The portal-punching, expectation-defying multiversal Mujer Joven is back, digging into her New York roots and the family that forged her. While most fans are used to relentless swagger and tough-talking determination, the more vulnerable heroine in America Chavez: Made In The U.S.A. #1 might be a bit of a surprise.
Thirteen years ago, a young America Chavez washed up Jones Beach in New York to be discovered by a Puerto Rican family enjoying a relaxing night on the beach. They took her in, no questions asked, despite having a less stable financial position than, say, people who owned a farm in Kansas, considering her a blessing. In the present day, America is on the other side of the country and fighting gigantic moles (actual animals mutated and grown gigantic) likely released by a Hydra lab operating out of downtown Los Angeles. She's confronted by a high school student asking questions about her history as her powers mysteriously start shorting out.
There's a lot to like about this issue. From Washington Heights on the east coast to Santa Monica on the west, Carlos Gomez, Jesus Aburtov, and Travis Lanham make the environments like a character in the work, from cracked doorways to rooftops in California's biggest urban sprawl. You've likely rarely seen this degree of detail and wonderful nuance to the presentation of this heroine, and it delivers a number of poster-worthy shots that tell the story effectively. The script by Kalinda Vazquez clearly has chops showing the tenderness and inclusion of this family unit in America's youth, as well as her adopted family in the latest incarnation of the West Coast Avengers.
Where it falls down is in its overall vibe — self-doubt and inconsistency are not a good look for America (pardon the double entendre) as she is more vulnerable and tentative, lacking the determination and confidence that made this character so appealing in previous incarnations. There's nothing wrong with this book at all, and for new readers, this might be an effective entry point into the character, who's all too human here. If you walked in the door expecting the power and the glory of America (again, pardon the admittedly fair double entendre), you might have to wait for her to get her groove back. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
America Chavez: Made In The U.S.A. #1
By Kalinda Vazquez, Carlos Gomez
WHO IS AMERICA? America Chavez is incredible – her origins, her strength, her dimension-shattering star portals! But when the foundation of everything she believes is shaken, America will stand up and face the parts of herself she's been running from. From writer Kalinda Vazquez (Marvel's Runaways) and artist Carlos Gomez (Amazing Mary Jane) comes an explosive, brand-new story all about what made America Chavez who she is – and what she'll do to protect the ones she loves.