'Exiles' #3 brings the 'Marvel Puzzle Quest' version of the character into comics
Credit: Marvel

Hayley Atwell’s performance as British intelligence agent (and eventual S.H.I.E.L.D. co-founder) Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger delivered one of the most compelling characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. But due to the period-piece nature of The First Avenger, Peggy has since been cut off from the rest of the MCU, though she did get a two-season spinoff show, Agent Carter, in which Atwell further demonstrated her spy skills while fighting postwar sexism. Fortunately for fans of the character, next month’s issue of Exiles — the new Saladin Ahmed/Javier Rodriguez comic about a team of superheroes exploring alternate Marvel realities — features a version of Peggy Carter that lives up to her full potential, as Captain America herself.

“One of the delights of this series is that really any concept that occurs to people or that Marvel’s done in any nook or cranny of its many universes is available to us,” Ahmed tells EW. “There’s a World War II scene, a confrontation with the Red Skull, in Exiles #3, so obviously that requires some version of Cap. Of all places, the Marvel Puzzle Quest video game had a really popular character design for Peggy Carter as Captain America in a reality where Steve Rogers is killed and Peggy has taken the super-soldier serum in his place. As soon as I saw that, I was like ‘Yes, okay, perfect.’ There’s something about Peggy taking over the role of Cap that’s super-compelling.”

This Cap-ified version of Peggy first appeared in the Marvel Puzzle Quest mobile game. According to Marvel Games executive creative director William Rosemann, the idea came out of Captain America’s 75th birthday celebrations in July 2016.

“Our team thought it would be fun for players to encounter all-new versions of Cap — whether that meant new suits or even versions from alternate realities — that were unique to each of our mobile games. It was Demiurge Studios’ Paige Pettoruto who asked the compelling question, ‘What if Agent Peggy Carter became Captain America?’” Rosemann says. “We loved the idea and said, ‘That sounds awesome! But how does that happen? What’s her story?’ Story is at the core of everything at Marvel, so when we heard their imagined origin — that after Steve Rogers is assassinated along with Professor Erskine, Peggy volunteers to participate in Project Rebirth — we knew we had a character that would resonate with and inspire fans.”

He adds, “Not only does Peggy have the bravery to take the experimental super-soldier serum, which could kill her, but only she has the needed training to use her new abilities to fight the Axis powers as Captain America. Sure, Peggy is British — and proudly so — but that doesn’t also mean that she, like so many before and after her, would make a heroic sacrifice and fight for the American ideals of justice and freedom. From the high concept to the deep character motivations, Peggy Carter becoming Captain America felt right and authentically Marvel.”

Credit: Marvel
Credit: Marvel
Credit: Marvel

Exiles #2 isn’t out until April 25, but it’s not a spoiler to say the ending of that issue sends the book’s diverse array of heroes — the mutant Blink, a Tessa Thompson-inspired version of Valkyrie, a cute cartoon version of Wolverine, a battle-scarred far-future version of Ms. Marvel, and a young Iron Lad — careening across the Marvel multiverse. One of the fascinating things about their encounter with Peggy is seeing how this super-soldier’s attitudes about war will compare with the team’s wide range of opinions on the subject.

“One thing I’m trying to do with this book is to really honor everyone’s viewpoint. They have a range of experiences,” Ahmed says. “One of the things people really love about our team leader, Blink, is that she’s a survivor of this grim reality, the Age of Apocalypse, but she maintains this buoyancy, this elfin energy that keeps her teammates going and readers are drawn to. That’s a sharp contrast to Khan, who’s basically Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. Valkyrie is more Asgardian, spouting that old-school Thor prose; it’s all fun and games to her. So there is a range. I’m generally a pretty pacifistic person in my politics, but there are hard questions about this stuff. I wanted to have a range of characters — and specifically woman characters — consider this question, because it’s always framed as kind of a man thing. That’s gonna be a lot of what they hash out together: How do they solve these problems? We’ll come up with some surprising answers.”

Exiles #3 hits stores May 9 (pre-order it digitally here). Below, check out an exclusive preview of the issue, along with shots of Peggy as she appears in Marvel Puzzle Quest.

Credit: Marvel
Credit: Marvel
Credit: Marvel
Credit: Marvel
Captain America
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