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The First Avenger: Captain America

The History of Captain America's Shield

Take a trip down memory lane with the history of all of Captain America's shields from the comics

By Marc Strom

The shield from "Captain America: The First Avenger" at SDCC 2010
At San Diego Comic-Con 2010, Marvel Studios unveiled the actual shield Chris Evans will use as the title character in next summer's "Captain America: The First Avenger," giving fans their first peek at one of the most iconic objects in the Marvel Universe brought to life.

For those readers unfamiliar with Captain America's shield, however, we've got you covered with a retrospective look at all the shields Cap has thrown throughout his almost 70-year history in the comics.

The Kite Shield

While the circular shield displayed at Comic-Con has long

Captain America and his kite shield
since become the "classic" model, the Sentinel of Liberty first smashed onto the scene with a triangular kite shield in the pages of CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1. While the shield worked well as a defensive weapon, he also had to carry a gun to provide him with a good offense to combat the Nazi threat both home and abroad in World War II.

The Classic Shield

Later stories, such as the classic CAPTAIN AMERICA Vol. 1 #355 by Roger Stern and John Byrne, revealed that President Franklin Roosevelt presented the hero with the traditional, circular shield that fans around the world know and love shortly after Steve Rogers became Captain America.

The classic shield
Crafted from vibranium and an experimental metallic alloy, Captain America's shield served him well as he fought throughout Europe. The vibranium in the shield made it capable of absorbing and deflecting large amounts of energy and force, while its aerodynamic design made it a perfect projectile weapon, giving Cap both great defensive and offensive capabilities.

But it's not just the shield's iconic status that makes it unique amongst all the other weapons in the Marvel Universe. During a mission in AVENGERS Vol. 1 #215, the villainous Molecule Man reduced Cap's shield down to its primary elements along with Thor's hammer, Iron Man's armor and the Silver Surfer's board, but it was the shield's atomic makeup that the villain described as the "weirdest of all."

"The Captain's" Shield

The Captain and his shield
In CAPTAIN AMERICA Vol. 1 #332, Steve Rogers resigned as Cap when he refused to work on the United States government's payroll. Beginning in issue #337, though, he continued to fight for his ideals as "The Captain." After fighting without a shield for a short time, Iron Man offered him a silver shield of his own design. Once it became obvious to Rogers that he only did this to keep the Captain from interfering with Iron Man's "Armor Wars," Steve handed the shield back.

Following this, the Black Panther created a shield of pure vibranium for the Captain with a series of concentric circles colored black, red and white on its surface. Rogers, clearly most comfortable wielding a shield as a weapon, would not use his traditional shield as it belonged to Captain America, an identity that stood for something larger than-and apart from-just himself.

Steve Rogers served America as the Captain in CAPTAIN AMERICA Vol. 1 #332-350

The Photonic Shield

The photonic shield
When the President of the United States exiled our hero, Rogers had to hand over both his costume and his shield to the government in CAPTAIN AMERICA Vol. 1 #450. During this time, he first used a photonic energy shield until he managed to clear his name and once again took possession of his true shield.

Shortly thereafter, when Cap lost his shield to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean saving a submarine full of people, he would try using a number of others before finally taking on an improved energy shield that packed enough wallop to fend off an attacking from a stampeding Rhino.

Though the new shield had its benefits, Cap never quite got over the loss of his original. When James Rhodes recovered its shattered remains from the ocean floor, Captain America had to utilize a taped-together shield to defend himself from the villain Klaw, and somewhat miraculously the shield became fused back together thanks to the enemy's sound-based powers.

For the full story on Cap's exile, read CAPTAIN AMERICA Vol. 1 #450-453, collected in "Captain America: Operation Rebirth," and for the full story of Cap's lost shield check out CAPTAIN AMERICA Vol. 3 #1-22

The Present: Two Shall Wield the Shield

Bucky wields the shield
After Steve Rogers' apparent death, his one-time sidekick Bucky took up the shield and mantle of his former mentor. Upon Steve's return, he and Bucky came to the decision that the latter should carry on as Captain America while Rogers currently holds the position of top cop in the United States. He sometimes uses a variation on the energy shield he previously utilized.

Ultimate Captain America and his shield
The Ultimate Shields

While Steve Rogers in the Ultimate Universe has used similar shields to his Marvel Universe counterpart, a number of differences exist. Ultimate Captain America used a kite shield throughout the entirety of his time fighting in World War II. After Nick Fury discovered his frozen body and reawakened him, Rogers decided to once again take up the mantle of Captain America and was given a shield of pure adamantium, which he continues to use to this day.


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jtmccormack member

In the older comics, the circular shield had a blue ring on the outer edge, whereas for the longest time it has been a red ring - making two red rings on the shied. Does anyone know when that change was made, and why?


@ Havok, Oh, I know which one you're talking about now. Isn't that one at the bottom of the sea when they buried Cap??@ Comicmaker, I like your ideas the only thing with I would change is the pure adamantium sheild. Cap's original shield I believe was a combination adamantium and vibranium. Adamantium to be unbreakable, Vibranium to redirect and absorb energy. I can't recall the issue but Cap was falling from a building and used his shield to break his fall, the shield took the impact and redirected the force and energy of the fall as well as not breaking when he fell to the ground.


U.S. Agent may have the vibranium shield, but the adamantium shield tony stark made is still out there somewhere. This was the other shield I was referring to.


cant wait for the big movie.


U.S agent has a energy shield he has 1 shield. and his energy shield is not the same as my Shield, i never saw U.S. agent or Captain America with a shield that when they throw it, that 3 shields come out of the first shield. and i never ever saw a energy shield that can change the length,size & weight when using or throwing the shield. So if there is a shield like that now, show me the proof or link. My idea is Unique and its just a good idea for Marvel. you have it or not!


@ Havok, the shield you are referring to now belongs to a character named the US Agent. They couldn't let that character die and if I'm right I think he now serves under Steve Rogers and SHIELD as a trainer for new heroes but I don't know where at the moment


i have a good idea for Captain America shield and next episodes of his shield. just image Captain America has a shield that when he throws it towards the villain he can duplicate 3 more shield out of his first shield.1. Is Adamantium.why? when a villain or superhero like cyclops like to blast Captain America with his full power then a admantium unbreakable shield would be good to protect him.2. Electric shield to stun or kill the villain. when he throws or when a villain touch the shield.3. the best shield is the energy shield .why? Captain America can change the size,weight and length of it. because its energy it can be really useful e.g. fighting against juggernaut he is strong big and almost unstoppable . captain America throws his shield to juggernaut then when juggernaut catch the energy shield ,captain will make the weight of the shield so heavy that even juggernaut have to struggle to lift it! and thats the moment Captain can do his finishing moves.


Why doesn't Steve Rogers use one of the two shields he used as the Captain now?