The earliest form was used by a member of the Raiders and later adopted by Iron Man. These emitted photons into a small round shape and were generally a supplement to the rest of their armor's defenses.
US Agent received a photon shield when he joined Force Works. SHIELD developed its own design based on cooled plasma. Captain America (Steve Rogers) briefly used the plasma shield while in exile. Not only were they useful protection, but the shields could be used as controllable projectile weapons.
On Counter-Earth/Heroes Reborn, Rebecca Barnes used a Vibranium-powered triangular energy shield.
An updated version of the plasma shield with a flexible containment matrix was given to Steve Rogers by Sharon Carter while his normal shield was being repaired. This shield can morph into other forms if needed, such as a staff, sword, or rope. It could even take on the design of his old shield. He later gave this shield to the time traveler Primax.
Taskmaster managed to acquire a similar device from SHIELD, possibly the cool plasma version. Not only does it supplement his Adamantium dupe of Captain America's Shield, but Taskmaster has used it for 'energy claws' and to simulate Spider-Man's webshooters.
Stark's S.K.I.N. armor combined an energy blade and shield; the shield could even expand to cover the whole armor.
After Steve Rogers replaced Norman Osborn, he began using a new energy shield, as the real shield was being used by Captain America. This shield was made from Zero Point Energy. Buck Lime acquired a Zero Point Energy Shield generator for Moon Knight.
Energy shields are contained in devices worn on the wrist or contained in a gauntlet. When needed the device is activated and the shield 'expands' from the emitter.
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