On the battlefield, the invention of a better tool of death has always necessitated the invention of the countermeasure against it. Invented around 1,400 BC as a countermeasure against the sword, the Mycenaean Greek Panoply is the earliest Western suit of armor. Forged from bronze, it offered full protection from impalement, decapitation and severed arms due to thick metal collars around the wearers neck, shoulders and trunk.
The suit worn by Sauron in the The Fellowship of the Rings prologue, designed by Alan Lee, Peter Lyons, Warren Green and Stu Johnson, looks like it could belong in both a Sci Fi and Fantasy context. Lee, who contributed the helmet design, remarked that every inch of it’s surface was worked over endlessly, and remains one of Weta Workshop’s proudest achievements. A much lighter weight armor that would also fit in either genre is the black leather of D, the vampire hunter. Half-human, half-Dracula, he rides a cyborg mount across a landscape where, “demons and mutants slither through a world of darkness”.
In the case of Marvel’s Nomad (Ian Rogers) as seen in Captain America Vol. 7 #23 from 2014, designed by Carlos Pacheco, the opposite also holds true. Forged from lightweight alloy of high strength, Nomad’s armor design would fit perfectly in a Sci Fi or Fantasy setting. Unfortunately, Nomad’s armor was changed to a much less impressive design in the All-New Captain America and Hail Hydra runs that followed. The Asgardian Destroyer from the Thor comics also represents Sci Fi-Fantasy armor design with statuesque presence.
The Dread Doctor Doom’s armor also fits into both Sci Fi and Fantasy genres. This archfiend’s suit is locked and booby trapped in case someone tries to remove it against his will. It also features a life support system built to withstand the immense vacuum force of outer space. Other features include a robust sensor array, a force field, flight power and powerful offensive weaponry. Originally formed by Tibetan monks out of enchanted iron, Doom’s armor is now composed of reinforced titanium. Jack Kirby, designer of Dr. Doom’s armor, intended for the mask to resemble a scull.
The countermeasure of armor on the battlefield led to the development of counters to the countermeasure. First came the lance, a polearm wielded exclusively on horseback, followed much later by the advent of the rifle.