Amanda Waller, also known as White Queen, Black King, Mockingbird, or The Wall, is a formidable character in the DC Comics Universe. The character’s first comic appearance was in DC Legends #1. In pop culture, Waller has been portrayed by Viola Davis in Suicide Squad (2016), Angela Bassett in Green LanternSmallville, CCH Pounder, who lent her voice to the character in various animated Justice League series’, and by Cynthia Addai-Robinson on CW’s Arrow. One thing anyone who is familiar with this character knows is, she is not to be messed with. The character’s impoverished beginnings and experience with violence has a lot to do with driving her to becoming a force to be reckoned with.
Amanda Waller (née Blake) grew up in Chicago’s notorious Cabrini-Green. At 18, she married Joseph Waller. They had five kids and lived a life of struggle and tragedy. Her oldest son, Joe Jr, was on track to go to college for a basketball scholarship before he was killed in a robbery gone wrong. The Wallers knew who was responsible but the police couldn’t get a conviction without witnesses. Their daughter, Damita, was raped and murdered by a rapist known as “Candyman.” Joseph Waller Sr set out to kill the criminal but both men ended up shooting each other dead. Amanda Waller was filled with rage but also determination and decided that the streets wouldn’t take anymore of her family so she worked hard to put herself and her remaining children through college. She earned a political science degree and began working for a democratic congressional candidate who got elected thanks to her work on the campaign.
While in Washington DC, Waller discovered old Task Force X files and worked to revive and lead the Suicide Squad as a result. Eventually, she became the mastermind behind various top secret organizations responsible for unleashing metahumans on the world in the pursuit of justice, and sometimes revenge. Her affiliations include Checkmate, Shadow Fighters, Suicide Squad, Task Force X, Agency and the US Government.
Waller is neither a villain, nor a hero, but sometimes she is a hero or a villain depending on her function in the storyline or even the viewer’s perspective. Her movements have always been about self-preservation but also preserving the government’s interests in multiple organizations. She has no powers, but she is extremely insightful, intuitive and brilliant at military tactics, espionage and psychological manipulation. She also knows how and isn’t afraid to shoot to kill.
In the DC Comics Universe, Waller is depicted as a short, dark-skinned, heavyset Black woman with short hair. However, her appearance runs the gamut on TV and film depending on who is playing her. Waller is constantly ranked on top comic villains lists. In 2009, she placed at number #60 on IGN’s Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time list.