In 2011, Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta created America Chavez/Miss America with Marvel, a character that has gone on to earn a cult following and sporadic use by the publisher. Nine years later, Casey is at it again, this time with artist Dustin Nguyen for a new spin on a similar concept. All-America Comix feels a bit like an attempt to reclaim his creation but at the same time a meta statement about Casey’s time with Marvel.
We’re introduced to America Vasquez who has flight, super-strength, and the ability to travel through dimensions… pretty much the same as Chavez. She has encounters with a star-spangled hero with a shield and a despotic ruler of a nation encased in a suit of armor. It’s all familiar and that’s what makes the first issue fascinating and frustrating.
With All-America Comix, Casey had an opportunity to show us where he’d have gone with the character and what direction he’d have taken her. Instead we get a spin on Marvel characters and a frenetic story that spends little time with any concept. The only real uniting bit is Vasquez as she reflects on her life and world. Through Vasquez it feels like Casey is venting his frustrations with his time with Marvel and where the character has gone.
What’s very frustrating is that Casey could have done anything with the comic. Instead, it just feels like a rant through the lens of Michel Fiffe’s Copra. Unlike Copra, there’s no deconstruction here, it’s just been there done that and some meta-commentary.
What does stand out, and shows the potential of the comic is Nguyen’s art. There’s some breathtaking visuals and the combo of the two could deliver a hero to challenge the big two. Along with colors by Brad Simpson, design by Sonia Harris, and lettering by Rus Wooton, the comic and character stand out for the visuals. Nguyen takes advantage of the dimensional aspects of the character and has fun with it all. There’s potential, lots of potential.
For those that might not know Casey’s history with Miss America, they may find a hero they want more of. For those that know the character, it’s hard to not examine every word and every decision made. It’s a fascinating comic on multiple levels but a frustrating one. Where Casey could have shown us what he’d have done with his creation that was far superior than what we’ve seen, instead we get what feels like a creator venting about having their toys taken away.
Story: Joe Casey Art: Dustin Nguyen
Color: Brad Simpson Design: Sonia Harris Letterer: Rus Wooton
Story: 6.75 Art: 8.15 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read