“America” Issue 1 – Hitler Gets Punched by a Queer Woman of Color!
America Chavez finally got her solo series, and while a few things could’ve been handled better, the debut makes for a powerful punch against hate.
I’ve been looking forward to America Issue 1 since Marvel made the announcement. I was introduced to Chavez through the queer-as-heck Young Avengers, where she brought all of the members together and kept Kid Loki in line. She later went on to be a member of the Ultimates and currently serves as their leader. Yup! You heard it right. She’s leading the likes of Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Spectrum, and Blue Marvel.
Her solo series takes her to Sotomayor University because she wants to better herself as a hero and person. Now, I get why Chavez getting a solo might feel weird with the fate of everything hanging in the balance because of what’s going on in the Ultimates series. But then again, comic books haven’t been the best at continuity, so I’m all for a queer super-strong brown girl doing her own thing.
Chavez’s Young Avengers teammates, Kate Bishop and Prodigy, also appeared in this issue with Prodigy playing a bigger role. Prodigy, a bisexual ex-mutant, is the one who makes a machine that syncs with Chavez’s dimension-hopping abilities to send her through time. She punched Hitler!
Fingers crossed Wiccan appears in the series too because it’s his other-dimension version that created the world America’s from.
The only complaint I have about America Issue 1 is how she broke things off with her girlfriend. I understand that Lisa didn’t want to go with her, but they could’ve still remained a couple, especially when one of them is able to punch through dimensions. Regardless, I’m looking forward to what writer Gabby Rivera has in store for the character.
Now, let’s come to the serious stuff. There are comic book readers out there who aren’t happy with America getting her own series. Their hate (because I won’t refer to such intense emotions as mere complaints) is related to Marvel pandering to POC and queer readers. So, here are some of my thoughts to some of their comments.
- America is queer because she has two mothers.
As queer kids happen to straight parents even when they’re raised in predominantly ‘straight’ environments, the same holds true for America. She wasn’t made queer by her two mothers, she was born queer. In the same manner, queer parents can give birth to, or adopt, kids that are straight. Sexuality is far more complex than something that can be influenced by the kind of environment a person grown up in.
- Marvel is pandering to a few of its readers.
If you think that putting the spotlight on sexually and racially diverse characters is pandering, then there really isn’t anything I can say about it. How do you propose Marvel should go about introducing diverse characters without it coming across as pandering to some readers? They can’t just continue writing stories about cis-white male characters. They’ve been doing that for decades. It’s high time for a change, regardless of some readers thinking that Marvel, and other comic book companies, have sold themselves out to attract queer and POC readers.
- The America Chavez craze will fizzle.
Again, who cares? Even if America’s solo series only lasts for six issues because it didn’t sell well or Marvel found some other queer POC character to focus on, it still allowed underrepresented readers to feel some sort of support in their life. And that’s what matters.
Have you read America Issue 1 yet? What did you think? Let us know.
Farid has a Masters in Psychology and is the author of numerous books including Arousing the Legacy, Missing in Somerville, The Game Master of Somerville, and The Escaped Murderer of Somerville. He gives us insight on comics, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies. He reviews shows such as Gotham and Teen Wolf.
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