Previously in America #5
The story in issue #6, “Your Heart is True,” was pretty standard and predictable, and a bit of letdown after such refreshing storytelling in the first five issues. America awakens from being betrayed by Magdalena to find herself in a boxing ring. Her opponent? Magdalena. They’re forced to fight to the death or else Magdalena’s father, who’s being held hostage by the fightmaster, will be killed. Magdalena still loves America and wants to die in the ring as she sees it’s the only way both America and her father can make it out of the situation alive. Luckily for all involved, Kate Bishop has teamed up with Madrimar to rescue the hostage and this allows both America and Magdalena the chance to fight their way out. The issue had two important developments. There’s a woman named Oubliette Midas a.k.a. The Exterminatrix behind everything, including the fight club, who has America and Sotomayer University in her sights, and Madrimar is America’s grandmother.
If the previous issue felt a bit too been-there-done-that, issue #7, “Baby, It’s You,” was unlike anything I’ve read in a long time. Madrimar takes America on a virtual tour of her history. This is as heartbreaking as it is important. As America learns the origins of Planeta Fuertonia and its culture, she witnesses her mothers falling in love and the day she was born. It’s almost, understandably, too much to take. And when Madrimar talks of her own sacrifice — leaving her daughter, Amalia, moments after America was born — in order to protect their future, America lashes out; the feelings of abandonment resurface and she flees back to the university. What she doesn’t know, is that The Exterminatrix is waiting there, and she’s targeted America’s friends.
A series of artists had a hand in creating these gorgeous pages: Jen Bartel, Ming Doyle, Aud Koch, Joe Quinones, and Joe Rivera. This really worked in its favor as each of the different styles served to give unique life to the different parts of America’s past. My favorites were the pages drawn by Jen Bartel; the first four pages. They show the two goddesses, Berraca and Sanar, who fell in love while creating the galaxies. Together, they made Planeta Fuertonia. This is shown in vibrant, swirling colors, expertly rendered by Bartel as well.
And, of course, the cover by Joe Quinones is completely badass.