One of the Marvel multiverse’s brightest new heroes finally gets a spotlight of her own in Captain Carter #1.
The idea of “Peggy as Captain America” has had an odd (but fascinating) trajectory up to this point. What originally began as a character concept for Marvel Puzzle Quest—of all things–eventually made its way to comics in 2018’s Exiles, which then got adapted for the Marvel Cinematic Universe through the animated What If…? (She’s even being rumored for a live-action debut in the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel.) For a character created in the multiverse, it’s perhaps fitting that there’s not a single definitive version of her in Marvel-based media, and Captain Carter #1 takes the opportunity to deliver one.
Set in another alternate universe where Peggy took the super-serum instead of Steve Rogers and eventually disappeared, this version of Captain Carter actually resembles that of Steve’s MCU counterpart, waking up in a completely different world than the one she remembers. There’s not much time for Peggy to acclimate to smartphones and racy television, though, as she quickly becomes the target of an unknown threat.
Captain Carter #1 succeeds in its simplicity. “Captain America, but different” is a well-trodden premise at this point (Marvel did just publish a Miles Morales variant of the story a week ago), but the otherwise lack of novelty allows writer Jamie McKelvie to tell a straightforward story that lets Peggy shine as a character rather than a gimmick. Peggy isn’t Steve; she doesn’t talk or act like him. Her no-nonsense demeanor means she gets straight to the point in any encounter, but she’s not blunt or cruel about it. For our entry point into this new timeline of events, she’s quickly a character we want to follow through this story, and potentially many others. Throw some fun differences with this particular universe, both significant (Lizzie Braddock, agent of S.T.R.I.K.E.) and minor (the new Fantastic Five!), and you’ve got the makings for a series that delivers on its promise.
Marika Cresta’s art helps convey the lightness of this series, and she does a good job of giving Peggy a physically imposing presence equally measured by her feminine strength. With a character like her, you really need to sell them on the page as a person who inspires awe in others, and she always sticks out in any scene she’s in. And although McKelvie takes a rare role as the sole writer here, his art still makes its way to the fantastic cover of this issue. The graphic design of Captain Carter is top-notch, which is always true of a title with McKelvie’s touch on it.