If you were asked to describe any superhero, what would you say?
Superheroes have superhuman strength, great powers, and unique weapons, right?
Well, what really defines a superhero are their powers and abilities. However, their weapons also play a vital role in their strength and image.
The superheroes of the Marvel Universe are no different, as most of them have and wield their own weapons, be it blades, advanced suits, or even shields.
The 2021 hit movie Black Widow drew many viewers and was able to raise some eyebrows here and there with a new superhero that came out of nowhere- Red Guardian.
For comic readers, Red Guardian might be a familiar name, but for MCU fans, he is probably a new name.
However, the main thing that quickly got the audience’s attention was not really the Red Guardian but the shield that he used, better known as the Red Guardian’s Shield.
Being very similar to the shield that Captain America used, the Red Guardian’s Shield created hype among the fans and piqued their interest.
Since it became so popular, many questions regarding the shied started to come. From its origin to what it is made of, the shield soon became the talk of the town.
In this article, we have covered almost everything there is to know about this shield. So, make sure you stick to the end.
What is the Red Guardian’s shield?
Among the various weapons of the Marvel Universe, the Red Guardian’s Shield was considered one of the most powerful shields.
It was the primary weapon used by the users who were the holders of the title of the Red Guardian’s Identity. The users of the Shield were trained to use the Shield as a projectile weapon, which could be used to aim at the opponents’ bodies.
The most notable feature of the Shield was the prominent white star on a red background. That reminded the fans of the Shield that Captain America used, which sported similar features with a five-pointed star design in the center of blue, red, and white concentric circles.
What is the Shield made up of?
Like many weapons in the real world, the Red Guardian’s Shield was initially made up of steel and was nothing special compared to other similar kinds of shields.
The Red Guardian’s Shield was based on the design of Captain America’s Shield. Still, it didn’t include the same combination of Adamantium and Vibranium as that of the Shield wielded by Captain America.
The original Shield was made out of ordinary steel. However, later the Shield was upgraded by being cast in Vibranium from Wakanda.
Who weilded the shield?
The one-of-a-kind Red Guardian shield was wielded by the ones that used the identity of the Red Guardian.
Before we get into the users who wielded this powerful shield, let us know a little about who the Red Guardians were.
The Red Guardian
The Red Guardian has two different identities; based on the movie and on the basis of comics.
First, let’s discuss the comic version.
In the comics, instead of being an individual, the Red Guardian was an identity given to several fictional superheroes.
The identity was created as the Soviet equivalent of Captain America, although it was still continued after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Throughout the years, seven different people took the identity of the Red Guardian.
1. Aleksey Lebedev
Aleksey Lebedev was the Golden Age version of Red Guardian, who first appeared in Namor, The Sub Mariner Annual #1.
Not much is known about this individual, but he did fight alongside Captain America and the Sub Mariner at the Postdam Conference in July 1945.
During World War II, Aleksey met the All-Winners Squad, formerly known as the Invaders. In their short encounter, he clashed with them shortly after the war ended.
There he also met Captain America, who was secretly the Patriot. A Soviet version of Captain America himself, Aleksey was not hesitant to mock the soldier by saying that he was slowing down after Aleksey was able to catch the shield.
Like the other bearer of the Red Guardian’s identity, he was also created as a Soviet counterpart to Captain America. Later he was apparently killed during the purges of the 1950s, opposing the experiments that were performed to create more Red Guardians.
2. Alexei Andreevich Shostakov
The most prominent and famous Red Guardian, who was even adapted into the movies, was Alexei Andreevich Shostakov.
He was the first version of Red Guardian. He first appeared in Avengers #43, created in early 1967.
Born in Moscow, both Alexei and his wife, Natasha Romanova, were agents of the Soviets. Natasha later became known as the Black Widow. In contrast, her husband, Alexei, became a test pilot and K.G.B. agent and then was trained to become the Soviet Counterpart to Captain America, known as the Red Guardian.
He was an excellent warrior and decorated as a hero of the Soviet Union. Along with the Red Guardian Shield, he also carried a throwing disc on his belt, which had a yellow hammer and sickle symbol on it.
He was a master of hand-to-hand combat and a highly skilled athlete. His red costume with a star on his chest that symbolized the Soviet Flag made him stand out from the other superheroes.
Unknown about her husband’s death, Black Widow left her home country but soon encountered Red Guardian when he revealed his true identity to her.
However, while trying to save Black Widow and Captain America, he was shot and severely injured by Colonel Ling. Later, he was buried under molten lava when a laser blast caused the eruption of a long-dormant volcano.
3. Dr. Tania Belinsky
After Alexei, Dr. Tania Belinsky, a neurosurgeon from the U.S.S.R. (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), was chosen to become the next Red Guardian.
She first appeared in the Defenders #35 in 1976. After adopting the identity of the Red Guardian, she soon joined the Defenders.
4. Josef Petkus
Next in line after Dr. Tania, Josef Petkus took the identity of the Red Guardian. He made his first appearance in Captain America #352 in 1989.
After Alexei, he was the one to appear the most. He appeared in The Avengers #319-324 (July–Oct. 1990), The Incredible Hulk vol. 2 #393 (May 1992), and Soviet Super-Soldiers #1 (Nov. 1992).
In Iron Man #9, he appeared as the Steel Guardian and as a part of the Supreme Soviets in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update ’89 #7.
As a member of the Supreme Soviet, he was a special operative for the intelligence agencies. He also joined forces with Captain America to battle a bear-like creature composed of the Darkforce.
Later he teamed up with the Avengers and Alpha Flight to battle the Peace Corps, the Atlantean Army, and the Combine.
He was also a part of the Winter Guard’s splinter group called the People’s Protectorate, calling himself the Steel Guardian.
In order to resurrect Vanguard’s sister Laniya, he and his team searched for the timelord Immortus, but while fighting off Dire Wraiths, Josef lost his life.
5. Krassno Granitsky
Making his first appearance in Maverick #10 in 1998, Krassno Garnitsky was the fifth version of Red Guardian.
His name, “Krassno Granitsky,” came from the James Bond novel, From Russia With Love, which is the Russianized name of the assassin Donovan “Red” Grant.
In the comics, he even teamed with the mercenary superhero, Maverick, to fight against a crime lord. He also made his appearance in the first issue of Ed Brubaker’s Captain America, where he was executed by Aleksander Lukin.
The sixth version of the Red Guardian was Anton, who made his first appearance in the first issue of Jeph Loeb’s Hulk series as a member of the Winter Guard.
He introduced himself as an engineer and a former pilot of the Crimson Dynamo Armor. Later it was also revealed that he was a part of a Life Model Decoy.
There’s not much information about him except for the fact that he was decapitated by a Dire Wraith, and his head was kept in storage, apparently still alive.
7. Nikolai Krylenko
According to the comics, Nikolai Krylenko or better known as Vanguard, was the seventh version of the Red Guardian who led the Winter Guard.
He was actually a mutant who possessed an energy field that basically repelled all the electromagnetic, kinetic, and gravitonic energy.
However, he could only access his powers by crossing his hammer and sickle weapons in front of his body, making him nearly defenseless without them.
The movie version did take some elements from the comics. However, the movie version completely deviated from the comics.
The movie gave the identity of Red Guardian entirely to Alexei Andreevich Shostakov. The Soviets gave him Superhuman Strgeth to make him into a Soviet counterpart of Captain America.
He was assigned to an undercover operation in Ohio, for which he made up a fake family consisting of his “wife,” Melina Vostokoff, and daughters Natasha and Yelena.
The mission to recover the required data was a success. However, their cover was blown, and they were separated, with his daughters being shipped back to Russia.
Alexei was put in the Siberian prison but was soon rescued by his daughters, who were after Dreyko. After being freed from prison, Alexei was back in action sporting his old Red Guardian costume once again.
The Red Guardian, along with the rest of the Winter Guard, operated against the direct orders of their superiors; so that they could rescue and retrieve one of their comrades trapped in a special container.
The S.H.I.E.L.D. caught a whiff of their action and sent the Avengers under Captain America to deal with them. This led to conflicts between the Winter Guard and the Avengers.
Their clash caused near destruction of the facility and threatened the nearby village. So to avoid such destruction, they decided to work together until Crimson Dynamo and Falcon released Radioactive Man from the prison and melted the facility where he was kept.
Later both the parties came to a mutual understanding as the Avengers’ were able to relate to the Winter Guard, with their motive to save their comrade Radioactive Man from being used as a Weapon.
In conclusion, all the Red Guardians wielded the Red Guardian shied, whether in comics or the movie. Although some had special weapons like swords and hammers, they all got the shied, which became a prominent identity of the Red Guardians.
Furthermore, in an alternate universe, the shield was found by Natasha Romanoff in the K.G.B. Archive Building in Moscow, Russia. She used it against Ultron to continuously attack him with powerful hits. Later, Captain Carter also used it in battles.
Is the Red Guardian Shield stronger than Captain America’s Shield?
Similar in appearance, the Red Guardian shield and Captain America’s shield are often compared regarding their strength.
The Red Guardian shield was a prominent weapon used by all the members of the Soviets who possessed the identity of the Red Guardian.
The shield was made up of normal steel, which didn’t embark much strength. However, the shield that Captain America used was purely made up of Vibranium-metal alloy that had never been duplicated.
The Vibranium ultimately provided it with greater strength than the Red Guardian’s shield. Later on, the Red Guardian shield went through an upgrade by being cast in Wakandan Vibranium, which was used by Anton and Krylenko.
The Red Guardian shield was upgraded to a more advanced form when Krylenko used it with an onboard computer adjusted to his suit. This allowed him to control its flight path, and he managed to order it to return to him.
By the time the Red Guardian Shield was upgraded to be more durable and dangerous, Captain America’s Shield also went through major upgrades, which made it far superior to the Red Guardian Shield.
Used as his primary weapon, Captain America’s Shield was made up of a unique combination of Vibranium, and an alloy catalyst called the Proto- Adamantium, which made it nearly indestructible.
The shield was used in both offense and defense. Captain America used it by throwing it at the opponents, which surprisingly managed to injure them severely. Along with this, he was also able to perform exceptional tricks with the help of the shield.
So, even after being deemed as one of the strongest weapons, the Red Guardian Shield wasn’t able to hold a candle against the marvelous Captain America’s Shield.
With his recent appearance in the Black Widow movie, it is very much possible that he could return if the prequel of the movie is made. It is also very highly possible that he could get his own solo movie.
So, with the discussion regarding his return, we can expect to see more of him and the Red Guardian Shield as well.