memories for time’s sake — well, all but Ted and Booster Gold settling in to watch some dubbed Ralph Kramden/Honeymooners reruns:

Hey, when I was a kid I loved to watch a French version of The Incredible Hulk out of Canada, so I can relate.

Waller manages to foul the hypnosis up, too:

Batman has to step in to (maybe) save the day:

Diagnosis? Coma. Well done, Amanda.

Still, her efforts seem to gain the grudging respect of the Caped Crusader:

By the way, the “one man” is Doctor Fate. In case you care.

So what are we to make of this Waller-centric book? Broadly speaking (there I go again!), she’s an interesting character. She’s often a villain, an unavoidable circumstance considering her frequent positioning as a counterweight (no pun intended) to the DC Universe’s teeming horde of super-powered do-gooders. Still, I have a great deal of sympathy for her. If I lived in a world where there were unsanctioned gods flitting about the Earth I’d be more than a little bit worried about that, and I’d want a head-bitch in charge like Waller spearheading any secret human watchdog agency. Incidentally, I’m no great fan of cartoons, but it was an inspired bit of voice casting to have CCH Pounder fill the Waller role in much of DC’s animated work. Any woman that could stare down Vic Mackey and assorted lowlifes for seven seasons on The Shield can handle a bunch of goofs in tights. And no offense to the still gettin’ it done Angela Bassett, but I wish Pounder could have been in that Green Lantern movie (wait, maybe I don’t want that…).

I’m digressing. The bottom line is that there’s something very relatable about Waller. Even when we disagree with her default skepticism of and outright opposition to our cherished heroes, we can’t help but empathize with her task and point of view. She’s one of us. And right our wrong, she’s on our side.

Anyway. I like her. And I like what she is in this issue, a tough lady who doesn’t take any shit from anybody, even when she fails horribly at her assigned task. I’m fairly indifferent to this iteration of the Justice League, but Waller, combined with that cover (that house is a local D.C. landmark, after all) makes this worth thumbing through.

And no one’s head did a 360. Happy days.

One Comment leave one →
  1. David H. permalink
    March 29, 2012 12:40 am

    great review of this issue you made some very good points about the Amanda Waller character! the SHIELD was a great show also.

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