“Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” – America Chavez: Made in the U.S.A #2 Review
“Made in the U.S.A. #2”
Writer: Kalinda Vazquez
Artist: Carlos Gómez
Color Artist: Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: VC/s Travis Lanham
Cover Artist: Sara Pichelli & Tamra Bonvillain
Variant Cover Artist: Bengal
What You Need to Know: America Chavez’s powers have been on the fritz. While they work seemingly fine for her at home, America’s abilities failed her twice in battle, and she has grown increasingly troubled at the prospect and at the fact that she can’t seem to figure out just what went wrong.
She is soon called into action as an app alerts her to trouble back home with her adopted family, the Santanas. Although everyone believes America’s true family comes from an alternate reality known as the Utopian Parallel, not everyone seems to know about her adoptive family in New York that took her in when she was found washed up on a beach when she was only a child.
With the help of Spider-Man, America frees a group of people confined by a giant, mysterious forcefield, and she saves the Santanas by putting out their burning building. It all seems like a massive coincidence that has brought her home, until her adoptive mother shows her a note that was slipped under their door earlier that day.
It simply reads, “You should keep a closer eye on your family, America”.
All the while, a mysterious and seemingly vengeful figure looks on…
In This Issue: America’s story is continued in this balancing act of present mystery and past regrets. While America tries to solve the case of who started the building fire that put her family in danger and who trapped part of her neighborhood within a giant forcefield, flashbacks tell the story of how America came to be the hero she is and of the eventual rift that formed between her and the Santanas.
While it’s obvious that the troubles America shares with her adoptive family can’t be healed anytime soon, even though most of family seems to miss her greatly, America does her best to find out who has targeted them and why. It’s a mystery that leads her in conflict with the mysterious figure from the last issue, and, perhaps, something that will lead to a much bigger reveal than America could have possibly expected.
The Breakdown: The reason this issue succeeds is that it not only does a great job expanding upon the mystery of the first issue, but also because it gives America this new human tether that I don’t believe has been fully explored yet in any of her other stories. Focusing this issue on exploring her relationship with the Santanas and showing us how that fall-out between them happened does a lot to ground this character very firmly in our world. It gives her this emotional base that lets us feel for her problems, and it continues to set up this solid arc that I’m excited to see play out over the course of this miniseries.
There’s a recurring theme of family, of origins, and of purpose. We see very clearly that this mini is going to shake America to her core and that’s great. A character like America doesn’t get too many turns up at bat, so to speak, so it’s a welcome sight to see that, so far, this series is making the best out of the opportunity. She’s a larger than life member of the Marvel universe with the ability to shatter holes in dimensions with her bare hands and who could juggle cars if she were so inclined, so to bring this story down in scale and to make it something personal is a very smart decision.
If there was some hesitancy to be had, it would be that we’ve seen stories like this time and time again. The promise to “change everything you thought you knew” about a character is a trope that has been played with almost every major character I can think of from Captain Marvel to Green Lantern, and sometimes it works, but sometimes it feels like an excuse to retcon histories for the sake of shock value. How this story will turn out remains to be seen, but this issue leaves me optimistic that any changes made to America’s past will be one’s for the better that will actually advance her character in a substantial way.
The art remains as beautiful and sharp as it was in the first issue. A lot of this is thanks to Jesus Aburtov’s excellent work on colors, but also thanks to the very dynamic way that Carlos Gómez depicts action. There is a sense of speed and weight behind the movements in this book that makes everything feel so much more impactful.
I feel that sometimes emotions aren’t as clear or varied as I would like to see on the character’s faces, and in a slower story where the art team really needed to carry a good majority of that weight on their shoulders to make it work, I feel I would have liked to have seen just a little more. I feel the tone ultimately didn’t suffer from this; I just would have preferred to see a little bit more.
The Bottom Line
Summary This series has me hooked. I feel that this will be one worth following if you haven’t started yet, and I believe that this might be *THE* story to win you over on America Chavez if you had either previously discounted her or if you remain on the fence. Keep an eye out for this one next month, because I feel we’re about to get some pretty big answers. You won’t want to miss it.