The final test (for me) concerning this new America series has finally come. With great cynicism, I must say that America #3 has passed… more or less with a “C” average, so far. If you remember my review of America #2 I was not happy with the writing in the series. I was happy but cautious with America #1 but #2 nearly made me drop the series then and there. With #3, I have hope again. In this issue, we get a far more coherent story that seems to have learned how to balance the characters and plot progression far more seamlessly. It’s almost as if though Gabby recognized her errors in the second issue and moved quickly to correct them. While I never disrespected her as a writer, I am now starting to see where some of her merit comes from.
America #3 dives deep into Chavez’s Latina culture with flashbacks to her childhood that feel very real. Unlike some of the forced quips and jokes in the last issue, this comic seems to find a natural, and powerful way of giving us a slice of the person that Chavez is and how she came to be that. As I’m reading I can hear her voice. I can hear her accent. The captioned narration is beautiful and I appreciate Gabby doing a wonderful job of portraying her so well in these instances. Remember, Chavez is actually from the parallel, but when she came to earth, she learned what it meant to be a brown girl who looked like other Latinas.
The writing here is also much better because we get a very clear picture of what her goal is here. It lends a hand to the previous issue as well. In fact, if someone bought all three of these at the same time and powered through issue #2, then the problems might not be as well noticed, which is a good thing in the grand scheme of things. It feels no more like a setback, and less like a complete blunder. In this issue, America needs to save her (ex?) girlfriend, Lisa, but based on her conversations with Peggy, she understands that she can’t just barrel in with her fists like she does usually. She needs a plan.
This comic is definitely different from others, offering a unique stylistic voice. And this issue grants us more fun, eccentric creativity. This whimsical fun was present in the others as well, but here, it meshes better with the story, to some extent. It’s still somewhat odd that random beings are giving her wise mentorship but, I’m beginning to think that there’s an unknown method to this madness. Things are starting to make sense, especially when we get a glimpse into the ancestral plane. In this case, she’s learning a thing or two from an alternate universe, 80’s Storm. Given that her main power is to travel through time and dimensions, the book sets up for limitless possibilities when it comes to the people she runs into.
One thing that I must commend Gabby on in this issue (and the others as well) is an idyllic inspirational voice. I feel empowered reading it. In America #3, Ororo’s dialogue and America’s captions illuminates a positive narrative behind the story. The moral spine behind this book comes from a deep place of love and compassion, and I appreciate Gabby for expressing that. This kind of meaning helps drive a story forward, so long as the plot is sound. Right now, I think things are beginning to come together, but there are still a few storytelling kinks to work out.
The art in America is gorgeous. America is always dressed in the most creative and sunning outfits, and I’m always impressed with her style. Her expressions, tones, and attitude are so well portrayed. When you couple that with the unique flat color palette, it creates a look and tone unique to her book. Style wise, all the characters are fun to look at. From unique clothing to sci-fi-esque hair, it’s all beautiful. I think this works well for her solo series.
The America series is still going to need to do some work. I think America’s characterization is much better portrayed in this issue, but I also think we are going to need more coherent story telling. I think I see where Gabby is going, but I think it needs to be more clear while she takes us there. I was seriously considering dropping this series with how bad America #2 was, but with this, I’ve been invigorated with a new hope. I want this series to succeed. I really, really do. Here’s to moving forward with cautious optimism.