Publisher: DC Comics
First Appearance: Batman and the Outsiders v1 #9 (April 1984)
Created By: Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo
Older siblings tend to be domineering. (Just ask my little brother and sister.) Some make their younger siblings put on plays; some make their younger siblings cover for them with Mom and Dad. When Becky Jones discovered that she could turn herself into animate water – and that her little sis Wendy could control winds – she killed their parents and forced Wendy to join her new supervillain team, the Masters of Disaster.
As New Wave and Windfall, the Jones sisters and their teammates faced off against the Outsiders repeatedly, but Wendy had a hard time fighting the heroes – especially Halo, who reminded Wendy of her dead mother. She and Halo struck up an unlikely friendship, and Wendy eventually quit the Masters of Disaster to join the Outsiders, where she remained, off and on, for a few years.
Eventually she headed off to college, where she was drugged and gang-raped by frat brothers, who posted pictures of it on the internet. The DA – one of the boys’ fathers – refused to help her, citing her supervillain past, and the college expelled her, so Wendy used her powers to kill her rapists. She was arrested and eventually recruited for Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad. On a mission with the Squad, Wendy was killed trying to protect her team from a Chemo gone rogue. She was still less than 25 years old.
So What’s So Great About Her?
Well, for starters, she debuted during my birth month, which automatically gives her a leg up.
I’ve talked before about my affection for sweetheart characters. Windfall’s an interesting version of this because she’s a villain for a good half of her appearances. Yet her essential sweetness shines through in her unwillingness to kill Halo, her gentleness towards teammate Shakedown, and her general reluctance to engage in the kind of gleeful mayhem her sociopathic sister encourages.
And yet despite that sweetness, she shows remarkable fortitude in walking away from her sister, her only living family, who clearly controls her both with terror and with a sort of twisted love. Wendy doesn’t want to betray New Wave, but her moral compass is stronger than her fear – or her affection – for her sister. She’s also amazingly resilient – despite witnessing her sister murdering their parents and her traumatic life in Becky’s care, she’s generally speaking a cheerful, giggly teenage girl during her time with the Outsiders, fitting right in with Halo and her ordinary school chums.
I can’t ever say that I’m pleased about a rape being included in a character’s story, but even that was handled as well as it could be, as the story is entirely about Wendy and not some male hero feeling bad about it. I mean, she’s actually shown in therapy because of it! And though it deeply affects her, it doesn’t cause her to become either a villain or a hero, as all too many comic book rapes do – she’d already made those choices. She’s considerably more jaded after the fact, but she’s still essentially the same sweet, friendly girl she was initially, and still willing to give her life for her teammates, whether they deserve it or not.
Windfall’s a very minor villain/anti-hero, but at least the reboot undid her death. It’s unlikely that she’ll crop up in the DCnU, but I for one would be thrilled to see her.
Batman and the Outsiders v1 #9-10
Adventures of the Outsiders #33-35
The Outsiders v1 #19, 20, 23, 27, 28
Outsiders v2 #1, 16, 18, 19, 21-24
Suicide Squad v3 #5-7