This article was originally published at ComicBook.Com on February 28, 2017.
America Chavez (a.k.a. Ms. America) is breaking out into her own series at Marvel Comics this week, and it might be the most exciting debut of 2017 thus far. America first appeared just over 5 years ago in the pages of Vengeance #1 where she was created by Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta. They introduced her as an incredibly powerful adolescent hero raised by her mothers in an alternate dimension called the Utopian Parallel. It was there she absorbed a wide set of powers, ranging from super strength to cross-dimensional travel, from the Demiurge.
Since Vengeance, America has garnered an ever growing presence within Marvel Comics as parts of teams and a guest star. She was a key component of the critically-acclaimed second volume of Young Avengers, and has featured in the current darling series of the publisher: The Ultimates. Along the way she has developed an incredibly dedicated following of readers and fans with America Chavez cosplays regularly featuring at comics conventions. With all of this momentum it was only a matter of time until she kicked out of teams and into a series of her own.
It’s not just exciting that America is getting her own series though. It’s exciting because the first issue and everything else about the series indicates it will be as great as fans want it to be. If you aren’t already on the America Chavez bandwagon, then here are 5 reasons you need to pick up America #1 when it comes out tomorrow.
What America Chavez Means to Marvel Comics
This is the big one. America is a homerun of a new character surpassed at Marvel Comics recently by, perhaps only, Ms. Marvel and Moon Girl. Along with these other characters, she represents a new wave of Marvel Comics and Marvel Comic readers. Her origins in a utopian-like ideal of Earth with two mothers and concepts of justice and fairness embraced worldwide, have given her a unique perspective that raises her own spirit as well as that of her fans. She is a powerful, personable, fun character that is unlike anyone other heroes fighting the good fight at Marvel.
In addition to her increasing diversity at the publisher, she also is simply an incredibly engaging character. America owns her attitude, capable of standing up to any other hero as a peer and making herself known in any scenario. Whether she’s with the Young Avengers or The Ultimates, America is a leader and leads with her feet and fists. Punching holes in reality and knocking down bad guys, America is always interesting to watch as she embraces her own brand of heroism.
The Writer: Gabby Rivera
Gabby Rivera, the writer of America, is a newcomer to comics but is arriving with a great reputation already. Rivera is a young adult novelist who was widely acclaimed for the release of her new novel Juliet Takes a Breath last year. That novel tells the story of a Puerto Rican lesbian finding out who she is over the course of a single summer. Rivera herself is a queer latina and has shown an incredible grasp over both storytelling and sharing her identity with readers from a wide swath of backgrounds. In short, Rivera is a perfect fit to right America Chavez.
While there are similarities, America is bound to be unlike anything Rivera has written to date by virtue of its genre and setting. Watching a rising star both discover a new medium and infuse her work with big action scenes and superpowers should be a delight. There is usually some trepidation about a prose writer coming into comics for the first time, but there should be no worries here. In addition to a killer preview for America #1, Rivera is also being accompanied by some of the best artistic talents working in comics today.
The Artist: Joe Quinones
Joe Quinones is a penciler whose talents have been sorely missed from the pages of an ongoing Marvel Comics series since his run on the most recent volume of Howard the Duck drew to a close. His style of catooning is perfect for the blend of action, humor, and attitude encompassed by many of Marvel’s best series. In Howard he managed to make the quirky surroundings support the often surprisingly heartfelt story, and it’s that ability which is bound to make America crackle under his pencils.
Quinones is joined by an awesome array of other artistic talents, as well. Joe Rivera and Paolo Rivera are inking his work, refining the layouts and figures, while providing their own keen eye for emotion and detail. Jose Villarrubia on colors lights up the preview pages as he does with every series he works on. America is a bright shining star and her world comes to life with his palette choices. Together, this team of latino artists are making America one of the best looking superhero comics at Marvel today.
This is one reason to specifically pick up America #1. The selection of variant covers available for this first issue will make it difficult to pick up just one copy. There are some so good that it will be difficult for digital-only readers to resist a trip to their local comics store. Among the options are some classic Marvel standards, like a Skottie Young variant and a hip hop variant riffing on Hamilton.
The artists contributing covers are all-stars through and through, and these covers really show off their talents. Cliff Chiang takes a break from Paper Girls to offer his joyous take on America Chavez and Jamie McKelvie does the same from The Wicked + The Divine in order to offer a real tough look. The only way readers could hope for more is to see some of these artists return for a special issue when the regular art team needs a break.
The Team Ups
America Chavez may be receiving her own series, but she’s still far from being a lone wolf. Both on the Young Avengers and The Ultimates, America has defined herself as a team player and cultivated some incredible friendships with other Marvel heroes. Her friendship and hinted romance with Hawkeye (Kate Bishop, not Hawkguy) is bound to spring up in this series and offer both banter and adventures.
Her current connections to The Ultimates are going to offer some great possibilities. Whether it’s her interactions with frenemy Captain Marvel or an interaction with someone like Black Panther, the possibilities for cross-overs are nothing short of fantastic. Those team ups are what will help make it clear that America Chavez is here to stay in her brand new corner of the Marvel Universe, which is why it’s time to check out the beginning this Wednesday.