Wednesday, May 13, 2015

5 Reasons You Should Care about … Sharon Carter

It was announced last week that actress Emily Van Camp (ABC’s Revenge) would be returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Agent 13 in next year’s Captain America: Civil War, in a cast list that’s shaping up to make it Avengers 2.5.

Van Camp’s character had maybe the least to do in last year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but the truth is she’s been an important part of Steve Rogers’ life for nearly 50 years now, since her first appearance in 1966’s Tales of Suspense #75. She also played a very crucial role in one of the defining moments of the Civil War comics story from which the 2016 movie takes its name.

Here’s some more fun facts about this Stan Lee/Jack Kirby creation:

1. She’s the sequel to Agent Carter: Sharon was originally the younger sister of Peggy Carter, Steve Rogers’ love interest from World War II. Rogers was thawed out in the 1960s, when Peggy and Sharon being sisters would have been plausible. Comics’ sliding timescale has since made Peggy Sharon’s aunt and later great aunt. Minor point: The issue in which Sharon first appeared also marked the first appearance of everyone’s favorite French foot fighter, Batroc the Leaper.

2. She’s been Steve’s No. 1 gal far longer than Peggy: In the comics, Steve and Sharon have been on-again, off-again lovers for the better part of five decades. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, however, they just met, and her relation to Peggy hasn't been explicitly revealed yet. Also, in what is absolutely a good problem to have, Peggy has become one of the MCU’s most beloved characters, to the point where ABC last week announced a second season of her TV series (Marvel had a busy news week last week). Perhaps, with Revenge having just been canceled, there’s room for both Agents Carter to share the spotlight, in a passing-of-the-torch story that jumps between past and present.

3. She’s died at least twice in the comics: Sharon Carter was first killed in Captain America #233, when she detonated an explosive on her person while under the control of a group called the National Force led by perennial Cap villain Dr. Faustus. She stayed dead for more than 200 issues, finally returning in issue 444, at the hand of writer Mark Waid, who’d revealed Sharon had faked her death to run a covert op for Nick Fury and later got caught up in a plot to resurrect Hitler. Much later, in 2013, Rick Remender made it look like he’d killed Sharon again during his first arc on Captain America, during a mission to save Cap from a dimension ruled by the mad biogeneticist Arnim Zola. Instead, she survived and raised Steve’s adopted son, whom he’d taken from Zola.

4. She killed Captain America: In Ed Brubaker’s brilliant 2000s run on Cap, Sharon was brainwashed once again by Dr. Faustus, this time into shooting Steve in the stomach post-Civil War as part of a long-game plan by the Red Skull. Sharon was pregnant with Steve’s child at the time, unbeknownst to her, and loses the child amid a fight with the Skull’s daughter, Sin. Faustus then makes her forget being pregnant. Steve’s death set up his original sidekick, Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier, to take his place for a time as the good captain.

5. She’s been an Avenger: Sharon was part of the cast of the 2010-13 volume of Secret Avengers, running covert missions alongside Steve, Black Widow and other heavy-hitters. Brubaker was the first among a chain of writers on this series.

Read this: Ed Brubaker’s phenomenal run on Captain America, which we've covered before and which served as the inspiration for the Winter Soldier movie. The lion’s share of it is available in three hardcover ominbi that start at the beginning of the run in 2004 and end with Steve Rogers’ resurrection in 2010.

Watch that: Watch The Winter Soldier again, because even though she’s barely in it, it’s just that damn good.

Dan Grote’s new novel, Magic Pier, is available however you get your books online. He has been writing for The Matt Signal since 2014. He and Matt have been friends since the days when making it to issue 25 guaranteed you a foil cover.

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