He’s one of the oldest superheroes and often looked to as the leader of the Avengers. He fights constantly for what is right, defending the American people from threats both domestic and abroad. He is Captain America. Of course, no image of the famed Super Soldier is complete without his shield. In a universe filled with iconic weapons, there may be no singular item that has more meaning to the Marvel Universe than Captain America’s shield. It is always there on Cap’s arm, showing the undying spirit of America in the fight against evil. Whether on the battlefields of World War II, in the streets of New York City, or in the farthest reaches of space, Captain America’s shield has saved his life too many times to count.
The thing that many people don’t know is that the shield we are all familiar with is only one of several dozen different designs throughout Cap’s history. From new technological developments to alternative realities, we’ve pored through the annals of Marvel history to determine which are the top 20 shields that the Sentinel of Liberty has used in the ongoing fight for truth, justice, and the American way. We’ll start with the worst and make our way to the best!
20. TRANSPARENT SHIELD
In the ’70s, two made-for-TV Captain America movies were released. To be honest, they were both pretty terrible — the acting and writing was poor, the story and character barely held any resemblance to the Steve Rogers of the comics, and really, not much happened. The practical motorcycle stunts are perhaps the saving grace of the movie, and only because you know they couldn’t use CGI at the time.
Perhaps worst of all is the costume worn by Cap. Instead of the mask from the comics, Cap wears a motorcycle helmet with the trademark wings painted on the sides. His shield is large and transparent and is shaped like a bowl. It’s very obviously plastic and doesn’t even begin to look threatening. Seriously, just don’t watch these movies.
19. VAMPIRE SHIELD
The hardcore Marvel comic fan knows that the Marvel Universe that most of the adventures we read occur in is designated Earth-616. There are a ton of different universes throughout the Marvel Multiverse, and many of them have different versions of our favorite characters.
One of these alternate earths is Earth-3931. In this universe, explored in Exiles #31, Baron Blood has defeated Captain America and turned him into a vampire. The rest of the Avengers end up also transforming. This vampire version of Captain America holds a disc shield that is similar to what we’ve seen, but with an almost complete absence of blue and a very large star in the center. This all said, for a vampire, Cap could have been carrying around a much more violent and bloody shield.