With an ABC mid-season series set to launch in 2015, all eyes are currently on Hayley Atwell’s Agent Peggy Carter! As the first female character to headline both a Marvel One-Shot short and now a television series, Carter has emerged as one of the leading ladies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The upcoming eight episodes of “Agent Carter” will also allow for different sides of Agent Carter to be explored in depth. As Atwell told TV Line in a recent interview, her favorite aspect of Peggy is one viewers haven’t even seen yet. “It’s the development of her character throughout the series which will be someone who is kind of more three-dimensional, something that women can relate to, as not just the competent, strong, intelligent woman in this workforce, but the psychological, emotional cost. What it takes for a woman to have to sacrifice personal relationships in order to find her place in the world and to fulfill her kind of destiny.”
Of all the characters in Captain America’s supporting cast, Peggy Carter’s ascension to the top seems surprising considering how infrequent her comic book appearances have been since her full introduction in 1966’s “Tales of Suspense” #77. Atwell’s unwavering performance and the filmmakers’ strong vision for the character has created a Peggy Carter fans can get behind. But before her miniseries debuts this fall, here are five storylines you can read to familiarize yourself with the original Marvel Comics version of Agent Carter.
If He Loseth His Soul! (“Captain America” #161-163)
Peggy Carter made her first non-flashback appearance as a mysterious, veiled woman that had been kidnapped by Captain America’s enemy Dr. Faustus. During Cap’s rescue mission in “Captain America” #162, the hero learns hat the mystery woman is in fact Peggy Carter — the unnamed woman he fell in love with back in World War II. To make matters even more complicated, Steve Rogers’ current girlfriend Sharon Carter revealed that Peggy was actually her older sister! Despite her old age and struggle with amnesia, Peggy helped fight Faustus’ goons with both a candleholder and her bare hands. After escaping, the Carters return to their family home where Peggy’s memories finally return.
It’s Always Darkest Before The Dawn! (“Captain America” #174-176)
Kidnapped along with the X-Men by the insidious criminal organization known as the Secret Empire, Captain America and his mutant allies are rescued by Peggy and Howling Commando Gabe Jones. The duo disguised themselves in Secret Empire robes and busted the heroes out, but Cap unmasked a high-ranking government official as one of the villains in the process. With his faith in America now shaken, possibly beyond repair, Peggy Carter tried her best to restore Steve’s patriotism in “Captain America” #176. “I know it sounds corny, Cap, but you’re more than just an example! You’re a symbol — a symbol of the country that’s given everything it has to light the torch of liberty throughout the world!” Unfortunately, Peggy’s impassioned plea was not enough to keep Rogers from setting down his shield.
The Flame And The Fury (“Captain America” #231-237)
When her younger sister Sharon goes missing, Peggy makes her way to the office of social worker Sam Wilson — a.k.a. the Falcon — in order to get some help. She instead finds Captain America and informs him of the dire situation: While on a mission for S.H.I.E.L.D., Sharon had fallen under the mind control of the racist National Force group and their leader, the Grand Director. Peggy immediately became a target for the hate group, and they tried to assassinate her by blowing up her car. While Captain America teamed up with Daredevil to track down Sharon’s whereabouts, the Grand Director himself kidnapped Peggy Carter and lured Cap to his zeppelin. Not content with her kidnapper, Peggy fought her way free from the Director and his partner-in-crime, Dr. Faustus, and escaped the hate zeppelin just before its explosion.
Party Games! (“Avengers” #322-325)
After years spent apart, Cap reunited with Peggy and then hired her in “Captain America” #352, to act as the Avengers’ telecommunications officer. After adjusting to the job, Peggy and the rest of the Avengers’ support staff came under attack while the main team was off mixing it up with Alpha Flight and some Atlanteans. Villains Mother Night and Machinesmith teamed up to torment the crew, “resurrecting” Peggy’s dead sister Sharon to manipulate her guilty feelings. The bad guys’ machinations came to a head when the Avenger returned. The ghostly Vision immediately saw through their schemes and single-handedly put an end to Machinesmith — literally, by phasing his hand into the robot villain’s body.
American Dreamers (“Captain America” #1)
Peggy Carter’s long life came to its end in 2011’s “Captain America” #1. Thanks to her service to the French Resistance during World War II, Captain America secured her a burial in France. Steve, Nick Fury, Dum Dum Dugan and Sharon Carter — now retconned into being Peggy’s niece instead of her younger sister — all attended the ceremony. Sharon spoke highly of her aunt, stating that it was all of her war and spy stories that initially inspired the younger Carter to pursue a life spent saving the world from evil.