REVIEW: ‘America Chavez: Made in the USA,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

America Chavez: Born in the USA #1

America Chavez: Made in the USA #1 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Kalinda Vazquez, with art by Carlos Gómez, colors by Jesus Aburtov, and letters by Travis Lanham. America is living her life on the west coast side by side with her partner Ramona and ever-present bestie Hawkeye (Kate Bishop). But something troubling might be going on as America’s powers begin to mysteriously fail her. On top of that, someone is targeting those near and dear to our protagonist.

When talking about iconic superhero origins, the one that is most likely to spring to mind is the murdered parents motivate their surviving child to fight crime as a masked vigilante. It’s understandable. It gets used a lot. However, there is another origin story that I think is nearly as iconic, and to be honest, I like a lot more. It goes like this:

A child is found by a family under strange circumstances. Not knowing what to do, the family takes in the child and raises them in a loving household. As the child grows, they exhibit great powers. Due to the nature of their upbringing, they decide to utilize their powers for the good of all.

See, that origin’s a lot nicer, don’t you agree? And while I’m sure I can guess which hero jumped to your mind through that description, it is also the origin we see for our titular character in America Chavez: Made in the USA #1.

Our story opens with the origin described above. We see a young, unconscious child wash up on Jones Beach New York not far from where a family is having a quiet night of stargazing. Needless to say, the family is startled by the discovery.

Fast forward 13 years and we find a now grown America as she struggles to fend off a rampaging pack of giant moles. This task would be significantly easier if America’s powers were not frequently cutting out on her. Luckily, she has backup in the form of Hawkeye and Ramone. With her friends’ help, the situation looks well in hand. Until her powers choose a particularly poor moment of flight to cut out, leaving America plummeting to earth.

When she awakens, she is back home with Ramone. She confides in her partner about her powers, and their current inconsistency when she gets an alert that something is going on in her old neighborhood. Some sort of force field has encircle;led the apartment building of her adopted parents. America is instantly on the move.

America Chavez: Made in the USA #1 does a great job of delivering the many tones running through its narrative. From the concern and uncertainty when she is found to the witty banter during the mole confrontation(I truly love some of the sentences I write in comic reviews) and America’s urgency when rushing home, writer Vazquez shows the range of emotion they can deliver throughout this work.

I also love Vazquez’s choice to have the events of the book commented on by a mysterious observer. The ominous presence of this voice does a great job of building the tension in the book, giving an increased level of threat to the story, implying that the speaker is someone close to our hero with a depth of knowledge about her.

The art in America Chavez: Made in the USA #1 does a great job of Illustrating the story here. I particularly love some of the angles artist Gómez chooses for these panels. The fight sequence is given more energy and the intimate moments are made that much more impactful from these excellent angles.

The colorwork here helps to augment the visuals in some really strong ways. The action moments are imbued with bright vibrant colors which further the energy of the moment. While soft lighting gives the personal moments a greater sense of calm and emotion.

Lastly, we have the lettering. Letterist Lanham does a solid job of guiding the reader from panel to panel thanks to their clear and precise dialogue placements.

When all is said and done, America Chavez: Made in the USA #1 delivers an interesting start to its tale. As someone only familiar with the character through the all-too-brief West Coast Avengers book, I look forward to learning more about both America’s past, as well as her future.

America Chavez: Made in the USA #1 March 3rd wherever comics are sold.

America Chavez: Made in the USA #1
4.5

TL;DR

When all is said and done, America Chavez: Made in the USA #1 delivers an interesting start to its tale. As someone only familiar with the character through the all-too-brief West Coast Avengers book, I look forward to learning more about both America’s past, as well as her future.