This week’s Marvel Rundown sees the long-awaited return of America Chavez to her own solo title. The new miniseries, America Chavez: Made in the USA, was announced nearly a year ago and delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Was the series worth the extended wait?
America Chavez: Made in the USA #1
Writer: Kalinda Vazquez
Artist: Carlos Gómez
Color Artist: Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover Artists: Sara Pichelli & Tamra Bonvillain
I will admit right up top that I don’t have a ton of experience with America Chavez outside of team book settings. I first met her during Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie’s Young Avengers run, and encountered her again during the too-short Kelly Thompson & Stefano Caselli West Coast Avengers series. I enjoyed her in both of those books, and while I know there was a previous solo title for America, I never got around to reading it, so I was excited to dig into this week’s first issue of America Chavez: Made in the USA. I’m happy to say this debut issue for the miniseries does not disappoint.
For her first Marvel comics writing credit, Kalinda Vazquez delivers a strong script for the issue. The mix of flashbacks and modern-day action does a nice job of introducing readers to the fundamentals of America’s backstory and her current California-based status quo. Vazquez blends humor, family drama, and classic superhero action wonderfully for an issue that feels like it gives readers a complete look at America and her world. As a fan of the aforementioned West Coast Avengers series it was great to see America fighting alongside both Kate Bishop and Alloy again, and the threat they face is incredibly amusing. Vazquez also expertly teases out the identity and nature of the mysterious threat America’s facing, and while I have some theories to their identity already I’m looking forward to seeing that play out over subsequent issues of the series.
The visuals in this book are also solid, with Carlos Gómez and Jesus Aburtov putting in strong work on the issue. Gómez’s linework feels very much in line with the prevailing Marvel house style, which is not at all a bad thing. His figures are dynamic, his page layouts visually interesting, and his visual storytelling impressive. Compared to some of his previous work on The Amazing Mary Jane, Gómez has grown immensely as an artist in relatively a short time.
One wonders if the secret sauce here is Aburtov’s color work, which complements Gómez’s linework well and makes everything pop off the page beautifully. The duo transition the reader between flashbacks and present-day action flawlessly, and the visual collision of the two towards the end of the issue is extremely well-executed. As the series progresses and things get crazier for America and co., it should be pretty exciting to see what these two have up their sleeve.
As far as debuts go, America Chavez: Made in the USA #1 is damn near flawless. A strong script from an up-and-coming talent combine with strong line art and colors (and, of course, the always-solid work of letterer Travis Lanham) for an incredibly satisfying and enjoyable reading experience. If the remaining issues of this five-issue miniseries can keep up this level of quality we may be looking at an early contender for one of the best Big 2 books of the year.
Final Verdict: BUY.
Demon Days: X-Men #1
- Told through the lens of the X-Men and the Marvel Universe, writer/artist Peach Momoko crafts a wonderful tale of Japanese mythology. Beautifully rendered in watercolor, the story tells the tale of a land where the relationship between Humans and Spirits has been thrown out of balance, and of a village in need of help from a vicious demon spirit. This book does a great job integrating Marvel characters into the mythology and immediately makes the reader think of the best aspects of Avatar: The Last Airbender. In addition to that, Demon Days somehow is able to be a part of the current King in Black storyline. All in all a visually stunning, fun read with a neat twist at the end. —GC3
King in Black: Wiccan & Hulkling #1
- It feels like King in Black has been going on for ages now, but at least we’re getting some genuinely enjoyable one-shots. This is no exception, with Tini Howard and Luciano Vecchio crafting an excellent standalone, yet utterly connective, tie-in to Marvel’s big event. I say ‘connective’ because it feels like something borne out of Empyre in a substantial way, depicting yet another moment for Hulkling to prove himself as king of this new alliance of empires. Howard creates such an intimacy and history between Hulkling and Wiccan, and while I initially thought Vecchio’s artwork was a little too “cutesy” for my taste it grew on me as the issue went on. The biggest strength I could discern was that Vecchio was able to depict the more romantic side of the honeymoon story, but was able to get more intense and scary during the dragon scenes. —HW
Power Pack #4
- I can’t handle the fact that there’s only one issue of this series left. This issue introduces readers to the sensational character find of 2021, Professor Brucie Mansworth, as a depowered pack squares off against The Wizard. Ryan North, Nico Leon, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Travis Lanham deliver another fantastic issue full of a lot of excitement and a lot of genuine heart. Please, Marvel, make this an ongoing series, or at least a series of miniseries. The world needs the Power Pack. —JG
Next week: Non-Stop Spider-Man!