I used to be a huge “Smallville” fan, but over the years, my appreciation of the show has ebbed and flowed. I enjoyed season 8 quite a bit, as the writers finally decided to weave in more DC continuity. Besides, Tom Welling is always easy on the eyes.
Not that I could have ignored all the publicity if I wanted to, but I was quite looking forward to the “Absolute Justice” episode that aired Feb. 5. The story was solid and plausible, and the costumes were so not corny, as I had feared. The acting was “meh” at times, but that was all forgiven when legendary brick house Pam Grier showed up as the diabolical operative Amanda Waller. My insides leapt with joy as Grier nailed the character. (Spoilers ahead!)
Cut to a scene of the villain, who has freezing powers, all tied up in a large heated room. Waller finishes interrogating him, says he’s served his purpose and puts a bullet in his head. “Welcome to the Suicide Squad,” she says as she exits the room, swagger fully intact. The doors that close behind her bear the Checkmate symbol. Like, whoa. Greg Rucka’s Checkmate series is one of my favorites, so that scene was like “butta.” I’m looking forward to more Grier as Waller on “Smallville,” which will give the show some much-needed edge.
This has been a good month for Waller, who has also been center stage in one of G3’s favorite titles, Secret Six. It’s hard to upstage the Sixers, but that’s exactly what she does in issue #18, the final installment of the “Danse Macabre” storyline. In her attempt to extract Deadshot from the Six for her own purposes, Waller wreaks serious havoc. Meanwhile, as Belle Reve prison burns down around them, the Six have to contend with some nasty Black Lanterns during a tense standoff with the Suicide Squad. In the middle of it all is Waller, who is as fearless as she is unethical. (Spoilers ahead!)
Just how gangsta is The Wall? She threatens to detonate Bane’s cranium by clicking a pen that would trigger the chip in his head she previously installed. When Black Alice refuses to give Nightshade back her powers so that she can teleport Waller back to headquarters, she punches Alice, knocking her out cold. Again: She punches Black Alice. In the face! We haven’t even gotten around to how Waller disposes of the Black Lanterns with an ingenious combo of grenades and a very handy Manhunter robot, or how she takes a bullet from Deadshot in stride. In addition to serving up some sharp, funny dialogue, the writing team of John Ostrander and Gail Simone really captured Waller’s essence. The Wall is shady and ruthless, but she always gets the job done.