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|First appearance||Daredevil #13 (February 1966)|
|Created by||Stan Lee, John Romita|
|In story information|
Vibranium is a fictional metal appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. 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).
Vibranium first appeared in Daredevil #13 (February 1966), which was written by Stan Lee and illustrated by 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. This variation's unique attribute is that it can cut through any known metal. 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 new 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".
In the Marvel Universe, 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.
A different variety of Vibranium found in Wakanda absorbs sound waves and other vibrations, including kinetic energy. Absorbing sound waves, vibrations, and kinetic energy makes this metal stronger. 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 minuscule quantities of the metal. As a result, Wakanda is one of the world's most technologically advanced nations.
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. MacLain worked for decades (without success) to duplicate the accident. However, during an experiment 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.
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. They also invaded Wakanda. The Wakandans repelled the attack successfully.
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.
In the Marvel Comics Universe, vibranium is a rare metallic substance of extraterrestrial origin. It exists in two forms:
The Wakandan isotope possesses the ability to absorb all vibrations in the vicinity as well as kinetic energy directed at it. 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. 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 superhuman abilities to whoever eats them.[volume & issue needed]
It is also believed to dramatically enhance mystical energies.
Better known as Anti-Metal, this isotope is native to the Savage Land. This variation produces vibrations of a specific wavelength that break 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]
An artificial variant of Vibranium created in Horizon labs by Sajani, made to be a replacement to the dwindling element after the Doomwar event which rendered all processed vibranium inert. The metal had a critical difference with its original counterpart however where instead of just absorbing vibrations inbetween its atomic structure in order to harden itself, this fuax Vibranium instead absorbs and oscillates those vibrations outward projecting devastating sonic waves which grow stronger and more intense over time.[volume & issue needed] After it was stolen by the new Hobgoblin in the Kingpin's employ, the caretaker at Horizon Labs thought it best that the metal be destroyed, however when it's dissolution was ordered its maker opted to keep some of the material for further study without the knowledge of most of her fellow scientists.
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]
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)
In the computer game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 the nanite artificial intelligence known as "the Fold" attempts to harvest vibranium in Wakanda in order to construct communication towers around the world, spreading its control signal globally. While the heroes of the game manage to thwart the invasion, they are too late to prevent the construction of enough towers to make the Fold a worldwide threat.
In 2016, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies developed a real-world smart composite material it named Vibranium. The lightweight carbon fiber material for the Hyperloop pods is reported to provide the passengers with twice the protection should anything damage the exterior. The company says that its Vibranium is eight times stronger than aluminum and 10 times stronger than steel alternatives. The smart material can transmit critical information regarding temperature, stability, integrity and more, wirelessly and virtually instantly.