Gabby Rivera teases a final showdown with The Exterminatrix!

The Exterminatrix has America Chavez up against the wall. And now that she’s been isolated from her friends and allies, the only one our hero can rely on might just be herself.

On December 20, America’s fight against The Exterminatrix comes to an epic conclusion as writer Gabby Rivera and artists Jen Bartel and Joe Quinones set the hero up with her final shot at the villain in AMERICA #10!

We caught up with Gabby to hear more about America Chavez’s big moment.

Marvel.com: America has a few new powers in her repertoire. Tell us a little bit about them!

Gabby Rivera: One of her new abilities will be the power stomp, which we saw when she went to Vegas with Madrimar. If she flies upward and uses a lot of her energy to come back down, she can slam hard enough into the ground in a way that basically levels everything. That’s something I wanted to play around with—the ways in which Madrimar can help America fine tune her abilities and find the other special things that she can do. She already has so much power, so now it becomes about the ways we can hone that and give her other cool tricks.

One of the powers that she has developed over the series has been the ability to punch open multiple portals to find someone she’s looking for. Storm helped her develop that, and she’s trying to use it to subvert Dr. Brightly, which would allow her to do the right thing under a change in administration at the school… But I don’t want to say too much!

Marvel.com: By the way, Storm’s recent interactions with America have been so great to read!

Gabby Rivera: Oh my god, I love that! It felt legendary for me to write Storm. I felt like it might’ve been one of the best moments of my life. I loved being able to bring Storm in as a top-level, iconic mentor for America; to have them engage with each other in a thoughtful way, a loving way, and also a very physical way. They fly and fight and learn together. Storm shows America that she’ll always be there for her. It’s important to show women of color bonding and helping each other evolve. There’s a Storm renaissance!

Marvel.com: The Exterminatrix stands as a very formidable opponent—and she has the Midas Corporation on her side. How will America’s new powers help her in this fight?

Gabby Rivera: The “Exterminatrix” arc has showed that, yes, America’s powers are important, but so is her team. Exterminatrix has so much power behind her, but we realized that America does too. So how do we build up Prodigy and the Betas and others? They’re present, and they’re also part of the fight for the soul of Sotomayor University. America is super powerful and she could obliterate everything, but it’s never that simple.

Because Exterminatrix is so powerful and her weaponry is so refined (and sociopathic!), America really experiences a tremendous injury. So how does she recover from that and where does it take her? We link her pain to the connections she experiences with her family and her ancestors. In her pain and in her healing, she sees that people have her back. And she has the ability to say, “Okay, I don’t have to do everything on my own. In what ways can I really channel what I’m supposed to be doing and what I’ve learned in order to defend the school and be part of the team?”

Marvel.com: Beyond this fight, how what she learns here impact her approach to being a super hero moving forward?

Gabby Rivera: This is a non-traditional super hero story. America Chavez navigates grief, identity, and personhood. And we want to do it in a way where she’s reflective, and still headstrong, brave, and a little reckless. She possesses a spiritual power that she hasn’t tapped into yet, but we got the seeds of that in issue #7 with her origin story.

Marvel.com: What do you see as the most important takeaways from this arc?

Gabby Rivera: That she’s not alone. That folks love her and that she has family. And also, just because you can use force to fix a problem and blow something up doesn’t always mean that it’s the best thing to do.

Even though she had a leadership position with the Ultimates and she has proven herself as a person who can make good decisions, now she’s forging her own path. And I think that, even though we can often show up for a group, sometimes we don’t do that same thing for ourselves. So now, America is learning that she has to show up for herself too.

AMERICA #10, by writer Gabby Rivera and artists Jen Bartel and Joe Quinones, drops on December 20!

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Gabby Rivera teases the hero’s Marvel Legacy clash with Exterminatrix!

Exterminatrix has finally caught up with her prey. And America Chavez faces one of her greatest foes yet in AMERICA #8!

A.K.A. Oubliette Midas, the baddie claims to have killed vampires and gods, so America will be tested like never before. As Marvel Legacy dawns, she’ll need Grandma Madrimar—and all of her friends—to survive and somehow defend Sotomayor University. Written by Gabby Rivera with art by Joe Quinones, the test has never been tougher for the red, white, and blue hero.

We caught up with Gabby to hear more about what she has in store for America.

Marvel.com: America has some incredibly impressive abilities, but so does Oubliette…would you consider her powers a match for our hero’s?

Gabby Rivera: Exterminatrix will wreak havoc on America Chavez and Sotomayor University. Oubliette’s ability to manipulate any situation to her advantage will blindside America and her crew. She’ll be at least ten steps ahead the entire way.

America’s going to have to see past the mind games and dig deep into what really motivates Exterminatrix.

Marvel.com: Something else going against AmericaOubliette has the Midas Corporation on her side…

Gabby Rivera: The Midas Corporation has already taken shots at America in issue #5 and #6—the two-story arc with Kate Bishop A.K.A. Hawkeye. We saw their hold on Magdalena—America’s childhood friend and almost ex-girlfriend—and how deep their reach goes into the Underworld. We haven’t seen the last of Midas, that’s for sure—and with Exterminatrix invested in America’s downfall, they’re bound to pull out all the stops.

Marvel.com: How will America handle this threat?

Gabby Rivera: America’s not going to want to play as dirty as Exterminatrix…but she might have to be brutal to save both Sotomayor and herself.

Marvel.com: What else can you tease about issue #8?

Gabby Rivera: X’Andria and Prodigy have some really great moments in this upcoming Exterminatrix arc…I’d keep an eye out for them too!

Enter the fray with AMERICA #8, by Gabby Rivera and artist Joe Quinones, on October 25!

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Writer Gabby Rivera joins the Podcast to chat America Chavez!

For this week’s podcast, hosts Judy Stephens and Sana Amanat are joined by novelist Gabby Rivera, writer of America, and editor Wil Moss to chat America Chavez!

Listen to the Women of Marvel – Episode 135 now!

We are now on Soundcloud! Head over now to our new hub to listen to all 135 Women of Marvel podcasts!

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The Women of Marvel podcast assemble to chat all things Marvel and more! New episodes will be released every Friday, co-hosted by Marvel Director, Content and Character Development Sana Amanat, Marvel.com Producer Judy Stephens, along with Marvel DMG Senior Social Media Manager Adri Cowan.

Have feedback or questions? Email us at WomenOf@marvel.com, or tweet your questions and comments to @Marvel with the hashtag #WomenOfMarvel!

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Writer Gabby Rivera imparts some important lessons on her new leading lady!

In the upcoming AMERICA #1—out March 1—we’re going to see America Chavez going off to college. Like many students, America will have the chance to start really finding herself—and we’ll get to see some new sides of her personality.

With that in mind, we asked writer Gabby Rivera about a few of the personal lessons America will learn, both on and off campus.

Marvel.com: What are America’s interests, besides super-heroics?

Gabby Rivera: Well I think as far as her interests, we may not necessarily see her pursuing a lot of things that are new to her, but we as readers will get to get a glimpse of that part of her. We’ll see what kind of music she likes, what she does for fun—those little elements of her personality that we may not have seen in the past. And we’ll have the chance to see her in the classroom, interacting with the people around her.

She’ll also invest herself in what she’s studying: ancient revolutionaries and ancestral knowledge. How did indigenous folks conquer monsters? What tips and tricks can she pick up? She’ll take a look back at historical figures and women. And she’ll take a P.E. class that will involve bodybuilding and stunt man-like training. She’ll have that freshman year of college experience where you sort of try everything. And later on, maybe not in this arc, she’ll take some nerdy, science classes, too.

Marvel.com: Will she have the chance to learn about her lineage?

Gabby Rivera: I don’t want to give too much away, but she will have the chance to get a glimpse of the long line of women she comes from, and their connection to the planet. And also their history of kicking some ass—testing the body, being physical, and letting that sort of energy out. So we’ll see her exploring the peaceful aspects of her lineage, but also the physical and strong elements, and how those can live in balance with each other. America even gets to know some of her ancestors. She’ll get to enjoy finding family, and experiencing a connection to her roots. She has had this separation from her homeland, and now she’ll encounter it again as an adult, and we’ll see her figuring out her own relationship with her history.

Marvel.com: What truly drives her as a super hero?

Gabby Rivera: It’s funny—we see her trying to run away from the one thing she can’t run away from. She goes to college to do something different and to step away from the super hero scene, jumping from mission to mission. But she has this power within her, and she also follows in the legacy of her ancestors. Her mothers sacrificed themselves for their world, for Utopia, so what else could she be? She has that instinct to protect and to love and to not think of herself first, but to think of the community and the people first. She has that so deeply embedded inside of her.

Marvel.com: What kind of adult do you think she’ll become?

Gabby Rivera: I think she’s going to become an adult who handles personal feelings a little better; she won’t always go running to the hills. She won’t always lash out. I think she’ll learn to take things in and act a little more reflectively. I think we’ll get to see her as an incredibly powerful adult—in ways that will excite and surprise us. And with that power, she’ll find a calmness that she hasn’t had before because she won’t have to prove anything, she’ll feel more comfortable with herself. And I think a part of her will want to mentor and guide younger super heroes.

Marvel.com: What kind of leader will she become, since she’ll eventually serve as head of the Ultimates?

Gabby Rivera: I don’t want to say anything that might contradict what the ULTIMATES 2 creative team will do. But I think moving forward, she’ll have a lot of strategic skill, and she’ll really know how to distribute her resources. She’ll have talent at planning thoughtful and kind of wild missions. I could see her as a really good spy, the one who shows up in a suit with a briefcase while six other missions are happening and she knows every move. I don’t think she has really flexed that quality yet. Right now, we see her as kind of the muscle, working her way up to becoming the boss. And eventually she’ll surpass that level and become a great leader.

Gabby Rivera and artist Joe Quinones present AMERICA #1, coming March 1!

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Miss America Chavez takes control in her own ongoing series from Gabby Rivera and Joe Quinones!

Many of us consider America Chavez one of our favorite characters. She has an independent streak and a strong sense of self that resonate with a lot of readers.

And now, she has her own series!

We caught up with writer Gabby Rivera and artist Joe Quinones on what it has been like to work on this fan favorite and what to expect when AMERICA launches in March of 2017.

Marvel.com: America has a very loyal fan base, and many readers have been hoping to see her in her own book for some time. What do you think makes her so popular?

Gabby Rivera: From talking to some of my friends who love America, I think people find her identity and her attitude appealing. They like that she’s Latina, and that’s she’s queer. And not only that, I see her as kind of a tough girl, and I think people like that. It reminds me of that old Michelle Rodriguez movie, “Girlfight,” where she plays a boxer. Many of the experiences coming up in this country now have relevance to America’s story. And the folks we’re trying to uplift, support, and watch shine can relate to her.

Joe Quinones: I’m one of those readers! I fell in love with the character while reading Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen’s amazing run on YOUNG AVENGERS and have since both wanted to draw her and see her carry her own book. I think her popularity stems from three things: her uncompromising tough girl demeanor, her sense of fashion, and the representation she imparts to LGBTQ, Latina, and female communities. Yet these aspects of her character don’t completely define her. Instead, behind her tough exterior, we find a person who cares for her fellow man and friends and will fight for and protect them fiercely.

Marvel.com: A lot of fans really love America’s friendship with Kate Bishop, who also has an upcoming book of her own. Do you envision any crossovers?

Gabby Rivera: I’ll say to readers that they should look out for a little Kate Bishop in this book. Anything is possible!

Joe Quinones: I consider Kate my other favorite character from YOUNG AVENGERS. Given their past, we can expect at least some appearances from Kate here. No plans as yet for a crossover, but I had such fun doing the Howard the Duck/Squirrel Girl crossover with Chip Zdarsky, Ryan North, and Erica Henderson. I’d certainly enjoy doing one again with two of my favorite characters. And I so look forward to Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero’s HAWKEYE series, so color me interested.

Marvel.com:  Now that we’ll get to see America’s character explored a little more deeply, what can we expect to see that maybe we couldn’t have seen before she had her own book?

Gabby Rivera: I’m finding in my research that readers want to know everyday things about her. What kind of music does she listen to? What books does she read? What goofy character traits or nuances haven’t been fleshed out before? I’ve had fun writing that part of her, because I can do anything. She could listen to Oasis, she could like knitting—not that I’ve put those things in the book. But I’ve enjoyed the endless potential.

A big chunk of the book will show her going to college and searching for connections to her family. At her age, the transition from childhood to adulthood, you want to figure out not only, “what do I find interesting, what do I want to study?” but also, “where do I come from?” and, “what didn’t I learn in school that I want to study in university?” In this book, we’ll get to see how these things she learns and the classes she takes impact the way she approaches learning about herself, where her ancestors come from, and what she can really do with her powers.

Joe Quinones: I think we can expect to further peer behind her hard exterior and get a sense of what drives her. We find her looking outside of the world she has known and hoping to grow.

Marvel.com: What do you think this boost in visibility for America says about the direction of representation in comics?

Gabby Rivera: I just recently visited the Marvel headquarters for the first time, and it’s as dope as you’d imagine! Sana Amanat, the Director of Content and Character Development, is a badass woman of color! Walking into that space and talking to everyone there, I could tell that Marvel wants authentic voices and real people who feel invested in this type of work and this type of writing. They’ve brought on Roxanne Gay and Ta-Nehisi Coates, oh my god! I feel beyond humbled and honored to be a part of this world, where they create books dedicated not only to the craft of comics, but also to uplifting voices, and breaking down racism, sexism, and homophobia. It feels big. And I feel excited that readers will get to see this story at this time in our country.

Joe Quinones: We still have a long way to go, but I see a heartening trend toward better representation in the industry. You can’t underestimate the impact of seeing yourself reflected back in the culture. It says you have importance. It says you matter. You too can achieve great things. The doors are not closed to you. The ceiling is not too high.

Marvel.com: The events of Civil War II hit America pretty hard. Will that affect her story in the new book?

Gabby Rivera: We’ll see her doing a lot of reflection, but through a fun story that’s unique to America. We’ll get to know more about her and how some of her past experiences shape her decisions to go to college, and to try to kind of break away from the super hero scene for a while.

Joe Quinones: Certainly. Given the way Civil War II played out, America has found herself a bit disillusioned and looking outside of the super hero community.

Marvel.com: Can you tell us a little about your experience collaborating together?

Gabby Rivera: We’re still in the early stages, and it feels kind of like your first week of school, when there’s a lot excitement about finding yourself in this new space. Joe creates stunning work—wait until you see it! I really enjoy working with someone of his skill level and artistry. And I love the way that he draws America. Her body is powerful and her clothing is fresh and sexy, but not sexualized.

And as someone working on my first comic, I love seeing the art turn from pencil sketches to fully inked, vibrant work. I’m enjoying learning the ins and outs of this process. I’ve felt really supported [through] all of it.

Joe Quinones: While Gabby continues fine-tuning her script, I’ve been working on designs for the book. I feel very excited by what I’ve seen so far. She clearly has got a feel for America’s voice. I so look forward to working with her further.

Marvel.com: What have you found unique or interesting about working on AMERICA?

Gabby Rivera: Personally, I’ve found it a wonderful challenge. Marvel didn’t tap me for this because I write comics; I don’t write comics, I write quirky, coming of age novels. I’ve really enjoyed taking that style and aesthetic—my kind of goofy, weird stuff—and using that to explore a character who has super powers. Also, working with America, I’ve had so much free space in terms of figuring out what exactly she can do with her powers, and how she does it. And I’ve loved having the chance to write a book that’s pro-women and pro-people of color. I can say, “I want to make this professor of America’s Afro-Latina and I want her to do x, y, and z,” and the people at Marvel tell me, “Yeah, do it! Run with it!”

Joe Quinones: I’ve never spent so much time looking up crop jackets in my life. America has such a unique and definitive style, so I’ve been researching and designing outfits for her that are new but still line up with her uncommonly patriotic fashion sense. I’ve had fun with it.

Marvel.com: Would you like to tease anything else about the book?

Gabby Rivera: Readers should get ready for a cameo from Storm!

Joe Quinones: HOWARD THE DUCK saw the introduction of my cat Biggs into the 616. I hope to introduce at least one other favorite pet of mine into the Marvel Universe. Time will tell…

Join Gabby Rivera and Joe Quinones in casting your vote for AMERICA beginning in March 2017!

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