Is that America Chavez—? Oh no, it’s actually America Vasquez—an alternate America Chavez, but…not? She’s familiar with the same attitude, the super strength, and the ability to fly and travel through dimensions. All-America Comix has similar characters you’d find in Marvel works—both in personality and visuals—but with very, very small differences. Almost like bootleg versions. It doesn’t read as a ~poke fun at these characters type of story, instead it’s like a ~what could’ve been~ that takes readers absolutely nowhere.
For those who don’t know, Joe Casey “created” America Chavez, the kickass queer Latinx superhero who can kick portals to other dimensions. (I put created in quotes because Casey might’ve first introduced America into the Marvel universe, it was Kieron Gillen who made America Chavez who she is.) This comic seems to be a weird look at what Casey could’ve done with Marvel characters, but actually not with the very meta tones it takes on with these bootleg characters that goes nowhere. Whatever Casey is trying to do in All-America Comix doesn’t work.
Throughout the one-shot, you have America Vasquez being disillusioned by the fact that nobody will fix the problems in the world if she doesn’t do it herself, mouthing off to familiar off brand looking characters like a Captain America with WBD Man and Doctor Doom with Imperator Doud, and falling through a rip in reality.
It doesn’t offer you anything about new about America Vasquez; there’s more meta commentary than there is plot or backstory that would make you care for America. She’s this teenager who’s trying to find who she is as a superhero. She’s an imitation—both as a teenager and in who she is (as another America Chavez but not). Her inner dialogue is painful to read; it’s very cringey because it doesn’t read naturally. It’s clear a middle-aged man wrote this with the way he tries to imitate teen slang and incorporate social media into the comic (the latter could be cool if done right), and 100% fails.
The bright spot of this entire comic is Dustin Nguyen’s art and Brad Simpson’s coloring because wow, they go perfectly together. Nguyen’s depictions of the action scenes are gorgeous, especially when America falls through the rifts in reality. It’s just out of this world, and gives off that trippy ‘where am I’ effect that is perfect for how America’s experiencing.
For a one-shot, All-America Comix ends on a rather inconclusive ending. It would’ve been a fine ending if the rest of the story was like a coherent piece full of development. It’s like this one-shot is supposed to be the issue that kicks a whole new story that just doesn’t happen. It’s disappointing.
Should you read All-America Comix? God, no. This comic was obviously supposed to be a series, but only came out in a one-shot format that fails to develop anything about the character or the story enough to feel satisfied. It’s just an imitation, spouting meta commentary that doesn’t illuminate the comic itself.