Heroes and villains that have destroyed Captain America's shield

If there's an unspoken test that determines if a hero or villain should be taken seriously, it's whether they can destroy Captain America's shield. Once a super-powered individual has managed this feat, they're instantly in the Marvel cool kids' club—meaning that Thanos and Molecule Man are essentially on the same level in terms of comic book street cred, along with all the other super-powered adversaries who've managed to crack, vaporize or bust Cap's favorite accessory into smithereens. Take a look at the list of heavy hitters who've done battle with the mighty shield—and won.

Thanos

On the eve of Avengers: Infinity War, the culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we're all psyched to see Thanos throw down with the Avengers. He's likely to kill some folks and, as alluded to in Age of Ultron, destroy Cap's shield—a first for the MCU that comics fans can say they saw coming because it already happened in the Infinity Gauntlet miniseries, one of the many pieces of source material that inspired the film.

In the Infinity Gauntlet storyline, Thanos acquires all six infinity stones and plugs 'em into his big bad golden gauntlet, resulting in chaos out the wazoo. He snaps his fingers and bam, half of the universe ceases to exist. With one mighty backhand, he also manages to pimp-slap Captain America's shield to dust, taking out the hero and his weapon of choice in one swift blow.

Molecule Man

Everyone loves a good D-list supervillain, right? No, you say? Oh, okay. Well, consider making an exception for Molecule Man, one of the most lamely-named villains in the history of the comic book medium. As his moniker vaguely alludes, Molecule Man has the ability to control molecules, an insanely powerful ability for such an unknown character. This means the guy can warp the second-smallest unit of matter in existence, a faculty that easily handles items such as Captain America's shield by disintegrating them from the inside. Consequently, this is exactly what Molecule Man does in the 1982 Avengers arc "All the Ways of Power." With the Avengers assembled before him, including Tony Stark, Thor, Cap and Silver Surfer, Molecule Man instantly eradicates Tony's armor, Thor's hammer, Surfer's surfboard and Cap's shield without a shred of effort.

You'd think a villain that powerful would have a pretty epic story arc, especially after having destroyed four of the most powerful artifacts in the Marvel superhero arsenal, but alas. His story turns to mush after that, featuring plot contrivances and conveniences that ultimately lead to his unfair defeat, whereupon he agrees to reassemble the Avengers' gear. Weak stuff, Molecule Man.

Ultron

Ultron is one of Marvel's most fearsome villains, and for good reason. This is a robot that's defeated the Avengers and their cohorts countless times and has never truly been stopped—only stalled.

With this in mind, it may come as no surprise that Ultron bested Captain America as well as his shield during the Age of Ultron storyline that inspired the title (but, unfortunately, not the plot) of Marvel's big Avengers movie sequel. In this arc, Ultron takes over the world with ease, beating all of Earth's heroes into submission and killing off the more stubborn ones entirely. In the crossfire, Captain America's shield is destroyed.

Ultimate Valkyrie

Of all the heroes and villains least-qualified to break Captain America's mighty shield, Valkyrie arguably ranks the highest. As a bit of a gag hero, she joins a ragtag group called the Defenders (no, not those ones) and vows to fight crime with her martial arts skills, of which she has barely any. Like, seriously, she plans on fighting street crime and supervillains with taekwondo that's not even up to black belt standards.

In order to make her a viable superhero and less of a meme, the writers give her actual superpowers and transport her to Asgard, where she fights alongside and falls in love with none other than Thor, the god of thunder himself. Which is why when Thor dies in a fight against Magneto, Valkyrie makes it her mission to bring him back, a quest which at one point leads to her breaking Cap's shield. The caveat here is that this all takes place in the Ultimates universe, where Rogers' shield is made exclusively out of adamantium rather than the standard adamantium-vibranium alloy blend it's forged from in most other timelines. This slightly weaker composition might be the reason that Valkyrie, with the help of Thor's hammer Mjolnir, is able to succeed in breaking the shield.

Victor von Doom

As with just about any supervillain feat, if it's been done by someone, it was first accomplished by Doctor Doom, one of the oldest and most venerable Marvel antagonists. So it's no surprise that good 'ol Victor is also one of the few guys to destroy Captain America's shield.

During Marvel's original Secret Wars crossover event, an entity called the Beyonder transports most of the Marvel heroes to Battleworld, where he gets his jollies from forcing heroes to fight each other. Where does Dr. Doom fit in? Simply put, the brilliant Latverian supervillain tricks the Beyonder and steals his power, allowing Doom to easily finish off the few heroes who remain standing after the gladiator matches on Battleworld. This includes Captain America, with the only post-Doom remnant of the hero's existence being his broken shield.

King Thor

After Odin dies and his eldest son Thor inherits the throne of Asgard, the Odinforce and some powerful rune magic are passed on to the new king and give him a bit of a power trip. King Thor uses this newfound power to move the entirety of Asgard closer to Earth in order to meddle with its affairs, something the Avengers don't take kindly to. This results in a catastrophic fight in which Cap gets obliterated by his old buddy, along with his shield.

Of course, Thor eventually realizes how much of a jerk he's being and has a change of heart, prompting him to reverse time and erase all the bad stuff that's happened since he became king. Good guy.

Serpent

Of all the villains (and heroes) to give Roger's discus some battle damage, Serpent is easily the most noteworthy, using nothing more than his own two hands to snap the shield with ease.

There's a reason Serpent's so capable of doing a deed very few could even fathom: he's Odin's brother and the embodiment of evil on Asgard—meaning he's impossibly strong, and a lethal threat to the mere mortals known as the Avengers who try to stop his complete takeover of Asgard during the Fear Itself comics event. While they do miraculously manage to defeat him, it's a testament to a guy with a name as lame as Serpent that he snapped Cap's shield and almost bested the nine realms as well as Earth's mightiest heroes all in one storyline.

The Sentinels

Cap ends up in this shield-breaking pickle in an alternate timeline where the President of the United States has a rock-hard anti-mutant ideology and commissions the Sentinels, massive, rapidly evolving exterminator robots that can adapt to any superhuman power they come up against, to eradicate the mutant population. They kill off the X-Men with lethal efficiency, and the remaining heroes of the world band together to avenge their comrades with Cap leading the charge. Unfortunately for him, the Sentinels handle him and his little shield with ease, cracking the latter before killing the former.

Hyperion

Inside the Marvel comics multiverse, there are infinite numbers of timelines and destinies for any given hero—and Steve Rogers' death at the hands of Hyperion is one of those distant, alternate-reality stories.

In this timeline, Hyperion rules a totalitarian regime, prompting a band of rebels to try and usurp his throne. This leads to a nuclear explosion that wipes out Earth's inhabitants, leaving Hyperion with no subjects left to oppress—so he travels to other Earths across the multiverse in an attempt to rule literally everything. He defeats countless heroes on his road to conquest, the comparatively weak and defenseless Steve Rogers being one of the many who bites the dust along the way.

Gregory Stark

Captain Rogers and the Stark family not only go way back, but also have ideological differences that have long served as major conflict points in a number of stories featuring the two Avengers. But while the civil war most superhero fans can recall off the tops of their heads features Steve Rogers going head-to-head with billionaire playboy philanthropist Tony Stark, not many remember the other civil war, starring Rogers and the other Stark brother. His name is Gregory.

Gregory Stark only exists in the Ultimate Marvel universe, and whereas Tony is a well-intentioned alcoholic, his brother is a sober, cruel man far less inclined to pal around with heroes like the first Avenger. Gregory sparks a conflict between the Ultimates and the Avengers, going on to obliterate Cap's shield before Tony can stop his violent kin from incurring any further damage.