Marvel Comics: 10 Strongest Shield Wielding Characters (Who Aren’t Steve Rogers) – Screen Rant

While Rogers is the most recognizable adventurer to carry a shield as his primary weapon, other Marvel characters have taken his cue.
At the height of World War Two, the small-but-brave Steve Rogers was transformed into the super-soldier Captain America, equipped for battle with an iconic unbreakable shield. In the years since, he has used his shield as both a weapon and a symbol, inspiring others while leading multiple incarnations of the world’s premiere superhero team, The Avengers.
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While Rogers is the most recognizable adventurer to carry a shield as his primary weapon, other Marvel characters have taken his cue. Some have been replacement Captain Americas, carrying Steve’s shield at times he was unwilling or unable to. Others have wielded replications of their own design, inspired by the original while representing their own ideals.
Lemar Hoskins made his live-action debut in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, as the partner of John Walker, the replacement Captain America. He served this same role in the comics, but was also given a costume and his own superhero identity, first as the new Captain America’s partner Bucky and later changing his codename to Battlestar. Carrying an indestructible adamantium shield, Battlestar rarely threw his weapon in the traditional fighting style of Captain America. Instead, he carried it in front of him in an upright position, charging into battle and combining it with his superhuman strength as a crowd dispersing battering ram.
When Dr. Abraham Erskine was assassinated during Steve Rogers’ transformation into Captain America, the secrets of his Super Soldier Serum died with him. Seeking to recreate Erskine’s formula to empower an army, the US military recruited 300 soldiers to be used as test subjects. Of the handful who survived these gruesome procedures, most were soon after killed in battle, leaving Isaiah Bradley as the only survivor of the project. In an effort to sweep this perceived failure under the rug, Bradley was court-martialed following his final mission. Sentenced to life in prison, he spent the next 17 years in solitary confinement while the existence of the “Black Captain America” became an urban legend.
Russia’s answer to Captain America, Red Guardian is an identity that has been worn by many. The first to debut in the comics and most notable is Alexi Shostakov, played by David Harbour in the MCU’s Black Widow. Shostakovitch’s primary weapons were belt-mounted magnetic discs that would immediately return to his side after being thrown, in a slight reinvention of the iconic fighting style of Steve Rogers.
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The first Red Guardian to wield a traditional shield was Josef Petkus, the fourth to carry the mantel. Since Petkusovitch’s tenure, every version of Red Guardian has carried an unbreakable vibranium shield similar to Captain America’s, and it has become just as much of a symbol of the identity as his Amerian counterpart’s.
In an alternate world where S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Margaret “Peggy” Carter was the recipient of the Super Soldier Serum instead of Steve Rogers, Captain Carter fought on the side of the allies as the world’s premiere shield-wielding hero. Making her MCU debut in the first episode of the multiverse-spanning series What If? the television depiction of Agent Carter was heavily inspired by the events of Exiles vol. 3 #3. In the comic, the Exiles, a team of dimension-hopping variants of established Marvel characters, landed on a world in which Steve Rogers had died before being receiving the Super Soldier Serum, and Peggy had instead become Captain America in his place.
The original comic book Guardians Of The Galaxy featured a team of space-faring adventurers from hundreds of years into the Marvel Universe’s future. One amongst their ranks, however, originated in the present day. Astronaut Vance Astrovik was selected for the first-ever manned space mission beyond the Milky Way galaxy. As the propulsion technology at the time meant the trip would take almost a thousand years to complete, he was held in suspended animation aboard his vessel as the trip commenced.
When he reached his destination, Astrovik awoke to find that in the intervening years, humanity had already mastered faster-than-light travel and colonized many surrounding galaxies. Still, he was hailed as a hero and celebrated for his accomplishments. As Major Victory, he became a prominent member of the 31st Century Guardians Of The Galaxy, wielding the unbreakable shield of the original Captain America, which had survived the passage of time and become a legendary artifact.
Elijah Bradley is the grandson of Isaiah, the forgotten “Black Captain America”. As a founding member of The Young Avengers, he charged into battle wielding a replica of the shield Steve Rogers himself used in his early adventures. At first, explaining his enhanced physical attributes to his teammates as powers inherited through his lineage, it would eventually be revealed that Eli was actually powerless, secretly enhancing his physical abilities with the short-term super-power granting substance Mutant Growth Hormone. It wasn’t until much later, following a critical injury in battle and a life-saving blood transfusion from his grandfather, that Elijah finally became a super-soldier himself.
Possessing the ability to replicate the movements of any person he’s witnessed, Taskmaster has established himself as one of Marvel’s most dangerous and underestimated characters. Within his arsenal of memorized moves, Taskmaster has a complete catalog of the abilities of each of the most prominent Avengers, including Captain America. In order to accurately mimic these moves, Taskmaster carries a shield of his own, replicating the exact size, shape, and weight of the original. Although the list of fighters in his repertoire gives him multiple options to choose from, Taskmaster has frequently shown a partiality for the style of Steve Rogers, and his shield has become an established accessory of the character.
John Walker was selected to replace Steve Rogers as Captain America when the original abandoned the identity over a conflict of morals. While he proved to be a formidable fighter and carried the shield capably, Walker’s tenure as Captain America was tarnished by his propensity for violence, despite his obvious dedication to his country.
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After being deemed unworthy to carry the mantel, Walker relinquished the identity of Captain America and reinvented himself as the US Agent. Free from the weight of the legendary legacy, Walker found his stride in this new role, establishing his own identity and fighting alongside established heroes such as The Avengers.
Assumed deceased for years, Steve Rogers’ original partner, James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes was eventually revealed alive, operating as the cybernetically-enhanced, brainwashed Russian assassin The Winter Soldier. After having his memories restored, Barnes sought to atone for his actions, becoming a frequent ally to Captain America.
When Steve was thought killed following Marvel’s Civil War event, Bucky infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. to recover his iconic weapon. In homage to his fallen friend, Barnes became the new Captain America, despite the reservations of many in the superhero community. One of the most important steps along his road to redemption, Bucky’s tenure as Captain America forced him out of his shadowy comfort zone and into the public spotlight as he attempted to live up to his predecessor’s legacy.
When Steve Rogers, frozen since World War Two, awoke as a man out of time, one of his most genuine friendships in the modern era would come from Sam Wilson. As the high-flying Falcon, Sam partnered with Steve on countless adventures, and the two heroes built lasting mutual respect for one another, comparing and bonding over their different but relatable struggles. When events transpired forcing Steve to step down from the Captain America role, Sam was the obvious choice to succeed him.
As Captain America, Sam proved that the character of the man behind the shield was more important than any powers he possessed. Without the Super Soldier Serum’s enhancements, Sam instead relied upon his wits and cunning, creatively combining the indestructible shield with his winged Falcon harness to develop a unique offense that set him apart from prior counterparts. While honoring the legacy of his inherited role, Sam brought a modern approach to the mantel of Captain America. No longer a man out of time, Wilson’s Cap was instead a man woefully aware of the injustices of his own era and determined to inspire others to fight against them.
NEXT: Marvel’s 10 Strongest Gamma Powered Characters (Who Aren’t Bruce Banner)
 
Drew Beaty is a third-generation superhero fan who was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. He began his collection with hand-me-down comic books from a used book store owned by his father and grandfather in the late 1980s. Today, Drew owns and has read over 50,000 individual comics. He was once ranked “Best In The World” in the Marvel Comics category of the mobile trivia game Quiz-Up and still has the screenshots to prove it. When he’s not reading or writing about masks and capes, Drew spends his time with his wife and cats, or rubbing elbows with Portland’s music scene, where he has performed in the hip hop group Bad Habitat since 2008.

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