[Contains SPOILERS for America #1.]
Combating the forces of cosmic evil and keeping the universe safe for yet another day is no small feat. But for young superheroine Ms. America Chavez, it’s just another day at the office. When she's not out on interstellar patrol with the Ultimates, battling (or subverting) Galactus and other ominiverse-rending threats, she’s dealing with the repercussions from superhero civil wars and trying to find time to live as much of a life as a young woman with an incredible mandate and vast powers can.
However, in her first solo outing, America #1, the burgeoning cosmic defender faces some new challenges that will test not only the limits of her abilities but push her clean out of her comfort zone. After all, the only thing more challenging than defending the multiverse is dealing with college.
The Birth of America
America first came to life as a loose legacy character of a minor Marvel hero created the 40s, Miss America in Vengeance #1 (2011). The child of two meta-women from a pocket universe known as Utopia Parallel, America Chavez grew up with selfless heroics in her blood. Growing up, she absorbed mystical powers from her parents and their dimension’s mystical deity, the Demiurge, which gave her the ability to fly, superhuman speed and strength, and allows her to poke star-shaped holes in the fabric of reality. When their home was threatened, America’s parents gave their lives to keep their little alternate reality from being destroyed. As a result, she was orphaned at the tender age of six and fled her home dimension to explore the multiverse.
Aside from being one of Marvel’s earlier and more prominent lesbian characters, America is also one of their most outspoken Latina (or at least parallel dimension Latina) superheroes. Her evolving role from her tween years with the Teen Brigade to her time as a Young Avenger, and beyond into roles with A-Force and The Ultimates, America has truly come into her own as a defender of the Marvel Universe with a truly impressive skill set at her behest. She’s also been an integral part of the Ultimates, even taking up a leadership role following the team's disintegration after Civil War II, even convincing her colleagues to side with the reformed Galactus the Lifebringer to determine who is holding the Marvel Universe's representation of Eternity captive.
Despite her status as a cosmic rising star, all the adventuring of late has worn on the still young heroine. In America #1, she decides to take a little break from saving the multiverse to seek some higher education.
America Goes to College
After the Ultimates’ latest victory, defeating a being made of white light who was oppressing America's home dimension, she rushes home, late for date night with her girlfriend, Lisa. They enjoy evening together before starting in on their plans to relocate across the country, where the young superhero will attend Sotomayor University. Unfortunately, Lisa is having second thoughts about their move, one which was primarily motivated by America's desire to go to school. The two argue, and, although Lisa appears willing to continue their relationship long-distance, America’s temper flares up and she ends their union.
Now solo, she packs up all her belongings in a van and hauls herself across the country. Arriving at school, she navigates the campus in a daze, managing to be a couple minutes late for her first class, “Intergalactic Revolutionaries and You.” Wading right into a holographic simulation, and her former teammate, one-time mutant David Alleyne (a.k.a. Prodigy), gives the fresh collegiate a little help. America is rapidly discovering that college life is a whole different game than saving the universe. Of course, an early flub only pushes her harder. Prodigy insists on helping her acclimate to academia while also asking for her assistance with his latest invention, a semi-functional time machine.
Since Professor Douglas isn't cutting her any slack, America decides to nail the first assignment – creating a simulation of a historic revolutionary – by heading back in time. The only trouble is, Prodigy’s time machine isn't working quite right yet, and headstrong as ever, Ms. Chavez leaps back in time...but not at all where she intended.
In Your Face America
Instead of reuniting with her mothers, she winds up in Germany during World War II. Literally stumbling into Captain America, in an amusing moment, where she barely recognizes him. However, before the two star-spangled heroes can officially reintroduce themselves, he tells her they’ve got Hitler on the run. So, being the impulsive heroine she is, she decks Nazi leader – which could cause all sorts of timeline complications and future shakeups to come. The most enjoyable part as this series evolves, though, will be watching America come into her own as she tries to fix the messes she makes, as well as coming to terms with the heroic struggle of succeeding in academia.
Those who aren't familiar with America Chavez should prepare for a brassy, audacious female superhero, bursting with pride and natural super-abilities. Anyone already familiar with Ms. Chavez knows that her hyper-confidence, leap first ask questions later attitude is a refreshing change from the brooding, self-loathing heroes often presented in the modern world. However, her overconfidence also masks a vulnerability caused by losing both her mothers at such a young age, as well as the fear of abandonment and difficulty to connect with others that come with it.
America #1 writer Gabby Rivera gives the dimension-hopping heroine an unabashed and unashamed attitude, never hiding Chavez’s queer status, LGBTQ parents, and vibrant voice. While the character’s in-your-face attitude might a little too intense for some, it’s absolutely appropriate for America, who'd already saved the world a dozen times over before her quinceañera. Still, Rivera adds subtle layers of irony that underscore Chavez’s brashness with hints of tragedy and the character flaws that will undercut her adventures – including the recklessness which led her to jump back in time using an incomplete time machine.
We're certainly excited America finally has a solo run of her own, and are looking forward to what comes next.
America #1 is currently available. America #2 arrives April 5.