Last year, The Steel Wire illustrated the indisputable similarities between steel and superheroes, and introduced some of the ways steel has been used in the gadgets, in the names and in the iconic costumes of the world’s favorite comic book characters.
Recently, even more superheroes (not to mention villains) have made their way into the spotlight, thanks to a slew of new blockbusters. Find out how steel empowers these fictional characters to fulfil their roles and duties.
Colossus: A Lean, Mean, Metal Machine
A Russian mutant and member of the X-Men, Colossus is most known for his ability to transform into a form of “organic steel”—a power he uses for the betterment of human and mutant-kind.
When this change takes place, his entire 200-centimeter-tall body is metamorphosed into an armored state, making him even taller and heavier.
In steel form, Colossus possesses superhuman levels of strength, stamina and durability, enabling him to withstand great impacts, large caliber bullets and falls from monumental heights. And, much like steel itself, Colossus has great resistance to temperature extremes of hot and cold.
Unlike his appearances in past X-men movies, where filmmakers often highlighted the character’s transformation from bare skin to full metal exoskeleton, Colossus was only portrayed in metal form in the recently released Deadpool flick.
The decision to keep Colossus in his steel form was made to make things easier for filmmakers, but also made sense from a story perspective. After all, Colossus needs all of the protection he can get when he teams up with the loose cannon that is Deadpool.
Captain America’s Indestructible Shield
Vibranium is a fictional, super-strong metal that is often referenced in comic books published by Marvel Comics.
This rare metallic substance is native only to Wakanda, an African nation under the rule of Black Panther—a superhero who made appearances in this year’s production of Captain America: Civil War.
The story goes that a small amount of Wakandan Vibranium came into the possession of a scientist in the early 1940s who made numerous unsuccessful attempts to create a Vibranium steel alloy. One morning, however, he discovered that the two materials had bonded on their own in an unknown manner. The ultra-resilient alloy was then used to create Captain America’s shield.
Under normal conditions, the shield of Captain America is virtually indestructible. The defensive equipment has proved strong enough to absorb Hulk’s strength and repel an attack from Thor’s hammer without any visible damage.
The shield also absorbs all kinetic energy and transfers very little energy from each impact, meaning Captain America doesn’t feel recoil when blocking attacks. These properties also allow the shield to bounce off of most smooth surfaces, ricocheting multiple times with minimal loss in aerodynamic stability or velocity.
Captain Boomerang and His Blades of Steel
But superheroes aren’t the only ones who benefit from the power of steel. Villains, too, have made use of the metal to carry out their own personal agendas.
Captain Boomerang is one of them. This infamous Australian mercenary is renowned to be among the most lethal assassins in the world, which will become even more obvious when he makes an appearance in Suicide Squad this August.
The villain is reputed to be in top physical condition, capable of knocking down an A.R.G.U.S. soldier with a single blow, but is also a master boomerang thrower.
He is a very formidable opponent when armed with his trick boomerangs, which are each made with a steel curved blade, sharpened on both sides and perforated by elongated holes. When thrown, his boomerangs spin about an axis that is perpendicular to their flight direction, and are designed to return to the thrower.
Girder’s Steel Skin
Likewise, supervillain Tony Woodward, or “Girder,” also used steel to his advantage, as seen on recent episodes of the popular US TV series The Flash.
After being laid off at an iron works facility, Girder got into an altercation with his boss. He was subsequently knocked over a railing into a vat of molten steel. The S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator simultaneously exploded, causing him to transform into a meta-human with the ability to transform any part of his body into girded steel at will.
Taking advantage of the super strength of steel, he soon fell into petty crime and was known to hurt others to prove his superiority.
Girder is strong enough to overturn a car and is able to deliver punches that can smash concrete. His metallic skin can withstand extreme conditions, and bullets from handguns inflict virtually no damage on him. The Flash had to impact him at Mach 1.1 (1,347 kilometers per hour) before he could even break through the villain’s skin.
As the world’s most beloved stories and characters continue to develop, the number of superhero fanatics only continues to grow larger. It is certain that steel, a symbol of strength and indestructibility, will continue to play a part in these entertaining—and inspiring—stories.