When it comes to comic books, it’s either go big or go home. There’s no hero or villain who’s slightly strong; you can either lift a car or you couldn’t lift a piece of paper. If something is made of metal, it’s not just strong; it’s the strongest metal ever. The phrase “indestructible metal” has been used more than once; more often than makes sense, in fact. After all, there can’t be more than one “strongest metal in the universe,” right? Well, that’s the case in comic books.
There are lots of very strong, almost unbreakable metals in comics, ranging from ones that are just hard to break all the way to metals that have mystical powers. Wolverine’s unbreakable skeleton is pretty famous, and it’ll be getting a workout in “Logan,” but it’s not alone. Here’s the 16 strongest metals in the comic universe.
16. NTH METAL
Our first entry comes from 1940’s “Flash Comics” #1 (by Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert), which is famous for introducing the Flash, but also for the first appearance of Hawkman. In the story, weapons collector Carter Hall gets an Egyptian knife that flashes him back to his former life as Prince Khufu of Egypt. He thus decides to become Hawkman, based on the Egyptian god Anubis. He made himself wings and a belt made of “ninth metal,” which was later renamed Nth metal.
Later, it was retconned that Hawkman is from the planet Thanagar, where Nth metal is known more for its mystic powers than its durability. Nth metal can stop gravity, allowing the wearer to fly, and has been used in Hawkman and Hawkwoman’s armor and weapons, as well as the Legion of Superheroes, who wear rings made of the Nth metal alloy Valorium. Nth metal is also really strong, thanks to magic that protects the wearer from physical impacts and threats like fire. It’s tough, but not the toughest by a long shot, as you’ll see.
15. GALACTIC GLAZE
From his first appearance in 1966’s “Fantastic Four” #48 (by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee), the Silver Surfer has gotten his name from the fact that he’s, well, silver. Why is he silver? That’s all thanks to what’s known as Galactic Glaze, the super-strong metal that surrounds his entire body and his mystical surfboard. The Glaze was given to him by his master Galactus, along with the Power Cosmic, to be his herald.
The Galactic Glaze doesn’t just look shiny and give the Surfer his rhyming name, it also keeps him from freezing in space, and protects his tender internal organs from damage. He’s even shrugged off being inside a star, and black holes are just a walk in the park, thanks to the Glaze. Though the Glaze is pretty tough, it’s not indestructible at all. He’s been cut open by Cable, but healed himself, so he survived to fight again. The fact that Galactic Glaze can be damaged at all means it’s one of the weakest metals on this list, shocking though that may seem.
The story of carbonadium is also the story of Omega Red, starting with 1992’s “X-Men” #4 by John Byrne and Jim Lee. Omega Red was originally Arkady Rossovich, a Russian serial killer who was captured to be experimented on by the KGB in their secret program to make their own version of Captain America. Somehow, that program involved sticking a metal tentacle into his wrists and calling him Omega Red. The tentacles were made of carbonadium, which the Soviet Union invented as their own version of adamantium.
Carbonadium is sort of like adamantium (more on that later), only cheaper and easier to break. That’s bad, because it’s not as strong as adamantium, but it’s good because it’s easier to make things out of. It’s also radioactive, with the bonus that it stops the healing power of any mutants hit with it. Carbonadium has since become the poor man’s adamantium, used in everything from Doctor Octopus’ arms to anti-Wolverine bullets.
“Adventure Comics” #336 by Edmond Hamilton and John Forte introduced inertron into the DC universe in 1965, which was said to be the strongest material in the 30th century. While fighting the supervillain Starfinger, Brainiac 5 decided to make shields for the Legion of Superheroes out of inertron, and said it was strong enough to stand up to a nuclear explosion. The funny thing is that, even though it’s said to be indestructible, it’s been broken lots of times — yet another common trait of so-called “indestructible” metals.
Kryptonians like Superboy and Daxamites like Mon-El have been able to break pure inertron (reinforced inertron stopped Superboy cold, though). Matter-Eater Lad once ate some of it, too. Even Karate Kid was able to break shackles made of inertron. It’s a metal that’s not all it’s cracked up to be, so either they don’t have really strong metals in the 30th century or Brainiac 5 was talking up inertron a little too much.
Marvelium is the next metal we’ll be talking about, and it’s one of the least well-known on this list. Marvelium goes all the way back to “Captain Marvel Adventures” #100 (Otto Binder, C.C. Beck) in 1949. In the story, Captain Marvel’s archenemy and mad scientist Dr. Sivana went back in time to steal the mystic bracelet of the wizard Shazam, making himself a ghost who Captain Marvel couldn’t touch. He went on to create a series of evil clones to fight him, so Captain Marvel created the new metal, marvelium.
He says marvelium is one of the world’s strongest metals, so strong that only Captain Marvel himself can mold and shape it. It’s also impenetrable, even to mystic beings. Captain Marvel shaped it into a prison cell, and tricked Sivana into it, keeping him from leaving. It’s more of a plot device, but it’s still called super-strong in this story, so it’s on the list.
“Astonishing X-Men” #3 in 1995 (Scott Lobdell, Jeph Loeb, Joe Madureira) introduced Omnium into the Marvel Universe. As part of the classic “Age of Apocalypse” storyline, the X-Men were fighting in an alternate reality where Xavier was killed and Apocalypse launched a genetic war on Earth. In the new timeline, Magneto and Rogue had a child, Charles Lehnsherr. When Charles was threatened, his robot nanny cocooned the young boy in Omnium steel.
Omnium is one of those metals that’s called indestructible, even though other metals are supposed to more indestructible. It’s not a metal that’s come up a lot, though. In flashbacks, it was revealed that in “Uncanny X-Men” #304 (Scott Lobdell, Jae Lee, Chris Sprouse, Brandon Peterson, Paul Smith, John Romita, Jr.), the mutant acolyte Chrome turned Magneto into omnium to protect his master. Iron Man’s archenemy Whiplash also used metal whips made of omnium at one point. It’s super-strong, but apparently not strong enough to be used that often. That’s why we’ll be moving on to more durable metals.
Another superhero-made metal in comics is supermanium, and we’re pretty sure you can guess which superhero made it. That’s right, Squirrel Girl. Just kidding. Right, Superman first made supermanium back in 1949’s “World’s Finest” #41 (written by Edmond Hamilton with art by Al Plastino). In that story, a group of people saved by Superman got him to use his bare hands to make a new metal from a super-tough ore and call it “supermanium.”
The idea of a metal that only Superman could bend came in handy. The new element supermanium showed up later on in Superman’s comics, and its origin changed to a metal Superman forged in the heart of a sun. Its most famous uses were for Superman’s indestructible Supermobile (for when he loses his powers or when the toy company needs to sell toy cars) and the gigantic door and key that protected his Fortress of Solitude. Supermanium was also a metal the Man of Steel would use to make prisons for Brainiac and Lex Luthor, but supermanium hasn’t come back since 1985’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths.”
Once again, we delve into a strangely named metal that’s really, really strong: promethium. In 1981, “New Teen Titans” #9 (written by Marv Wolfman and penciled by George Pérez) introduced the metal called promethium, which was first created by Steve Dayton, the stepfather of the Teen Titan Changeling. Named after the Greek myth about the man who gave fire to men and was cursed for eternity, promethium is more than just indestructible. It can also give off limitless energy as a power source.
Promethium comes in two flavors: depleted and volatile. Depleted promethium was used in the cybernetic parts of the superhero Cyborg, giving him incredible durability that even Superman couldn’t break. Volatile promethium can be used as a power source or a bomb big enough to destroy the universe, but it has the side effect of mutating everyone around it. So, it’s not something you want to make a suit out of, unless you have a healing factor like Deathstroke.
Adamantine is the older and more fun cousin of adamantium, the famous unbreakable metal we’ll be getting to later in the list. In 1965’s “Journey into Mystery Annual” #1, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the powerful metal was introduced when Thor traveled from Asgard to Mount Olympus and met the demi-god Hercules. Of course, the two heroes fought, and Hercules wielded a “golden” mace of adamantine to match Thor’s hammer.
Adamantine is indestructible (natch), but also has mystic powers to protect against psychic and magic attacks. Also, it looks golden as opposed to silvery. Hercules’ mace was capable to taking blows from Thor’s hammer without a scratch. Adamantine tends to be used on magical objects such as Neptune’s trident. The metal was also used on the alternate version of Wolverine, James Howlett (first introduced in “Astonishing X-Men” #45 by Greg Pak and Mike McKone), whose adamantine skeleton and claws make him resistant to magic powers.
We’re moving into the realm of magic with our next form of metal, the mystical substance known as “uru.” Is uru a metal? Is it stone? It’s kind of both… and neither, since it’s a metal as hard as stone or a stone that has a metallic sheen like iron. It was first mentioned by name in the Marvel Universe in 1965’s “Journey into Mystery” #115 (Stan Lee and Jack Kirby), but it had been there all along as the main ingredient in Thor’s magic hammer.
Uru is so strong that it can only be shaped in the heart of a star or an enchanted forge, and once it’s shaped, nothing else can even dent it. On top of that physical strength, uru can hold an enchantment like nothing else, which gives it new powers, like absorbing the strength of the user (like a certain thunder god), making it even stronger. Oh, and on top of all that, uru can throw lightning.
6. DESTROYER ARMOR
Our next entry is more of a “who” than a “what.” The enchanted suit of armor known as the Destroyer first appeared in “Journey into Mystery” #118, which was published in 1965, written by Stan Lee and penciled by Jack Kirby. The Destroyer is an ancient weapon created by Odin to fight the ancient Celestials, but it tends to get used by Thor’s brother Loki to kill Thor, instead. The scary part is that the Destroyer has gotten close.
It’s a mystery what the Destroyer armor is made of (with most people guessing it’s uru), but whatever it is can take a pounding. The Destroyer has faced energy blasts from Thor and even Odin without a scratch, and only the energy of the godlike Celestials has caused any damage to it. It’s basically as indestructible as uru, only more so, if that’s even possible. The only good news about the Destroyer is that it has no will of its own, so it’s not going to take over the universe any time soon. At least, we hope not.
When Wonder Woman first hit shelves in 1941’s “All Star Comics” #8 (created by William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter), she came along with a lot of cool toys. She had an invisible plane, a magic lasso that forces people to tell the truth, and mystical bracelets called the Bracelets of Submission. The Bracelets are what we’ll be focusing on, because they’re made of a really strong metal called amazonium.
Up until “Wonder Woman” #52 (by Robert Kanigher and Harry G. Peter) in 1952, it was never explained what the bracelets were made of, but in that issue, they first revealed “amazonium.” Amazonium was an indestructible metal from her home island that was made stronger by a spell from Aphrodite, and let her bracelets repel everything from bullets to energy blasts. The only things that could damage it were magical weapons. While amazonium sounds pretty awesome, it ceased to exist in the post-Crisis continuity. Now her bracelets are made of an unknown but powerful metal.
4. THE MURAMASA BLADE
Like the Destroyer, our next entry is going to be a unique object instead of a type of metal, but it deserves to be singled out on its own. The Muramasa Blade has existed in two forms, the first appearing in 1988’s “Wolverine” #2 by Chris Claremont and John Buscema. The famous sword was said to contain part of the legendary (and crazy) swordsmith Muramasa, driving anyone who used it insane. It could cut through anything, and even Wolverine’s adamantium claws couldn’t slice it.
The second Muramasa Blade was forged for Wolverine by Muramasa himself, who also stuffed part of Wolverine’s soul into it. The second blade is just as strong as the first one, and is sharp enough to cut through things on a molecular level. The new Muramasa Blade also has the added bonus of stopping the healing factor of Wolverine and other mutants. It’s been used to leave a scar on Wolverine, and chop the head off Sabretooth, so that gets the sword bonus points on this list.
Created by Stan Lee and John Romita in “Daredevil” #13 (1966), vibranium is one of the most powerful metals on Earth. There are a few variations of vibranium, one of which is “anti-metal,” which can cut through any metal on the planet, but we’ll be focusing on the vibranium found in the African nation of Wakanda. Wakandan vibranium has the power to absorb sound, which you would think wouldn’t be that useful, but it is.
Sounds, vibrations, any kinetic energy that touches vibranium is absorbed and makes the metal stronger. That means armor made out of vibranium becomes unbreakable, because anything you throw at it just makes it harder to break. Explosions just get absorbed quietly into it, too. Vibranium was used in the alloy that makes up Captain America’s shield, which is why he can use it to brace himself against falls — it just absorbs the blow. It’s also used as a mesh in Black Panther’s armor, which means bullets and knives just hit him and fall to the ground.
Now we arrive at adamantium, the powerhouse of metals in the Marvel universe. “Avengers” #66 in 1969 (created by Roy Thomas, Barry Windsor-Smith and Syd Shores) first introduced the metal with a name that literally means indestructible. Adamantium is a metallic alloy that, once the elements are brought together, cannot be broken.
That makes adamantium really powerful in the Marvel world, used for the outer shell of the robot Ultron, but mainly for its use in the claws and skeletons of Wolverine and his various enemies and allies. Adamantium claws and/or skeletons are found in X-23, Lady Deathstrike and, at times, Sabretooth. When Wolverine was caught in a nuclear explosion, his adamantium skeleton was all that survived… well, until he healed. Only two things have been known to hurt adamantium. When Thor hit an adamantium cylinder with his uru-hammer Mjolnir, and when the Hulk punched Ultron, both managed to dent adamantium, but that’s about it.
1. CAPTAIN AMERICA’S SHIELD
The strongest and most durable object in the entire Marvel universe is none other than the shield of Captain America. It’s so strong that scientists have spent decades just trying to copy it, which led to the development of adamantium, carbonadium and several other metals on this list. No one has come close to it yet.
The really incredible part about Cap’s shield is that it’s made of several indestructible metals, which together make it three times as indestructible as your regular indestructible metal. The shield first appeared in “Captain America Comics” #2 (1941) by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. A scientist working on vibranium and an unknown substance fell asleep and woke up to find the alloy already formed. He used it to make the shield, and was never able to copy the formula. After it had been damaged, the shield was reinforced with uru. Yes, the shield has been broken before, but always by planet-shattering forces. If it can break Cap’s shield, it can break anything.
Which comic book metal would you rather have on your side? Let us know in the comments!
Showing in theaters March 3, “Logan” is directed by James Mangold and stars Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant and Dafne Keen.
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