REVIEW: America #8 – “Exterminatrix”

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AMERICA #8
Writer: Gabby Rivera
Penciller: Joe Quinones
Inker: Joe Rivera
Colorist: Jordan Gibson
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Price: $3.99

Release Date: 10/25/17

After discovering more about her home planet, Planeta Fuertona, America #8 picks up with her taking a much needed break. But things can’t stay in stasis for long around her, so of course she’s called into action in no time.

Plot: America and Prodigy decide to room together at Sotomayor University, but before she can regale him with more tales of her newfound family she must speak with Professor Douglas about her ancestry. Unfortunately, her teacher gets kidnapped before she can be of much help. It’s a good thing she’s got Prodigy by her side to fight this time.

But this tag team is not going to be able to protect Sotomayor University from a regime change that bordering on fascist in the name of security.

Story: The friendship between America and David is something that’s been missing ever since our heroine went gallivanting across the multiverse, and its return is by far my favorite thing about America #8. It feels like he grounds her as a character, as well as being of of the strongest supporting cast members in the series on his own. The inclusion of a possible romantic future between America and Magdalena on the other hand, has me feeling a little like Chavez herself: “I’m not there yet.” While the look into her romantic past was interesting, it feels a little too soon to delve back into what was clearly a dysfunctional relationship. Not to mention that the long-distance is a bit of a Lisa retread.

That being said, there isn’t much time to swell on personal affairs in America #8, as the action picks up rather quickly. An attack inside the University prompts an emergency meeting with the new Dean of Students named Billie Brightly, whom readers already know is a villain in disguise. David and America are almost too quick to figure out that something is not right while she starts barking out the supposedly necessary restrictions of student freedoms. I say it was too quick because it doesn’t leave room for the tension to breathe and instead telegraphs the outcome, similar to how Brightly has ‘proof’ of America breaking the new rules before the rules were even set in place by the narrative.

While the story moves a little too quickly for me in some respects, it is a debate worth having when it comes to security versus freedom. And though Exterminatrix is a bit of an obvious villain, her lies and manipulations provide an interesting dilemma for X’andra – who is shaping up to be as developed a supporting character as David.

Art: The pacing problems that the story might suffer from are not reflected in the art, as Joe Quinones makes use of his vast talent to provide a truly beautiful comic to look at. America #8 has its fair share of action sequences, but the art team shines especially in the emotional close-ups and expressive detail bestowed to each of the characters. Jordan Gibson’s coloring as bends subtly to the mood of each scene while still providing one unifying look.

The electricity surrounding America’s powers really helps to make her fight scenes pop, and Travis Lanham’s lettering draws attention in all the right places. Overall, the aesthetic for the series is its strongest asset, as it emphasizes the fun and wonder associated with her abilities.

Verdict: America #8 hints at future relationship and personal development for Chavez while plunging ahead with a new threat and villain who, though intriguing, moves a little too fast.

Star Rating: 3 out of 5

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