A geeky girl who enjoys playing video games, Amber hides a few...issues. Dina is her roommate.
Badass: The action sequence starting here shows Amazi-Girl pulling off some impressive physical feats.
Beware the Nice Ones: She is a pretty nice girl, but she also acts as a vigilante, and a visit from her father revealed she has anger issues. It is also revealed that when she had gotten involved in a robbery some years earlier (by none other than Sal, q.v., attempting to hold up a store) and found herself too frightened to defend Ethan (who was taken hostage), after the police arrested Sal some harsh and derisive words from her father led her to snap, grab a knife and stab Sal's hand before being restrained (sequence starts here). In the regular timeline, this memory comes up as she snaps again when her father holds Danny hostage, leading to her beating Daddy up very thoroughly.
Break the Cutie: The poor girl had her childhood spoiled by some very traumatic events, which she didn't completely recover from.
Broken Bird: With her issues with Ethan and her father, she is very broken. It's at the point where Amazi-Girl is her one coping mechanism and her favored persona.
Character Development: Stood by Ethan while he came out, and evidently matured a great deal from the process.
Clark Kenting: Complete with Danny as Lois Lane - and she lives in the Clark wing. It helps that she's kind of a shut-in; the few who know about her and the campus vigilante can't picture Amber zip-lining off rooftops onto trucks.
Dark and Troubled Past: Had a very unhappy childhood due to suffering physical and emotional abuse from her father.
Death Glare: Gives an epic one to Ethan upon finding him at Galasso's hooked up with Joyce.
Evil Me Scares Me: After beating her father to a pulp and escaping, the event visibly disturbed her greatly, to the point she doesn't know anymore where lies the frontier between her Amazi-Girl persona and herself, and sending her once again in a Heroic BSOD.
Guttural Growler: Once she starts hanging out with Danny in both identities, she adds a raspy voice represented by blue speech bubbles to her disguise. She also claims to have always sounded like that.
Danny: "You mussed up your hair a whole bunch, too."
Amazi-Girl: "You are not good at remembering things!"
Heroic BSOD: Suffers several: First when Ethan was taken hostage, she ended up paralyzed in fear. Years later, when she stands up to her father, she punches him in the face, but quickly realizes as she flee that she enjoyed it way too much (see In the Blood). Finally, when Blaine took Danny hostage to lure her out of campus, it caused her to enter a vicious rage and led her to exert Extreme Melee Revenge. In the aftermath of the event, she completly shut down.
In the Blood: Amber's father is a violent jerkass who beat her mother repeatedly. When she finally stands up to him, she ends up punching him in the face. What could have been seen as a moment of awesome quickly devolved into a much more disturbing thing when Amber remembered her emotions at the time: when she punched her father, she was smiling. When she realized that she enjoyed hurting someone, even if the person she hurt really deserved it, she got a Heroic BSOD, because that would make her not so different from her father.
Large Ham: When Ethan and Mike (but mostly Mike) dragged her away from her laptop.
Amber:NO! NOOO! YOU'RE NOT MY MOM! YOU'RE NOT MY MOM!It's not fair! There was time now! There was all the time I needed! It's not faaaaiiiirrr!
Mistaken Identity: Danny immediately becomes attracted to Amber when he first meets her. However, Amazi-Girl is depicted in such a way that she could have a lot of hair, and her modus operandi is very similar to that of Batman. You know who else has a lot of hair and resembles Batman? Sal, who was Danny's First Love in Roomies!.
The Reveal/The Unreveal: When Amazi-Girl was introduced into the strip, she was largely treated as a mystery...despite Amber, her "civilian" identity in Shortpacked!, appearing not long after. Fortunately Willis still had cards up his sleeve, and Amber's motivation for donning her mask and cape are very different than they are in the mainline continuity.
Danny:Oh my god. Are you... Amber under there? [beat] Amber: ...I don't know.
Rage Breaking Point: After being unable to help your only friend, your father only further twist the knife by telling you how useless and cowardly you are (despite the fact that the robber was armed with a freakin' knife). This is the point where poor, broken Amber completely snaps.
Bi the Way: Hits on Sal while drunk and has a lot of mixed feelings after Ruth kisses her. While she eventually decides it's mutual, Ruth storms out when she realizes Billie never quit drinking. She and her high school friend Alice were also together at some point.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Talks a good game about not wanting to be friends with the rest of the cast but still spends all her time with them, helps set-up Walky with Dorothy, looks out for Joyce and even showed concern for Ruth, her tormentor and confused love interest. She also tries to pay off Raidah after Sarah hits her without much success.
Only Known by Their Nickname: Walky bestowed it on her during their childhood, in retaliation for her calling him "Walky," and evidently it's just stuck.
Poisonous Friend: Alice thinks so due to her self-destructive behavior, likening her to a "drama hurricane", and warns Walky and Joyce to abandon her lest they suffer what she's been through.
Race Lift: In mainline continuity, Billie was just white, but apparently Willis got asked enough if she was Asian during its run that he decided to make her half-Asian here.
Everyone always assumed she was Asian back in Roomies!, what with the black hair and fair complexion, even though she was conceived as thoroughly English. So I figgered this go-round, hey, she’s half-Asian, why not? ... Her dad, of course, is still white through-and-through, because, dude, last name’s friggin’ Billingsworth, man.
Butt Monkey: Got dumped by his girlfriend after following her to college, and got kidnapped.
Distressed Dude: Danny has bad luck with this trope. He was introduced to Amazi-Girl when she rescued him from some jocks. Later, he didn't realize he was being used by Blaine in order to lure Amber out of the campus, and downright became a hostage once Blaine showed his true colors and restrained him physically.
Joe: Dude, what are you even getting yourself into out there?
Nice Guy: Deep down he has a kind personality and truly wants to help others. Sadly, most of his attempts at helping are ineffective or backfire horribly. He confides to Sal that he feels useless, and wants to help her because her math problems are simple for him to solve. As he puts it:
Danny: I've spent the last few days feeling useless, and so I'd really be grateful just for a chance to solve a problem for somebody.
Ascended Extra: She's seen in the background of a number of panels before she's formally introduced. Readers of It's Walky picked her out immediately, of course, but to newcomers she would seem to have evolved out of the woodwork.
Beneath Notice: Often finds herself trapped between the door and the wall of the room she shares with Amber.
Berserk Button: For as angry as she can get, anyway. Just don't question the existence or nature of dinosaurs around her. And deny the Theory of Evolution.
Demoted to Extra: Considering in Shortpacked he was the main protagonist for a long time, his character has taken a step back in Dumbing of Age, and is more of a recurring character without much going on besides his connection to Amber and Joyce.
Gayngst: Oh boy... Things were not easy when he came out of the closet, and his parents didn't really react well when they learned, especially his mother who went as far as saying some very cruel things to her own son. His sexuality also strained his relationship with Amber, who became the catalyst for his mother's anger when she was defending him at the time.
Incompatible Orientation: To Amber. Now also to Joyce, although they are still together anyway because they are both uncomfortable with their own sexuality and have a strong emotional connection...
Jewish and Nerdy: He mentions having a hard time fitting in before coming out due to this.
Nice Guy: See the above quote for an example of his general patience with people he knows. When Amber tells him that the girl who held a knife to his throat is at their school, he points out she's almost certainly a different person by now and is more worried about Amber doing something rash. Good call...
Hidden Depths: As shown in interactions with Joyce, Walky and Danny, Joe is very capable of being the Only Sane Man and calling people on their stupidity... He just usually isn't willing to be. At least in Joyce's case it seems to have stuck.
Informed Judaism: He is Jewish but doesn't seem to be practising. When Danny points out that he never goes to temple, Joe claims it's all downhill once you hit thirteen. "You can't get your grandparents' life savings more than once."
Person as Verb: He likes turning peoples' names into verbs, most obviously Danny's.
Joyce: It'd better be, or I will fudge you up so dang hard everyone'll call you 'poopieface' 'cuz your head'll be stuffed up your own a-hole!
Joyce: ...you all know what I meant.
Incompatible Orientation: With her current boyfriend Ethan. Although now they both know it and are together anyway because they are both uncomfortable with their own sexuality...
Innocent Blue Eyes: Joyce has colored eyes in a world where almost everyone else has black dots instead. (The other exceptions are her own father, from whom she clearly inherited them, and her brother Joshua.)
That quote above? It's when she defies her parents, who are trying to get her to abolish her friendship with the atheist Dorothy. Joyce exhibits both the frustrating and the inspirational qualities of devout Christianity, and for that reason audiences don't always know what to make of her.
Defining the "Sadistic Good" alignment, Mike revels in butting in to help his fellow students with their problems in the most cruel, painful, personally devastating ways possible. He's sharing a room with Walky.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he still goes out of his way to say things in the most negative way possible, he is far more involved in the emotional affairs of other characters, and his compassion plainer to see.
Sink or Swim Mentor/Stealth Mentor: This appears to be Mike's modus operandi in this universe — rather than just him being a straight up Jerkass, his behaviour seems to be more a subtle way to get people to realize their failings and act on improving them.
Pet the Dog: Shortly after threatening to tear out people's femurs and flipping Billie into a couch, she helped Dorothy figure out what to do about Danny. She also offered to dump him for her. "Oh God, please let me do it."
Not So Different: To Billie, an alcoholic girl with absent parents and a willingness to use force to get her way.
Spared by the Adaptation: In Roomies, she was created for the sole purpose of tragically dying in a car accident. In Dumbing of Age, she has a significantly expanded role, as well as having survived the car accident which has now been established as an event which occurred in the past.
Tsundere: Towards Billie, to the point of being outright abusive.
Deconstructed: Ruth behaves this way because she has anti-social tendencies and a bad home life. Billie confronts Ruth demanding to know what their relationship is, after weeks of Ruth alternating between (awkward) displays of affection and bullying. When Ruth suddenly kisses her during all of this, she tells her to fuck off and runs away. Billie is very confused and hurt by whatever attraction she does feel. It's still played for comedy, but the situation is acknowledged by Willis as unhealthy and just wrong.
Daddy's Girl: Perhaps by default. Her father makes a point of hugging and complimenting her on Parent's weekend while her mother is too obsessed with the idea of her brother actually having a girlfriend to even acknowledge Sal's presence.
Dark and Troubled Past: Held up two convenience stores as a teenager, and was sent away to a Catholic boarding school in Tennessee. Walky claims he has barely spoken to her in five years.
Perhaps understandably, considering her track record, but she just as understandably resents it. Of course her track record may also have been a reaction to being the unfavorite, since David's Brilliant, but LazyMan Child tendencies probably got him a lot more attention because he required a lot more parenting.
She refuses to drop her maths class because she doesn't want another lecture from her parents about how she's a failure.
Willis has more-or-less stated on his tumblr that Sal's attempts to rob stores without any kind of mask and using only a knife was due to wanting to be caught and found out by her parents, so they'd finally pay attention to her.
Comes across as cold and aloof at first, but after some Character Development (as well as revelations about what happened her freshman year), she shows her Hidden Heart of Gold by showing that she really does care about Joyce.
Deadpan Snarker: Shows up sometimes, like when Dorothy freaks out about missing classes.
Dorothy: You know who missed classes? James Buchanan. He skipped his classes and the union dissolved.
Walky: Some would say it was really over the ownership of human beings, but I think you're on to somethin' there.
Demoted to Extra: Emphasis on the "demoted", since his mainline counterpart was the star of a good ten years of continuity, whereas he gets fourth billing—if that—here at college.
Geeky Turn-On: Dorothy's love of the Dexter & Monkey Master cartoon acts as this on him.
He-Man Woman Hater: Early on ("I HATE PRETTY THINGS!") Current-Walky wishes he could go back in time and punch himself.
Hollywood Atheist: Unlike Dorothy, Walky is much more outspoken and much less tactful around Joyce about his lack of faith, and blatantly tries to mock and insult her for it. This is more to show his own immature childishness than anything.
Laser-Guided Karma: After all his jokes about Joyce's favourite show, he's horrified to discover HE WAS IN IT.
Love Makes You Dumb: invokedhere. Early on in the series it was a running gag for Walky to have some variant of that face whenever Dorothy was in the same room.
Man Child: He likes cartoons, junk food, Power Rangers and pyjama-jeans.
Dorothy: Um, Leslie, a boy just threw a toy at my head. Leslie: It's probably because he likes you. Walky:[crush blush]
Mixed Ancestry: Like his sister, he has a half African-American father and a Caucasian mother. However, despite them both literally having the exact same skin tone, he considers her black and him not.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Despite being a lazy, childish, dork who sleeps in and watches cartoons all day instead of studying, he gets great grades.
Odd Friendship: With Joyce. It's also of the oddest ones she's developed because on the surface they have nothing in common, and deep down they... still have nothing in common. The basis of their friendship, at this point, is simply that they have the same lunch gap between the same two classes. This is particularly amusing because in mainline continuity, they're THE Official Couple. At least now they have Dexter And Monkey Master fandom to bond over.
No Party Given: Played with and nearly averted. It is strongly implied that she ran as a conservative Republican (mostly to curry favor with the redneck vote in her district) but is not actually all that conservative, and may in fact have no principles at all.
Not as You Know Them: Her immature personality is mostly the same to her Shortpacked one, but she's preoccupied with forwarding her political career and impressing lobbyists and voter blocs. The result is that this Robin comes off as kind of a gladhanding sleaze.
Happily Adopted: She's adopted and doesn't seem to have a problem with her parents.
Family members and relatives
Amber's father, and one of the most despicable characters of the comic. His name seems to allude to legendary Irish pirate queennote among other, more honorable things Gráinne "Grace" O'Malley: this may be just a coincidence but wouldn't be atypical for David Willis.
Archnemesis Dad: He is more than willing to take the extra step necessary to make his daughter's life miserable. The extra step in question being kidnapping Danny in order to lure her out of the campus to teach her a lesson.
Jerkass: He cheated on his wife, beat said wife, tried to impose his authority on his daughter by being downright abusive, kidnapped his daughter's boyfriend in order to use him as leverage over her, and is definitly not above beating his daughter personally.
Manipulative Bastard: Got close to Danny, faking concern for his daughter, in order to lure Amber into a trap.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivered one to his daughter, many years ago... While completly diminishing the threat represented by someone wielding a weapon:
Blaine: So, that was it? Just some stupid punk with a knife. A knife. She took your little friend and you hid in a corner and did nothing. Why am I not surprised.
Amber's half-brother, who lives with her father.
Casanova Wannabe: He tries to hit on Dina. He ends up tied up and handed over to Ruth.