America Chavez is an intriguing character in the Marvel universe. Originally created in 2011, she’s brand new in superhero terms, but she’ll be known by general audiences soon enough as she’ll be in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Made in the USA, a new series by Kalinda Vazquez and Carlos Gomez, aims to explore America’s adopted human parents and the complicated relationship they have. So far, this series has offered a look at that, as well as some Spider-Man action, but how does issue #2 hold up?
This issue opens 10 years in the past when America was just kiddo in school. She’s fighting off a bully who doesn’t believe her admittedly fantastical family tree in the Utopian Parallel. It’s a reminder that America grew up never hiding her origin, but suffered for it due to its unbelievable nature. This theme of America fighting against those who don’t believe her — even her adopted parents to some degree — is a reoccurring theme for the series. Cutting from this pain, the story zips back to the present, where Spider-Man and America are fighting to get to her old neighborhood.
This issue makes it abundantly clear America has always known the truth, and yet hasn’t given her adopted family the benefit of the doubt, understandably being confused and unsure about it all. Throughout her childhood she’s pushed back on those who took care of her even though they meant well. In a way, America was reckless, and though she was a child and that’s quite common, in hindsight maybe she’ll learn something from how she acted. If we lash out, make sure to lash out at the right people.
As the story goes, the main plot continues to unveil how America came to be found on a beach as a young child. In that regard, the story moves forward enough here with a cliffhanger that’s quite intriguing. Given this character will show up in an MCU movie soon, one might assume much of what we learn here will be used in the film. Unfortunately, not a lot happens beyond the repeated reminder that America seems to resent her Earth family. It’s a strong point, but it’s repeated a few times in this issue alone, which makes the plot feel like it’s spinning its wheels. This will likely be resolved if you read the entire arc in one sitting, but as solo issues go not a lot happens beyond melodrama.
The strength in Gomez’s art lies in the time changes and how he depicts America at different ages. She looks accurately 10 years younger than from the present, but we also see her as a teenager too. This is important since her aging — and the anger she harbors that never seems to go away — is quite important. Spider-Man gets a few panels in this issue and he looks great, too. Paired with color art by Jesus Aburtov, the book has a realistic look thanks to the lighting, whether it’s day or night. Much of this book is talking heads scenes and the art team keeps your interest up thanks to good acting no matter the scene.
America Chavez: Made in the USA is making an interesting point about the anger and resentment young people can feel growing up with a family that doesn’t seem to understand them. It can be frustrating for a kid, but in hindsight, it’s also understandable the family is doing their best with what they’re given. Sadly though, the story isn’t progressing fast enough and seems to be reiterating the same point over and over rather than exploring America’s relationship to any one family member. For that, you’re left wanting.
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