Marvel continues its run of variants, revealing a Beyoncé-inspired cover for the second issue of the America series. Illustrator Joe Quinones pays significant homage to the singer’s iconic “Formation” video, with the hard-nosed queer lead character America Chavez adorned in patriotic regalia.
It is the first variant to model a cover after a music video and R&B track, versus covers of classic rap albums.
Introduced in 2011, the character packs a punch, gaining a considerable following through the Young Avengers titles, before starting a standalone series. As one of Marvel’s most powerful characters, America can kick open holes in alternate realities.
Standing menacingly beside her are two members of the ultra-diverse Ultimates: Carol Danvers, the current Captain Marvel, and Monica Rambeau, who also was once Captain Marvel. They would come together as part of Marvel’s complete comic upheaval, a fusion of their mainstream and Ultimate universes, that began in 2015.
The comic debuts in April.
Though Marvel has made waves with popular hip-hop variants, the Disney-owned company has sailed in choppy waters behind the issues, per Fusion. Ears perked up when Marvel editor Tom Brevoort dismissed a fan’s questioning of Marvel use of hip-hop and lack of diversity in artistic representation.
“Can you explain why Marvel thinks that doing hip-hop variants is a good idea, when absolutely no announced writers or artists on the new Marvel titles, as of now, are black?” asked the fan. “Wouldn’t correcting the latter be a much better idea than the former?”
Brevoort replied: “What does one have to do with the other, really?”
He would later explain his rationale, claiming the variants would perhaps draw in new talent. Writer and MacArthur Genius grant winner Te-Nehisi Coates would subsequently begin his ongoing Black Panther series.