Back Issues: The Return of Sharon Carter, the Unsung Hero of SHIELD

After last appearing in Captain America: Civil War, Sharon Carter returns in the upcoming The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. And with the events of Avengers: Endgame revealing her one-time love interest Steve Rogers reunited with Sharon's aunt Peggy Carter, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are eager to see what's next for the renegade spy played by Emily VanCamp. With The Falcon and the Winter Soldier poised to see Sharon in a bit more of an active role than perhaps what we've seen before, we're taking a look back at the character's history to better get to know one of Marvel's most interesting agents.

While most MCU fans know Sharon as Peggy Carter's niece, Sharon Carter was originally introduced in Marvel Comics as Peggy's younger sister in Tales of Suspense #75 in 1966. The comics would later retcon Sharon's background, making her Peggy's niece with young Sharon inspired by stories of her aunt's work as a freedom fighter with the French Resistance in World War II and inspiring Sharon to join S.H.I.E.L.D. It is on one of the newly-minted Agent 13's earliest missions for the agency that readers first meet Sharon (pre-retcon) and when she first meets Captain America, as the hero aids her while under attack by Batroc the Leaper.

In the comics, Sharon is a frequent love interest for Captain America. While Steve and Peggy are presented as one true pair in the MCU — other than that whole Cap kissing his niece thing — in Marvel canon, it is Steve and Sharon that is the more prominent relationship, though it's far from an easy one. While Sharon is an extremely capable S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (she even saves the world from a false Baron Zemo by destroying a death ray in Captain America Vol. 1 #100) Steve never really sees her as an equal partner. Concerned about her safety and welfare, Cap tries to get Sharon to quit S.H.I.E.L.D. many times, causing Sharon to essentially take a desk job with the agency. Fortunately, that doesn't last and Sharon goes back to S.H.I.E.L.D. full time.

Outside of her relationship with Captain America, Sharon is a force to be reckoned with. Sharon served briefly as director of S.H.I.E.L.D., headed up an all-female assault team of agents called Femme Force, and even was instrumental in helping to take down U.S. Agent (and, ultimately, saving the world alongside Captain America) who had been driven to madness by Nightmare in the "American Nightmare" story arc in Captain America Vol. 3 #10-#12.

With the events of Avengers: Endgame having largely removed the romantic component of Sharon's story within the MCU and considering the character's rich and adventurous history in comics, it will be exciting to see what's next for Agent 13 in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Smart, capable, and very much a driving force within S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Marvel universe, Sharon Carter is an unsung hero in her own right, one who is sure to give not only the villains but Sam and Bucky a run for their money.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier debuts on Disney+ beginning Friday, March 19th.

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