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A History of Captain America’s Shield

Captain America's Shield - Classic

A History of Captain America’s Shield

Over the years, Captain America‘s shield has been lost, replaced, found, broken, and repaired. It can be a little confusing trying to keep up with which shield is which and when he is using one vs the another. Luckily, my inner nerd would love nothing more than to walk you through the different versions of Captain America’s Shield.

The Kite Shield

Thicaptain america's shield - Kites is the first version of Captain America’s Shield. It was the shield that Cap was holding in jack Kirby’s first sketch of the Captain, and also the shield he was holding when he punched Hitler in the iconic first issue of Captain America. However, competing comic publisher MLJ quickly complained that Cap’s shield closely resembled the shield symbol they used for their patriotic hero known as The Shield. This resulted in the kite shield being replaced with the now iconic round shield in issue #2 of Captain America. In 2001, it was revealed in the comics that the kite shield was given to King T’Chaka of Wakanda as a gift, after the King gave Cap a sample of Vibranium. T’Chaka’s son T’Challa would later become the Black Panther and join the Avengers. In 2010, Marvel changed the fate of the shield. During a fight with Captain America, the Red Skull crushes the shield. Captain later fights the Red Skull with a circular shield made of Vibranium gifted to him by Azzari, grandfather of T’Challa.

The Classic Shield or Proto-Adamantium ShieldCaptain America's Shield - Classic cirlce

Though the classic shield was presented to Captain America by President Roosevelt, it was created by a man named Dr. Myron Maclain. He was trying to create an alloy to give America an edge in WWII. He was using Vibranium and a mystery metal. One night, as the doctor was sleeping, the metal bonded due to unknown reasons. The resulting metal is commonly referred to as Proto-Adamantium.

This shield lasted through Cap’s frozen time travel and beyond. Most fans will state that the original shield was broken many times and they are not wrong. In earlier comics, the Captain America’s shield was broken quite a few times and would be back to normal with no explanation. Later it was revealed that Tony Stark would give Cap a shield made entirely of Adamantium so that he could occasionally borrow Captain America’s shield to study and examine it.

One of the more famous occasions the shield was broken was when Thanos obtained the Infinity Gauntlet and broke it into pieces with a single strike. It was later reassembled by Nebula using the Infinity Gauntlet when she stole it from Thanos. Captain America’s shield was broken in a similar way when Doctor Doom stole the Beyonder’s incredible power. Once the fight was finished, the Beyonder granted all the heroes a single wish that his power could bestow. Captain America used his wish to make his shield whole again. Later he found that some of the molecules in the shield were not aligned properly and caused the shield to absorb power with every hit it took. This eventually caused the shield to shatter, releasing a wave of energy that caused any source of Vibrainium it touches to explode and feed the wave.

Cap then travels to Wakanda to try and use his shattered shield to prevent the wave from hitting the Vibranium deposit there and causing an explosion that would destroy the earth. Before he can stop it, the supervillain Klaw uses his powers to absorb the wave and then turns to fight Captain America. In the fight, Captain America picks up his shattered shield to block by reflex. Klaw’s blow accidentally fixes the shield by realigning the molecules, thus repairing Captain America’s shield once again. The character Molecule Man also destroyed Captain America’s shield, Thor’s hammer, and the Silver Surfer’s board. He later remade all the items, saying that the board was of alien composition, Mjolnir was bound together by mystical forces, but Captain America’s shield was unlike anything he’d ever seen. His shield was also ripped apart by the Asgardian God of Fear. Tony Stark later fixed the shield using the mystic Asgardian metal Uru. This left a scar across the front of the shield that Captain America said “gave the old girl a little bit of character.”

The Adamantium Shield

Throughout the comics, Captain America’s shield had been replaced with Adamantium replicas. One of the most noteworthy times is when Steve Rogers turned in his costume and shield to the government and took the mantle of “The Captain”. John Walker became the new Captain America and the Captain took an Adamantium replacement that Tony made for him. Later Tony and Steve had a “falling out” due to the Armor Wars and Steve returned the Adamantium shield, choosing instead to take up the Vibranium shield the Black Panther gave him.

Captain America's shield - PhotonicPhotonic Shield

The Photonic Shield is a shield of energy. After Captain America dies, the Winter Soldier (Bucky Barnes, Cap’s best friend) steals his shield. Later Tony Stark asks him to take on the mantle of Captain America, which he accepts. When Steve Rogers returns, he insists on Bucky keeping the mantle of Captain America, in order to prevent a vision he saw of Bucky dying. Steve then takes on the role of Commander Steve Rogers using a photonic shield.

Captain America’s shield has come in many shapes and varieties since his debut in 1941. It has been through just about as much as it’s iconic hero and only time will tell if it will continue to last throughout Marvels history.

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