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Captain America: Star-Spangled and Star-Crossed

Relive the romantic ups and downs of Sharon Carter and Steve Rogers!

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Like any on-again off-again couple, Sharon Carter and Steve Rogers have experienced more than their fair share of exhilarating highs and crushing lows. With the Sentinel of Liberty-turned-leader of HYDRA poised to be embraced by the masses in CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #19 on July 26, we turn our focus from that macro to the micro and look at the complicated history between these two lovers currently at odds.

Falling in Love with War Stories

Long before Steve ever met her, Sharon has “met” him through tales of her aunt, Peggy Carter’s thrilling exploits in World War II. Inevitably, the star-spangled hero would co-star from time to time as the elder Carter rallied freedom fighters in France during the war’s darkest days. Sharon found herself utterly taken by the stories, finding an idol in her aunt and perhaps developing a bit of a storybook crush on Steve

The Early Years

By the time Carter had grown up enough to follow in her aunt’s footsteps, joining S.H.I.E.L.D., Rogers had returned to the land of the living from his previous status as human iceberg. By this time, however, Carter had long left her crush in the rearview and their early encounters proved strictly business as they collaborated to take down the likes of A.I.M., Red Skull, and Batroc the Leaper.

Cap Is, Alas, A Man of His Time

Two attractive people, spending lots of time together, in intensely physical and dangerous jobs…perhaps becoming infatuated could not have been avoided. In any case, it did happen but things immediately became rocky because Rogers proved that even the most progressive of WWII vets have some biases that do not die easy. In this case, the problem came from Carter’s career choice: spy. While they never would have met if not for her job and his job being relatively equal if not even worse in danger level, Steve nonetheless wanted Sharon to step away from S.H.I.E.L.D., for her safety.

Death Becomes Her

Before Carter could properly carve into Rogers for gender biases, she seemed to die, on-camera, after being mind-controlled to commit an act of suicide bombing. In fact, it had been staged to put Sharon deep undercover. Unfortunately, that job seemingly went pear-shaped leading to her death so no one at S.H.I.E.L.D. ever bothered telling Steve that the first death, the one he witnessed, had not been real at all.

Not Really Dead!

Good news! Even that second death turned out to not be real! Bad news! Carter had been abandoned behind enemy lines.

Agent 13—Sharon’s codename—does not know the word quit though so she adapted. Turning to the life of a mercenary, she stayed strong, survived, and in time, flourished. Eventually, her skills put her face to face with Red Skull. In one of the most intense examples of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” Carter and Skull team-up to take on a Neo Nazi group obsessed with acquiring the Cosmic Cube. Knowing that Steve Rogers had repeatedly demonstrated no one stopped Nazis better than him, Skull swallowed his pride and gave Rogers a life-saving blood transfusion. The improbable trio then set about stopped the Kubecult and Carter and Rogers dispensed with Skull as well when he inevitably attempted to stab them in the back.

Partners Once More

Sharon being back, however, did not mean love immediately sprang anew. She had been changed by her years away and harbored lots of anger towards her former lover for never having tried to find her.

Instead, the two focused on their professional relationship with her aiding him to clear his name during a brief period of exile from the United States, teaming up to defeat Nightmare when he targeted some of the “most patriotic” Americans, and several other missions.

A Thaw Comes

Ironically, it would take The Winter Soldier to turn the relationship hot after months of cool professionalism. While tracking the man who had been Bucky, the duo finally allowed themselves to admit the strong feelings between them and re-engage in their romance.

My Lover, My Killer

Unfortunately, the relationship took a quick dive into tragedy. In the midst of the chaos of Civil War, an undercover Doctor Faustus got to Sharon and altered her perception of reality. All of this came to a head after Rogers turned himself in for his actions during the event. As he climbed the stairs to the courthouse, Cap caught a bullet in the shoulder from an unseen sniper. As the situation descended into anarchy, he took three more in the stomach, the end result of Carter’s programming by Faustus. Steve seemingly died due to his wounds on those steps.

A Resurrection and a Rest

As noted above, though, Carter has no quit in her. So she allowed herself to be caught by the likes of Norman Osborn and The Red Skull to help them bring Rogers back to life because they wished to control him. However, she sabotaged the villains at the last moment and Rogers overcame their influence. Now alive again, he embraced Sharon and they took some time off to just be people, not heroes, in love.

Not Even Dimensions Can Keep Us Apart

Of course, life never can be simple, so before long, fate interceded once again and sent Rogers to Dimension Z. There he raised a son while Carter refused to stop looking for him in the main Marvel Universe. In time, she found and rescued him, bringing him back to Earth, both aged by their experience, their bond reaffirmed.

Now

Sharon finds herself on the edge of a tremendous decision: Accept HYDRA and be with the man she loves or reject it and end up in jail or worse. Steve wants her by his side and it would be so easy. But can he really be the man she has cared about so deeply for so long?

Learn Sharon’s choice in CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGER # 19, due out July 26 from Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz!

 

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