For all that the 'Dawn of DC' has seen the heroes of the DC Universe face a brighter future than they have done in years — unsurprisingly, considering there hasn’t been an existential threat to their very existence for the first time in a long time, post-Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths and Dark Nights: Death Metal — there has, the entire time, been someone lurking on the fringes, waiting to cause trouble for the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes… and, come 2024, Amanda Waller is going to show just how much of a threat she really is.
DC has already tipped its hand that 2024 is going to be Waller’s year with the announcement of the 'Trinity of Evil' earlier this month, which she is one-third of alongside errant Batman Zur En Arrh and the Brainiac Queen. This week’s Titans: Beast World #1 underscores that, with Waller revealed as the secret puppet master behind events in that storyline, and the one ultimately responsible for the transformation of Beast Boy from Titan to extinction-level problem from humanity… but what if that’s just her getting started?
Waller has a history of being a master manipulator, ever since her first appearances in 1987’s Legends and Suicide Squad comics. If anything, she’s only become more hardened across the years; the 2021 Suicide Squad series featured her not only going head-to-head with the Squad themselves, but also taking over an entire planet. (No, really; that’s what the War for Earth-3 storyline is all about.) Now, she’s back on Earth-0 and up to… something. But what?
We actually have part of the answer already. The final issue of 2022’s Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths shows Waller make a pitch to some unknown figures — they’re on screens but obscured, as if this is the ultimate Zoom call — for permission to control the heroes of Earth-0. “I originally wanted to propose to you that we offer an opportunity to work with the heroes,” she explained. “There are dangers coming, and we might need them. But there is no Justice League now and the heroes are left disorganized and chaotic. And I feel they only add to our troubles. So instead, if they refuse to follow our orders… they will suffer incarceration. If we have the resources to imprison their enemies, we can do the same to them.”
Her offer is rejected, in favor of a counter-offer: “You have our full permission to utilize every resource to fully eradicate metahumans from our world,” she’s told. Her reaction? A self-satisfied smile, and saying, simply, “Finally.”
Cut to the Dawn of DC Primer Special Edition from earlier this year, which sees Waller make a pitch to an entirely different group: a line-up of supervillains that she characterizes as “some of the greatest killers in the world.” To them, she promises “total pardons and clean records to anyone who kills a superhero.” At the same time, we see some of her operatives — Peacemaker, the mysterious Peacewrecker, and former Batman adversary Peacekeeper-01 (there’s a trend!) gather the Helmet of Hate from Lazarus Island, prepping for the creation of Doctor Hate at the end of Knight Terrors — the villain who has such an impact on Beast Boy in Titans: Beast World.
Elsewhere, the latest issue of the current Green Arrow series this week shows that Waller seemingly has plans for Roy Harper, and might be working with mysterious forces to achieve her aims. (“Even this tech doesn’t seem like her’s,” Roy says. “It reminds me of…” and then he gets distracted when he sees that she’s spying on the Titans during the events of Beast World. But whose tech is Waller using, and why does Roy recognize it…? If only we were looking for a link to Brainiac happening sometime soon, given that the Brainiac Queen is another member of DC’s upcoming Trinity of Evil…!
So: Waller is looking to get rid of all metahumans from Earth-0… and she’s perfectly happy to work with whoever necessary to achieve that aim, confident that she has the moral superiority and upper hand to end up on top of any situation. That’s bad news for anyone she works with — as someone points out in the Dawn of DC Primer, “we know all about you and what happens to the people who work with you… they die!” (That’s called laying your narrative cards on the table and no-one noticing.) Perhaps the other members of the Trinity of Evil might want to reconsider their future plans; after all, Waller has literally taken over an entire planet elsewhere in the multiverse, which is a pretty big deal when it comes to demonstrating how much of a badass you can be.
If we were to speculate — and that’s exactly why we’re here — we’d say the following: The Trinity of Evil will not hold together, because traditionally that’s not what villain teams do. When the infighting happens, though, it’s almost guaranteed that there’s only one choice for the last one standing — and it’s the woman who’s been planning for this kind of thing for literally decades. By this time next year, mark our words: Amanda Waller is going to be recognized as the most dangerous character in the DC Universe.
But who really cares about what we think? This year, we had you vote for your best movies, best comics, and best TV shows of the year too. Check the lists and mix and see if you agree with our (and your) top choices of the year!