After stealing the show in titles like Vengeance, Young Avengers, A Force, and The Ultimates, Marvel’s America Chavez–a 21st century re-imagining of the 1940’s superhero Miss America–is finally a solo act in a title called, simply, America. If the idea that the superheroic embodiment of America in the Marvel universe is now proudly shared by a young, queer woman of color (who’s an undocumented immigrant from an alternate reality called the Utopian Parallel, come to think of it…) isn’t enough to get you to put your hand over your heart, then the alternate covers Marvel is releasing to retailers for the first few issues ought to do the trick.
We saw the “Beyoncé” variant, by America‘s regular penciler Joe Quinones, for issue #2 last week. It’s an unapologetic nod to the “Formation” video and Bey’s early 2016 aesthetic, but it’s not the only striking image of the bunch–nor is it the only pop-culture nod, either. Marvel’s 2015 hip-hop variant cover series gets a brief revival in artist Jeffrey Veregge’s Hamilton tribute piece, where the silhouetted hero raises a proud Hamiltonian fist, with just her star and hoop earring highlighted. Additionally, there’s a variant by artist Skottie Young, who the company has used for years to reinterpret their heroes as little kids, as well as an “action figure” variant, part of another series of alternate covers Marvel’s been releasing in recent years.
Outside of the usual series of variants, there are also a pair of images by artists Jamie McKelvie (who drew the character in Young Avengers) and Cliff Chiang, both of which show off the epic, superheroic nature of the character and the series. It’s a cool look for the character, and a reminder that this isn’t ultimately about representation for its own sake–people who pick up the first issue of America are going to be picking up an exciting superhero adventure–about a hero whose earbuds have definitely had Lemonade and Hamilton on them a fair bit over the past year. That’s the story of America–and she’s not throwing away her shot.