Most fans consider Captain America’s shield to be one of the most versatile weapons in the Marvel Universe, but it has another useful ability that isn’t often talked about. This ability may not be as flashy as the way he normally uses the shield, but it is no less important. It has in fact saved Steve’s life on more than one occasion.
In the comics, Captain America’s shield is made out of Proto-Adamantium and Vibranium. Proto-Adamantium is one of the most indestructible metals in the Marvel Universe, which makes the shield incredibly difficult to break through sheer force alone. The Vibranium in his shield allows it to absorb a great deal of kinetic energy, preventing the force of any blows the shield takes from being transferred to the wielder. This makes it a great defensive tool, but in the hands of a skilled user like Steve Rogers, these properties can also enable the shield to be used offensively, ricocheting off of enemies and walls without losing momentum. And given its weight and indestructibility, getting hit by the shield can pack quite a punch. While these are the most iconic uses of the shield, its inherent properties give it another, more rarely seen ability.
In Captain America #0, written by Tochi Onyebuchi, Jackson Lanzing, and Collin Kelley, with art by Mattia de Iulis, Steve Rogers uses this ability to get him and Sam Wilson out of a tough spot. As the two Captain Americas Sam and Steve fall out of a rocket, Steve positions his shield beneath their feet and uses it to reduce the force of their landing, letting them survive a fall that could have otherwise killed them. Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Steve has used the shield this way. In issue #16 of the 2010 run of Avengers written by Brian Michael Bendis and pencilled by John Romita Jr., Steve uses the shield to save himself and Sharon Carter after they are knocked out of a castle window. In this case, however, he actually uses the shield to cause them to bounce upon impact, enabling them to end up on top of a castle wall.
This is a brilliant use for Captain America’s shield that follows from its inherent properties. After all, hitting the ground from a large height is similar to taking an incredibly powerful punch. Since the shield can lessen the force of that sort of blow, it is only natural that it can dampen the force of a fall. This application of the shield’s abilities can allow Captain America to more easily fight in high places without fear of falling. It could also allow him to protect allies or bystanders if they fall, as he could toss his shield under them before they hit the ground. Marvel has teased Captain America’s shield is holding a secret, but this maneuver proves it’s full of other little surprises.
This little-known application of the shield raises the question of what else the shield can do. Given the versatility of the shield’s properties, future Captain America writers can definitely figure out new clever uses for it. And with the upcoming Captain America Sentinel of Liberty series promising to dive into secrets surrounding the shield, it is likely that more applications of the shield’s abilities may soon be revealed.
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