AMERICA #2 by Gabby Rivera, Joe Quinones, Ming Doyle, Joe Rivera, and Jose Villarrubia
Plot
Characterization
Art
Summary
Though AMERICA #2 gets buried under too many plot developments, Rivera and her team ultimately continue their trend of delivering a story full of inspiration. America Chavez shines as a hero we don’t often get to see, but sorely need.
68 %
A little dense, but promising

AMERICA #2 continues America’s adventures in the WWII battle scene, as well as in Sotomayor University. Writer Gabby Rivera’s impeccable characterization of America never falters, and the powerhouse art team keep up with America’s momentum from scene to scene. While AMERICA #2 succeeds in these aspects, it, unfortunately, suffers from a convoluted plot that detracts from the story’s trajectory. Despite its pitfalls, however, the team behind AMERICA never loses sight of delivering a story filled with impactful messages and more than enough to appreciate.

READ: Miss the first issue? Catch up with our review of AMERICA #1!

AMERICA #2 opens on Planet Maltixa, where we found America saving the day in her premiere issue. The denizens of this planet already have immense gratitude for America. They idolize her, donning themselves in stars and stripes and amassing a following of America fans; however, their fanaticism has more sinister implications that propel AMERICA into the remainder of its arc.

Following this is the continuation of America’s sudden appearance at the WWII battle scene, where she meets none other than Peggy Carter. Who better for America to team up with? Together, they retreat to a bunker where Peggy drops a bombshell: she had prior knowledge of America’s appearance and had been expecting her arrival. This is too much for America, and she flees back to Sotomayor University via a punch through dimensions.

AMERICA #2
Images from AMERICA #2, courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

At this point, the plot starts to get a little lost. From here, AMERICA #2 takes us through several new developments — from a professor at Sotomayor University surreptitiously convening with a mysterious hooded figure, to an army of prep-school bros wreaking havoc on campus, to a brand-new class assignment, all the way to the climax of the story. While each new element introduced to the story is necessary, it gets muddled under its weight. Among it all is the knowledge that America now has the ability to punch through time, but this revelation is glossed over for several new threats that make their way to America and Sotomayor University. The plot introduced in AMERICA #2 seems to have little cohesion with where its premiere issue was taking the story; too many subplots make this issue hard to follow, and AMERICA #2 would have benefitted from fewer developments.

Where AMERICA #2 excels, however, is in its characterization. Peggy Carter is portrayed flawlessly as an expert tactician, always prepared for the unexpected. As she assimilates America into this surrounding, Peggy gives America a justified critique of her tactics as America brazenly (yet confidently) crashes into the midst of the battle and takes matters into her own fists. Later, when America retreats to her own time, she reveals that she’s been living in a van since she broke up with Lisa, too scared — or maybe too proud — to find a roommate or ask for help. Both these events help to illuminate a more vulnerable side of America, one where she realizes her shortcomings and succumbs to more sensitive subjects for her.

Furthermore, AMERICA #2 brings Lunella Lafayette, AKA Moon Girl, into the mix. Lunella makes a special appearance at Sotomayor University to assign a project for its students, and through her, Rivera continues her trend of delivering inspirational messages through equally inspirational figures. The overall message of Lunella’s speech is that some rules are in play to keep people in line rather than to nurture their strengths. “What do you need in this moment to be the best you?” she asks. “The deep-down, exceptional, powerful, magical you.” This message resonates with America and drives her motivation for the remainder of AMERICA #2. Through Peggy and Lunella, AMERICA #2 maintains its realism, charm, and inspiration.

AMERICA #2
Images from AMERICA #2, courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

A major contribution to this series’ appeal is artist Joe Quinones. Whether you’re familiar with America Chavez or Gabby Rivera’s work, fans of Quinones will undoubtedly be compelled to try out AMERICA. Joined by Ming Doyle on pencils this issue, their styles perfectly complement the World War II era and the hip and futuristic figures who populate Sotomayor University. Colorist Jose Villarrubia enables America’s patriotic blues to stand out against the muted WWII backdrop as well as fit in seamlessly with her colleagues. While there are moments where background characters look muddy, the pages are always dynamic and momentously carry AMERICA #2 throughout each of its subplots.

READ: Here’s why you should be excited about America Chavez’s solo title!

While AMERICA #2 would have benefitted from a cleaner trajectory, it succeeds through its inspirational themes, alluring art, and realistic character portrayals. Despite its shortcomings in its sophomore issue, AMERICA still proves to be authentic, energetic, and representative of the kind of heroes we don’t often get to see, but sorely need. Overall, through AMERICA, Rivera and her team succeed in delivering this message: America Chavez doesn’t need to impress you. She knows she’s more than enough.

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4 Comments

  1. Kat Vendetti

    April 10, 2017 at 9:28 am

    Hi! Thanks for your comment. To answer your question, what I meant by that is that being Latina, it has been very difficult to count on one hand the number of Latinx characters who have led their own series or had a prominent role in another. While I acknowledge there will be people who are not happy with this book, Rivera’s characterization of America resonates with me, as I’m sure it does for many others. I do feel this series is an important step in the right direction in giving myself and others the opportunity to see ourselves reflected in a medium we love so much. This book, so far, is proving to be much more niche rather than resonating with a wider audience in the way books like Ms. Marvel did. So by “we,” I mean the people for whom this book is important. It may not be for you, but there are plenty who do need this. I did when I was younger and I’m grateful for it now. I understand that may not have come across effectively in such few words. Hope that answers your question!

    Reply

  2. luncheonmeat

    April 9, 2017 at 5:34 am

    The amazing thing is that this comic keeps getting 8s, 9s, and even a 10/10 from http://www.comicosity.com/review-america-2/ from all the “critics”.

    I mean guys, I know you wanna push the PC agenda but at least have some standards. So many good LGBT or female driven comics out there but the fact that people keep backing this drivel really loses credibility from any reasonable reader.

    Serious question: In what way is America a “hero we sorely need”? Because she fulfils a diversity quota? Because she’s an awful character just based on this and the previous book.

    Reply

    • Rocky

      May 2, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      She’s a good character in general with great potential. These are just very awful issues that do her little justice.

      Reply

  3. Ramona

    April 5, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    This book is really embarrassing. The quality of writing and storytelling is very bad and with how many pop culture references are crammed in this book will be horribly dated in a year. Marvel America deserved so much better and Gabby please do not write another comic book.

    Reply

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