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Comic Book Questions Answered – Is Captain America’s Shield Stronger Than Adamantium?

Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com). Here is a link to an archive of all the past questions that have been answered so far.

Reader Steve S. wrote in to ask:

Ran across this last night and was wondering if it has ever been addressed. In Captain America #303 Cap’s shield has been stolen and a scientist at Stane International is trying to recreate the formula for the metal. The scientist says that the closest he’s come has been a substance called adamantium but that’s still not as strong as Cap’s shield. This is the first time I’ve ever seen this mentioned and to my knowledge adamantium has always been regarded as the strongest metal ever in the Marvel Universe.

Read on for the answer!

I sort of went into this same topic a while back when someone asked what Captain America’s shield was made out of, exactly, as it once was referred to as a mixture of adamantium and vibranium. However, Kurt Busiek answered the questions people had in Avengers Annual 2001…



So you see, adamantium was designed to match the metal that was Captain America’s shield – it came close, but the mysterious alloy that makes up Captain America’s shield is still the tops in the Marvel Universe. Not even enchanted uru (which is enough to dent adamantium…



can dent Captain America’s shield (although someone as powerful as Odin CAN break it, as seen in Fear Itself, when Odin’s predecessor as All-Father, the Serpent, breaks Cap’s shield).

So Captain America’s shield seems like it’s numero uno at Marvel (and of course, even then, it has been destroyed on numerous occasions).

Thanks for the question, Steve! If anyone else has a question, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com


Busiek was behind the big thing that the Shield wasn’t the first adamantium bonded with the properties of vibranium too. Don’t know anyone considered it anything but adamantium/vibranium before that. Of course, he was also on the kick that adamantium was truly indestructible, and anything that had been damaged or dented before was only secondary admantium. (Then had the other vibranium destroy it and Ultron in Avengers.)

But Cap’s shield has always been more. Even the Molecule Man thought it was weirder than Thor’s hammer or he Surfer’s board. (In the Marvel RPG it was Class 3000 material, and admantium “only” Class 1000).

What issue of The Avengers is that Barry Smith work from? Looks great!

where does Carbonadium come into it?

rick69g, it is from The Avengers 69.

Err. sorry,I ment The Avengers 66

Rick, Avengers #66.

Curse you, Manar!

I believe Cap’s shield was erroneously referred to as adamantium in one of the early handbooks.
Even though the shield predates the invention of adamantium by decades it’s an understandable confusion given that what exactly is the distinction between the two metals? One is indestructible… but the other one is REALLY indestructible!!

That Mike Zeck cover nevee gets old.

” Not even enchanted uru (which is enough to dent adamantium…)can dent Captain America’s shield.”

Well, except for that time it did, thanks to Jurgens and Johns, in the Avengers story “Standoff” http://www.comics.org/issue/219589/#580284
Right? Although this story might have been a What If…? or eliminated by time travel because it was part of Jurgens’s King Thor story, which I think is non-cannon. I am not sure.

Wasn’t that an Odinpowered Thor though? Would change things a bit.

Yes. So it’s safe to say that Thor can’t damage the shield, but Odin can. Seems reasonable to me.

Busiek was behind the big thing that the Shield wasn’t the first adamantium bonded with the properties of vibranium too. Don’t know anyone considered it anything but adamantium/vibranium before that.

As covered in the earlier post Brian mentions above, Mike Carlin (likely with considerable guidance from Mark Gruenwald) had established the shield’s “not Adamantium, but a mysterious other alloy” thing back in Captain America #303, and before that we had some hints of it in Captain America #255.

Yes, that story had Thor with the Odinpower.

As someone mentioned… Busiek also threw “secondary Adamantium” into the mix which is practically indestructible but can be dented or destroyed by someone like Thor going all out.

I suppose this was to account for various stories that had characters damaging adamantium with their fists.

In the very first story Thor mentions that the metal is slightly damaged so I don’t think it was a fix that was necessary.

Thor’s hammer can dent adamantium, but so can the Hulk.. the Hulk fought Ultron who is made up of all adamantium he was able to damange and dent his body in the original Secret Wars. which shocked Ultron.

Far as I’m concerned Cap’s shield isn’t stronger than adamantium. To my knowledge, every time adamantium has been shown to me damaged it’s been retconned to be a weaker version of the pure thing. Cap’s shield has been damaged and destroyed so many times it’s a wonder anyone thinks it’s worth trying to replicate, let alone be called the strongest metal in the Marvel Universe.

Caps real shield has never been broken… the unbreakable shield has yet to be recovered/revealed again after it was lost in another comic issue. also the shield IS made of “proto-adamantium”, vibranium, and uranium. proto adamantium being the mysterious new metal that was fused with vibranium is slightly stronger than TRUE adamantium and has never been reproduced besides the shield. also the shield does have “magical/cosmic” powers just maybe not to return to him.

@Fury, X-men (vol. 2) 4-7–Omega Red arc. That’s the earliest I can remember in the early 90s.

That’s why adamantium has always been touted as the strongest metal “KNOWN TO MAN” I always figured Cap’s shield was stronger, but since its makeup was unknown and no one could recreate it, adamantium takes the title.

I’m still a little fuzzy here. Does it contain vibranium still? I really liked that the shield could absorb impact full on in the front, but the edges actually displaced impact (allowing it to bounce several times before Cap catches it).

If you collected any of the Encyclopedia of The Marvel Universe comics you already knew the answer to this question as they stated Cap’s shield was stronger than Wolverine’s claws, but Thor’s hammer was stronger than both of them.

Also if you ever played The Marvel Super Heroes Role Playing Game back in the day they had the three highest values in the game were in order of lowest to highest Class 1000, Class 3000 and Class 5000 and Wolverine’s claws were Class 1000, Cap’s shield was Class 3000 and Thor’s hammer was Class 5000.

Fury: Carbonadium is the Soviets attempt to reproduce Adamantium.

My understanding has always been that Thor’s hammer *is* stronger than Cap’s shield, but Thor himself — powerful as he is — isn’t strong enough to hit the shield with enough force. Someone with strength on an entirely different level (maybe someone with the Odinforce or equivalent?) could conceivably break the shield using Mjolnir… but then again, they wouldn’t probably need Mjolnir for that anyway (e.g. Thanos with the Power Gem in Infinity Gauntlet).

Much like Cap’s shield is harder than Adamantium, but Cap doesn’t have nearly enough strength to break Wolverine’s claws, or Ultron’s body, with it.

The shield currently unless they retconned it a mixture of Vibranium and Uru.

but before when it was other metals and vibranium. to be honest there is at trick to this. Adamanitum is actually the stronger metal but Vibranium can absorb certain types of vibrations such as the impact of a fist or even sound. what this means is Cap’s shield isn’t actually hit at all so it’s physical strength is never actually tested except in certain situations.

A person who does Ki damage can dent Cap’s shield or any vibranium with less force needed than what it would take to dent Adamantium since Ki energy bypasses vibranium’s absorbing properties. the same with any force that bypasses virbanium’s ability to absorb.

however this is less so since now cap’s shield is vibranium/uru but that doesn’t change that vibranium itself is less durable than Adamantium it’s just protected by that special ability. there are a few in the marvel universe who do that type of damage btw. Iron Fist for example and he can take town a hellicarrier with a punch. He’s faced cap before and was able to move him while protected by the shield which is something the Hulk hasn’t managed.. but like i said all but the Ki energy was absorbed and at the time he had already used his iron fist ability more than once that day fighting the wrecking crew.

plus the only version of cap’s shield that has had adamantium was in the ultimates universe which had no vibranium in it and was all adamantium.

@Bryan L – Yes Cap’s shield still has vibranium in it.

It consists of vibranium, an unknown steel alloy (which I always thought of as the precursor to adamantium), and now technically uru (like Thor’s hammer).

After the Serpent destroyed it in the Fear Itself event a few years back. Tony Stark had the dwarves, that made Mjolnir, repair Cap’s shield and it’s said they also added in uru metal. Whether this has been forgotten or ignored is anyone’s guess, since it hasn’t been mentioned since.

Kind of surprised no writer has yet to retcon this, that falling asleep and finding the metals suddenly bonded sounds like such a tempting moment to have some interloper come in via time travel, magic, or whatever, though I am guessing Marvel is reluctant to let just any writer play with that particular moment of continuity, which I kind of hope they leave as a mystery, as much as I like tying up loose ends in plots I am not a fan of doing that by retcons unless they are done well, and most are not. Hope I don’t give any writers plot ideas with this comment.

Marvel 1991 trading cards. Captain America’s shield. Nuff said

Not a regular Thor reader, so forgot about Thor having the Odin force back then. I guess the number of times Odin dies or goes missing/is replaced could be a drawing crazy patterns, right?

I also for got about the Uru in the shield until Sinjun mentioned it. That happened in Fear Itself, did it not?

Ok I have read a lot of things here and I am going to say that a lot of you did not grow up reading comics like some of us did. So let me clear some things up.
Caps shield to start with was made of Adamantium and Vibranium. At the time the scientist named Dr. Myron MacLain that was making it was trying to make Adamantium and fell sleep and made the shield. No one could make anything like it after that. In the attempts to make the shield they have made many different types of Adamantium. True Adamantium: Like that from Wolverine’s skeleton, Secondary Adamantium: A cheaper version in which people like Thor and the Hulk can break or warp with their Strength. Seen someone ask about Carbonadium: It is an metal that is much stronger then steel but is flexible. It is nearly indestructibel but is not Adamantium, Omega Red is someone that makes use of this metal
Thor normal can’t break or dent Caps shield
Rune Thor: Had the power to dent the shield and then fix it.
Odin Thor: Might have the power to break the shield but that has never been tested
Serpent (Cul Borson): Did break the shield but he was powered up by the fear of the whole earth.
The shield was fixed by by the dwarves of Asgard. Which was then made of Adamantium, Uru, and Vibranium
Vibranium: Absorbs vibration or kinetic energy. (There are different types of Vibranium that have different abilities)
Uru: This is a metal that is native to one of the nine worlds. It is as strong as Adamantium and is said to be able to hold magical enchantments.
Caps shield at this time is thought to be stronger then it ever was

We’re treading some of the same ground but so it goes. Odin’s Serpenty brother, who was portrayed as being more or less equal to Odin but on the whole more less than more, clocked the shield in Fear Itself and shattered it; it was then rehabilitated with Uru, leaving a crack across the face, but purportedly became even less destructible than it’s previous (original?) Vibranium/Whatever composition. The crack seems to have disappeared (Cap wanted it left as it was) but I recall no ret-con that has du-Uru’ed the shield, unless Secret Wars did something. The Destroyer split Mjolnir way back when but would Cap’s shield have survived?

Like everything else in superhero books, the shield is what it needs to be based on the story. Take Thor, up there. We’ve discussed this at some length but he’s about as powerful as he needs to be at the time. On the one hand he’s the most powerful not-Cosmic being in the stable before you begin ticking off your Odinses and Galactuses and so on. The Surfer is somewhere in between but his abilities are equally story dependent. Your Hyperions and Gladiators and (I guess) Blue Marvels and other Super-knock-offs are less powerful than Thor unless they need to be more powerful. It’s all rather maddening.

When it comes to Adamantium, Thor could only dent it even using his “full power” but as was recently mentioned, Englehart made the point that Thor was always holding back, if only on a subconscious level. He’d unleash against Man-gog or Surtur but on Earth he had to constantly throttle back. So could he have actually done more damage to Maclain’s prototype? Later stories say no, but who really knows? I did love both Iron Man and Goliath (Clint) dismissing Thor’s attempt in the following pages and having a go themselves; failing miserably, of course. Pity that Hulk wasn’t there.

One thing that has always bothered me is, that if these metals were as strong as they are advertised, and something hit them with impact strong enough to break them, whatever they were being held by would be what would break. not the metals.

Didn’t the Hulk dent Ultron’s adamantium body in the original Secret Wars? Or am I misremembering?

That annual piece by Busiek was, from memory, mainly written to answer some of the perennial confusions on the internet at the time. There’s a number of Avengers questions answered but apart from “why did Iron Man and the Wasp come back in Heroes Return as their pre Crossing versions?” they were all restatements of the main existing line on this stuff – ISTR frustration almost openly flowing over with the “is the Falcon a mutant?” question.

it was a YES OR NO QUESTION Is Captain America’s Shield Stronger Than Adamantium? YES OR NO

I figure multiple time travelers have gone back to investigate what created Cap’s shield, and they have each ended up either causing it, preventing others from causing it, or otherwise had or cancelled out an effect. You know: Dr. Strange cast a spell which prevented the Radioactive Man from preventing the reaction, but Ms. Marvel got in way so she reflected the spell onto Deadpool who got in the way of the Cotati-Phoenix who…

It’s worse that killing Hitler, I swear.

(Ultimately, of course, the steel/vibranium mix is replaced by GoogleKang with the melted-down remnants of Cap’s own shield from the 604th century.)

All Hail GoogleKang! Better him than ZarrkoJobs, that guy just creeps me out.

his shield is a mix of a metal similar and referenced in older issues to vibirmium. its also been.mentioned that it is vib only and thats its the only sample in. existence. I have every single issue of cap….every. from #1 to current. I consider myself a expert on.him.as he’s been my fav all my life. one issue claims its vibraium only others say its a mystery but its always been universally agreed nothing is stronget in the marvel uni.

I believe Adamantium is first than Vibranium. Because Wolverine’s lived during the late 1800’s while Captain America served during the early 1900’s.

Supposedly, the crack from Fear Itself is still there, even if it seems to have been forgotten.

I remember, back in the early ’90’s, trading cards that said Cap’s shield was a vibranium/adamantium combo. To be fair, though, EVERYTHING had adamantium in it back then, due to Wolverine’s overwhelming popularity.

I also remember back then that adamantium was the “it” metal; stronger than anything else, unless the story/script decided otherwise. An example I can think of off the top of my head is the Wolverine v. Omega Red stories; his claws should’ve cut through OR’s tentacles, but they couldn’t when they needed OR to dominate.

It was the Ultimates universe that throttled back the metal’s “A1″ rating, probably in an effort to prevent that universe’s Wolverine from being as overpowered as he was in the 616.

The cynic in me thinks that Marvel retconned adamantium’s strength level because they don’t have the rights to it in the movies. People would have that “yeah, Cap’s shield is cool and all, but if Wolverine were there…” thought process. By staking vibranium at Numero Uno in the books, they don’t have to have that “what if” argument in the forums.

I think Hulk damaged Ultron in Secret Wars, but not neccessarily the adamantium outer shell. But it doesn’t really matter, as the original Ultron was probably lying on a scrap heap in the heroes’ fortress after the Human Torch went nova on him and overheated the inside. The heroes fought an Ultron who was just created by Klaw under the influence of the Beyonder who secretly wanted the heroes to kick Doom’s butt, therefore that Ultron’s abilities aren’t representative.

Have Deadpool time travel back to the mixing to the shield and accidently drop a coke and chimichanga into the vat while the doctor sleep.

Pao… Wolverine was around during the late 1800s but he wasn’t born with the adamantium. And he couldn’t have gotten it before it was invented which was esablished as being created after caps shield.

And Justin I don’t think they wouldn’t downgrade the strength because of the movie right because of various reasons I don’t feel like getting into here but they did change the levels of adamantium bacuause of the movies it woudn’t be because of the shield because it’s fairly set in to being made of vibranium and steel in the comics so that wouldn’t be something for them to change or whatever

And I think having the doctor fall asleep and maybe missing something was a general setup for someone later on if they wanted to do something with it. I don’t think Roy had any thoughts when he wrote it. Maybe he was setting himself up for something later on if he was stuck, something to pick up? People blame Claremount for doing that with dangling threads but Roy Invented them… lol

@Lanier- they wouldn’t downgrade adamantium because of the movies? Like they wouldn’t make Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver mutants no more? Though I’m more annoyed that how in the world adamantium is an X thing when there are far more non-X characters that use it than there are X characters, even with all the Wolverine copies.

@Omar- I was more getting into what Tim Rpll-Pickering was mentioning, that Busiek was on message boards and other places long before those stories drumming up the notion that it wasn’t adamantium in the shield.

And his secondary adamantium push was to explain away things like Secret Wars, or Wonder Man using his bare hands to break Ultron, and so forth. Because he thought indestructible meant indestructible. Unless it was facing Antarctic vibranium.

@Doug- I’m pretty sure Thor’s hammer was Class 3000 too, just like Cap’s shield, FWIW. And it’s probably been damaged as often as Cap’s shield. (Both of which are bad…neither should be baring molecular manipulation).

I think the whole idea is wrong minded. If someone said his shield was made by “combining adamantium and vibranium” then sure, that would be wrong. But what it was really meant to be in the manuals and such was that the shield wasn’t created from, but now made of what was the first, best, adamantium developed, infused with vibranium and it’s unique properties, to make the most magnificent creation of all. I mean, when McClain or anyone else up to Ultron 85 create an amount of admantium, they’re not using adamantium to create admantium, so it’s never made FROM adamantium. It just becomes it. That’s all they were saying. The process to create and bond the materials together is still a mystery. But how it just being a normal “steel alloy” makes it any more mysterious is overthinking it.

They’d be better off making it as expensive and rare as it was, so Ultron can’t create a whole army of himself in secondary adamantium, or every street bad guy doesn’t have adamantium bullets or a sword. “Hey, I’ve got an adamantium weapon…let’s go rob a bank rather than sell this precious metal for millions!” I mean, it was ok when it was just the Constrictor, because he’s was the rare loser who got his hands on something amazing, and that’s what makes him unique (or it did). Plus, he’s an idiot. Everyone else? Too much.

M-Wolverine –

“Hey, I’ve got an adamantium weapon…let’s go rob a bank rather than sell this precious metal for millions!”

I don’t see that bit as a problem. The very essence of superheroes is people with amazing abilities and equipment never using them in ways that would make real-world economic sense (and change the world beyong recognition).

But I agree with you that adamantium was cooler when only a few characters had it.

M-Wolverine…if they were messing around with the adamantium because of the movies they would have done it around 2000, 2002 or so. Why wait 16 years to do that? Why make any of the changes soooo long after the x-men movies came out like the changing wanda and pietro or stressing inhumans etc? If they started making any of those changes around 2001 I would agree with you. But not this long after. This whole idea of Marvel messing around with its charatcters just to screw Fox should just die. It gets old and tiresome when it pops up in places like this,a discussion over Caps shield…

@M-Wolverine: The question of “is it/isn’t it” adamantium goes back way before Busiek’s Avengers run or the more recent movies, as others have pointed out. The first I recall of it was back when the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition came out (85-86), and Mark Gruenwald made a distinct point of clarifying it, as it had been mischaracterized by more than a few writers (and continues to be in spite of his efforts). “Secondary” Adamantium was likewise introduced long ago- before the OHOTMU Deluxe- though I’d have to do a bit of research to determine precisely when.

@Rene- I don’t really mind when you’ve just got a guy or two like the Constrictor using some expensive high tech device for minor crimes. It’s part of the deal. But when everyone seems to have an adamantium weapon to go up against Wolverine or whatever, it’s time for one of them to rethink their priorities. It’s just become too commonplace. It should be Cap/whatever you want to call his shield, Wolverine, Ultron, and grandfather in Constrictor, then it needs to be used sparingly. The first time Doc Ock got them it was supposed to be a big deal. Now one wonders why he doesn’t use them all the time. (Other than the mental connection thing).

@Lanier- because First Avenger didn’t come out until 2011, and Age of Ultron didn’t come out till last year, so there was nothing in the MCU with competing imagery. As soon as the movie shield became “vibranium” there was a disconnect. It never mattered before. It’s less “screw Fox” as it is “make it like the movies.” And we know they DO do that.

@Cthulhudrew- yeah, guys like Busiek didn’t create long standing things like secondary adamantium. He was just one of the guys retconning every weak appearance of adamantium by “Doombotting” it.

All the movie did was take the steel out of the shield. Vibranium has always been in the shield. It has been establish since around the time that adamantium was created in that story that caps shied was a mixture of steel and vibranium except for the goofs in the handbooks and ocationally and that capsshield was the insperation for the creation of adamantium. So as I said all they did was take out the steel and made the shield pure vibranium in the movies. So I don’t get your point there that marvel is somehow trying to screw fox somehow with caps shield. And Adamantium isn’t as tied to ultron as it is inderectly to caps shield. Ya ultron coated himself a couple of times with it but he’s just as tied to adamantium as much as the Red Skull with the cosmic cube…

and don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying they wouldn’t do stuff to try to mess with Fox. Anythings possible. But all the timing is off on everything

Actually, it was made from a steel alloy and vibranium, but it’s not actually a mixture. It formed a new element that is unique. It’s not like they made cocoa from milk and chocolate. And I never said they did it to screw with Fox. I said they did it to make the comics more like the movies. They’re not making Scarlet Witch not a mutant to screw with the Fox movies…they’re not even using her. (As it seems the deal went “you get to use Quicksilver and we’ll kill him off; you don’t really use Scarlet Witch, and we’re even.”) They’re doing it so she/they reflect their Marvel movie origins.

And I don’t understand how you don’t think adamantium is Ultron’s thing. He’s just another robot without it. The whole thing that makes him menacing is that he’s the “indestructible” robot. Which is something that hurt the movie a bit. His minion robots were just the usual cannon fodder, and he wasn’t that formidable. If Thor had swung his hammer on him and it had bounced off, then you go WHOA, this is a guy who can take on the whole Avengers. (Particularly one that has the Hulk on it too). But since his second storyline he’s had the admantium.

But for fun, and not related to this response, but the overall thread, here’s some of the people who have adamantium who probably shouldn’t-

Agent Zero’s knife and bullets
Battlestar’s shield
Cyber’s claws AND SKIN (yes, that’s his thing…it’s ridiculous)
Citizen V’s rapier outer layer
Moon Knight’s crescent blades (who the heck was he throwing them at that time? At least he’s rich)
One Stilt-Man suit (though that’s kinda funny)
One of Swordsman’s blades
Bullets used by Underworld (wait, what?)
Bucky’s Cap suit laced with it
The resurrected Russian
Hammerhead’s head (was that true? It’s wiki…some of these may be wrong…but that could be the ultimate example)

There are probably others they missed. (BTW, did they ever bring that Admantium Hulk Statue to life, with Metal Master or someone? I thought they intended on doing that)

ok I misunderstood your point. But did they make the shield in the comics pure vibranium? I knew they changed it at one point by adding uru to it but as far as I know they never took out the steel part of it. Must have missed that and how they changed it to pure vibranium like the movies. And ya, sorry, the new element thing. Your right on thatpoint. Doh. But with ultron as I said he didn’t have the adamantium from the very start. He got it soon after if I recall or at least revealed soon after that he always had it but if I remember one of his early appearances was him getting adamantium. But to call him just another robot is just like calling Dr Doom jut another human because he doesn’t have superpowers. Yes Ultron in the movie wasn’t the best but just like alot of the characters in the movies he isn’t really representative of the comic version.

I don’t think it’s gotten to that point, but there are so many Captain America’s running around now with so many different shields… So I don’t think you’ve missed anything. But it was the discussion on whether Marvel would do such a thing for the movies, and they change a lot of silly little things to make them more like the movies.

Ultron’s backstory is told in his multi-issue first appearance, as he had already evolved to Ultron-5, but his next appearance as Ultron-6 he has upgraded to the adamantium. And yeah, there’s more to it than that. A big part of Ultron is his whole family relationship with Pym. (Which also was lost for the movie, mostly. Stark was a reasonable but not perfect fill in). Though I don’t mind that he’s not exactly like the comics; my problem is that in the movie he’s made less formidable than he could be. It hurts the movie Ultron, not that he’s not just like comic Ultron. Frankly, I don’t hate AoU like some do. I think it’s a pretty good flick that just isn’t as great as some of their others. But for him or Cap or whoever that they haven’t found a good substitute for adamantium (something new made up, or emphasizing that vibranium in the MCU IS that strong) was a mistake.

I know. I was a bit nervous when they brought in the arc reactor in the comics as the repulser something or other that they called it that they were going to make the Tony in the comics the same type of jacka** that was in the movies but then realized they were changing tony in the comics since Avengers Dissasembled and found myself not caring too much. I think their trying to do vibranium the adamantium of the movies but it doesn’t seem to be working out so far

Notice how all the instances involve the shield being damaged by magic or by reality rendering powers. I believe this was a Shooter edict that has carried over. Back in the 80’s the shield was deemed able to withstand the heat and pressure of the core of a star or the Omega Point energies created by a supernova. I always thought it was neat that the shield was not adamantium but was a vibranium /steel composite. Adamantium has been a little hit or miss in it’s indestructibility for me. See the Vault.

Actually, apart from his adamantiumicity, Ultron’s principle threat lies in his AI, which has been elevated to God-like such that anything with a logic processor can be manipulated or outright possessed; this is more or less the tack they took in the movie, combined with his skill at moving his core AI around whenever his active body was threatened, making him an existential threat. It was essentially a game of whack-a-mole and a rip-off of any number of SF stories across all media.

What has long bugged me is the evident ferromagnetic properties of both adamantium and vibranium. The “steel” component of Cap’s shield implies the inclusion of some amount of iron, the properties of which could have been carried over to whatever new “element” it became after the vibranium infusion (as opposed to an alloy, though it has been referred to as an alloy which lends further credence to it’s ferromagnetic properties). All matter has electro-magnetic properties but all metal is not ferromagnetic, despite what Magneto’s many writers would have us believe. Now, if Wolverine’s skeleton was made of nickel…

M-Wolverine: Don’t forget the world-famous archnemesis of Wolverine, Khyber. Although he didn’t exactly use adamantium, he just kept it in his piggy bank so Donald Pierce can steal it so he can reclaim it, never to be seen again.

re: MacLain falling asleep and having the metals magically combine in a way that couldn’t be reproduced.

I suspect Roy Thomas was slyly referencing French chemist Agust Kerkule’s account of how the circular structure of Benzene came to him in a dream about snakes eating their own tails (oraborous). The implicit connotation is that a divine entity sometimes allows humans a peek into the true nature of reality through sleep or dreams. Considering many of the early chemists fashioned themselves as alchemists — mixing and matching science and theology wasn’t uncommon in those days.

Thomas strangely left this gaping plot point wide open for other writers to jump in with their own explanations and no one has attempted to take the bait (not even Busiek!). Then again, someone nameless also wrote a OHOTMU entry for Jesus. :-)

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