Adamantium is a fictional metal alloy appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, and is best known as the substance bonded to the character Wolverine's skeleton and claws. Adamantium was created by writer Roy Thomas and artists Barry Windsor-Smith and Syd Shores in Marvel Comics' Avengers #66 (July 1969), which presents the substance as part of the character Ultron's outer shell. In the stories where it appears, the defining quality of adamantium is its practical indestructibility.
The word is a pseudo-Latin neologism (real Latin: adamans, adamantem [accusative]) based on the English noun and adjective adamant (and the derived adjective adamantine) with the neo-Latin suffix "-ium," implying a metal. The adjective has long been used to refer to the property of impregnable, diamondlike hardness, or to describe a very firm/resolute position (e.g. He adamantly refused to leave). The noun adamant has long been used to designate any impenetrably or unyieldingly hard substance and, formerly, a legendary stone/rock or mineral of impenetrable hardness and with many other properties, often identified with diamond or lodestone. Adamant and the literary form adamantine occur in works such as Prometheus Bound, the Aeneid, The Faerie Queene, Paradise Lost, Gulliver's Travels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Lord of the Rings, and the film Forbidden Planet (as "adamantine steel"), all of which predate the use of adamantium in Marvel's comics.
History and properties
Within Marvel Comics stories, adamantium is a group of man-made metal alloys of varying durability, but all are nearly indestructible. Adamantium is inadvertently invented by the American metallurgist Dr. Myron MacLain in an attempt to recreate his prior discovery, a unique alloy.
According to the comic books, the components of the alloy are kept in separate batches - typically in blocks of resin - before molding. Adamantium is prepared by melting the blocks together, mixing the components while the resin evaporates. The alloy must then be cast within eight minutes. Marvel Comics' adamantium has an extremely stable molecular structure which prevents it from being further molded even if the temperature is high enough to keep it in its liquefied form. In its solid form, it is described as a dark metallic grey colour, shiny, and that resembles high-grade steel or titanium. It is almost impossible to destroy or fracture in this state and when molded to a razor's edge, it can penetrate most lesser materials with minimal application of strength.
In the Marvel universe, adamantium is rarely used due to its high cost, lack of source materials and inability to be manipulated easily.
The character Wolverine once discovered an adamantium-laced skull in Apocalypse's laboratory and says it seemed to have been there for eons.
Adamantium as key component
Adamantium is used as the key component in several instances in Marvel Comics publications and licensed products, including:
- Ultron's outer shell.
- Wolverine's skeleton and claws.
- Agent Zero's combat knife and bullets.
- The outer skin of some of Alkhema's robotic bodies.
- Battlestar's shield.
- Bullseye's spinal column, skull and some strips coating several of his bones.
- Certain iterations of Captain America's shield.
- Constrictor's original wrist-mounted, prehensile metal coils.
- Cyber's claws and skin.
- One particular set of Doctor Octopus' arms.
- The outer layer of Citizen V's rapier.
- Lady Deathstrike's skeleton and talons.
- One of Mister Fantastic's labs for extremely dangerous experiments.
- Moon Knight's crescent blades.
- A unique suit of armor once used by the villain Stilt-Man.
- The outer skin of TESS-One.
- One of several layers of containment at the superhuman incarceration facility known as the Vault.
- An outer coating on the Swordsman's blades.
- A special brand of bullet in the Iron Man suit's ballistic weapons.
- Bullets used by Underworld.
- X-23's claws.
- Doom 2099's suit.
- Bucky Barnes' Captain America suit is laced with adamantium.
- A statue of the Hulk, sculpted by Alicia Masters.
- Hammerhead's head is made of adamantium.
- Hawkeye has used arrowheads made of adamantium.
- The Russian's body was augmented with both adamantium and superhard plastics following his resurrection by General Kreigkopf.
Adamantium in the Ultimate Marvel imprint
Within the Marvel Comics Ultimate Marvel imprint, adamantium is highly durable and is able to effectively protect a person's mind from telepathic probing or attacks. It has been shown as a component of the claws and skeleton of the Ultimate Wolverine and Ultimate Lady Deathstrike characters. This version of adamantium is not unbreakable. In Ultimates #5, the Hulk breaks a needle made of adamantium. In Ultimate X-Men #11 (December 2001), an adamantium cage is damaged by a bomb. In Ultimate X-Men #12 (January 2002), one of Sabretooth's four adamantium claws is broken.