The first use of the term adamantium in Marvel Comics was in Avengers #66 (July 1969), where it refers to part of Ultron's outer shell.
The word is a pseudo-Latin neologism (real Latin: adamans, adamantem [accusative]) based on the English noun and adjective adamant (and the derived adjective adamantine) with the neo-Latin suffix "ium," implying a metal. The adjective has long been used to refer to the property of impregnable, diamondlike hardness, or to describe a very firm/resolute position (e.g. He adamantly refused to leave). The noun adamant has long been used to designate any impenetrably or unyieldingly hard substance and, formerly, a legendary stone/rock or mineral of impenetrable hardness and with many other properties, often identified with diamond or lodestone.Adamant and the literary form adamantine occur in works such as Prometheus Bound, the Aeneid, The Faerie Queene, Paradise Lost, Gulliver's Travels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Lord of the Rings, and the film Forbidden Planet (as "adamantine steel"), all of which predate the use of adamantium in Marvel's comics.
History and properties
In the Marvel Universe, adamantium is a group of man-made metal alloys of varying durability, but all are nearly indestructible. Adamantium was inadvertently invented by the American metallurgist Dr. Myron MacLain in an attempt to recreate his prior discovery, a unique alloy of steel and vibranium (which required an unknown catalyst for its manufacture) that was used to create Captain America's shield.
Before molding, the components of the alloy are kept in separate batches, typically in blocks of resin. Adamantium is prepared by melting the blocks together, mixing the components while the resin evaporates. The alloy must then be cast within eight minutes. Adamantium's extremely stable molecular structure prevents it from being further molded even if the temperature is high enough to keep it in its liquified form. In its solid form, it is colorless, shiny, and resembles high-grade steel or titanium. It is almost impossible to destroy or fracture in this state and when crafted to a razor edge, it can penetrate most lesser materials with minimal application of strength.
Despite its utility in armament and armature, adamantium is rarely used due to its high cost and inability to be reshaped.
Wolverine once discovered an adamantium-laced skull in Apocalypse's laboratory and said it seemed to have been there for eons.
Types of adamantium
The experimental iron alloy that Dr. MacLain experimented on with Captain America's shield is now referred to as "proto-adamantium", which is slightly different than true adamantium in that it's stronger than the latter. Dr. MacLain's experiments with proto-adamantium lead to the creation of true adamantium. This proto-adamantium (the only known source) was incorporated with the vibranium in the shield and had never been recreated since.
As true adamantium is extremely difficult and expensive to create or manipulate, some parties found a way to duplicate it on a larger and more cost-effective scale at the expense of quality and durability. For most practical purposes, this secondary adamantium is also largely indestructible. Conventional weapons, such as ballistic missiles, have no effect on it and it is far stronger than even the most durable of titanium or steel compounds. However, extraordinary force, such as a punch from a being with superhuman strength, can warp or break it. Unconventional forms of energy discharges have also been known to warp or damage secondary adamantium, such as Thor's lightning attacks using Mjolnir.
Adamantium beta is a metal created as a side-effect of the process of bonding true adamantium to Wolverine's bones. His healing factor not only allowed him to survive the process, but also induced a molecular change in the metal. Adamantium beta functions identically to true adamantium, but it does not inhibit the biological processes of bone.
Carbonadium is a resilient, unstable metal that is vastly stronger than steel, but more malleable and cheaper than adamantium. Due to its malleability, carbonadium is less durable than true adamantium, but still nearly indestructible. Omega Red has carbonadium coils through which he can transmit his ability to drain life energies. Carbonadium is highly radioactive and objects composed of it have proven to disable the accelerated healing factors of Wolverine and his son, Daken, if implanted within the body. Deadpool used a carbonadium katana to kill Wolverine in the miniseries "Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe". It is currently unknown if carbonadium affects other beings with superhuman healing powers in a similar manner. The only device that can produce carbonadium, known as the Carbonadium Synthesizer, was initially believed thrown into a river in Brussels by Wolverine. It has since been revealed that the Carbonadium Synthesizer had been hidden on the deceased body of a double-agent who died escaping Omega Red along with Wolverine, Sabretooth, and Maverick. The synthesizer was retrieved and handed back to Maverick, whose mission was to retrieve the item for unknown parties.
In X-Men #191, when confronting Wolverine, one of the Children of the Vault named Serafina claims that adamantium has thirteen allotropes, all of which are "unstable, and short-lived, but virulently poisonous." She throws a small device that clamps onto Wolverine's claws and makes them glow green, claiming that it is adamantium nine. This apparently raises adamantium's toxicity dramatically, overloading Wolverine's healing factor. Allotrope is a misnomer, as adamantium is an alloy and not a pure element. The more general term, used for any crystalline material, is polymorphism.
Adamantium as key component
Adamantium is used as the key component in several instances in the Marvel Universe, including:
Within the Earth-1610 reality, also known as the Ultimate Marvel Universe, adamantium is highly durable and is able to effectively protect a person's mind from telepathic probing or attacks. It has been shown as a component of the claws and skeleton of the Ultimate Wolverine and Ultimate Lady Deathstrike characters. The shield of Ultimate Captain America is composed entirely of vibranium, which is a super-strong metal created before adamantium but the formula for which could not be replicated, therefore leading to the creation of adamantium. This version of adamantium is not unbreakable. In Ultimates #5, the Hulk breaks a needle made of adamantium. In Ultimate X-Men #11 (December 2001), an adamantium cage is damaged by a bomb. In Ultimate X-Men #12 (January 2002), one of Sabretooth's four adamantium claws is broken.
In other media
Adamantine has, throughout ancient history, referred to anything that was made of a very hard material. The degree of resilience and the creation of adamantium can sometimes vary between different media forms. In Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, adamantite is referred to throughout the game's many books and adventure modules as a very special and valuable metal.
In the MMORPG "RuneScape", there is an ore named adamant, which can be smelted and made into weapons and armour.
In the MMORPGRagnarök Online, there's a homunculus skill named Adamantium Skin, that raises the HP recuperation, the maximum HP and the defense points.
In the game Zoo World on Facebook, Adamantium Mastery can be achieved by breeding a certain amount of each animal species or completing various in game achievements. Adamantium is the fifth level of mastery, following bronze, silver, gold, and platinum.
In the MUDMuddy Waters, adamantium weapons and armor are used by "Marlarans" in the underdark.
In the game Digimon World 2 the highest level of Digi-beetle armor is known as adamantium.
In the game Infinity Blade the sword, The Infinity Blade is crafted from adamantium.
In later Harvest Moon games adamantium is used to craft accessories.
In the game Terraria adamantite is an end-game ore.
In Minecraft, the bedrock is sometimes referred to as adamantium.
In Dwarf Fortress adamantine is one of the numerous minerals that could be found all around the world, and then used up for crafting purposes. Adamantine in Dwarf Fortress is extremely lightweight along with its durability and ability to be honed to a sharper edge than any other metal; while this makes adamantine armor and blades the best available, the low weight and density means that war hammers and similar blunt weapons made from it are extremely weak.
In the 1956 film Forbidden Planet Dr Morbius explains adamantium was used in the construction of the Krell cities.
In the 1998 film Lost in Space, the spider-like organisms are described as having an "adamantium shell." The organisms were destroyed by exposure to a nuclear fusion explosion.
As with his comics counterpart, the X-Men film series version of Wolverine also possesses adamantium in his skeleton and claws. In X2: X-Men United, liquid adamantium was seen boiling in a tub. (William Stryker mentioned, "The tricky thing about adamantium is, that if you ever manage to process its raw, liquid form, you got to keep it that way, keep it hot. Because once the metal cools, it's indestructible.") The X2 version of Lady Deathstrike is also shown to have adamantium claws that are extruded from the tips of her fingers.
In the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, adamantium is a metallic compound developed after studying an unknown element found in a meteorite in Nigeria. During the film, adamantium is fused to Wolverine's skeleton and claws. Unlike the version seen within Marvel's mainstream universe, adamantium as it is in the film continuity can be damaged by other weapons forged of adamantium; as Wolverine is shot in the head with bullets made of the compound, sustaining severe intra-cranial trauma that induces extensive amnesia.
In the 2013 film The Wolverine, the Silver Samurai's armor is built out of adamantium. The film depicts more decisive example of adamantium being damaged is shown as the two katanas wielded by the Samurai, also constructed of adamantium, are able to slice through Wolverine's claws.
In the Marvel Comics animated feature Ultimate Avengers, Captain America's shield is composed of an adamantium/vibranium alloy.
In the Iron Man animated series, Tony Stark has armor made of adamantium, though it is stolen by the Mandarin.
In the Samurai Jack episode "Jack and the Ultra-robots", the assassin robots are said to be made of adamantium.
In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series episode "Planet of the Turtleoids", Shredder refers to his Chrome Dome robot being made almost entirely of adamantium. It is defeated only due to the fact that it has a singular vulnerability in its first appearance as it had a plate on its back made of steel, rather than Adamantium.
In Fairy Tail manga called Dragon Motherglare there which has an adamantine body
In the book Momo the third chapter contains a reference to adamantium. The children play an imaginary game involving a storm-hunting ship cast out of adamantium.
In Snuff, adamantium is referenced in regard to Sam Vimes' patience when he suggests that a number of young ladies acquire jobs rather than wait for a young man with money to come along and marry them.
In a short lived comic series Captain Tax Time, a group of criminials used an Adamantium vault to store their money.
In the epic poem Paradise Lost, adamantium was a holy substance used to craft weaponry.