Monday, March 31, 2014

Amanda Waller #1

This issue is six months late! Villains Month was last September.

I'll never get used to skinny Amanda Waller. No, that's not true. I think Amanda being fat was important to the previous incarnation of the character but it wasn't essential. Sure, Amanda was a stereotype of the strong, maternal, big, black woman. You know the stereotype, played famously by such legendary actresses as Mabel King and Esther Rolle. When you saw a woman like this, you knew what to expect and you dropped the fucking backtalk. That was Amanda and I think her look helped back up her iron will and stubborn attitude. But the look isn't what The New 52 got wrong. What The New 52 got wrong was Amanda's ability. Suddenly, she could break your leg, disarm you, kill you with multiple weapons and fighting styles. So her underlings aren't scared of Amanda herself; they're now scared of what Amanda can do. That takes away a lot of Amanda's actual power. Her ability to get shit done and to make even Batman stand down were not because she could kick ass. They were because she was tough and she was smart and she made Goddamned sure that she was respected. And you know what else made her character? The trait underneath all of that toughness and bravado and absolute control which you were always sure to get a glimpse of when women like this were played by Mabel King and Esther Rolle? Vulnerability. Amanda and Mabel and Florida were tough and proud and strong because they were also scared. If they failed at their jobs, shit was going to get bad. Amanda could not let anybody see her sweat. Ever. And sweat she did because she couldn't go out there and kick ass and shoot guns and beat the shit out of the enemy herself. That vulnerability also meant she had to surround herself with a staff that could protect her. Because being the brains of the outfit, she was definitely a target. The old Amanda wasn't going to go toe to toe with Regulus if he managed to catch her out of Belle Reve.

So forget about The New 52 ruining Amanda Waller because she's skinny. I have a feeling she became skinny for the movies and television which deserves a whole separate rant on fucking Hollywood's standards on which actresses and actors get what roles depending on body shape and beauty. I probably don't need to rant about that, do I? That would be like blowing the choir boys. No, wait. That's not how that saying goes. Enh, never mind. Let's read a comic book.

I normally just skip mentioning this because it generally takes place in a panel or during a moment I don't want a scan but why the fuck are comic book writers so in love with using the adjective "so-called"? Wait. Is that an adjective? Maybe the so-called adjective "so-called"?

Amanda is currently on a secret plane that's secretly headed somewhere secret with a bunch of secret ops secret soldiers secretly being secret about secrets. But somebody apparently told one of the secrets because a missile blows one of the wings off of the plane. Most planes can't fly with just one wing and this secret plane is no different. Amanda and her secret crew crash all over the place.

The pages with the pre-crash events is nicely done. The next double splash page isn't nicely done because even with one wing gone, the pilot manages to land the plane nicely on its belly. Bravo for doing the impossible, sirs! Unless it's not impossible! I'm only a Writer that thinks he knows everything and not a Writer that actually does know everything! I probably shouldn't have admitted to that though! Now you're going to second guess everything I say even if I say it with absolute authority.

See? I like this. This is that attitude I mentioned that Amanda has been missing! The only problem is that you know, from past New 52 stories, she's fully capable of rescuing everybody on this plane and killing whoever shot the missile at them. Even with the head injury.

The plane has crashed in New Mexico during an unnatural snowstorm. Only five of the eighteen secret people on board survived. And only two of them were secret soldiers. None of the survivors were Deadshot or Rick Flag or Bronze Tiger, so she's kind of up shit creek which is really fucking gross.

One of the survivors is a geneticist named Dr. Issen who seems to be the main target of the person that brought down the plane: Kriger-3. That's a stupid name!

Amanda admits to loathing violence which she finds funny. She just laughs off the fact that she hates violence and yet she's dedicated her life to committing scads and scads of it! As much violence as she can put on her books, she'll do it! Load up some nano-bombs in some more violent killers because good old "I Loathe Violence" Waller needs some bad guys killed! Real funny.

Oh! She didn't mean "ha ha" funny! She meant "fuck me why didn't my life turn out differently" funny!

Amanda realizes Kriger-3 has to recharge between blasts, so she and her last secret soldier (the other one died early) blast away at him immediately after he flames some snow banks. As Amanda does this, she thinks, "Is this what it feels like to be an operative on Task Force X?" Why would she need to ask that fucking question? I'm sure being an operative on Team Seven was just like being an operative on Task Force X which is just like what she's doing now! Did nobody tell Jim Zub that Amanda Waller was on Team Seven? That this kind of thing was her life for a few years?

Amanda's plan leaves her last Secret Soldier dead. Now it's just Amanda and her two civilians. She really should have just let Kriger-3 kill Issen. There are plenty more geneticists in the DC Universe that she can manipulate and exploit.

Oh, okay. He knows. But why did Amanda join the military if she loathes violence? Money for college?

I get that the military isn't just about violence! But you have to know that when a problem finally gets to a point where it needs to be solved by the military, violence is usually going to be the solution to that problem. It's like becoming a doctor who loathes blood! Or a firefighter who loathes Dalmatians!

Kriger-3 finally gets Dr. Issen in his grasp while Amanda thinks about how much running the Suicide Squad hurts her feelings. So change your fucking life, Amanda! I don't want to hear your bitching and moaning about how tough it is to manipulate criminals and send them to their deaths. Stop doing it if it's so tough. Find a better way to help protect innocent civilians. Use fucking volunteers that aren't murderers and thugs and psychotics! Lead the team in the field yourself so you understand the risk. Stop lying to everybody in your fucking life! Do things differently! DO FUCKING BETTER.

People like you? You mean irrational people that don't want to be free from the cycle of killing? Walk away, dumbass. Just walk away. After, you know, killing this last psycho! I hear Jack in the Box is hiring. They hardly kill anybody there.

So, boo hoo, Amanda has to murder this guy to keep people safe. The end.

Amanda Waller #1 One-Shot Rating: I get that this issue was meant to show that Amanda Waller isn't a cold-hearted bureaucratic leader that doesn't allow any of the death surrounding her to truly affect her. But it doesn't ring true at all. Up until this point, she has shown she craves control and power. She lies about everything and doesn't mind manipulating the criminals she works to accomplish her desired goals. She doesn't just send "volunteers" on dangerous missions where they might die; she sends many of them out knowing that they're going to die because she's ordered another member of the group to kill them. If she really felt any of the pain and sorrow and regret that her choices have caused, then she'd start making different choices. The one line she uses in this about people her never truly being free is the only hint that something is driving her to have to be in the business of death. But that's it. One line. What does she mean by "people like her"? People who feel they have no choice but to get bloody as hell to protect the world? People who love power? People with implants forcing them to make stupid decisions that go against everything they believe in? I suppose I can pretend that Amanda cares about Deadshot and the rest now but it's going to take a lot of alcohol every time I read a story with her in it.

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