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Dr. Myron MacLain
|First appearance||The Mighty Avengers #66 (July 1969)|
|Created by||Roy Thomas, Barry Windsor-Smith|
|Full name||Myron MacLain|
|Supporting character of||Captain America|
Myron MacLain is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics Universe. He is generally credited as the creator of the vibranium-iron alloy that was used to create Captain America's shield and as the creator of adamantium in an effort to re-create the shield. MacLain is a gifted metallurgist whose inventions have served many superheroes and supervillains alike in the Marvel Universe. He has also proven adept at robotics and constructing suits of armor.
Fictional character history
In the 1930s, Dr. Myron MacLain learned metallurgy and his skills in the field soon became useful when he came under the employ of the US Government during World War II. While under their employ, he was commissioned to create an indestructible armor to aid in the war effort; in particular, the armor was to be used in the construction of tanks. While experimenting on iron alloys, he was given a small sample of Wakandan vibranium and though he attempted to combine vibranium with various iron alloys, none of his experiments were successful. However, after laboring for months, one night he dozed off due to exhaustion and some unknown factor entered the process. As a result, the vibranium fused with the iron alloy. While he may have created the indestructible metal the U.S. sought, due to not knowing the mysterious X-factor that allowed for the fusion of the materials, as well as not knowing the exact ingredients nor their proportions, it was impossible for MacLain to duplicate the process. The metal he did manage to create was poured into disc form to serve as a tank hatch. However, the inability to reproduce more of the metal caused the disc to be redesigned to serve as the shield for Captain America (and with it, he became an effective weapon for the U.S. during the war).[volume & issue needed]
While working for the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., MacLain was visited by an amnesiac mutant named Logan who had been granted an unbreakable metal skeleton and claws. Although warned not to, MacLain agreed to speak with Logan and examine him. After his examination, MacLain could not account for where the metal had come from, but suggested that Lord Dark Wind, a Japanese scientist who was said to have created an unbreakable metal during World War II, may have been the source of its creation. Before he could say more, Logan was taken away by Victor Creed.[volume & issue needed]
After many years and with funding from the government agency Control, MacLain still could not replicate the ultra-resilient vibranium-iron alloy. However, once he began working for S.H.I.E.L.D., while attempting to re-create the metal without vibranium or the X-factor, he was able to create a metal nearly as strong. He dubbed the new metal "adamantium." After its creation, the Avengers came to S.H.I.E.L.D. and Thor, Iron Man, and Goliath all attempted to break it, with no success. That was when MacLain revealed only a molecular re-arranger could reshape adamantium, but while he was proud of his new creation he feared what might happen if it should ever fall into the wrong hands. His fears proved correct when Ultron forced the Vision to steal a cylinder of adamantium to use in the reconstruction of his body, Ultron-6. Later, after MacLain retired from S.H.I.E.L.D. and had hidden away from the world, he was captured by Mr. Arons of Stane International and was forced to recreate the metal in Captain America's shield. Arons intended the metal to be constructed into a suit of armor to be used by Obadiah Stane.
To aid MacLain in his work, Arons obtained Captain America's shield with the help of the Batroc's Brigade; and to keep the doctor in line, the lives of his family were threatened. He was never able to reproduce the metal; however, this did not stop him from constructing the suit of armor. The inferior armor resulted in the defeat of Arons when he donned the armor to battle Captain America, who soon smashed it to pieces with his shield. After MacLain was safe, in time he discovered a way of producing adamantium even faster and requested the Avengers to protect him, but they were too late and he was captured by Ultron and replaced with a duplicate to take care of the Avengers. Ultron also kidnapped Henry Pym and Mockingbird to assist MacLain in his construction of a new robot bride. While MacLain was providing the adamantium for her body, Pym actually designed the robotics, while Mockingbird provided her brain patterns for the mind of the bride later to be named Alkhema. Once created, Ultron and Alkhema set out to steal a nuclear missile and MacLain assisted Pym in creating an electromagnet for the warhead. When arriving to steal it, Ultron and Alkhema were magnetically fixed to it and when the missile exploded, they were presumably destroyed.
The experimental metal used to construct Captain America's shield, it is one of the most impervious metals in the Marvel Universe. While he may have created it by accident and with some luck from the mysterious X-factor, he is mostly known because of its creation. The vibranium composition allows it to absorb vibratory energy as well as kinetic energy directed towards it. Neither he nor anyone else has ever been able to reproduce it, no matter the amount of years, funding, or skills appropriated to such attempts.
While not nearly as strong as his first invention, it is nearly as durable and most known for being the metal bonded to Wolverine's skeleton. The type of adamantium MacLain invented was "true adamantium"[volume & issue needed] and his creation of it also led to his creation of Alkhema's body. In actuality, the experimental iron alloy that was used in Captain America's shield is now referred to as "proto-adamantium", which slightly different from true adamantium in that it's stronger than the latter. Dr. MacLain's experiments with proto-adamantium lead to the creation of true adamantium. This proto-adamantium was incorporated with the vibranium in the shield. Also, while adamantium has no vibranium in it, the two metals look identical.
Adamantium's true inventor?
Due to MacLain's appearance in Wolverine (vol. 2) #1, there exists a long-standing continuity glitch. Specifically, it shows that MacLain met Wolverine with his adamantium-bonded skeleton years before supposedly inventing the metal himself. It also puts forth the question of how the Weapon X program obtained the adamantium before it was technically invented. His own comments in the issue seem to suggest that Lord Dark Wind created the unbreakable metal and that he either managed to duplicate it on his own or that he received information from Dark Wind to make it. Either way, Lady Deathstrike, Dark Wind's daughter, has made a claim to owning the rights to the adamantium.
- MacLain is referenced by Dr. Abraham Cornelius in a weblog in the video game X-Men Origins: Wolverine
- Captain America #303-304
- Wolverine (vol. 2) #1
- Conspiracy #2
- Avengers (vol. 1) #66, #68
- Avengers West Coast #89-90
- Captain America #303
- Captain America #304
- Captain America #303-304
- Wolverine #2