Created by Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta, Ms. America Chavez is a queer Latina superhero who won the hearts of fans after being prominently featured in Kieron Gillean and Jamie McKelvie’s “Young Avengers" series. Now, America Chavez will have her first ongoing solo series published in 2017. Titled “America”, the series will have a creative team that includes lesbian Latina writer Gabby Rivera and artist Joe Quesada.
America Chavez made her first appearance in the 2011 limited series “Vengeance” as a member of the Teen Brigade. In addition to being a Young Avenger, America Chavez has gone on to become a member of "A-Force" and part of the recent line-up of "The Ultimates." For those unfamiliar with her past exploits, here are 15 things you should know about America Chavez.
Some superheroes have standard powers while others have more unique ones. Ms. America Chavez has a little bit of both, giving her a power set that is formidable and impressive. She has super strength, can fly and is also invulnerable. However, her most important power is the ability to open and close doors between dimensions. In the past, she has literally kicked open doors between realities by creating a star-shaped portal and then kicking her foot through it.
She has also beaten many villains by using her strength and no-nonsense backbone. Although she's a teenager, many heroes and villains have marveled (pun intended) over America Chavez’s super abilities. Loki even called her “a superwoman who could throw tanks to the moon,” while Monica Rambeau (Spectrum, formerly Captain Marvel) was stunned that Chavez could keep up with her at light speed. While the full extent of America Chavez’s powers has yet to be explored, she has proven to be one of the most powerful superheroes around today.
There is a reason that many fans of America Chavez associate her with the phrase, “She’s beauty, she’s grace, she’ll punch you in the face.” America Chavez prefers punching her way through enemies and has done so many times throughout her tenure as a hero. One notable instance is when America punched Loki through a window after he suggested that she kill Wiccan. In addition to punching people, she has also kicked and thrown people and things that get on her bad side.
One of her most memorable feats came during the "Secret Wars" event, when she threw a giant shark across the shield of Battleworld in order to protect her teammates. She has also kicked her ex-boyfriend, Ultimate Nullifier, in the crotch after he temporarily took her powers during battle. During the recent events of "Civil War II," America Chavez threw a chair at Captain Marvel after refusing to take her side. Through these displays of strength and fierceness, America Chavez has shown that she is not a superhero to be trifled with (but one who is always entertaining to watch).
To date, Ms. America Chavez has been on four superhero teams in the Marvel Universe. Originally starting out in the Teen Brigade, she was co-leader of the group alongside team member/ significant other, Ultimate Nullifier. She would later leave the group due to “musical differences” and be approached by Loki, who tried to persuade her to kill Wiccan for the sake of the Multi-verse. As we noted earlier, she refused and decided to secretly protect Wiccan.
Following a series of incidents, she became a Young Avenger in order to keep protecting Wiccan and help defeat the inter-dimensional parasite called Mother. When the multiverse collapsed, she ended up living on Battleworld, like most of the other heroes. There, she would join the group of heroines known as A-Force, until she threw that giant shark and was arrested. Once the multiverse was restored, thanks to the machinations of Mister Fantastic and the Molecule Man, the hero Blue Marvel invited her to become a member of The Ultimates. After the events of "Civil War II," America Chavez became the leader of The Ultimates and took up a new mantle, which we'll discuss later.
America Chavez is originally a princess from a dimension called the Utopian Parallel, which existed in the presence of the cosmic entity known as the Demiurge. It is assumed that America’s powers are the result of being around the Demiurge. The Utopian Parallel was essentially the perfect paradise until America was six years old. By that time, the dimension was in danger of being destroyed when black holes appeared and threatened to pull Utopia into Marvel's multiverse.
In order to save Utopia, America’s parents sacrificed themselves and their particles were smeared across all reality. Inspired by their courage, America decided to leave her home and become a hero like them. After traveling across different dimensions, she eventually decided to call herself Ms. America. Although her time between leaving the Utopian Parallel and joining the Teen Brigade is currently unaccounted for, America’s determination would give her experience that put her ahead of many heroes and serve her well in future adventures.
Besides their heroism, a notable aspect about America’s parents is that they are both mothers. This is rare not only in the Marvel Universe, but also in the comic book universe in general. America is never bothered by this and loved them very much as a child. When she is informed that her parents saved Utopia, she is proud of them and is distraught to learn of their deaths.
Despite being with America for a short amount of time, they managed to impact her in a way that would stay with her long after their passing. Their brief appearance in the Young Avengers comics show them to be the strong, imposing superheroes that their daughter would come to look up to. Due to their noble sacrifice, America would strive to become a hero across multiple realities and protect the one destined to become the Demiurge. If America’s parents could see what their daughter became, they would undoubtedly be proud of her.
By the end of the Young Avengers series, America Chavez has come out as one of the few LGBT superheroes of color in the Marvel Universe. Prior to doing so, she informed her ex-boyfriend and former teammate, Ultimate Nullifer, that their relationship had just been an experiment and that she wasn’t on any definition of his team. Meanwhile, America Chavez flirted with fellow Young Avenger member Kate Bishop by occasionally calling her “Princess.”
By the time she became a member of The Ultimates, she had started dating an EMT named Lisa, who would mostly keep in touch with America by phone, but find her way into America's thoughts during times of crisis. During one adventure with The Ultimates, she pushed herself too hard and experienced a hallucination that involved meeting with Lisa. Acting as a sort of conscious, Lisa would tell America that it is okay to ask for help from her teammates and that she doesn’t have to pretend that she is fine or try to handle things by herself. Ultimately, this makes America an even better hero.
Due to her advanced experience as a hero, America Chavez developed morals that involved trying to do the right thing and not letting innocent people suffer. When Loki asked her to kill Wiccan for the good of the multiverse, she flat-out refused because she knew Wiccan didn’t know what he was capable of. A similar circumstance would occur when Wiccan would attempt suicide in order to break the spell that inadvertently released the inter-dimensional parasite, Mother. Although she knew that Wiccan dying would break the spell, she let Loki lie to him and tell him it wouldn’t work in order to spare his life.
Her resolve was recently tested during the "Civil War II" event involving Iron Man and Captain Marvel. While Captain Marvel wanted to use Ulysses Cain to predict crimes before they occured, Iron Man did not. As the heroes were forced to choose sides, America Chavez decided to go against Captain Marvel because she had seen realities where crime prediction didn’t work out, and actually made things much, much worse.
Although America Chavez has a direct manner that is intimidating to some, she also has a soft, sentimental side. As a Young Avenger, she was moved to tears seeing Wiccan and Hulking kiss and unlock the power they desperately needed to save the world. Loki was disgusted, stating “Ugh, is love really going to save us all?” America replied, “Of course it is. Anyone who says otherwise gets stomped into paste.” America would later have a similar moment just before joining The Ultimates.
Channeling her inter-dimensional powers through the movement of her feet, she danced with her girlfriend Lisa to close a hole in the universe. Even though they are in a really long-distance relationship in different parts of the universe, the two managed to keep in touch via cellphone and have a moment together to save the day. In addition to feeling deeply about love, she also grieves with great depth when losing a teammate. When War Machine was killed during Civil War II, America felt so guilty and desolate that she had to text Lisa to feel better.
Before America Chavez, the only openly gay characters at Marvel that had their own series were the X-Men character Northstar and cowboy outlaw, Rawhide Kid . In 1992, Northstar was the first high-profile comic book character to come out, with Rawhide Kid following suit in 2003 via a mini-series that was aimed at a mature audience. Lasting five issues and published collectively as “Rawhide Kid Vol. 3,” it contained enough innuendo to make the comic controversial enough to receive a Parental Advisory warning.
In contrast, Northstar’s sexuality wasn’t mentioned in his miniseries at all. However, Northstar would make history again in 2012 after marrying his long-time partner Kyle Jinadu in the first same-sex wedding in mainstream comics. Iceman, another openly gay X-men character, will also helm his own ongoing series later this Spring. Since America is currently Marvel’s only openly gay female character with a solo series, maybe her series will make other queer female characters of color open for the same treatment.
Since America Chavez met Kate Bishop during their shared stint as Young Avengers, the two have become great friends. Yet, throughout their time together, there has been a sense of something more between them. After America was sentenced to work at The Shield of Battleworld, she met another version of Kate Bishop named Lady Katherine of Bishop and battled foes that included Ultron, the Fury and of course, Zombies. After introducing themselves, Lady Katherine even called America a “cross-starred lover,” seeing the white stars America had on her clothes.
Sometime after America joined The Ultimates, she caught up with Kate Bishop over dinner and dancing and encouraged her to take some time away from her mentor Clint Barton. In turn, Kate Bishop would comfort America after War Machine’s death during Civil War II. America showed her many realities where War Machine didn’t die while stating that she hated that she couldn’t save this version of him. When Kate questioned America further, America stated that she admired that this version of War Machine died fighting as a hero.
America might have brawn, but she has brains too. Her experience as a superhero and an inter-dimensional traveler has made her resourceful enough to see through people that seem suspect. The most notable case of this involves the trickster god Loki attempting to manipulate her for his own schemes. America didn’t buy it and kept a close eye on Loki from that moment on, threatening to end him if he got out of line.
As a result, America Chavez struck fear into the heart of Loki and he tried his best not to get on her bad side again. America’s resourcefulness has also gotten her out of sticky situations through the use of her powers. When she refused to take Carol Danvers' side during "Civil War II," Carol ordered Monica Rambeau to take America down. Monica Rambeau transformed into her light form and attempted to incapacitate America by flying into her eyes, but America created a tiny portal in her eyes that sent Monica into a different dimension. Smart play.
Every superhero has mastered the art of heroic banter and America is no exception. Foul-mouthed, clever and gusty, America has delivered many lines that show off her demanding attitude and hard-earned wisdom. When Kate Bishop asked who she was, she stated, “Your ticket to the multiverse Princess.” While fighting enemies in a dimension, fellow Young Avengers team-mate Prodigy tried to warn her not to cross their continuity streams. She deftly took them out and replied, “The laws of physics can kiss my ass.”
In addition to creating great quips, America Chavez has moments where she knows the right words to say to keep herself and others from breaking down. One such instance occurred with Lady Katherine of Bishop as the Shield of Battleworld was about to collapse. When Lady Katherine tried to pretend she wasn’t scared, America said, “Take it down a gear. No shame in being afraid. Being brave isn’t the same thing as being scared.” True words from a true hero.
America Chavez shares the title of Miss America with many other female comic book superheroes. The very first Miss America, Joan Dale, was created by the company Quality Comics in the early 1940s. Then Timely Comics, the company that would become Marvel, published an issue of "Marvel Mystery Comics" in 1943, which featured Madeline Joyce, a character who would become Miss America. In the '50s, Quality Comics gave their Miss America to DC Comics after they were bought.
Besides the Golden Age comic versions of Miss America and America Chavez, there are also other modern day versions of Miss America. One of them includes Wonder Woman, who took the moniker of Miss America for a short time in the comic "Wonder Woman Vol. 2" (specifically issues #184-185). Shortly before America Chavez’s solo comic was announced, her creators revealed that a similar character named America Vasquez would be having her own solo series published by Image Comics in 2017.
In "Hawkeye Volume 2," we get a glimpse into America’s future 30 years from now. Not only do we see that she has become the new Captain America, but she is also an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. As a result of certain events, she comes to the aid of the older versions of Clint Barton and Kate Bishop: the Hawkeyes. Given America’s desire to be a hero, it is possible that she might decide to take up the shield one day.
If she does end up doing so, then she will be one of two women who have become Captain America in the future. The other is another Latina named Roberta Mendez, who not only took up the shield, but also became the leader of a future version of the Avengers. Whether America Chavez will lead her own team as Captain America is yet to be seen, but her previous leadership and field experience makes her more than suited for the job.
As a current member of The Ultimates, America Chavez has punched evil alien dictators, opened portals for the team’s inter-dimensional travels and gone against her teammates in a civil war. Now, Galactus -- former world-eater turned Lifebringer -- has chosen America and her teammates as his heralds, in order to discover who has imprisoned the cosmic entity Eternity. On top of that, America Chavez is now the leader of The Ultimates and will be taking the team into the field in order to accomplish Galactus’s mission.
Given how the team broke up and reluctantly got back together, America certainly has her work cut out for her. The aftermath of "Civil War II" has put a strain on the team, especially those who sided against their fellow teammate, Captain Marvel. Since America Chavez is among that number, it will take all the brawn, brain and experience she has in order for her and the team to work through their differences and come together for the sake of the multiverse.
What do you love about Ms. America? What are you looking forward to in her new book? Let us know in the comments!