If you’re one of the many keen-eyed fans who has watched the trailers for the latest Doctor Strange film, you’ve likely spotted an interesting anomaly: a character in patriotic colors fighting alongside the good doctor and his magical companions. But who is this new person and how does she fit into the greater MCU? To learn the answers to these questions, read on as we dive into the origins and rather complicated history of the reality-hopping badass known as America Chavez.
”When we talk about who I am, it gets tricky.”
Like many of us, America has struggled to find her place in the world. Luckily for her, she was granted the ability to travel through dimensions, effectively making her way across different worlds by punching actual star-shaped portals through the fabric of reality. The daughter of two powerful mothers, America was raised in the Utopian Parallel, a reality that exists outside of space and time, because of course it does, and also, comics! Following the tragic but heroic demise of her mothers, America left home and traveled across the Multiverse, eventually ending up in the prime Marvel Universe, otherwise known as Earth-616. Imbued with the standard superhero abilities (super strength, flight, energy projection), she adopted the moniker of Miss America and took on the role of neighborhood hero.
Her heroic aspirations led her to join up with the Teen Brigade, a covert team of outcasts that eventually took on the Young Masters of Evil, as well as Doctor Doom himself. America faced off against the adolescent version of Loki, God of Mischief, who bested her in battle. This new hero did not escape the young trickster god’s attention, however, and he would soon look to recruit her for a mission of his own.
“[I’m] your ticket to the Multiverse, Princess.”
Following her exploits with the Teen Brigade, America struck out on her own, traveling to Earth-212 where she once again encountered that rascal Loki. Fearing that the young hero Wiccan (a kind-hearted boy whose magical abilities rivaled even those of the Scarlet Witch) posed too great a danger to the Multiverse, Loki implied that he should be eliminated and that Miss Chavez should be the one to do it. Disgusted, she departed, returning to Earth-616 to find Wiccan in the interest of offering him protection, but not before delivering a well-deserved punch to Loki’s face.
As it turned out, this was all a part of Loki’s selfish yet noble scheme to unite a new team of heroes (it’s just something he does), and America’s unexpected arrival would lead to a reformation of the Young Avengers, along with previous members Wiccan, Hulkling, and Hawkeye (Kate Bishop). During this time, the normally-reclusive America developed a close bond with her teammates, particularly Kate, and eventually considered them her family, even as the team informally dissolved following a series of madcap adventures.
“I want to be better, you know? Smarter. Stronger. Just better.”
Despite the Young Avengers disbanding, America’s team-building days were far from over. Believing that the world needed a more proactive team than the Avengers, Captain Marvel and Black Panther put together the Ultimates, a group of remarkable people tasked with developing solutions for problems before they can even happen. America was recruited not just as the muscle but also for her reality-hopping abilities and her knowledge of the Multiverse, traits that came in very handy during their first mission involving the planet-devouring Galactus. Following the second Civil War, America took on a leadership role, and her team was instrumental during a cosmic battle with the Chitauri.
During her tenure with the Ultimates, America also sought to continue her education, enrolling in classes at Sotomayor University. It was here that her reality-hopping abilities began to mutate, allowing her to travel through both space AND time, putting her face-to-face with past heroes like Peggy Carter and the ’80s-era X-Men. She also met her other-dimensional grandmother and traveled through the Multiverse to the Ancestral Plane–the metaphysical manifestation of America’s people–where she learned more about her people and her place in the universe. In the time since, our hero has left the Ultimates to pursue new ventures: namely joining bestie Kate in the newly-formed West Coast Avengers, as well as re-discovering her adopted family, whose return revealed all new secrets behind her fantastic origins.
“[Your light] will be bright and endless. It cannot be destroyed. It is infinite. It is YOU.”
America Chavez has been around for little more than a decade, but she’s already been cemented as a character who’s here to stay. Created by writer Joe Casey and artist Nick Dragotta, the former Miss America debuted in 2011’s “Vengeance” miniseries before becoming the breakout star of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s phenomenal “Young Avengers” run in 2013. Her next big role came in the “A-Force” miniseries, taking place outside of the normal timeline during Jonathan Hickman’s epic “Secret Wars” event.
Not long after, America made the leap to her own self-titled series, marking her as the first Latina LGBTQ+ hero to lead their own book. Penned by Latin-American novelist Gabby Rivera, this series delved more into her romantic relationships, previously only hinted at, and allowed for some genuine character development as she navigated time-travel, cosmic disasters, and most dangerous of all, college. More recently, the character was featured in the 2021 miniseries “America Chavez: Made in the USA” where nearly everything she thought she knew about her past was revealed to be a lie. This retcon proved to be controversial and has yet to be confirmed as “true” in terms of Marvel’s canon.
Outside of comics, America was featured prominently as part of the “Marvel Rising” franchise, a brand consisting of toys, books, and a series of television specials and shorts. Voiced by Cierra Ramirez, the young hero played a supporting role in the Secret Warriors special alongside more modern characters like Ghost-Spider (aka Spider-Gwen), Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan), and others.
Recently, it was announced that the character will appear in the upcoming Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), portrayed by Xochitl Gomez. Little has been confirmed about her role in the film, although trailers and marketing material suggest that she’ll be teaming up with Dr. Strange and Wong to combat whatever new evil may arise. America’s abilities will most assuredly play a major role in the film, and, assuming she survives, she will likely play an important part in the greater MCU going forward. Both America’s ethnicity and sexual orientation are equally important as Marvel continues to add some much-needed diversity and representation to their roster of heroes and villains. The future of America, as well as the MCU, looks very bright indeed.