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Captain America's Shield vs Hawkman's Wings: Which is Stronger

When it comes to the structural strength of a comic book metallic weapon, Captain America’s iconic vibranium alloy shield is virtually unmatched, but is Marvel’s signature disc stronger than the likes of Hawkman’s wings, which are made of DC’s Nth metal? To best compare the shield to the wings, one first must examine how they've been used in the past and what they've seen to be capable of.

To begin, vibranium’s strength comes from its ability to absorb the vibrations from kinetic energy, meaning that even the heaviest blows are merely absorbed. Since Captain America’s shield in the comics is an alloy, with one of the other metals being proto-adamantium, a version of the indestructible material that coats Wolverine’s bones, it's far more indestructible than even its MCU counterpart. Though vibranium can be destroyed with enough force, this perfect blend of adamantium and vibranium is nearly indestructible. It is also the only known instance of this particular alloy ever being created, though many have sought to duplicate it.

Related: Why Captain America Doesn't Need Powers To Stand Up To Superman

Looking to Nth metal, sometimes called Fe676 or 9th metal, this material has a host of special properties, including the ability to defy gravity, making it ideal to send individuals airborne or develop aerospace technologies. This is why the revelation in Hawkman #3 by Robert Venditti and Bryan Hitch that Hawkman’s wings are made of Nth metal makes perfect sense. Additionally, Nth metal dates back to the world’s creation and has the ability to shield a user from various elements. Unlike Captain America’s shield, Nth metal bonds to its user, allowing it to be malleable to their every whim, producing a wide assortment of weapons, armor, and other objects on command. Those with the strongest bond to Nth metal develop a healing factor that would rival that of the most prolific self-healers in comics, including the likes of Wolverine and Deadpool. This includes the ability to regenerate limbs or to even be resurrected upon death.

Even with Nth metal’s exotic properties and the Phantom Stranger’s revelation that it is heaven-sent, Steve Rogers’ shield is unmatched it comes to strength alone. In the MCU, where the shield is composed entirely of vibranium, Steve Rogers survives a fall from a skyscraper in Winter Soldier by landing on his shield and thus dispersing the entire impact. His shield has proven equal to blows from Mjolnir in virtually all media, showing that it comes out on top in a superpowered version of rock, paper, scissors. In the MCU, even with the shield being a weaker version than its comics counterpart, it takes the likes of an overpowered villain like Thanos – with a power boost from the Infinity Gauntlet - to break it. Hawkman’s wings, however,  do not have a comparable history of such feats of strength.

The wide array of powers that the Nth metal in Hawkman’s wings grant to their wearer mean that they may have more utility than Captain America’s shield, in addition to having an element of unpredictability. However, when it comes down to which metallic tool is more likely to withstand any physical blow or cosmic blast, there is little doubt that it is safer to be behind Captain America’s vibranium alloy shield than Hawkman’s Nth metal wings.

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