Female Injustices: An A LA BRAVA Book Review

by - October 27, 2022

In the superhero universe of A LA BRAVA, Latinas of different upbringings fight against female injustices.

The creator and founder of the series, Kayden Phoenix, comes from the film industry and has a background in screenwriting and directing. One of the first things she noticed in her field was the character generalizations that didn’t reflect her own background, and gave her the idea of wanting to bring a Latina superhero to the big screen.

As a third generation Chicana based in Los Angeles, her first real superhero was her mother. She was the inspiration behind the first in the series, Jalisco, named after the place her grandmother was born. This Mexican Latina superhero is a blade-wielding folklorico dancer that uses her culture as her weapon.

The second in the series, Santa, is also heavily influenced by her family. Inspired by her family members with military backgrounds, this SJW Latina superhero is a brawler that takes down the ICE detention centers.

Loquita, a Boriqua/Cubana Latina superhero, is a teen detective in the supernatural world. Loquita is an ode to Phoenix’s childhood memories of ghost stories told at family gatherings.

Ruca is a Chicana Latina vigilante dispensing justice. Her story pays homage to Phoenix’s hometown and the overplayed stereotypes of Boyle Heights, Los Angeles.

Bandita is the last in the series, who is a Dominican Latina, gun-slinging cowgirl based in modern-day New York.

For each story, a very real social justice issue is depicted. From femicide and government detention centers to suicide, human trafficking and domestic violence, Phoenix makes sure that Latinas are not only represented but heard.

“I hope that [readers] get a good story, because you are reading a book and learning about a new superhero,” she said. “And then also maybe to create change themselves; whether it’s the social justice issue that they’re learning about or just something in the community that they care about themselves.”

Although her main reasoning for creating this series was representation, she was informed during the middle of the series that A LA BRAVA is the first Latina superhero team in comic book history.

She wanted to make sure representation was found in all forms of the comics, including the designers. Several artists were a part of the story’s creations, from penciling and inking to coloring and lettering.

“I have so many amazing artists,” Phoenix said. “They’re all Latina artists. I’m so lucky I found them, all on Instagram and Twitter.”

After putting a call out online for Latinas artists to help a Latina writer create Latina superheroes, Phoenix received nearly 100 portfolios. Since then, she has been able to create a team of artists that specialize in all forms of illustration.

The importance of the A LA BRAVA series is much more than a typical superhero story. They tackle real-world problems with real-world solutions, and do so with a still-underrepresented community. This series is meant to spark conversation and bring forward a new kind of hero.

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