I must be a stupid person for not having realized this before now, but Holy Crap America Chavez in this scene. I just realized she’s been fighting and running from her moms, the second most important people in her life, for likely almost 24 hours. Unlike the other Mother-controlled parents, they can appear anywhere because they essentially died in every reality. So it’s likely that, from the moment she left Billy’s apartment complex, she’s been fighting for her life. Unlike Noh’s, who only showed up when he was trying to interfere with the Mother’s plans, the Amerimoms have been on her tail likely since the spell began. Mother likely knew she was going to be a problem and tried to off her at the beginning.
Have you realized how many times America has likely had to kill her moms, her goddamn heroines, by herself in the past 24 hours? How many times she thought she got away, kicking into another dimension, only to realize there was no escape? That she’d have to kill her moms again for ten minutes respite?
How telling is it that by the time she saves Billy and Teddy from Laufey, seeing her dead moms garners zero emotional reaction anymore? That seeing her idols back from the dead is nothing?
She could’ve gone to Billy, her god, for help. He’s a reality warper, she probably thought he could’ve done something. Hell, Teddy could’ve helped with the punching at least. But she promised to protect him. Her problems, no matter how awful they were, were hers alone.
Holy Crap America Chavez…
tl;dr America’s been killing her moms for the past 24 hours and has zero time for any bullshit.
Omg ok, I have a ton of feeling about this particular subject. Her interaction with her moms, to me, it’s very basic for her character-arc.
I mean, she lost her moms when she was eight. We’ve seen it now, but even before it isn’t that hard to guess how lonely and scared a runaway eight year old would feel. She gave up her whole world —a freaking Utopia—, to be like her moms. To be a hero and help people and that’s just… wow… if that’s not being a hero I don’t know what it is…
She doesn’t do it for the fame or the glory. She’s not like the avengers or so many other heroes who have a secret id and a public image to “inspire” people. She doesn’t care about that. She’s a hero on her own, simply because she wants to help. She’s doing the right thing behind the scenes, across the whole multiverse.
And then, after she’s been on her own for ten years, probably struggling to survive at first, fighting to become like her idols, like her moms. They come back and it must have been such a shock for her. And we only saw a part of it but just imagine the kind of things Mother must’ve made them say to her when they were alone. They hurt her. She’s beaten down when she finally catches up with Billy and Teddy and jus can just freaking see her pain when talking about it.
Just imagine, a girl who has idolize her moms and missed them since she was eight, and this is how she suddenly finds them again. And then they start telling her all this things about how she’s so ungrateful for their sacrifice. I can only imagine how deeply that must’ve hurt. Not only then, but countless nights after. And then, they try to pull the “what’s best for everyone” line, but by now she knows who she is.
She knows why she’s doing this and it is exactly what later reflects on her pep-talk to Billy in the last issue. She is a hero already. She no longer needs that kind of validation. She’s not her moms, and as much as she must’ve idolized them, she’s her own person now, enough to know why she’s doing this. She’s trying to do what’s best for everyone. She’s trying to save the world. When she says “me too,” it means she too is like her moms. Like her actual moms. They were heroes and so is she. This feels raw and real, because it hurts her hurting the image of her mothers, but she deep down knows who they were and who she is now.
I feel like that first arc, must have been incredibly painful and emotional to America, opening a wound we couldn’t see due to her cold facade. However, I felt it was necessary to reopen an old wound and show us America’s character arc. After getting rid of her mother’s doubles, she has to deal with Billy and it’s being face-to-face with her idol all over again. She goes through a silent journey of self re-affirmation, that finally closes up with her speech to Billy. Here, I feel America’s talking to him and to herself. He’s never going to be Captain America. She’s never going to be him. She’s never going to be her moms. But he’s Billy Kaplan, and that’s amazing enough to her, just like simply being America Chavez is amazing enough for him.
They both had to learn to come to terms with what being a hero means to them, in their own way. America’s journey is a much more silent one, because she’s not as dramatic or vocal about her inner struggles. However, it is an equally important growth story. Her’s begins when she’s eight, but at the beginning of the run she’s not completely there. She’s still unsure around Billy. Still silently doubting herself (as in when she says she wouldn’t call herself their ‘friend’). For her it’s necessary to reopen that wound (with her moms presence) to finally get closure.
So basically, a lot of amerimoms feels. Because America Chavez was just a kid who wanted her moms to come home and ended up having to make a huge decision and growing up to fast to become like them, but ended up becoming a hero on her own right.
The Art of Reading Character Arcs, Vol. 1 - 3: America Chavez
I’m pretty much done ranting about America Chavez for the weekend. I have video games to play and novels to read and fresh air to experience. But in case any deliberately obtuse racists attempt to reduce her to a flattened sassy & violent Latina stereotype, here is a handy compilation of my posts about three of America’s fairly major character arcs, with useful screenshots and a lot of rambling.
America’s origin! Sorta what you’d expect from all the clues, except for the part where Billy created her home dimension and she’s a princess! Love lil’ America and her determination! Christian Ward is a stellar artist. Utopia was gorgeous.
Time for some, show-don’t-tell, Look it’s a character arc!
America Chavez x Moms x Running Away vs. Running Towards.
America starts off dressed up and playing Demiurge with the other kids, running running running cause they can’t catch her. And she keeps running. Is she running towards new worlds where she can follow in her moms’ footsteps? Or, as her internalized guilt / Mother’s fake dead Amerimoms would have it, is she running away from the future her parents gave everything to create for her? Physically and emotionally bruised by the memories of her parents, the only way she can live up to the ideals and memories of the women who inspired her is by destroying the fake resurrected versions of them (shades of the undead Britannia in Phonogram, Vol. 1), as they insist (like all parents do) that they just wanted what was best for her. But she wanted what was best for herself, too, and growing up means making those tough calls for yourself. She was never running away.
When the engines break down, Billy (Billy Kaplan) asks her to carry who she can and get them away quickly but America Chavez doesn’t run.