When Captain America went on ice someone had to pick up the shield and be the vanguard of World War II, ao who better than Peggy Carter? Marvel Comics set up this what-if storyline in its Women of Marvel issue and it opens up a new plotline fans deserve.
Peggy Carter – super-spy, one of the first S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and all-around badass in a pin-curl haircut – is the logical choice for Captain America’s replacement in the 1940s. In an alternate universe, Cap was killed after his fight with Red Skull and the Nazis. The loss of such a patriotic symbol would dampen morale, despite Steve Rogers’ martyrdom. Peggy taking the mantle in Steve’s absence is the perfect ingredient to embolden the allies to victory.
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The star-spangled outfit is a bit showy for spycraft, but Peggy tends to get into big flashy fights anyway, so why not have her pick up the shield? Peggy’s one-off in Women of Marvel, by Elsa Sjunneson, Naomi Franquiz and Brittany Peer, is one of the few vignettes that has legs for more plot. The story could really be expanded upon extensively. Without Steve around, a new face bearing the Cap moniker would symbolize the resolve to win the war. In the right hands, this could be a dramatic story of subterfuge to end the Nazi regime, as opposed to the usual slugfests that Steve tends to get into.
Peggy has used the shield to flatten Nazis before. In Exiles #3, by Saladin Ahmed, Javier Rodriguez, Alvaro Lopez and Chris O’Halloran, Peggy became Captain America and filled out the character with gusto in an alternate universe where Steve Rogers was killed. But that universe-hopping never expanded on Peggy’s turn with the shield. Marvel revisiting Peggy’s tenure as Cap suggests there could be future books featuring Carter behind the shield. Exiles made Peggy British (as she’s portrayed in the MCU), which doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Why would an Englander wear the flag of one of its former colonies? But Peggy dismisses this fact and just says a Captain America was needed, so she put on the costume. The story ends there, only to be picked up in Women of Marvel several years later.
Peggy’s version of Captain America is a hybrid of her spy-soldier persona. She wears the red, white and blue, but it’s completed with some cargo pants and a utility belt. Her torso is covered in a traditional Captain America outfit, but has what looks like lapels at the collar- a touch of class that Steve never had with his flamboyant costume. Everything about her is less glitzy than Steve and more functional. And this book stays in the past, unlike Peggy’s current iteration as the leader of the Daughters of Liberty.
The short story is a glimpse at what could be a strong series with Peggy as a commanding lead. The story could be greatly expanded to look at Peggy’s exploits during the war and defeating Red Skull. A plotline that fans have seen over and over again with Steve always beating Skull. But Captain Peggy as the new face could revitalize a tired story, especially since she has no super-soldier serum to rely on.
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