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Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceDaredevil #13 (February 1966)
Created byStan Lee, John Romita
In story information
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For the superhero, see Vibranium (character).
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceDaredevil #13 (February 1966)
Created byStan Lee, John Romita
In story information

Vibranium is a fictional metal that appears in the Marvel Universe. It is most commonly known as one of the materials used to construct Captain America's shield, but it is also noted for its connection to the Black Panther and his native homeland of Wakanda (a fictional country in Africa).

Publication history[edit]

Vibranium first appeared in Daredevil #13 (February 1966), which was by writer Stan Lee and artist John Romita. Here, vibranium was seen to be an unusual metallic element with decidedly strange properties. Since that point in Marvel continuity, it has been established that there are a few variations of this element which can be found in isolated regions all around the world. The variation first introduced in Daredevil #13 eventually became known as Anti-Metal, with this variation's unique attribute being that it can cut through any metal known to man. In the Marvel Universe, Anti-Metal can traditionally be found only in Antarctica. Later in Fantastic Four #53 (August 1966), by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, a newly debuted variation of vibranium was introduced in the isolated nation of Wakanda. This variation had the unique attribute of being able to absorb sound. This is the variation which is most often identified in continuity as simply "vibranium".

Fictional history[edit]

Vibranium was first deposited on Earth by a meteorite 10,000 years ago. The first documented discovery of Vibranium was during a human expedition to Antarctica. This particular isotope of Vibranium was dubbed "Anti-Metal" due to its property of dissolving other metals.[1]

A different variety of Vibranium found in Wakanda absorbs soundwaves and other vibrations, including kinetic energy. It was discovered by the Wakandan king T'Chaka, father of the Black Panther T'Challa. To protect this resource, he concealed his country from the outside world. T'Chaka funded his country's education by occasionally selling off minute quantities of the metal. As a result, Wakanda is one of the world's most technologically advanced nations.[2]

During the early 1940s, a small amount of Wakandan Vibranium came into the possession of the scientist Myron MacLain. He tried to combine Vibranium with iron to form a new tank armor, but was unable to fuse the elements. One morning, he found that the two materials had bonded on their own in an unknown manner. The ultra-resilient alloy was used to create Captain America's shield. McClain worked for decades to duplicate the accident. During a trial in the 1960s, he developed the virtually indestructible metal adamantium.[volume & issue needed]

When T'Challa became king of Wakanda, he strove to end his country's isolation from the rest of the world. Making the existence of Vibranium known to the outside world around the mid-1980s, he sold small quantities of it to foreigners whom he believed would not use it to harmful ends. T'Challa used the profits to enrich and modernize his nation.[3]

Over the years, many have tried to obtain or affect the mound of Vibranium at Wakanda, but for the most part Wakanda has kept it safe, and become quite powerful in the process.

During their Secret Invasion of Earth, the Skrulls assumed the identity of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents and enslaved natives of the Savage Land to mine Anti-Metal.[4] They also invaded Wakanda.[5] The Wakandans repelled the attack successfully.[6]

When Wakanda was politically taken over by the xenophobic Desturi, they granted Doctor Doom access to the country's Vibranium vaults. Fearing Doom would use it to amplify his mystical energies, T'Challa activated a failsafe he had developed that rendered all processed Vibranium inert.[7]

Properties and known abilities[edit]

In the Marvel Comics Universe, vibranium is a rare, naturally occurring metallic substance theorized to be of extraterrestrial origin which exists in two forms:

Wakandan variety[edit]

Wakandan Vibranium is the most common variety, and is often referred to simply as "vibranium". It is a rare substance native only to the small African nation of Wakanda.[8]

The Wakandan isotope possesses the ability to absorb all vibrations in the vicinity as well as kinetic energy directed at it.[9] The energy absorbed is stored within the bonds between the molecules that make up the substance. As a result, the more energy vibranium absorbs the tougher it becomes. There are limits to the capacity of the energy that can be stored, and although the exact limitations are not yet known, there have been a few examples. One such instance was when the oil conglomerate Roxxon discovered that a small island in the South Atlantic had a foundation composed of vibranium. Due to this, Roxxon found it necessary to destroy the island and so blew it up with bombs. Unable to absorb the force of the explosions, the vibranium was destroyed, but it did succeed in entirely absorbing the sound made by the explosion, preventing damage to the surrounding area.[volume & issue needed]

This variety of vibranium is a powerful mutagen.[2] Vibranium exposure led to the mutation of many Wakandan natives.[volume & issue needed] Its radiation has also permeated much of Wakanda's flora and fauna, including the Heart-Shaped Herb eaten by members of the Black Panther Cult and the flesh of the White Gorilla eaten by the members of the White Gorilla Cult. Both give super human abilities to whoever eats them.[volume & issue needed]

It is also believed to dramatically enhance mystical energies.[7]

Antarctic variety[edit]

Better known as Anti-Metal, this isotope is native to the Savage Land. This variation produces vibrations of a specific wavelength that breaks down the molecular bonds in other metals, causing them to liquefy. If huge quantities of anti-metal are gathered together, the vibrations increase exponentially.[volume & issue needed] Anti-Metal is able to become an artificial and unstable form of the Wakandan variety of vibranium through certain particle bombardments on it.[volume & issue needed]

Vibranium cancer[edit]

When a small sub-molecular imperfection was introduced into Captain America's shield, each impact over the years spread to neighboring molecules. It grew until the molecular bonds of the shield were completely broken down, shattering the shield. The shattering effect continued to spread to other vibranium, unconnected to the shield. This created a vibranium "cancer", a shock wave propagating throughout the world. It violently detonated any vibranium it found, from mineral deposits to components of ships or equipment. The shock wave was traveling to the "Great Vibranium Mound" in Wakanda, where the resulting explosion could destroy the world. With the unwitting aid of the villain Klaw, Captain America was able to stop the cancer and restore his shield.[volume & issue needed]

Notable uses[edit]

Due to the nature of vibranium it is found in use of many in the Marvel Universe including: (Note: Wakandan variety vibranium is referred to as vibranium and Antarctic variety vibranium is referred to as Anti-Metal or Antarctic Vibranium)

Incidents involving vibranium[edit]

Throughout the Marvel Universe there have been a few incidents that resulted due to the presence of vibranium including: (Note: Wakandan variety vibranium is referred to as vibranium and Antarctic variety vibranium is referred to as Anti-Metal)

In other media[edit]



Video games[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Daredevil vol 1 #13 (Feb 1966)
  2. ^ a b Booker, M. Keith (2010). Encyclopedia of Comic Books and Graphic Novels. Greenwood. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-313-35746-6. Retrieved May 13, 2010. 
  3. ^ Casey Alt. "Imaging Black Superpower! - Marvel Comics' Black Panther". Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  4. ^ New Avengers #41
  5. ^ Black Panther vol 4 #38
  6. ^ Black Panther vol 4 #41
  7. ^ a b c Doomwar #1-6
  8. ^ "Marvel brings back first black superhero". Star - Gazette - Elmira, N.Y. February 18, 2005. 
  9. ^ Eric Eisenberg (May 5, 2010). CinemaBlend, ed. "7 Things You Need To Know About The Marvel Universe Before Seeing Iron Man 2". Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  10. ^ Dan Glaister (March 8, 2007). "Wham! bang! Marvel kills off Captain America". The Guardian. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  11. ^ Moreels, Eric J. (2006). Marvel encyclopedia: X-Men, Volume 2. Marvel Pub. ISBN 978-0-7851-2396-5. Retrieved May 13, 2010. 
  12. ^ "It's all in the super-gear". The Gazette (Montreal). May 2, 2008. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  13. ^ Captain America vol. 1 #332
  14. ^ Captain America vol. 1 #342
  15. ^ Captain America vol,. 1 #354
  16. ^ Thunderbolts #7
  17. ^ The New Invaders #1
  18. ^ X-Men/Spider-Man #4
  19. ^ Filmfodder, ed. (September 1, 2007). "Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review - Fantastic Four 549". Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  20. ^ New X-Men Vol 2 #42
  21. ^ X-Men: Divided We Stand #1
  22. ^ Dave Richards (July 24, 2009). Comic Book Resources, ed. "CCI: Hudlin and Cowan on "Captain America/Black Panther"". Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  23. ^ Goggin, Joyce; Hassler-Forest, Dan (2010). The Rise and Reason of Comics and Graphic Literature: Critical Essays on the Form. McFarland. p. 215. ISBN 978-0-7864-4294-2. Retrieved May 13, 2010. 
  24. ^ Irvine, Alex (2010). Iron Man 2. Del Rey. pp. 196–197. ISBN 9780446564588. 
  25. ^ Captain America: The First Avenger Clip 2 on YouTube

External links[edit]