We all know what makes Captain America so cool. He has the Super Soldier Serum in him that makes him the perfect human. He has trained and honed his body over the years and dives right into any battle. Cap's shown his leadership abilities with several teams as well as the tactical and strategical thinking he is capable of. Besides the wings on his mask and the red, white and blue colors of his uniform, Captain America's shield is what he is most famous for.
The shield has some amazing properties. Besides being virtually indestructible, its design and consistency has allowed it to become an extension of Cap's body. He can use it as both a defensive and offensive weapon. His ability to throw the shield with an unbelievable precision makes the Super Soldier even more super.
There has been some times when the supposedly indestructible shield has been...broken. If Captain America lost his shield or if it was damaged beyond repair, what would that mean for his character? Could he still be Captain America without it and would it put him at a disadvantage?
Slight spoiler if you haven't read Fear Itself #5 yet.== TEASER ==
Steve Rogers knows every square inch of his shield. He knows everything he can do with it. In the middle of a battle, he can throw it without thinking and knows where it will end up. That is until he faced the Asgardian god known as the Serpent.
In the middle of the heated battle where everything was at stake, Captain America threw his shield only to be surprised when the Serpent caught it...and destroyed it. How do you fix an indestructible shield? You can't simply glue it back together. Despite all the technology in the Marvel Universe, they've never been able to completely analyze the chemical composition of the shield. Near duplicates have been forged over the years but the difference is immediately noticeable. Cap could make due with a copy but it wouldn't be the same. The slight difference could be enough to throw him off his game if he tried using it without fully realizing what the end results might be.
Captain America's shield has been damaged before. Back in Secret Wars #11, Doctor Doom attempted to steal the Beyonder's power. In doing so, his first act was to unleash it upon the heroes. In the blast that resulted, Cap's shield was damaged but still intact for the most part. Cap continued to use the shield and even managed to use it offensively by throwing it at his opponents. Steve was able to wish the shield to become whole due to residual powers from the Beyonder that were still floating around after Doom's defeat. That won't be a luxury Steve will have this time.
Even if it were possible to reassemble the shattered pieces of Cap's shield, they would have to locate every shard and broken piece. Being that this happened in the middle of a battle and destruction surrounded them, it might not be an easy task. Because the composition of the shield is unknown, could they attempt to melt down the pieces and remold the shield? The utmost care would have to be taken in order to ensure the shield maintains the exact same dimensions and feel it originally had.
Can Steve Rogers still be Captain America without the shield? Of course he can. While operating as the Super Soldier when Bucky had the shield as Cap, Steve showed he was still perfectly capable of holding his own and kicking all sorts of ass. In terms of a defensive weapon, he used his force-shield to protect him when needed.
There was also the time when the government wanted to control Captain America and issue him orders and missions. Steve quit and turned in his shield and costume. Operating as The Captain (in the soon to be U.S.Agent costume), Steve used a vibranium-based shield. It wasn't quite the same. It had a different feel but it still got the job done. Steve could always get a new shield but it wouldn't be right. Just as it's great seeing Steve back in the Captain America suit, having the shield is an extension of that.
What will happen to the shield? We all know Marvel can't just leave it shattered. It can't simply be duplicated and they're not going to throw the pieces in the trash. We've already seen he has a shield in Captain America #1 (which we can assume takes place after Fear Itself). Because we're talking about an Asgardian event, it's probably safe to assume some sort of Asgardian magic will repair the shield. It's possible that Odin might feel bad for turning his back on Midgard and maybe he'll award Steve with a new and better Asgardian shield. But that wouldn't be right. Cap's mentioned before that the shield is practically an extension of himself. It's like an extra limb. Missing limbs can be replaced but there's just too much history with the shield to just let it lie shattered or replaced.