On Friday, word got out that Xochitl Gomez (of Netflix’s Babysitter’s Club) was joining Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the sequel to Marvel’s trippiest pre-Endgame movie. And with a title like that, and the presences of Marvel’s foremost reality bender (Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch, fresh out of the potentially timeline shattering WandaVision), the internet collectively gasped “AMERICA CHAVEZ!” together. But who is she? And why is she such an obvious addition to the cast of Doctor Strange 2?
“Ms. America” Chavez is a relatively recent addition to Marvel canon. She was introduced by Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta in 2011’s Vengeance. She was raised by her two mothers in a utopian pocket dimension. Her moms both appeared to die closing black holes that threatened her city, and inspired by their heroism, she abandoned her reality for the multiverse.
When she arrived on the main Marvel Earth, she joined the Teen Brigade and fought, among others, a teenage Loki. That conflict eventually led her to join the Young Avengers, along with Kate Bishop (as Hawkeye), Marvel Boy Noh-Varr, Prodigy, Wiccan, and Hulkling. Loki was trying to prevent Wiccan from becoming the Demiurge, a creator of universes, as part of a deal he had cut with Mother, an interdimensional parasite. They were eventually successful, thanks in large part to America’s powers.
She has the standard suite of superhero powers – flight, super speed, super toughness, strength. But she can also create star portals that let her and her teammates jump between realities. She can also move through time using her portals, but she doesn’t have the best control of that power. She’s also capable of seeing the multiverse, something that came up in her first post-Secret Wars team up, The Ultimates, and one would imagine may play a role in her appearance in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Might be a bit of a leap. Who knows.
Vengeance (2011) – Casey and Dragotta’s offbeat miniseries that introduced Chavez will give you a good sense of who she was at the start.
Young Avengers (2013) – Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen work up some very hip magic and run America and her friends through one of the best-looking, most entertaining comics of its time. Wiccan and Hulkling are really the focus here, but America gets some nice moments.
The Ultimates/Ultimates 2 (2015) – Al Ewing (and eventually Christian Ward) take one of the most fascinating teams of characters – Black Panther, Spectrum, Blue Marvel, Captain Marvel, America, and Galactus – and explore the reconstituted multiverse, reconstituted after the old one was destroyed during Secret Wars. These books are phenomenally weird. Hopefully her screen character draws a lot from here.
America (2017) – Written by Gabby Rivera and drawn by Joe Quinones, America gets a ton of backstory in this series. Also, she punches Hitler. So it’s good.
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