History as a Weapon (and a Motivation) in America 8

by Spencer Irwin

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

When I was first introduced to America Chavez in the pages of Young Avengers, she was a bad-ass, taciturn woman of mystery. As time has passed, though, we’ve come to learn far more about her personality, her methods, and — especially within the pages of Gabby Rivera and Joe Quinones’ America — her history. She still has the qualities that made me fall in love with her in the first place, but she’s also become more predictable and easier to sum-up.

For example, I took one look at this panel — of America explicitly breaking the rules the moment they’re announced — and thought ‘Yup, that’s America in a nutshell.’ Oubliette the Exterminatrix — the evil who’s been recently stalking America, and who finally makes her move in America 8 — has been paying as much attention to America’s history as readers have, and it gives her just the ammunition she needs to take America down.

Posing as Sotomayor University’s new Dean of Students, Billie Brightly, Oubliette uses her knowledge of America’s psyche and past to set her up, specifically referencing her triggers and establishing new rules she knows America will just have to break, and being there to pounce the moment it happens. America’s defeat comes easily, because she’s become easy enough to know that Oubliette was able to read her like a book and figure out exactly how to play her in the fastest, most efficient way possible.

Rivera is setting Oubliette up to be a fascinating opponent for America. They’re complete opposites — Oubliette cold and calculating, driven by greed, while America is an altruist, a lover, and a brawler first and foremost — but both are driven by their history. America is grateful to learn she has one at all, while Oubliette’s just makes her feel entitled.

What I find most fascinating about this is that there’s no real history between Oubliette and America themselves (the Oubliette who appeared in the pages of Young Avengers was a projection of Leah/Loki’s guilt, not the real deal) — Oubliette has targeted her almost at random, simply because America just-so-happened to interfere in one of her plans and displayed powers that would be useful to her. The fact that Oubliette — the wealthy white heiress — is trying to claim the ancestral abilities of America — a Latina lesbian and essentially an inter-dimensional immigrant — as part of her own birthright can’t go without stating. It’s a rich, sadly-relevant dynamic, and I hope Rivera and Quinones mine it for all its worth.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

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