Suicide Squad: Amanda Waller #1 (Comics Review)

Amanda “The Wall” Waller, one of the greatest characters that DC has ever put out in its long and storied history. A character who quickly rose to prominence because of who she was, whether mentally or physically. In an age where female characters in comics were svelte and sexy and (sometimes) wore questionable outfits, Amanda Waller was a no-nonsense government agent, a plus-size woman, and she could scare the hell out of any of DC’s great and few. Her physical look came to define her, and she was awesome. She was featured in the Smallville live-action show, in the Justice League Unlimited animated series, in the Green Lantern movie and now she is in Arrow.

As part of the New 52, Amanda has lost her plus-size figure and now she is the same svelte and sexy hardass as most other female characters in comics these days. This look has even been extended to Arrow, something that I do not appreciate. But, she still remains one of DC’s coolest characters. The core of who she is can never be taken away from here and that’s partly what this one-shot is about. It has some decent writing and some decent enough art, and is worth a read at least.

Suicide Squad - Amanda Waller 01One of Amanda’s defining roles in the DC universe has been as the leader of Task Force X or, as it is more popularly known, Suicide Squad. This is a group of supervillains who are pressganged into government service, usually with the incentive of explosives planted in their bodies. They have no choice but to do what they are told and if they die in the attempt, all the better, provided they accomplished their task. In last week’s episode of Arrow (review), we saw this entire scenario play out and now we have this one-shot, which explores a similar circumstance but features Amanda herself instead of her “team”.

The setup in this story is fairly standard and the plot itself is fairly straightforward. Getting from A to B is no hardship, and so the quality of the story is in how well it is executed. Taken together, I think that Jim Zub does a fairly decent job of playing to the strengths of Amanda’s character, and he gives her a good outing. It is just that sometimes the dialogue feels a little stilted where her inner monologue is concerned. There is also a bit too much exposition, as if Jim has set out to explain exactly how Amanda thinks in a given situation and he has to cram a lot into a a very small space.

A large part of why I liked this issue was because I love Amanda as a character, despite her physical changes, and so I was already predisposed to liking it, particularly since I think Jim is a great writer. But this comic isn’t on the same level as his Samurai Jack comics from IDW, where he has nailed the character’s voice again and again for six issues straight now. No such luck in this issue, but he comes close.

Amanda’s supporting cast here is largely forgettable. They exist to move her story and that’s really it. Regrettable, but I don’t mind it too much. I do wish that the villain here had been a bit more developed, with a much clearer set of motivations than what he did. Still, through him, Jim gives commentary on Amanda’s role as the leader of Task Force X, so at least it is all somewhat interesting.

On the art, we have Andre Coelho doing the pencils while Scott Hanna does the inks and Andrew Dalhouse does the colours. Coelho’s pencils lack a certain dynamism, especially early on. And his facial expressions are often confusing. This is apparent twice in the very first page! In the rest of the comic, he improves quite a bit, but occasionally there are panels where the facial expressions just don’t make sense, or they are weirdly drawn so they look comical. Hanna’s inks and Dalhouse’s colours however are spot-on, although I wish that they’d been able to work with a more significant palette, since almost the entire action here takes place in a snow-desert.

And that cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Blond is ace. An amazing cover, that’s for sure.

Overall, this was a decent issue as I’ve said. It is nice to see that DC is giving some of its overlooked characters one-shot opportunities like this. Last month it was Lois Lane and Joker’s Daughter. This time it is Amanda Waller. Three one-shots and all featuring some prominent female characters? You’re on a roll, DC.

Rating: 7.5/10

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Posted on March 27, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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