Most of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Captain America run has provided some much-needed fleshing-out to Cap’s side characters, giving them some of the most palpable writing they’ve had in years. Perhaps no character has thrived under his pen as much as Sharon Carter, who Coates effortlessly proves once again he understands.
Captain America #25 is told entirely from Sharon’s perspective as she narrates the happenings of the issue. Sharon has gone through a genesis of sorts, having her youth restored to her after a seven-year longstanding plot thanks to Dimension Z. Last issue, she gave up Agent 13 as we know her, rebranding with a new costume and a new outlook on life. Captain America #25 doesn’t do much to show her in action in this “new” role, though it sets up a future arc she will undoubtedly play a major role in.
Sharon narrates how Peggy and Alexa Lukin, one of the main villains in Coates’ run, met. The two have a long history as it was Lukin who first prompted Peggy to join the Daughters of Liberty in the first place. It’s certainly an interesting choice on Coates’ part to have this Captain America arc set up where the main conflict is between Peggy and Alexa now, not Steve (though he’ll certainly be playing his own part). All the history is between them, not the man out of time.
There’s a really good anecdote where Sharon mentions she had once gotten into a fight with a boy at school after he tried to peek up her dress. Young Sharon punched him and she told her Aunt Peggy she wasn’t sorry she had done it at all — according to Sharon, it was then Peggy knew she would invite her great-niece to join the Daughters of Liberty one day. This is a subtle form of character building which does a lot for both Sharon and Peggy’s characters, and it feels entirely in character for both women.
The other strong point of the issue is Sharon’s statements that Peggy has lived a long life, and she’s lived many lives. This narration intersects with panels that reveal Peggy is captured by Alexa Lukin, being subjected to questioning while imprisoned. Sharon says Peggy would “give up” one of her many lives when she has to, especially if it meant she’d take Lukin down with her. This clever motif becomes extremely important in the issue’s final pages.
The issue ends on a cliffhanger, with Peggy and Lukin engaging in a fight that results in Peggy being shot and thrown out of a helicopter. It’s unclear if she survived, though it’s likely she has, given what a major role she plays in the Lukin story.
Coates has done wonders developing Sharon’s character and through the Daughters of Liberty, he has done more for Peggy Carter’s character than any modern writer. His run continues to be intriguing and politically conscious, though one often wonders when Steve himself will get his day in the sun as well. In that respect, it’s certainly the outlier in the various Captain America runs, though that’s hardly a bad thing.
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