AMERICA: What makes Marvel's Latinx heroine such a headliner

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Feb 1, 2017

The age of America Chavez has been a long time coming.

For years, the character has grown in fan-favoritism and notoriety, best known for her brash actions and smooth-talking wit. Now she's set to headline her own series, written by novelist Gabby Rivera and drawn by Joe Quinones. The stand-alone comic series has already produced some incredible previews, including an all-new cover this week that gives a nod to Beyonce and celebrates intersectional feminism. From the get-go, this comic seems to be making it clear that America will stand for the country that is her namesake in historical ways.

The years that have seen Chavez form into a full-fledged character started out, admittedly, a little rough. She arguably stole the show during her first appearance in 2011’s Vengeance, where she served as co-leader of the Teen Brigade under the title of "Miss America," but the story was short-lived and the characters were set aside.

Since then, she's become a multiverse-jumping superheroine and something of an icon in comics. America is an out, queer heroine (of a group still too small by any means) whose abilities allow her to traverse different storylines easily. That kind of flexibility, combined with her brash personality, is likely to provide a page-turning adventure next month.

With that in mind, there are a few vital, interesting things to know about America going into the new series.

 

 

She Can Cross the Multiverse

America comes from the Utopian Parallel, a place that once existed outside of time and was the direct creation of the Demiurge, a God-like entity. America somehow inherited her powers from the Demiurge (though the method remains unclear) when she left Utopia determined to become a superhero. Along with your standard superhuman greatness (which includes flying, incredible strength and extreme speed), America possesses the unique ability to cross dimensions and parallel worlds.

This makes her an interesting character when it comes to the overall story of the Marvel Universe, because America has already jumped through different universes and interacted with different versions of other Marvel heroes while she, herself, remained the same person. America primarily hangs out on Earth-616 but has hopped around Earth-212, Earth-16191, Earth-81518 and countless other parts of the Multiverse already.

She's Leading the Ultimates

Taking over for Captain Marvel means filling some pretty big shoes at a young age, but the six-foot-tall superheroine seems like she's up to the task. After all of her adventures and the life-threatening situations she's gotten herself out of, America somehow craves even more out of life. So, alongside recruiting superheroes for her team and managing a group of people with incredible powers, she's also decided to take on the task of going to college in New York City. Phew. For someone who plays it so cool, Chavez sure is an over-achiever.

 

She Has a History with Loki

America and Loki began their rocky and interesting relationship way back during her first appearance in Vengeance. When America attempted to stop the Young Masters of Evil from recruiting Kid Loki, the young trickster knocked Chavez into the 6th dimension. She barely escaped with her life after taking on the Braak'nhüd (a group of insane balance-obsessed demons) alongside the other members of the Teen Brigade and the group ended up needing a rescue from She-Hulk and the Last Defenders.

Needless to say, by the time the pair had their second run-in, America had already decided that she didn't like Loki one bit. When he approached her in Marvel NOW! Point One #1 with a proposal to kill Wiccan (also known as Billy Kaplan, the boy who would one day become the Demiurge who created America's home), she reacted pretty harshly. In Young Avengers, Kid Loki initially went on to try to kill Wiccan himself but America caught him just in time. Unfortunately, the two of them were discovered brawling on Billy's rooftop by his boyfriend Teddy (also known as Hulkling) and took off.

They would team up once more as part of the Young Avengers to take on the Mother, and it's during this team-up that America and Loki seem to reconcile their differences, despite the tension.

During the Secret Wars storyline of A-Force, America serves as Lady Loki's ward on Arcadia. Their bond is much closer to that of a mother and daughter, so it's going to be interesting to see whether or not Loki will pop up again in America's new story.

She's Made Plenty of Allies

America has now been around for six years, though arguably a good deal of them were spent with her as a dormant one-off character. Regardless, the past few have seen her meet (and re-meet) several of Marvel's greatest heroes, save for Captain America himself. America knows multiple versions of Kate Bishop, Loki and She-Hulk, just to name a few. This is mostly worth pointing out when it comes to considering who we might expect to see within the pages of America's new story.

She is Not the first Miss America

… and the title comes with a surprisingly beefy history. The first Miss America, Madeline Joyce Frank, showed up in 1943's Marvel Mystery Comics, where she teamed up with Captain America and Bucky Barnes (to name a few) as part of the Invaders. Here's the thing about this Miss America: almost all of her career was spent taking out Nazis. A heroine of the Golden Age, Madeline Joyce Frank continued working with Bucky Barnes and other heroines like The Whizzer (whom she married during the war) as part of the Liberty Legion. The only real downside to her story is that she ultimately died in childbirth, but the character has appeared several times, in different forms, over the past few years.

Madeline is still an occasionally active character, and her Nazi-punching days aren't over, either: one of Madeline's most recent appearances was in 2011's Marvel Zombies Destroy! #2, where she battled Nazi Zombies as the leader of an all-female group known as The Suffragists.

Another unnamed girl used the Miss America moniker in 2008's Avengers: The Initiative Annual #1, but she hasn't been seen since.

 

She's Been Seeing Someone

While it's unconfirmed whether the two are still together or not, America has been dating a med student from Earth-616 named Lisa Halloran. Lisa provided occasional advice for America, but the relationship took something of a backseat to Chavez's responsibilities as part of the team. With that in mind, she might have a little trouble handling a girlfriend and a superhero team at once, but time will well.

She's Still a Mystery

Stoic and reserved, America hasn't had a lot of the inner monologuing and context that many of her young superpowered peers have already enjoyed. Details about her mothers (i.e. their names) and her home still remain pretty vague, and America's real motivations might not entirely match up to her outward claims. There's a lot to explore with this character, and that goes well beyond your standard teenage superhero fare: as a queer Latinx role model, America could face some serious moments on the horizon, and it really seems like that's what Marvel is pushing for. It would certainly be interesting to see how a character that tries to remain unattached and on the run deals with serious issues like racial equality, but whether Chavez will take those issues on personally still remains to be seen.

What's important is that America's story going forward is not only one that  shows off a rare kind of heroine but also one being guided by the hands of Latinx creators. This is one of the first Marvel comics that sees not only a Latinx artist on the main creative team but a queer Latinx woman on board to write as well. When America releases in March, it is already assured that this butt-kicking superheroine will make history -- in more ways than one.

Be sure to pre-order America before it debuts in March.