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Captain America's Shield

Official Name
Captain America's Shield
Lead Designer

Place of Creation
Dr. Myron MacLain's wartime laboratory

Characteristics
Dimensions
Concave disc, 30" in diameter

Weight
12 lbs (5.44 kg)

Owners
Current Owner

Previous Owners

First appearance

Captain America Comics #2

Contents

History

Captain America's shield is his primary weapon. The most well-known of his shields is a disc shaped object with a five-pointed star design in its center, within blue, red, and white concentric circles. This shield is composed of a unique alloy of vibranium and steel, and is therefore practically indestructable. It is as much an offensive weapon as a defensive one for Captain America. He uses it against his enemies mainly by throwing it at them and can perform mind-bogglingly impossible tricks with it.

Originally, Dr. Myron MacLain was attempting to perfect an indestructible alloy, as strong as the legendary 'adamantine' which Hercules' Golden Mace was made from. He was hoping the alloy would provide a distinct advantage in the armor of American war machines during World War II. While he was asleep as a result of his exhaustion, an unknown factor caused the metals he was working with to bond.

The alloy was poured into the shape of a discus. Some sources say that MacLain chose the discus shape because of its versatility, while other say that he used an existing cast designed for tank hatches. Presumably the titanium steel bolts used to fasten straps to the disc were also forged at this time. It was painted in its familiar red-white-and-blue pattern using titanium oxide paint (though it has been repainted since then). Later, the shield was presented to Captain America by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Later, MacLain's attempts to duplicate the shield minus Wakandan Vibranium and the mystery factor resulted in true Adamantium. Because of this historical link, the unknown substance composing the shield is sometimes refered to as "proto-adamantium".

The shield was on Rogers' person when he crashed in the arctic and was frozen in a state of suspended animation. After being revived by the Avengers, Tony Stark made several electronic and magnetic improvements upon the shield which allowed Rogers to control the discus in flight. The additional components threw off the balanace of the shield when thrown, however, and Rogers soon removed them.

In Cap's early adventures with the Avengers, the shield appeared to be destroyed a number of times, only to appear whole again in time for the next adventure. It was later explained that that the curious Stark had frequently borrowed the unique shield for analysis, and provided a steel replica for Cap to use each time. The true shield was once dented by Thor, using Mjolnir, but he later reconciled and pounded out the dent.

During the Secret Wars, the shield was destroyed by Doctor Doom, who had assumed the Beyonder's godlike powers. The Beyonder soon recovered his powers, and as a side effect released a wave of energy that produced a "wish effect". That is, each person on Battleworld was able to harness a portion the Beyonder's infinite power to realize some wish. Cap's wish was to have his shield whole.

Later, Captain America lost his shield over the Atlantic ocean, and it sank to the bottom. Stark sent a crew to recover the shield at considerable cost, and months later did manage to retrieve it. (Cap used a series of steel replicas during this time.) Unfortunately, the shield was dropped on the ship's deck during recovery, and the once-indestructible shield shattered.

After examining the pieces, Stark and Rogers discovered that its unique molecular structure had changed. A small sub-molecular imperfection, a single mis-alligned molecule, was introduced. With every blow the shield took, the vibranium within absorbed more energy, and the flaw propagated to other molecules until the shield's bond were completely and spontaneously broken down. Worse still, the energies released by the vibranium created a shockwave that spread like a "vibranium cancer", violently destroying any vibranium it encountered. Eventually the shockwave, feeding off each newly destroyed source of vibranium, would reach the Great Vibranium Mound in Wakanda, resulting in a blast that could destroy the world. Rogers traveled to Wakanda with the pieces of the shield taped together, hoping he could save the world by using the remaining vibranium within the shield to absorb the shockwave. In doing so he was prepared to sacrifice what remained of the shield. However, the shockwave was first intercepted by the Klaw, who absrobed it into his own body of living sound energy. Klaw soon attacked Rogers with his augmented powers. When Cap reflexively raised his shattered shield in defence, the shards absorbed the energy, and the ultra-powerful harmonics restored the Vibranium nanostructure.

For a time Rogers was asked to relinquish the role of Captain America, and the costume and shield were turned over to the new Captain America, John Walker. During this time Rogers acted as "the Captain", and used a pure Adamantium shield provided by Tony Stark. After the two had a falling out over the Armor Wars, Rogers decided to return the shield, and instead used a pure Vibranium shield provided by Black Panther (T'Challa). When Rogers reassumed the mantle of Captain America, he reacquired the unique shield. As US Agent, Walker took on Rogers' Captain costume and vibranium shield.

Thanos of Titan later shattered the shield with a single blow by using the power of the Infinity Gauntlet, but the shield was restored when Nebula obtained the Gauntlet and undid most of Thanos' villainy. On another occassion, the shield was destroyed by the Molecule Man (Owen Reece), along with Iron Man's armor, Thor's hammer Mjolnir, and the Silver Surfer's board. Later, Reece decided to restore the board, hammer, and shield. He commented that though the board was of wholely alien composition and the Mjolnir was bound together by mystical forces, the shield was unlike anything he'd ever seen.

In several alternate timelines, the shield survives for millenia, and comes to be possessed by other significant individuals. On Earth-4935, Cable claims to have searched and fought hard to find the shield, which he bore into many battles, and used as a rallying point against Apocalypse. On Earth-691, Vance Astro acted on rumor and legend to find the shield, which he used as a symbol to rally the warring people of Earth after they were freed from the conquering Badoon in the 31st century. On Earth-9200, Rick Jones gathered the shield and other artifacts into a memorial of the heroes slain by the Maestro. After the Hulk defeated the Maestro, Jone's ashes were epoxied onto the shield, and the Hulk threw it into space as an eternal memorial.

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Attributes

Image:Captain America's Shield.jpg

  • The shield is composed of the most durable known substance in the mainstream Marvel Universe. Despite numerous attempts, the Vibranium-Steel alloy has never been duplicated.
  • The shield is not only nearly indestructible, but it absorbs a great deal of kinetic energy from impacts because of its Vibranium component. That is why the Hulk can pound it while Cap is holding it, without simply sending him into the ground or the air. Cap has also used the shield to cushion the force of impact when dropped from a high altitude by standing on the shield.
  • The shield is in shape of a concave disc. The shield's shape makes it a superb throwing weapon, as it can cut through the air with minimal wind resistence. It is also able to bounce off solid objects, such as walls and floors, when struck on its edge, and can be ricocheted off of multiple surfaces. It can be caught after a single throw when angled properly. Edges are quite sharp, and never seem to dull.

Miscellaneous

Other Shields Used by Captain America

Cap's 1st Shield
  • Originally Captain America carried a steel shield resembling the traditional shield found in the Seal of the United States. This shield remains among the Captain's personal effects. (Was crushed in Avengers #275)
  • A similar, traditionally-shaped shield made of vibranium was given as a gift from the Black Panther of Wakanda as a token of a pledge to stay out of World War II. Supposedly it is on exhibit in a Wakandan museum.
  • The disc-shaped shield was later presented to Rogers by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • A third shield of the traditional design resides in the Smithsonian museum.
  • A number of disc-shaped steel replicas, which Rogers used while Stark was analyzing the unique World War II era shield.
  • As "the Captain", Steve Rogers for a time used a disc-shaped shield composed of True Adamantium, given to him by Iron Man (Tony Stark).
  • After returning the Adamantium shield following the Armor Wars, Rogers used a discus-shaped Wakandan Vibranium shield given to him by the Black Panther.
  • An Energy shield from Sharon Carter, which was capable of changing shape due to a 'flexibility matrix.'
  • A round osmium steel shield from Doctor Doom.
  • A traditionally-shaped shield is currently being used by Patriot (Elijah Bradley). It is presumably a replica.

Other Shield Wielders

Alternate Universe Shields

Image Description Issue
In Earth-Iron Doom, a world visited by Weapon X, Captain America was killed in the Mutant Wars, instigated by Magneto. His shield was shown to have been melted through. Exiles #23
In Earth-Vampire Avengers, Cap/The Vampire King's shield has no blue in it whatsoever. Exiles #31
In Earth-94831, Cap was killed while fighting Sentinels over the murder of the X-Men. His shield has a huge piece missing. Exiles #38
In Earth-4400, Cap was killed attempting to prevent Hyperion from taking over his planet. Exiles #44
In Earth-4162, Cap is a little more commando, and his shield seems to reflect that. Exiles #52

Notes

  • Originally, Marvel decided to discontinue use of Captain America's traditionally-shaped shield after rival comic book publisher MLJ (now Archie Comics) complained that the design was too similar to that of their own patriotic hero, "the Shield." It was at that point that they first switched to the discus-shaped shield. No explanation was given at the time.
  • Rogers' indestructible shield has often been referred to as being an adamantium-vibranium alloy. This is a result of an erroneous entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe entry on Captain America (though it was accurately described in the adamantium entry), which propagated into future stories. The error was corrected in Captain America 303 (March 1985), which established that the shield is made of vibranium and steel.
  • In the 1960's and 70's, writers of Captain America and the Avengers pondered the true nature of Cap's indestructible shield. Some credit on the canon for the shield must be given to letter writer 'Fred Janssen'. In the letters page of Captain America #145, he details a theory that the Shield is based upon Vibranium, Adamantium, and the work of Myron McClain. Although other ideas proposed by Janssen are not upheld, the genesis of this letter provided Marvel creators a basis for defining Cap's Shield.

References

  • Wikipedia contributors, "Captain America's shield," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Captain_America%27s_shield&oldid=96290840 (accessed January 1, 2007).

Trivia

  • No trivia.

See Also

Links and References

Related Articles


This article uses material from the "Captain America's Shield" article on the Marvel Database wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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