Though I truly enjoyed the old, heavy incarnation of Waller, it simply does not make sense for this Waller, the Waller displayed in the newest volume of Suicide Squad, to be heavy. There is no grief for the character to conceal. People are heavy for different reasons—many of them pointing more towards inescapable circumstances and heredity than poor life choices. However, this is not true in Waller’s case. Waller chose to be fat. Artists depicted her enjoying heavy foods and alcoholic drinks. And for a woman in a position of power, where every conceivable type of body modification was made available to her, she chose none.
Had Waller been more popular, had she been an “A-list” character in starring roles rather than a strong, supporting character, this would have been—pardon the pun—meaty material. A writer would have explored this territory in the same manner that others have explored the alcoholism of Tony Stark. Why did food and patriotism become her marks of excess? Was it a way to enjoy passion and physical pleasure without the dangers of intimacy? Love for one’s country—especially that of a black woman for America—is unrequited. And while food can be a social pleasure, how many depictions of Waller involved a table piled with platters and the company of loving friends and family? I cannot think of one. Where were Waller’s children? I’m sure they were provided with every opportunity and privilege available once Waller had achieved a position of power—save for a mother’s time and attention.
There’s a wealth of interesting stories there. But Amanda Waller is not Anthony Stark. And a grieving black woman using fat for armor, America as a shield, and food for a lover is not going to be as compelling to audiences as a fit, white playboy who uses whiskey and an inexhaustible supply of promiscuous models and debutantes. Still, I find both equally fascinating. But who cares—aside from me and a handful of other people—what the fat black woman is feeling? She endures! She is a Strong Black WomanTM!
Don’t peek behind the curtain.
That moment of loss, that kernel of grief, made the old Amanda Waller physically and emotionally, as sure as the death of Ben Reilly made Spider-Man. And now it is gone. And so should the armor go too.
Of course, what we have now is an Amanda Waller in name only—a blank slate. But this diminutive Waller could very well be an equally interesting character. It’s strange. It’s as if “Amanda Waller” was simply a title to be handed down. A new one has picked it up and we’ll see what the creative team does with her.
It’s a new universe. Anything is possible.