It’s behind the times but still necessary to stop and give a little love to what Marvel’s been doing with its solo title America, starring Miss America Chavez, the queer Latina hero we need, even if we don’t deserve her fabulousness.
America #5 (Gabby Rivera, Kelly Thompson, and Ramon Villalobos) is one of those quiet issues between major arc installments that takes a breath and lets heroes live in a world more familiar to us non-powereds, complete with downtime with friends, mundane worries and joys, and emotional reflection. The series has been exploring America’s personal history, a bit at a time, and placing her in verse context with other Marvel heroines of other eras, so it seemed right at this juncture for her to seek out her bestie Kate Bishop (Hawkeye) for some R&R, and help working through her experiences so far. Because they’re heroes, they soon get caught up in a larger adventure, but this portrayal of how epic female friendship can be in the details (not just when portals to other dimensions are being punched and the bow and arrow are out), is a solid tonal variation and deepens characterization and the world beautifully. Yes, it does matter what flavor of ice cream America digs, or that Kate hoards pillows. This issue was an intimate glimpse of America and Kate as friends and not just teammates, and is a solidly pleasurable read for fans of either character. The strength of the Marvel universe has always, in part, lain in the variety and specificity of its many characters, and time lavished on continuing to develop characterization is always well spent in the grand scheme of things.