America Chavez: Marvel’s Newest Hero

Imagine having the power to travel the multiverse, wouldn’t that be amazing? Well, America Chavez doesn’t have to imagine it at all! Keep reading to get the deets of the multiverse adventurer’s life. WARNING: SPOILERS


Photo by Ussama Azam on Unsplash

A beautiful mural of Stan Lee, the founder of Marvel and creator of many characters.

Doctor Strange and America Chavez together in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Thanks to the release of the newest member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, we’ve been introduced to America Chavez. This spunky teenager has never before been seen in a film adaptation, but she has quite the role in the comics.

Chavez has the power to travel the multiverse. Put simply, she can enter and exit different universes with ease. Her mysterious abilities are a main focus of the movie but aren’t fully displayed until the very end of the movie. In the comics America Chavez also has the power of flight, superhuman speed, superhuman strength, invulnerability, time travel (albeit as an unwanted side-effect of interdimensional travel), and an extended lifespan. Whether or not her silver-screen counterpart also possesses these abilities is still unknown.

Chavez’s origin stories in the comics and movies are also very different. In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Chavez is shown to have been separated from her homeworld, and mothers Amalia and Elena, by accident after getting scared by a bee and opening an interdimensional portal. Her mothers were sucked into the portal while Chavez into another. Since then, Chavez has been traveling the multiverse looking for help.

America Chavez’s comic book appearance is much different than her in-person look.

In the comics, however, America, at age 5, and her little sister Catalina lived on a private island owned by a billionaire named Mr. Gales with their mothers. On the island was a high-tech medical facility used by their mothers, who as experts in the medical field, were working to cure their daughters of Edges Syndrome, a genetic disease most closely linked with the XX chromosomes. As the treatment took its effect, America’s powers began to manifest. Mr. Gales attempted to exploit this discovery much to Amalia and Elena’s dismay. Wanting to escape, the Chavez family set up a rendezvous point on the island. However, Amalia was killed when dismantling a portal chamber and Mr. Gales mortally wounded Elena with a gunshot. Witnessing everything, America opened a portal out of fear and attempted to flee with her sister Catalina. Unfortunately, Mr. Gales was able to grab Catalina at the last second and the portal closed, leaving America on the other side all alone. Now suffering from dissociative amnesia, America found herself washed ashore a beach and was found and fostered by the Santana family before regaining her memory and becoming a hero under the moniker Ms. America. Again, whether or not this will prove true in the movies is up to the director.

Just a few of the beautiful Ms. America cosplays you can find online.

America Chavez, in addition to being a great superhero, is both a Latina and LGBTQ+ icon. Although technically from a whole different universe, Chavez identifies herself as a Puerto Rican. In addition to this America Chavez is canonically lesbian. She has had multiple girlfriends including Ramone Watts (sister of a fellow superhero) and EMT in training Lisa Halloran. However, as great as this representation is, it has only been shown in the lesser known comics. Fans are pushing for the representation to translate to the big screen. Another critique that fans have is that while although Chavez is Puerto Rican in the comics, she is portrayed by Xochitl Gomez who is of Mexican descent. While fans are happy that Chavez is being played by a member of the Latina community, others are a bit upset that they failed to cast a Puerto Rican actress instead.

Lafayette High School Sophomore Brandon Portillo had this to say about America Chavez’s inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “I’m personally not a Marvel fan, but I can

Xochitl Gomez promotes the 4DX viewing experience to fans of the Marvel franchise.

definitely see this addition to the universe meaning a lot to queer Latino fans of Marvel.”

Lafayette High School senior and Journalism TA Brian Hudson said, “I think it’s cool, but I don’t think it should be the main focus of the character. But frankly, I couldn’t give less of a darn about Marvel’s business.”

Although controversy had to be expected from such a big drop from Marvel, the reception has been mainly positive. Ms. America has proven to be an amazing role model for not only the Latina community but everyone in general as well. Many people have been inspired to cosplay as the hero, make fanart, and write fanfiction. Of course, what Marvel has in store for Chavez will be revealed with time, but it’s almost certainly guaranteed to be amazing.