Published February 2, 2017

The Growth of America

Writer Gabby Rivera imparts some important lessons on her new leading lady!

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In the upcoming AMERICA #1—out March 1—we’re going to see America Chavez going off to college. Like many students, America will have the chance to start really finding herself—and we’ll get to see some new sides of her personality.

With that in mind, we asked writer Gabby Rivera about a few of the personal lessons America will learn, both on and off campus. What are America’s interests, besides super-heroics?

Gabby Rivera: Well I think as far as her interests, we may not necessarily see her pursuing a lot of things that are new to her, but we as readers will get to get a glimpse of that part of her. We’ll see what kind of music she likes, what she does for fun—those little elements of her personality that we may not have seen in the past. And we’ll have the chance to see her in the classroom, interacting with the people around her.

She’ll also invest herself in what she’s studying: ancient revolutionaries and ancestral knowledge. How did indigenous folks conquer monsters? What tips and tricks can she pick up? She’ll take a look back at historical figures and women. And she’ll take a P.E. class that will involve bodybuilding and stunt man-like training. She’ll have that freshman year of college experience where you sort of try everything. And later on, maybe not in this arc, she’ll take some nerdy, science classes, too. Will she have the chance to learn about her lineage?

Gabby Rivera: I don’t want to give too much away, but she will have the chance to get a glimpse of the long line of women she comes from, and their connection to the planet. And also their history of kicking some ass—testing the body, being physical, and letting that sort of energy out. So we’ll see her exploring the peaceful aspects of her lineage, but also the physical and strong elements, and how those can live in balance with each other. America even gets to know some of her ancestors. She’ll get to enjoy finding family, and experiencing a connection to her roots. She has had this separation from her homeland, and now she’ll encounter it again as an adult, and we’ll see her figuring out her own relationship with her history. What truly drives her as a super hero?

Gabby Rivera: It’s funny—we see her trying to run away from the one thing she can’t run away from. She goes to college to do something different and to step away from the super hero scene, jumping from mission to mission. But she has this power within her, and she also follows in the legacy of her ancestors. Her mothers sacrificed themselves for their world, for Utopia, so what else could she be? She has that instinct to protect and to love and to not think of herself first, but to think of the community and the people first. She has that so deeply embedded inside of her. What kind of adult do you think she’ll become?

Gabby Rivera: I think she’s going to become an adult who handles personal feelings a little better; she won’t always go running to the hills. She won’t always lash out. I think she’ll learn to take things in and act a little more reflectively. I think we’ll get to see her as an incredibly powerful adult—in ways that will excite and surprise us. And with that power, she’ll find a calmness that she hasn’t had before because she won’t have to prove anything, she’ll feel more comfortable with herself. And I think a part of her will want to mentor and guide younger super heroes. What kind of leader will she become, since she’ll eventually serve as head of the Ultimates?

Gabby Rivera: I don’t want to say anything that might contradict what the ULTIMATES 2 creative team will do. But I think moving forward, she’ll have a lot of strategic skill, and she’ll really know how to distribute her resources. She’ll have talent at planning thoughtful and kind of wild missions. I could see her as a really good spy, the one who shows up in a suit with a briefcase while six other missions are happening and she knows every move. I don’t think she has really flexed that quality yet. Right now, we see her as kind of the muscle, working her way up to becoming the boss. And eventually she’ll surpass that level and become a great leader.

Gabby Rivera and artist Joe Quinones present AMERICA #1, coming March 1!