Comics are filled with rare and unusual materials that can grant superhuman abilities or be used against a hero. One of the most interesting materials is Nth metal, also known as Ninth metal. Often linked to Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Nth metal has a number of magical properties that makes it a potent weapon. The Comic Vault is looking into the history of Nth metal to see where it comes from and how it’s been used.
The name comes from the phrase ‘The Nth Degree,’ meaning that something is raised to a high level. Nth metal is native to Thanagar, the home planet of the Silver Age Hawkman and Hawkwoman. It came to Earth after a Thanagarian spaceship made of Nth metal crashed in ancient Egypt. Discovered by Prince Khufu and his lover Chay-ara, the two were exposed to the metal and locked into a cycle of reincarnation. This led to them being resurrected in the modern day as Carter Hall and Shiera Saunders, demonstrating the mystical qualities of the alloy.
The metal grants a number of abilities, such as being able to defy gravity. This allows the wearer to fly and carry objects much heavier than themselves. Nth metal has a symbiotic quality, bonding with a host and restoring physical attributes that have been lost. In addition, Nth metal generates enough heat to keep someone alive in subzero temperatures.
Another benefit of Nth metal is its regeneration ability, granting the host superhuman healing. This ties into resurrection as well, as Hawkman and Hawkgirl were able to regenerate from nothingness over many lifetimes.
As a weapon, Nth metal is formidable because it’s highly durable. It has the ability to neutralise magic, with a good example being Hawkgirl’s mace. An Nth metal weapon can also act as an conduit, storing up large amounts of energy and redistributing it for a devastating effect. Nth metal can also weaken the healing factor of a foe, allowing the user to go in for a fatal blow.
The most recent focus on Nth metal has been in the Dark Nights event that saw seven evil versions of Batman invade the DC Universe. Kendra Saunders destroyed all the Nth metal on Earth, except for a piece that Batman stole. The metal was a part of a process called mantling, which involved a hero being touched by five divine metals to create a door to the Dark Multiverse. Nth metal was revealed to be a counter vibratory material that cancelled out the frequency of creatures from the Dark Multiverse, making it an effective weapon against Batman’s evil counterparts.
Nth metal remains an important material within the DC Universe and an integral part of Hawkman and Hawkgirl’s stories.