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America Chavez

“She’s beauty, she’s grace. She’ll punch you in the face!”

From her debut appearance in the first issue of the 2011 Vengeance mini series America Chavez, using the code name Miss America, was shown to be a powerhouse brimming with confidence and pride. Acting as co-leader, Chavez and several other young heroes formed the Teen Brigade and faced off against the villainous Young Masters. Writer Joe Casey’s plot in part was grounded in an event involving Captain America’s arch foe Red Skull working with Hitler in World War II. Casey’s thematic idea would be echoed years later by writer Gabby Rivera in a story sequence appearing in issues #1 and #2 of the character’s solo series.

As high octane energetic as Casey and artist Nick Dragotta’s mini series was, Chavez was the only character that proved to have break out appeal, discounting Loki since the character was already enjoying new found appeal thanks to a reimagining of the character. Chavez would next appear in 2013’s Young Avengers series by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. The creative duo begin to flesh out Chavez’s back story with the introduction of her two mothers who were heroes in their own right serving as protectors of their world in the Utopian Parallel, a realm that came into existence as a consequence of the Demiurge (a god like Wiccan) unbound magic. The significance of giving a still relatively new character two mothers (Amalia and Elena) in 2013 shouldn’t be downplayed. In the United States same sex marriage was legal in a hodge podge of states and was a topic frequently and hotly debated by Americans and in national and local news. Years earlier Young Avengers creator Allan Heinberg made an equally queer affirmative statement by introducing two young men in love with the characters Hulkling and Wiccan (then Asgardian). Gillen has America come out in the series final issue.

Writer Al Ewing further developed Chavez in the space based Ultimates and Ultimates II titles. Ewing gave her a girlfriend named Lisa Halloran who worked as an EMT. Halloran could see through America’s tough persona and got America to admit she hates needing to ask other people for help. Given that America became an orphan at age six when her mothers died, self reliance and fierce independence are traits not easily set aside. Ewing showed Halloran’s influence on America on several occasions when he had America describe the purpose of the Ultimates team as the paramedics of the universe. Ewing continued to make the character strong in her own right by having her voice her opposition to the practice of predictive justice, as championed by Captain Marvel, which was a theme he explored. The distrust of authority and the concern of it unchecked leading to authoritarianism, as voiced by Chavez, and law and order symbolized by Carol. America doesn’t hesitate to rescue Carol when her life is endangered. Carol’s relief and surprise at America’s action is just one example of the criticism over Carol’s treatment of the time. After this they were able to mend their friendship.

An end to the America and Lisa relationship happened in the first issue of the solo America title, with Lisa’s character citing America was moving in a different direction with her decision to attend the extra-dimensional Sotomayor University. Halloran appeared a few issues later when she appeared to have been kidnaped by a group of Sotomayor students trying to regain America’s attention. In truth, Lisa was sympathetic to the women and it was all a ruse. One could argue that the decision to end the relationship was made to put more focus on America. Rivera certainly did so with adding to her backstory. In a brief flashback in issue #3 we see her welcomed by both the Santana and Mejia families from the Bronx and Cartagena respectively. One of America’s grandmothers (Amalia’s mother) was also introduced. At first Madrimar was secretive and Chavez perceived her to be an adversary. In the end Madrimar helped America and her actions were revealed to be more of a test for America.

Through the Madrimar character Gabby Rivera further expands the backstory. While the Demiurge created the realm of the Utopian Parallel, Rivera reveals that America’s mother Amalia and grandmother Madrimar are from Fuertona, a planet which as Madrimar relates came into existence from the love of two primal goddesses. Madrimar, Amalia, and the other residents of Fuertona are forced to flee the planet when genocidal hordes suddenly appeared. They are welcomed in the Utopian Parallel.

Another character who is introduced is Magdalena (aka Mags) Velez whom America as a young girl met while taking boxing lessons at Big June’s Boxing. The contours of their platonic friendship were blurred by mutual crushes over the next several years. Mags figured into a plot that uses her past relationship to America against both women. America forgives Mags and then Mags exits after serving her purpose as a plot device.

Two more characters will positively affect America during the year long run of the solo comic. David Alleyne (aka Prodigy) who was a fellow Young Avenger along with America is also enrolled at Sotomayor University and will act as a friend and lab partner/ sidekick of sorts. Young Avenger alum Kate Bishop (Hawkeye) returns for a road trip. Kate’s and America’s mutual BFF status is a through line for both characters throughout their appearance in various comics.

After the solo America comic ends America next appeared in West Coast Avengers along with Kate Bishop. A five part mini series was solicited to start in July. It has been delayed as a result of the effects of Covid-19 on Marvel (“pencils down”) and the temporary closure of Diamond and comic shops during April and May, 2020.

Read Lisa Halloran’s profile.

Chavez possesses super strength, super speed, and durability and the ability to fly, and the ability to travel between dimensions by kicking holes in the fabric of reality.

The “She’s beauty…” tag line was used by writer Marguerite Bennett in her A-Force mini series. Bennett used it a nod to a tumblr post by Kieron Gillen  who in turn was inspired by another tumblr user.

America first appeared in Vengeance #1, a six part mini series from July, 2011. America’s sexuality is brought up in Young Avengers #15.

America Chavez created by Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta. Art by Jamie McKelvie from Young Avengers #13. Here are the series Chavez has appeared in: Vengeance, Young Avengers, A-Force, Ultimates, Ultimates II, America, and West Coast Avengers.

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