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ARROW: Season 2: Amanda Waller’s Intro Brings SUICIDE SQUAD Closer

Amanda Waller Cynthia Addai Robinson

CW‘s Arrow to add central character to prospective Suicide Squad roster. Season 2, Episode 6 of Arrow, “Keep Your Enemies Closer,” will formally introduce Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). A key figure in the DC comics universe, she is considered the DCU equivalent of Marvel’s Nick Fury by many. Equivalent, maybe, but there is at least one major contrast. Nick Fury was integral in bringing together The Avengers (in Mark Millar‘s Ultimates comic series and the film inspired by it), in the course of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s clandestine law enforcement. Amanda Waller, however, strong-arms super villains into doing the dirtiest of work, on behalf of the government, as part of the Suicide Squad (previously referenced here: The Suicide Squad may Spin-off in addition to FLASH).

About Amanda Waller:

Amanda Waller has been established as a widow who escaped Chicago’s Cabrini-Green housing projects with her surviving family after one of her daughters and her husband were murdered. Waller eventually obtained a doctorate in Political Science  and became a congressional aide. During that work, she discovered the existence of the first two incarnations of the Suicide Squad. Taking elements from both of these, she proposed the development of its third incarnation to the White House and was placed in charge upon its approval.

The Agency was formed by Amanda Waller to serve as a small, quasi-independent branch of Task Force X. Valentina Vostok brought former NYPD Lieutenant Harry Stein into the Agency as an operative. Amanda Waller later promoted Stein to the command position and demoted Vostok. Harry Stein would later re-organize the Agency and name it Checkmate.

Waller’s tenure as the official in charge of the third Suicide Squad was tumultuous and controversial. Despite many successes, she developed a habit of defying her superiors in Washington in order to achieve goals both legitimate and personal on more than one occasion. The earliest conflict between her and her superiors revolved around the leadership of the Suicide Squad. Although she proposed that the Bronze Tiger, the man she had helped out of his brainwashing, lead the team he was instead relegated to second-in-command, and Rick Flag Jr. was made the leader. Waller feared the situation to be racially charged, related to not only her own status as a black woman, but also Bronze Tiger’s own skin tone.

Her relationship with the Squad itself was one of mutual dislike. Most of the team’s criminal members didn’t really take to Waller’s methods (most notably Captain Boomerang), and even the team’s heroes were often at odds with Waller. Waller’s inability to deal and compromise with her people led to the departure from the team of Nemesis, the death of a US senator and thereby indirectly to the death of Rick Flag Jr. Those type of conflicts, however, were not only limited to her superiors and her team, but also extended to Batman, who opposed the forming of the Suicide Squad (although he would later help to re-form it). Nonetheless, the team remained loyal to her, often choosing to side with her instead of the government.

In The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), Waller is shown to be in direct command of the Suicide Squad, choosing its members and having final say over when and if their implanted explosives are detonated. It is revealed that she requested a command of a unit she could send to their deaths without regret after an operation she was involved in resulted in the death of all other squad members, including several she had personally recruited. She was also involved with Team 7 in some capacity, which led to her temporarily leaving the spy business. Also, this version of Amanda Waller is re-imagined as a young, thin woman in contrast with her original design.

The character of Amanda Waller had previously appeared in the Smallville series, the Green Lantern film, and most prominently in the animated Justice League and Justice League Unlimited series. In “Keep Your Enemies Closer,” Waller will be stepping forward as the head of A.R.G.U.S., suggesting Arrow will be taking its cues from DC’s New 52 version of Waller (if Cynthia Addai-Robinson’s casting wasn’t indication enough).

About A.R.G.U.S.:

A.R.G.U.S. (Advanced Research Group Uniting Super-Humans) is a U.S. federal agency and an offshoot of Homeland Security. It is under the command of Col. Steve Trevor and Director Amanda Waller. It is introduced in The New 52 (a reboot to the DC Comics universe) following Darkseid’s invasion. A.R.G.U.S. acts as support and liaison to the Justice League, supplying them with resources and cleaning up afterwards. Trevor was asked to stand down as head liaison after their battle with Graves, having gotten too close to Wonder Woman. It also attempts to control the magical superhero group the Justice League Dark, and later still directly establishes the counterpart group to the Justice League in the form of the Justice League of America, of which Trevor is himself a member.

Besides Director Amanda Waller and Col. Steve Trevor, known members of Argus include Black Orchid, Booster Gold, Chronos, Dale Gunn, Darwin (the assistant to Dr. John Peril), Doctor Light, Dr. John Peril, Etta Candy, Major Nicholson, Paul Chang, and Puzzler.

In the television series, Arrow, A.R.G.U.S. makes an appearance in the episode “Home Invasion”. In this continuity, A.R.G.U.S. stands for Advanced Research Group United Support and one of their members is one Lyla Michaels.

The character Deadshot (Michael Rowe) will be making his series re-appearance in “Keep Your Enemies Closer.” The presence of multiple Suicide Squad characters on Arrow could still be considered a coincidence. The presence of its two signature members in a single episode, however, will have to count for something more.

Leave your thoughts on Amanda Waller’s Arrow appearance below in the comments section. For more Arrow photos, videos, and information, visit our Arrow Page, subscribe to us by Email, “follow” us on Twitter, Tumblr, or “like” us on Facebook.

Sources: DC.Wikia, Wikipedia (1. 2)

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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