REVIEW: America #6 – “Your Heart Is True”

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AMERICA #6
Writer: Gabby Rivera
Penciler: Ramon Villalobos
Inker: Walden Wong
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Price: $3.99

Release Date: 8/30/17

Fresh off her most recent heartbreak, America Chavez decided to investigate the Midas Corporation with her best friend Kate Bishop in tow. Which, of course, only led to more trouble when her ex Magdalena literally stabbed her in the back.

Plot: America #6 opens with Ms. Chavez in the middle of a boxing ring at the Midas Coliseum, though she’s still thinking about Magdalena and has no idea how she arrived. Turns out she’s been dragged into a fight to the death against her ex by none other than Arcade himself.

Meanwhile Kate is on the hunt to rescue her friend, and she’s assisted by the portal-hopping luchador-looking old lady who claimed to be America’s relative last issue.

Story: There has been a great deal of conversation about the America solo series struggling to find its footing, and I think that it just may have done so with this latest arc. If there’s one thing that will always ring true about America Chavez, it’s that she’ll throw and take all the punches necessary for the people she loves. Gabby Rivera explores that quite well here – showing that even in the immediate aftermath of a betrayal, our heroine is willing to stick her neck out to help Magdalena and save her father.

The power of friendship goes both ways, though, and someone with a heart as big as America’s has to have someone looking after her. Kate Bishop is used well here as the best friend and back-up, who is so in tune with her girl that she’s enacting part two of the plan without even knowing there was one in the first place. It was great to see how they’re still two sides of the same coin, working in tandem even when they’re physically separated.

That being said, America #6 probably didn’t need Madrimar. The reveal of her identity was satisfying if somewhat predictable, but her appearance could have been delayed to the next issue. While they have some touching moments in the back half of the story, their conversations halted the action at certain points in a way that didn’t feel believable. I understand her inclusion from a thematic point of view, however, because it all boils down to America not being alone. She has friends, she has love, and now she even has family – and that is a beautiful thing to discover.

Art: The best thing about the art in America #6 is how vibrant Tamra Bonvillain’s colors are. Different locations are emphasized with different color schemes that reflect both the setting and the atmosphere of the scenes themselves. Ramon Villalobos (with additional help from Walden Wong) also uses a lot of extra detail in the close ups and expressions of the characters, which conveys additional layers of the story efficiently.

While this particular style is too cartoon-like for my taste, it suits the more lighthearted tone of this particular issue and doesn’t take away from the emotions displayed in the more serious moments. Blood and tears appear quite a bit in the issue, and both come across as very real despite the rendering of other moments as almost comical. That alone is quite a feat, and encapsulates how this story veers from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other quite seamlessly.

Verdict: Telling a more straightforward tale has helped ground America immensely, though there’s still a bit too much happening at once sometimes. However, if you love America as a character, I recommend you stay invested in her story and see where Rivera takes her next.

Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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