Comics
Published December 4, 2020

8 of the Biggest Gifts Ever Given in Marvel Comics

It’s the season of giving, and the heroes of the Marvel Universe are no strangers to gifting!

With the holiday season upon us, many have begun wondering about what gifts to purchase or make for their friends, co-workers, and loved ones. If you're looking for something practical, do yourself a favor and check out the official Marvel holiday gift guide. However, if you're looking for a more metaphorical guide in the way of gift-giving, look no further than the greatest collection of knowledge ever compiled: Marvel Comics!

We can learn a lot about what to give people and how to do it by looking at some of the greatest heroes ever created. Some received ideas that guided their lives while others worked with things that were foisted upon them. "Gift" might be a generous word for some of those things, but check out this list of some of the most "thoughtful" "gifts" given to heroes in the Marvel Universe!

Captain America's Shield

Captain America
CAPTAIN AMERICA (2004) #616

Though he first appeared with a pendant-shaped shield in 1941's CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1, Captain America was quickly gifted with one of the most iconic weapons in all of comics: his circular shield. Made of proto-adamantium, a mix of steel and vibranium (which was gifted to Steve Rogers by the WWII-era Black Panther), this nearly indestructible weapon can defend from attack and also be thrown with incredible accuracy. Like Captain America himself, the shield has become a sign of hope through the darkest of times even when wielded by other people.

The Wasp's Powers

 

Tales to Astonish
TALES TO ASTONISH (1959) #44

When Janet Van Dyne's scientist father was killed in 1963's TALES TO ASTONISH #44 she called on Hank Pym for help. He showed up, but in his Ant-Man guise. Janet swore to do everything in her power to find his murderer, so Pym decided to give her a dose of his size-changing Pym Particles as well as wings and antenna, turning her into the Wasp. In being gifted with these powers, Janet became one of the most important heroes of her generation, not only as a founding member of the Avengers, but a person who has dedicated her life to keeping people safe and stopping would-be conquerors. Hank may have created the Pym Particles, but Janet was the champion the world has needed time and time again, putting her gift to the most unselfish use.

The Eye of Agamotto

Doctor Strange
STRANGE TALES (1951) #157

Though Doctor Strange first appeared in STRANGE TALES #110, he would not receive two of his most legendary and powerful supernatural artifacts until STRANGE TALES #127. In that issue he figured out a way to stop Dormammu's machinations, which impressed his master, the Ancient One. To congratulate his pupil, the Ancient One presented him with the Eye of Agamotto and the Cloak of Levitation, both of which Doctor Strange has utilized in his tenure as the Sorcerer Supreme, standing guard over this and many other realms.

Uncle Ben's Advice

With great power...
SPIDER-MAN: WITH GREAT POWER... (2008) #4

Not all gifts can be unwrapped, some are passed verbally from one person to another and wind up shaping the receiver's world. That was the case with a young man named Peter Parker and the words his Uncle Ben bestowed upon him: "With great power there must come great responsibility," which were a part of his debut in 1962’s AMAZING FANTASY #15. Though the young Peter did not understand the weight of that phrase initially, it eventually became the foundation of one of the most selfless heroes the world has ever seen: Spider-Man.

The Power Cosmic

Silver Surfer
FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #72

When faced with the destruction of his planet, Zenn-La, Norrin Radd made an impossible decision by offering himself up to Galactus in exchange for his home's safety, as related in FANTASTIC FOUR #50. The Devourer agreed, making Radd his latest Herald, a being meant to find planets for him to eat. Less a gift and more of a bargaining chip, the Power Cosmic gave Norrin the ability to ostensibly live forever and wield incredible power, but also directly made him responsible for the deaths of untold billions during his time as Galactus' Herald. Now he uses those abilities to save as many lives across the cosmos as possible.

An Adamantium Skeleton

Marvel Comics Presents
MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS (1988) #72

Occasionally, you're forced to accept something. What you do with that experience remains up to you. When the mutant then known as Logan was forcibly given an adamantium-lined skeleton -- first seen in a story beginning with MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #72 -- he went mad for a time, but eventually regained his composure and dedicated himself to using his unbreakable bones and claws for good, removing some of the darkest and most evil beings around from the planet. Just think about that the next time you walk away with a particularly bad gift at the next White Elephant you attend!

A Bionic Arm

Misty Knight
VILLAINS FOR HIRE (2011) #0.1

Misty Knight was already a hero before teaming up with Colleen Wing and starting Knightwing Restorations, Ltd. As a New York City police officer, she was caught in an explosion that took her right arm. Tony Stark heard about the injury and gave her a bionic arm that, thanks to its super strong design and built-in weaponry, made her an even more powerful force to be reckoned with as she became a more and more integral part of the New York City hero community.

The War Machine Armor

War Machine
WAR MACHINE (2008) #1

When Tony Stark needed someone to fill in for him as Iron Man, he turned to his longtime friend and pilot Jim "Rhodey" Rhodes. Though Stark became the first pilot of the Variable Threat Response Battle Suit, Stark bequeathed it to Rhodes after his apparent death, noting that he had designed it for James and not himself. Though highly conflicted, Rhodes took the armor and the name of Iron Man, but Stark eventually returned and regained the title, but not the suit which allowed James to carry on as his own hero, War Machine.

 

As you can see, a gift is what you make of it. Sometimes, it’s not something you asked for – at all – but it could turn out to mean something important and special down the road. And maybe save the universe.

For more down-to-Earth Marvel gifts, check out this year’s Marvel Gift Guide!

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