Agent 13 (aka Sharon Carter) is a Marvel Comics character created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers. She is best known for being Captain America's love interest and the original S.H.I.E.L.D. lady agent.
She first appeared in Tales of Suspense #75 (March, 1966). In her initial appearance, Sharon was involved in a conflict between SHIELD and AIM. A fellow agent of SHIELD had managed to steal powerful explosive "Inferno-42" from the terrorist organization. He passed it on to Sharon for safekeeping, while AIM hired Batroc the Leaper to go after her. Cap accidentally got involved in the conflict, following Sharon around due to her supposed resemblance to one of his Love Interests from World War II. Subsequent issues of this storyline established that Sharon is actually the niece of said love interest, Margaret "Peggy" Carter, and that Sharon herself is quite capable of outmaneuvering opponents.
Sharon was soon developed into the main love interest for Cap. In issue #95 (November, 1967), Cap revealed his Secret Identity to her and offered his marriage proposal. Sharon turned down his offer, pointing out that she is already married—Married to the Job, that is. She continued to serve as a regular supporting character until Captain America vol. 1 #233 (May, 1979). There she is forced to commit suicide as part of a plot by hypnotist Doctor Faustus. That was supposed to be the end of the character, and she remained dead for nearly two decades, until she turned up quite alive in issue #445 (November, 1995), courtesy of writer Mark Waid. Sharon was Faking the Dead for years, and her return was part of a major storyline of the time.
Sharon has remained a prominent character in books featuring Cap and/or SHIELD since The '90s. Most of her key storylines have been written by Mark Waid and Ed Brubaker. She co-starred with Nick Fury in the mini-series "Fury/Agent 13" (1998) and became a part of the black-ops team Secret Avengers in 2010.
She was seemingly killed off again by Cap writer Rick Remender, shortly after proposing to Steve, but she ended up surviving, along with Steve's adopted son, Ian. However, she was in Dimension Z, where time is wonky, and she's aged enough for it to show on her face. With Steve losing the serum and looking every one of his ninety-some-odd years, they've decided to take a well-earned break from fieldwork, although they continue to work logistics for the Avengers.
Outside of comics, Sharon has appeared in the 1960s Captain America animated anthology series. She also appears in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a prominent character in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War and The Falcon & The Winter Soldier, portrayed by Revenge star Emily VanCamp.
Tropes embodies by Agent Carter
- Action Girl: As long as we're not talking about her Silver Age persona, Sharon's one of the best in the Marvel Universe. Sharon is a trained athlete and extremely competent martial artist, adept at various fighting techniques. She is highly trained in espionage, weapons, firearms, and computers.
- Action Mom: Nearly became one, but had to abort her child to avoid it being targeted by Red Skull's plan to resurrect himself.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: In the Ultimate universe, Sharon is a redhead rather than a blonde.
- Back from the Dead: Was considered dead in the comics from 1979 to 1995, but came back. Writer Ed Brubaker once commented that he was glad Mark Waid had resurrected Sharon during his run, or else Brubaker would have had to do it himself.
- Badass Normal: She has no superpowers.
- Badass in Charge: She was director of SHIELD for some time.
- Battle Couple: She and Captain America.
- Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: In recent espionage stories, Maria Hill serves as the Brawn, Sharon as the Beauty, and Victoria Hand as the Brains.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Sharon was brainwashed into killing Captain America and actually did fire that apparently ended Cap's life. Of course, that bullet wasn't as fatal as first thought.
- Career Versus Man: This used to be something coming between her and Steve, because she was keen on keeping her job. His marriage proposal came with the understanding that she would retire from action. She was not interested.
- Convenient Miscarriage: Averted. Following the Civil War, Sharon discovered that she was pregnant. She was then taken captive by Red Skull and, after a fight, was found stabbed in the abdomen. The next issue revealed that she had done it to herself to keep her baby away from the Skull.
- Darker and Edgier: After being betrayed by SHIELD, she was forced to do unpleasant things to survive; some violent, others degrading. Once Cap found out that she was alive, he soon discovered that this wasn't the same Sharon he had come to known.
- Death Faked for You: Yeah, remember when Sharon burned herself to deathnote ? Turns out that SHIELD faked that in order to get her to another mission overseas. Needless to say, Sharon was none too pleased.
- She was initially one of Betsy Ross, Cap's occasional Love Interest in the original 1940s comics. However, Sharon's character evolved in a somewhat different direction.
- An expy of Sharon known as "Agent X" appeared in several episodes of Spider-Man: The Animated Series as Nick Fury's right hand woman.
- Faux Action Girl: Sometimes in the Silver Age. Even when she was leading a platoon of female agents, she was the one that got knocked out. At other points, she easily dispatched multiple assailants.
- Generation Xerox: Her aunt Peggy Carter was a heroine of World War II and in a romance with Captain America. Sharon grew up to become a hero in her own right and got involved in a romance with the same long-lived hero.
- Identical Grandson: She was introduced as a younger version of Margaret "Peggy" Carter, an older Love Interest of Cap. Originally Peggy was said to be her older sister, later said to be her elderly aunt. Currently Peggy looks old enough to be Sharon's grandmother.
- Legacy Character: The pseudonym "Agent Thirteen" had previously been used by Betsy Ross in the 1940s.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: To an extent, with Cap in some newer comics. Especially true for Mark Waid's run in the 1990s. Sharon was the tough character who saved Cap out of trouble, was willing to Shoot the Dog and, generally, was cynic, bitter and had shades of a '90s Anti-Hero. Cap was the sensitive All-Loving Hero who Didn't Like Guns and was upset when the government was mean to illegal immigrants. Averted in the Silver Age and during much of Brubaker's run, where she's still tough, but more feminine.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Upon realizing her role in Cap's apparent death, all Sharon can do is tearfully wonder what she just did.
- Plot-Relevant Age-Up: During All-New Marvel NOW!, she's abducted by Arnim Zola into another dimension where time passes more quickly.
- Rape as Drama: All but explicitly stated to have suffered sexual abuse after she was captured upon that one fateful failed mission. Much later, she suffers rape by fraud at the hands of Hydra Cap.
- Redundant Rescue: In Captain America vol. 6, issue one, "American Dreamers, part one", Cap uses his mighty shield to knock out a Hydra Mook that Sharon was fighting. Her response is a slightly annoyed "No fair, I had this one..."
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Upon her reintroduction in the mid-90s, she became focused on killing Nick Fury herself to get revenge for the aforementioned betrayal.
- Shoot Your Mate: In an early Silver Age story, was forced into a straight-up scenario by Baron Zemo, who had captured Cap and gave her a loaded gun, but managed to subvert it. After some very brief quiet anguish, she took a third option by making eye contact with Cap and giving him a subtle cue to move, shooting just in time to barely miss him as he broke loose and jumped the troops who were guarding him. In the chaos that ensued, it took a while to subdue him again, and Zemo was satisfied that she'd been ready to kill him, now trusting her loyalty. (This was early enough in the series that he didn't know about their personal relationship.)
- Notably, while written in over-the-top 1960s comics prose, the scene remains strong today because Sharon didn't flinch, and couldn't be sure if Cap had understood her sign to move, as she had to make it very subtle while enjoying Zemo's full attention. Arguably, it was her Establishing Character Moment as a badass secret agent that she could pull it off convincingly, and it also shows that her Silver Age persona wasn't so weak and useless as it's often flanderized nowadays.
- Someone to Remember Him By: She discovered she was pregnant to Captain America, just following his death in Civil War.
- Spy Catsuit: The catsuit is the basic uniform for agents in the spy agency SHIELD, for men and women. Besides the standard black uniform, Sharon also uses a white uniform tailored for her.
- Strong Family Resemblance: With her elderly aunt Peggy when she was younger.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Averted throughout — surprisingly enough, even in her original Silver Age stories, when Cap would usually firmly adhere to it. Not that she was murderous or anything, like the Darker and Edgier '90s version sometimes appeared, but she was perfectly willing to use her sidearm when it was needed. One example comes from a story where the Red Skull's heavily armed Nazi assassins had ambushed Cap, who put up a fair fight but was about to be shot by the last man standing. Sharon got him first.Nazi Agent (To Cap): Even your shield cannot save you now!Sharon: No—But this can!
- Took a Level in Badass: Under Mark Waid she became a hardcore mercenary/free agent.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: When she returned from the dead, as compared to her previous characterization. Somewhat justified, in that she had spent several years left behind in hellish third-world countries in between, fighting with primitive guerrillas in an atrocious civil war and ultimately locked up in a thinly disguised North Vietnamese death camp, which left her pretty well broken by the time she was able to escape.
- Also, has been rolled back again somewhat since the 1990s.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Steve, at times.
- You Are Number 6: Her codename is Agent 13.