The Character Spotlight – Issue #8: Agent 13 (Sharon Carter)

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It’s time for the eighth edition of The Character Spotlight! When Emily VanCamp was cast as Steve Roger’s leading lady in the live action movie sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the majority of people (myself included) immediately assumed she’d be playing the role of Agent 13 from S.H.I.E.L.D., Sharon Carter. While Marvel has remained mum on the subject, the odds are strongly in her favor to finally make her proper cinematic debut in the Marvel Universe. I thought now was the perfect time to focus on Sharon so that the uninitiated or those that have a vague knowledge of her know what to expect when the movie hits. Sharon Carter, the Spotlight is yours:

DebutTales_of_Suspense_Vol_1_75Tales of Suspense #75 (Cover Date: March 1966)

Biography: Sharon Carter grows up with the fantastical stories of her aunt Peggy who had worked side by side with Captain America during World War II. She is inspired by her aunt’s heroism and joins S.H.I.E.L.D. taking the code name Agent 13. Soon after, she encounters a recently revived Captain America who helps her on a mission and saves her life in the process. They cross paths multiple times after their first encounter battling the like of A.I.M., Hydra, and the Red Skull to name a few. Eventually the two heroes fall in love but their relationship becomes strained as Captain America wants Sharon to give up her career as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent due to the dangers the job presents. She refuses his request and continues her career until one such mission finds her fall under the effect of a mind-altering gas that was created by the villainous Dr. Faustus. She joins his villainous group and takes part in a plan to burn down New York City’s Harlem district but encounters the National Guard. Following a command from Dr. Faustus, she activates a self-destruct device and commits suicide. A videotape of her “death” is shown to Captain America and he grieves over the loss of his love.

Her “death” turns out to be a ruse by the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury, so she can go on a top-secret mission but said mission does not go well and Fury believes she perishes. Nick decides it’s for the best never to reveal the ruse to Captain America since the end result is the same, Sharon is dead. Once again her death is premature though as it turns out she is in fact alive and being held as a prisoner. She eventually escapes and works as a mercenary for several years, even working for enemies of S.H.I.E.L.D. due to the feeling of being betrayed by Fury for leaving her behind enemy lines and wanting to spite him. She continues on this path until she comes across a plot to resurrect Adolf Hitler with the aid of the Cosmic Cube. She teams up with the Red Skull but they both realize they need Captain America to overcome the plot. They approach the patriotic hero and he is absolutely floored by the reveal that she is still alive but he quickly discovers that she is a more ruthless and grimmer person than the one he once knew. After achieving victory, she abandons her mercenary lifestyle but still wants to settle her grudge with Nick Fury. Her path to Fury leads Sharon to infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D., being wanted for treason, escaping through a portal to a World War II created from memories, and in the end working with Fury to escape back to reality settling her feud. As for Steve and her, they don’t get back together but there is an air of romantic tension surrounding them. She makes amends and rejoins S.H.I.E.L.D and the two of them continue to work together battling villains such as Count Nefaria and even a cosmic powered Red Skull whom Sharon urges Captain America to kill but he will not. She attempts to murder the villain but fails though Red Skull was defeated by the cunning of Captain America.

The missions continue and she temporarily becomes Executive Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. before becoming a field agent once again whose job is to report and support Captain America on his missions. Sometime afterwards, she is kidnapped by the Winter Soldier and is used as bait to lure Captain America into a trap. After being rescued, the pair of heroes go on a field mission together in order to learn more about the Winter Soldier’s various activities and during it their romantic relationship begins again, they can no longer resist one another and give into the passion. During the Superhero Civil War that emerges due to the implementation of the Superhuman Registration Act, Sharon becomes torn between supporting S.H.I.E.L.D. and supporting Captain America who opposes the act. She consults a psychologist, who is secretly Dr. Faustus working for the Red Skull, and is secretly brainwashed during her sessions. After Captain America gives himself up to end the war, he is shot by a sniper on his way to the arraignment and in the ensuing chaos he is shot three more times in the abdomen, dying shortly after from his wounds. The second shooter turns out to be none other than Sharon herself who is acting under hypnotic orders from Dr. Faustus. She soon quits S.H.I.E.L.D. in disgust after learning they want to use Captain America’s body to analyze the super-soldier serum, in laments terms wanting to treat him like a specimen. She becomes depressed over killing the man she loved and considers ending her own life before discovering that she is pregnant with Roger’s child.

Still under the influence of Dr. Faustus, she takes out her allies the Falcon and Black Widow and joins the Red Skull’s evil organization. She tries to hide the fact she is pregnant form the Red Skull to no avail but does manage to temporarily regain control and free Winter Soldier from captivity. She attempts again to fight the control and loses her unborn baby in a fight with Sin when Sharon is stabbed causing a miscarriage but it is left ambiguous if it was Sin who stabs her or Sharon herself so Red Skull could not take the baby for his own. Tired of the Red Skull and how he is treated, Dr. Faustus makes her forget about being pregnant and reactivates her tracking beacon so S.H.I.E.L.D. can storm the Red Skull’s compound. She kills the man Red Skull’s mind is inhabiting but fails to kill Red Skull himself as he switches into a robotic body just in time. Afterwards, she devotes her time to try and bring Captain America back as it turns out the gun she used to “kill” him was actually a device that merely displaced him in time. Red Skull captures Sharon and forces her to help the villain bring back Rogers but a Rogers that has Red Skull’s mind transferred into it. Captain America eventually forces him out of his mind, Red Skull goes back to his robot body, Sharon hits him with Pym Particles so he grows to such a huge size that he can’t escape, and then she launches a missile barrage killing Captain America’s hated foe once and for all. She and Rogers renew their romantic relationship afterwards and she aids him with his new Secret Avengers covert team that he establishes after Rogers becomes Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.. They are together to this day.

Notable Series/Key Issues:

Tales of Suspense Vol. 1 (#75-#76, #85, #92-#95, #97-#99)
Captain America Vol. 1 (#100-#104, #108, #112-#116, #119, #122, #124, #127, #132, #135-#137, #139-#157, #159-#163, #165-167, #169, #176-#182, #184-#186, #202, #204, #206-#207, #209-#212, #215, #217-#218, #231-233, #235, #237, #261-#262, #350, #354, #444-454, #600, #610, #613-#618)
Captain America Vol. 3 (#1, #3-#4, #9-#13, #15-#21, #25-#31, #33-#35, #37-#42, #45-#50, Annual 2000)
Fury/Agent 13 #1-#2
Captain America: Sentinel Of Liberty #1
Captain America Vol. 4 (#31-#32)
Captain America Vol. 5 (#1-#4, #6, #8-#9, #12-#14, #16-#17, #19-#22, #24-#32, #35-#42, #49-#50)
Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America #5
Captain America: Reborn (Prelude, #1-#6)
Captain America Reborn: Who Will Wield the Shield?
Secret Avengers Vol. 1 (#1-#2, #4-#10, #12.1-#13, #17-#21)
Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier (#2, #4)
Captain America Vol. 6 (#1-#10, #13-#19)
Captain America Vol. 7 ( #1)

Appearances In Other Media:

Captain America (TV)
Ultimate  Spider-Man (VIDEO GAME)

My Take: To label Sharon Carter as simply Captain America’s girlfriend is doing the character a great disservice. Not only has she had to weather a barrage of mentally and physically draining moments in her life, but she can also hold her own in a fight, something Superman’s love interest Lois Lane would have a hard time doing. She’s a strong and independent female figure first, an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. second, and Steve Roger’s girlfriend last. That she is possibly getting her time to shine on the big screen is a moment that is long overdue and one that should produce many memorable moments. Sharon Carter, Agent 13, and yes the love of Captain America’s life, I salute thee and most of all I respect all that you have overcome. I look forward to seeing this emotionally complex women in action and witnessing her story unfold, whenever that may be.

Thus ends Issue #8 of Character Spotlight. Any thoughts/opinions on this character? Comment below!

Sharon Carter

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2 thoughts on “The Character Spotlight – Issue #8: Agent 13 (Sharon Carter)

  1. That’s a great read, twice. So she doesn’t have any superpowers yet gets the job done. This article piqued my interest on the character Winter Soldier which I googled, then youtubed his “death” scene from Captain America movie. I like how this is all coming together.

    • Thanks for the compliments! Winter Soldier playing out is going to be a thrill to watch but it’s too bad that Red Skull isn’t coming back. They really had left the door open for his return. Regardless, I’m interested how they’ll portray Sharon Carter (if that is who Emily is indeed playing). Will she be more like Peggy from the first movie or Black Widow from Avengers? I’m going with a mix of the two.

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