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Last year, Marvel fans everywhere fell in love with Peggy Carter all over again when Disney+'s What if...? series introduced us to a world in which Peggy, not Steve Rogers, became the Super-Soldier tasked with turning the tide of World War II. It was an immediately compelling take on the character, and it felt like a shame that the story had to basically end with a single half-hour episode... until now, at least.
Next month, writer and designer Jamie McKelvie and artist Marika Cresta will revive the universe of Peggy's Super-Soldier adventures with Captain Carter, a five-issue miniseries that borrows a key question from the world of Captain America: What if Captain Carter was frozen in ice, only to reawaken 80 years later in a new era full of new threats?
"There's a whole load of story meat in the premise that interests me," McKelvie told SYFY WIRE. "It's almost 80 years since the end of World War II. That's a big difference to the 20 years Steve Rogers was in the ice in the original comics timeline. It's a huge gap, and so much has changed since then. Even the decade since MCU Cap woke up has seen a lot of big shifts in the world. So that's immediately exciting to me –– how do you deal with waking up in such a radically different world, with every anchor in your life long gone?"
He continued, "There's also the element of societal memory and nostalgia. The way huge events are remembered in the collective consciousness can be different to the reality. For Peggy, World War II was last month. It's very recent history to her. How does she respond to how the world sees her and her actions now? Is it different to how she sees herself? And if so, why has that happened?"
But of course, the world's not just different for Peggy. Her re-emergence on the scene decades after the second World War will also change the balance of power elsewhere, bringing old enemies back to the fore and testing the balance of power in a world that has long since gotten used to a version of Captain Carter who was lost to history. That means Peggy will have to find allies, and while he's not giving too much away, McKelvie did tease at least one key arrival who's emerged in teaser art for the series.
"By now you'll have seen that a certain purple-haired S.T.R.I.K.E. agent by the name of Braddock makes an appearance," McKelvie said. "Quite a few other characters show up in various different ways, but I wouldn't want to give too much away at this point! It's definitely focused on the Marvel U.K. side of things, because the bulk of the story is set in the U.K., but that doesn't mean there won't be any North American Marvel characters showing up too."
In the covers and exclusive pages below, you'll get a sneak peek at what Peggy's return is like, as she tries to assert herself and, on the cover for Captain Carter #2, teams up with her universe's version of Betsy Braddock.
While Cresta is handling art duties on Captain Carter's sequential pages, McKelvie was also tasked with developing Peggy's comic book Super-Soldier look, bringing his now-famous skills for costume design (which gave us the modern look of a hero by the name of Carol Danvers, among other things) to bear on the book.
"There's two aspects to it, as always –– character and story," McKelvie said in discussing his approach to costume design. "Considering her character, she would want something practical and no-nonsense. She's also an army Captain, so there would be elements inspired by army dress. Within the story, the costume is designed for her by a modern day team. Following that line of thought I looked at things like Team G.B. Olympics uniforms, which influenced the shapes and colors within the costume."
But while McKelvie gave us the look of Captain Carter in Marvel Comics, it was up to Cresta to imbue her with emotion and drive.
"You often get artists who are great at action, and artists who are great at emotion and personality. It's not a criticism –– we're all better at some aspects of our jobs than others," McKelvie said. "Marika is equally good at both –– it's been a delight seeing the expressions and body language coming out of her interpretation of the script, and she's handled some tricky action sequences with ease."
Captain Carter arrives at a time when more and more fans are becoming acquainted with the Marvel multiverse, and the idea that characters can exist in multiple iterations at the same time, going on their own self-contained adventures while also teaming up occasionally. With that in mind, though the miniseries is only designed for five issues, McKelvie does see a world where this version of Peggy could fight on in new comics adventures.
"Five issues is only so much space –– there's a lot going on in this mini-series, but you have to keep focused on the story you want to tell in those pages," he said. "A universe where Peggy is the Super-Soldier instead of Steve is more than about just one person –– their actions have been sending ripples through the world since the 1940s. Thinking through some of that stuff has been a lot of fun, and there's lots more to the world of Captain Carter that currently only exists in my head. It would be great to get a chance to explore that further on the page."
Captain Carter #1 arrives March 9.