Fans know what Captain America’s shield is capable of, but what about where it came from? It has a surprising connection with Black Panther!
Captain America’s shield has a surprising connection to the Black Panther. In the four-issue Captain America/Black Panther: Flags of Our Fathers mini-series, Cap teams up with T’Challa’s grandfather, Azzari, to fight off a Nazi invasion of Wakanda during World War II. Written by famed Black Panther writer Reginald Hudlin with art by Denys Cowan (The Question), the story fills in an important part of Marvel history: the origin of Captain America’s famous circular shield.
Captain America’s shield is an important part of his character. Not only does he use it to protect himself, but he also uses it as a weapon, throwing it at people; and it always comes back to him in the end. He has also used the shield as a springboard to leap tall distances. When the character first appeared in 1941, his shield was triangular and not the circular design fans have come to know and love. The triangle shield was also made of common materials whereas the circle shield is made of Vibranium, a rare metal in the Marvel Universe. Flags of Our Fathers explains where all of the classic shield elements come from – Black Panther and the kingdom of Wakanda.
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Set during the Second World War, Wakanda is maintaining its usual stance of neutrality, but the rest of the world is not respecting that. The Nazis plan an invasion to plunder the country of Vibranium, and Captain America, Nick Fury, and The Howling Commandos team up with the current Black Panther, Azzari to stop them. During the course of the battle, Captain America’s triangular shield is destroyed, and Panther gives him a round Vibranium shield to use. At the story ends, once the Nazis have been defeated, the shield Azzari gave Cap inspires the circular shield known to fans today.
Beyond explaining the origin of Captain America’s most popular shield, the story also shows the first meeting of Cap and Black Panther (even if it’s not T’Challa) and there is mutual respect from the get-go. It also shows Wakanda beginning to end its isolationist stance and take a bigger role in the world around them.
Captain America’s circular shield is integral to his character as it is usually one of the first things people notice about him. The shield itself connects various characters in the Marvel Universe. The shield’s backstory represents respect and cooperation, two qualities that exemplify both Captain America and Black Panther. It is only fitting that Captain America’s shield has just as fascinating a backstory as Cap himself.
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