Diameter: 30 inches
Weight: 12.5 lbs
History of Captain America's Shield
Following the assassination of Dr. Erskine and the end of creating additional Super-Soldiers, the US Army made the decision to turn Steve Rogers into a patriotic symbol known as Captain America. As part of his gear, he was outfitted with a bullet-proof triangular shield. This shield was later donated to T'Chaka, the Black Panther of the time, as a symbol of Rogers' honor that Wakanda will not become involved in the Second World War. T'Chaka would in turn, gift Rogers with a sample of vibranium.
The shield is still kept in Wakanda as a national treasure up to the present time.
Captain America used a second triangular shield as a replacement until he was given his current circular shield. Steve kept the triangular shield as a memento until he was recruited to become the leader of the Avengers, where the shield was moved to the team's mansion decades later. This shield was later destroyed by Mr. Hyde in a fit of pique when the mansion was invaded by the Masters of Evil.
Dr. Myron MacLian tried to create a metal that is comparably durable to Hercules' Adamantine mace. He experimented on Wakandan Vibranium because of its unique capabilities. One night, Dr. MacLain fell asleep and an unknown catalyst fused the Vibranium and an experimental iron alloy. Because he was asleep, Dr. MacLain wasn't able to replicate the bonding process or know what was the catalyst. (It is currently speculated by some, the catalyst was carbonadium.) It was then poured into a mold for a tank hatch to give it a circular form, and painted into an American flag motif. President Franklin Roosevelt presented this new shield to Captain America.
Dr. MacLain tried to recreate the unknown alloy without the Vibranium, with the end result being the creation of Adamantium
When Captain America was brought in to the modern world, Iron Man made modifications to the shield by installing electronic components and actuators to better control its flight when thrown. Cap decided that it threw off the shield's natural flight and discarded the modifications. Cap would often lend Iron Man his shield for research and he would provide Cap with steel replicas that would always get destroyed.
Captain America's shield has been labeled as indestructible as adamantium, but it has been destroyed on several occasions and subsequently repaired. The following were successful attempts at destroying the shield:
When the shield was lost in the Atlantic Ocean and subsequently found, it shattered into pieces when dropped. Iron Man and Captain America found out that when the Beyonder repaired the shield, he left a molecular imperfection that left the bonds unaligned. With every blow the shield absorbed, the imperfection continued to spread across the shield until it was destroyed. To make matters worse, the shock wave created by the destroyed shield has spread all over the world, destroying all vibranium-made components and risked reaching the vibranium mound in Wakanda that can destroy the planet. Cap traveled to Wakanda to sacrifice the shield from the impending explosion, but the villain Klaw, who is now a living sound energy, was already there absorbing the energy exerted by the surrounding vibranium explosion. When Klaw attacked Captain America, he instinctively braced his shield and the resulting attack realigned the shield's molecules and restored it.
When Captain America was assassinated, Tony Stark took the shield and began to look for a replacement. When he encountered Clint Barton, he offered him the shield to become the next Captain America, but he declined after being confronted by Kate Bishop. After that, Winter Soldier stole the shield as he believed that no one other than Steve Rogers was worthy to carry it. Tony then offered the shield to Bucky and became the next Captain America. Bucky refused at first, but after he read a letter from Steve that should anything happen to him he should carry the shield, he finally agreed. When Steve was brought back to life, Bucky tried to give the shield back to him, but Steve refused on the grounds that he wasn't ready to be Captain America just yet.
Its shape is similar to the original shield Captain America had back in the 1940’s, the pointy one, but this one has two main innovations: its tip can deploy an “energy blade”, so Cap can cut into things, and the shield can be divided in two, so Steve Rogers can use both halves, one with each arm.
Functions of the Shield
Captain America's shield is used for defensive purposes, but is also used as a offensive tool. As a shield, it protects Captain America from anything that is thrown against him and all the energy is stored within the shield's molecular composition, making it more durable. It's durability is so strong that Captain America can hold his shield while being pummeled by the Hulk. When thrown or just being used for a blunt strike, the shield packs a punch when Cap is holding it.
The aerodynamic shape of the shield allows it to glide with pin-point accuracy. Captain America commonly uses the shield to take out several opponents at once. Cap has used the shield for so long and become so accustomed to it that it is in many ways an extension of his own arm. Cap easily ricochets the shield off of walls to hit elusive targets, and often throws it so that it returns to where he is standing. Being made from a vibranium-iron alloy, the shield absorbs the force as it ricochets from wall to wall, thus not losing its momentum.
For a short while, the shield had electronic modifications attached that were invented by Iron Man so that it could be controlled in mid-flight magnetically. Captain America took these off because they ruined its balance and natural flight.
Composition of the Shield
The molecular mass of the shield is constructed from a rare alloy vibranium and an experimental iron alloy (There is some debate on the exact composition of the shield.)
Molded with a Vibranium/Iron alloy, the shield is for all purposes, practically indestructible. The star and stripes of the shield are made of an enamel, that can stand temperatures of up to 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
The only energy that this shield cannot protect itself from is psionic.
When the shield was rebuilt after being shattered by the Serpent it was infused with Uru Enchantments making it stronger then before.
Some of Marvel's earliest documentation regarding the shield's composition mistakenly refers to it as a "vibranium-adamantium" mix. This has been corrected but this mistake persists to this day by some individuals.
Wielders of the Shield
Aside from Steve Rogers, several of Marvel's superheroes have, at various times, wielded either Captain America's shield or a replica thereof. Examples include:
- Bucky Barnes
- David Rickford
- Roscoe Simons
- U.S. Agent
- Ian Zola
Steve Rogers has had two different shields based on energy projection. The first was a yellow Plasma Shield and the second was a series of Photon Shields.
When stripped of his title and exiled, Sharon Carter took, without SHIELD authorization, technology which could be built into Steve's gloves and radiate a circular yellow Plasma Shield.
A second energy based shield device was provided by Sharon when Rogers lost his classic shield during a rescue. This Photon Shield had additional abilities: 1. Firing blasts of energy; 2. Mimicry of other melee weapons; 3. Adjustable appearance to more closely resemble his traditional shield than the Plasma Shield did.
Steve gave his first Photon Shield to Primax, his second was destroyed by Ultron, but subsequent to his return and with Bucky in the mantel of Captain American and as the wielder of the traditional shield, Steve is once again using a Photon Shield, but has not demonstrated any additional utility beyond forming the energy shield as of yet.
Captain America's Shield in Media
Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow
In the Next Avengers movie, Steve's son James uses the same energy shield his father once used in the comics. James later finds the original shield in Ultron's trophy room.
Iron Man (2008)
Eagle-eyed watchers of Iron Man will notice the iconic shield makes an appearance on Tony's workbench. The scene in question involves Pepper Potts walking in on him putting on his armor. The shield seems to be in a half built stage and was either digitally inserted into the film or digitally erased from the trailers were it does not appear.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
The shield was again shown in the Iron Man 2 when it was picked up by SHIELD agent Coulson from a box and Stark used as leverage to balance his atom smasher.
The Colbert Report
In 2007 after Steve Rogers' death, Marvel Editor-in-Chief, Joe Quesada appeared on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report." He presented host Stephen Colbert with the shield. Stating that Roger's had said in his will that Colbert is the only man that had the red, white, and blue balls to carry the mantle.
Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
The shield appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. At the close of the first season, it is destroyed by Loki. This causes the impostor Captain America to use an energy shield in the second season, and once the real Cap returns, he uses his old triangular shield. Midway through the season, the Black Panther manages to repair the original shield, which Cap uses for the remainder of the series.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
The shield's origin is finally shown in Captain America: The First Avenger, where it was revealed to have been designed by Howard Stark during the Second World War. Stark claims the shield is made out of a rare element called Vibranium (as Adamantium was off-limits to the filmmakers due to its usage in the X-Men movies), and that it absorbs all forms of damage.
Prior to this, Steve briefly uses a triangular shield which he steals from a Captain America stage show being performed by the USO. It proves effective in battle but is damaged during a fight with the Red Skull.
The Avengers (2012)
In The Avengers, the shield is used it to battle countless enemies, including Loki, in which he dazed him by smacking it into his face. Others included Chitauri, a Skrull-like, shape-shifting alien race. The shield was shown to hold true to it's roots, and was extremely durable. It was capable of absorbing a blow from Thor's hammer without taking any damage.
Iron Man 3 (2013)
In deleted scenes for Iron Man 3, Trevor Slattery can be seen sporting a tattoo of Captain America's shield on his neck. Presumably, this is in keeping with his method of appropriating warrior symbolism from various cultures as part of his Mandarin stage persona.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Steve is still shown using his trademark shield in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It is also shown to have a stealth variation where the patriotic coloring is replaced with a more subdued blue and silver color scheme. During the climax of the movie, the shield is dropped from a damaged Helicarrier into the Potomac River, but is shown in Steve's hospital room when he wakes up to find Sam Wilson waiting for him.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
The shield appears in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Like its comic counterpart from the 60's, the shield has now been upgraded by Tony Stark, who has added a feature that allows Cap to control and call it back similar to Stark's Iron Man suits. The straps have been removed to make room for a magnetic component that clips on to Captain America's gauntlets. The shield is also shown to be powerful enough to damage Ultron's chest, as well as many of his drones. One sequence involves Thor hitting the shield with his hammer, Mjolnir, which sends it flying clean through several of Ultron's drones.
Later in the film, a nightmarish fantasy sequence conjured by Scarlet Witch causes Iron Man to see a possible future where the Avengers are shown dead at the hands of Thanos. Captain America's shield is shown shattered on the floor, destroyed by the Mad Titan's power. The destroyed shield was featured in the early trailer and promo footage for the movie, and was unveiled at San Diego Comic-Con.
The shield is a popular choice for toys, replicas, and role playing equipment.