In Avengers vs. X-Men #3, Wolverine's claws meet up with Captain America's shield.

Wolverine shouts "The hell I am!" as his claws skid off of Captain America's shield, with a SKAANG.

It's always been my understanding that Wolverine's adamantium claws can cut through anything, but also Captain America's shield is made of vibranium, which absorbs vibrations. So why did Wolverine's claws not cut through vibranium?

  • 4
    Doesn't the picture already answer your question ;-) Commented May 7, 2012 at 15:40
  • It doesn't make any sense I know. If it can't be cut by adamantium then surely it must be cut by another vibranium tool or else nothing could be fashioned out of vibranium, least of all a shield. Commented May 7, 2012 at 15:47
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    While it would be difficult to finish the shield (ie - removing burrs, polishing, etc), I assume you could cast the shield; that is, pour it as molten metal. The likelyhood of any (refined) metal (naturally) occurring in a block large enough to be shaved down to size is less than the probability of some of the characters powers working... Commented May 7, 2012 at 17:59
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    The shield is not made ONLY of vibranium. It was an alloy resin, cast and shaped. Once it was solidified, it could not be reshaped or transformed. Since the process was unknown, we cannot know how it was finished. Blame Marvel's early writers for not considering the ramifications of creating their super metal without explaining effectively how you MAKE it into stuff. Commented May 7, 2012 at 18:03
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    A diamond can cut steel, it doesn't mean by one hit..
    – user931
    Commented Feb 16, 2013 at 14:41

7 Answers 7


To specifically answer the question: Adamantium CAN cut through Vibranium. Adamantium is an order of magnitude more indestructible than Vibranium. There has been confusion since the Marvel Cinematic Universe has changed the generally known origin of Captain America's shield.

  • In the Canon Marvel Universe, Earth-616: Captain America's shield is made of proto-Adamantium, an alloyed mixture of Adamantium and Vibranium, unique to Marvel Earth. Arguably one of the most indestructible items ever created by humanity.

  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Earth-199999: Captain America's shield is composed of a Vibranium-alloy with remarkable properties of durability and energy redirection. While it is not as indestructible as Captain America's Earth-616 version, it can take a strike from Mjolnir and survive.

Vibranium is an extraterrestrial metal of unknown origin. There are two types of Vibranium:

  1. Wakandan Vibranium, which absorbs vibration and dispels kinetic energy
  2. Antartic Vibranium which disrupts metallic structures, including Adamantium and is known by another name: anti-metal

Adamantium is a synthetically created metal alloy discovered in an effort to recreate Captain America's shield's uniquely indestructible nature.

  • While the scientists were unable to recreate what was dubbed proto-adamantium, they did discover the next best thing, Adamantium, the most indestructible metal ever synthesized on Earth.
  • Wolverine's claws are composed of Adamantium and able to cut through almost any known material.

The image depicts Captain America's shield versus Wolverine's claws. Cap's shield is proto-Adamantium and Wolverine's claws are made of only beta Adamantium. (Wolverine was initially created with True Adamantium, but after interacting with his healing factor the metal degraded to beta Adamantium.)

  • Captain America's shield in the comics is not made only of Wakandan Vibranium unlike the MCU version which IS.

  • In the comic Marvel Earth-616, his shield is an alloy of proto-Adamantium, a unique and never again duplicated mixture of Adamantium and Vibranium, making it even stronger than pure Adamantium and giving it special properties neither metal seems to possess, singularly.

  • In the most recent storylines of the Avengers comics, his shield was broken and repaired by Asgardian smiths who added a bit of Uru metal to the mixture, thus making it even more unique with a potential to be enchanted.

Thus in this circumstance, Cap's shield is stronger than Wolverine's claws.

See Also:

  • 3
    You must also consider the angle of the cut - Wolverine's strike in the picture doesn't look like it'd be ideal to cut the shield deeply - even if the shield weren't stronger, it wouldn't have suffered much damage.
    – Jeff
    Commented May 7, 2012 at 17:05
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    I attribute that to bad art and let it go. I assume that both Cap is making an effort to ensure Wolverine's strike is as off balance as possible, since that is the nature of his fighting style and that Wolverine is doing the best he can to make a clean and powerful cut. If the artist can't carry that, my imagination just has to do the heavy lifting. Commented May 7, 2012 at 17:14
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    Speaking of bad art... isn't cap right-handed? Commented May 7, 2012 at 17:59
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    Looking at the art and the angle of that hand, who's to say that fist is Cap's? It might be the lesser known Avenger, The Floating Red Fist.
    – dlanod
    Commented May 7, 2012 at 21:52
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    How many orders of magnitude of indestructability are there? Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 17:49

I will steal the info from my older answer:

Vibranium/steel alloy that Captain America's shield is made of is stronger than adamantium.
Adamantium was a result of Dr. MacLain trying to replicate the sheid's alloy.


Wolverine's Adamantium did not degrade from true Adamantium to secondary Adamantium. Adamantium is too strong and no super-charged healing power in the Marvel universe can alter the molecular structure of the strongest material in the Marvel universe. Secondary Adamantium is a far less expensive form of Adamantium that is produced to be used in mass quantity. While secondary Adamantium is nowhere near as strong as true Adamantium, it is still far stronger than any other steel or titanium alloy produced.

Wolverine's bonded Adamantium became Adamantium beta. "Adamantium Beta" is the result of the healing factor finding a way for Adamantium to allow Wolverine's bones to continue to function as normally as a part of his body. Bone marrow produces red blood cells so if the Adamantium completely closed off the bone from the rest of the body, Wolverine could never produce blood again. In reality, the Adamantium became a part of his body and actually helps regulate/control and sometimes enhance his healing factor and abilities. Wolverine can take punches from others with "Hulk"-level strength without having bones broken.

Comparing Adamantium against Vibranium is very difficult because the properties of each metal are so different. Vibranium is found in nature in the Marvel universe while Adamantium is an artificially produced metal alloy/resin. Vibranium can absorb and redirect forms of energy, making it very strong and resilient to damage in addition to being very tough already. Adamantium is physically impervious to most physical, chemical, and biological harm but it does absorb any energy. On equal terms, Adamantium can scratch and even cut Wakandan Vibranium, but it will probably require a very great amount of force to do so. Antarctic Vibranium would damage Adamantium because it destabilizes the molecular structure of all metals. Adamantium would probably have to be used to cut through super quick if possible.

In relation to Captain America's shield, Adamantium cannot cut through the shield because the shield is made of the original metal that was reverse engineered to create Adamantium alloyed with Vibranium to produce a metal that is stronger than true Adamantium. If the shield was made with only Vibranium, Wolverine's claws could probably cut through the shield with a lot more force than even Wolverine can produce. You would probably need someone with Adamantium claws and Hulk-level strength (now that would be one scary being in the Marvel universe).


The point of the matter is the variation of the metal in the shield is designed to absorb kinetic energy, which it did, Adamantium is designed to be unbreakable and the claws didn't shatter, both of the metals are performing their respective roles to their specifications.

The reason the shield didn't cut is down to the fact that without kinetic energy be it from gravity, man or machine made (which is TOTALLY absorbed by Vibranium) nothing will cut, it'd be like laying a weightless sword on tissue paper, without force there is simply nothing to push a blade through the object you wish to cut.

It's not that Vibranium is stronger or more durable than Adamantium, it isn't Adamantium is unbreakable in the face of kinetic energy, it's just doing what it's designed to do and channelling the kinetic energy away from itself so as to not be affected.

For example, diamonds are cut and shaped by high pressure water jets, now water isn't as strong as diamond but elements used in the right way and miracles of science are performed.


From Wikipedia:

The shield is created by fictional American metallurgist Myron MacLain, who had been commissioned by the US government to create an indestructible armor material to aid the war effort. MacLain experiments with vibranium.

During one of his experiments to fuse vibranium with an experimental steel alloy, MacLain falls asleep and awakens to find that the resulting alloy had set in a tank hatch mold. However, he was not able to duplicate it, because as MacLain described it, "some unknown factor" was present during the experiment that he could not identify. The shield was then painted to become Captain America's weapon and symbol.

From the Marvel Database:

American metallurgist Dr. Myron MacLain was contracted by the U.S. government to create an impenetrable substance to use for tanks during World War II.

He was attempting to perfect an indestructible alloy as strong as the legendary Adamantine, which Hercules' Golden Mace was made from. Dr. MacLain was hoping the alloy would provide a distinct advantage in the armor of American war machines, during World War II.

The doctor worked tirelessly, using a steel alloy (now known as Proto-Adamantium), and an unknown metal (now known to be Vibranium or more precisely Wakandan Vibranium). While the doctor was asleep, as a result of his exhaustion, an unknown factor caused the metals he was working with to bond.

Given the above, it must be assumed that -- even in its original Pre-"Fear Itself" form -- Captain America's shield was not JUST Vibranium, but 'Vibranium + Who-Knows-What.' Certainly, MacLain never worked it out. Therefore, speculating on what 'should' happen in a scenario where the shield is attacked with adamantium is redundant. It does what it does, whether that be a property of the Vibranium, or some as-yet-unknown added substance.


Essentially, cap's shield in fictional theory is made of vibranium and TRUE adamantium.

Wolverine is just made of adamantium bonded to his skeleton.

It would be like trying to cut through iron infused steel prison bars with just iron or steel.


Vibranium is the heart and soul mineral of Wakanda, home to T'Challa(Black Panther). Vibranium is impenetrable after it hardens, it absorbs any and all oncomming force. Plus it is known that Vibranium ain't the only substance in Cap's shield... If I remember correctly, adamantium is the result of trying to recreate vibranium. Vibranium is stronger.

Cap's sheild is indestructible because it is made of both:

  1. Adamantium 2. Vibranium

Adamantium is unbreakable, but supposedly it can still be melted or damaged by energy or heat.

Vibranium is not indestructible, but can not be harmed by energy or heat.

So, one can take physical punishment and one can take energy punishment.

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