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Super Soldier Serum

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Super Soldier Serum
Super-soldier serum
Appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger
The Incredible Hulk
Captain America: Civil War

The Super Soldier Serum was developed by Weapons Plus, led by Abraham Erskine under the alias of Josef Reinstein during World War II. The serum provided the subject with increased stamina, speed and strength, however the serum was only successfully used by the program once before the program was "put on ice" by the United States government, with the test subject Steve Rogers.


Before Captain America: The First Avenger

During the 1930s, Dr. Abraham Erskine works in a German university doing research into the serum. However in 1935, the German doctor left his work in an attempt to escape Germany to avoid the racist Nazi laws but HYDRA (Nazi special weapons division) leader Johann Schmidt, who took an interest in Erskine's work, intercepts the scientist on the German/Swiss border on September 14th.

5 years later in the Beverian Alps, Schmidt takes part in an test involving Erskine and his Super Soldier Serum which turns Schmidt into what he would become known as the Red Skull. Erskine is rescued by Peggy Carter and brought into the US Secret Strategic Scientific Reserve as part of the Project: Rebirth program along with Howard Stark to produce America's own Super-Soldier. After a long search for the perfect subject, the frail Steve Rogers is found and transformed into the perfect human specimen; becoming Captain America. However after the experiment, Erskine is killed by a HYDRA agent. In 1943, Sergeant James Barnes of the U.S. Army was captured by HYDRA and sent to work at the top secret weapons facility. When he was too weak to work, Dr. Zola used him as a subject for his experiments serum. He was injected with the serum shortly before he was liberated by Steve Rogers a month later. This blue coloured serum is seen again on May 20th 2010 after being long locked away as part of the Weapons Plus program under the name of “Dr. Reinstein” (most likely the codename of Erskine - a similar retcon was used in the comics to cover up the name discrepancy) when General Ross uses a low dosage on a soldier named Emil Blonski.

Captain America: The First Avenger

The serum was successfully used on Steve Rogers by the Weapons Plus program. However, further attempts to recreate the serum failed and it was decided that instead of using Rogers to fight the enemy, he would be used to inspire the American solders. That is until he found that members of the 107th, including Bucky where captured in a nearby HYDRA facility. With the help of Stark and Carter, he was crossed enemy lines to get them back. By doing this, Phillips finally gave him active duty stauts and gave him command of the Howling Commandos. He led them on many missions against HYDRA, resulting in only one lost, Bucky during the train battle. However, thanks to the serum flowing in his veins, Bucky was able to survive, though at the loss of his left arm. He was found by Soviet soldiers who was HYDRA. Steve finally led his forces against HYDRA in the final days of the war and battled Red Skull one last time, resulting in his defeat and disappearance into space unknown and Rogers to crash land his plane into the Arctic to prevent it from fulfulling its mission. He was declared missing, presumed killed in action. However, the cold tempartures of the Arctic combined with the effects of the serum on his body is what kept him alive but in hibernation for decades until he was found by S.H.I.E.L.D. in the modern day. It slowed his vitals, including his aging process to a halt and kept him well preserved.

The Incredible Hulk

It is revealed to Emil Blonsky that during WWII the U.S. military was attempting to create super soldiers using various formulae, but with only one showing promise. This formula was part of Weapon Plus and developed by Dr. Reinstein. The project was eventualy shelved until it was uncovered by General Thaddeus Ross. Ross used subterfuge to get his daughter, Dr. Elizabeth Ross, and her partner, Dr. Bruce Banner, to work on the project. The two scientists believed that they were working on radiation resistance. Banner was so conviced in the results of his project that he he subjected himself to the treatment. The results caused his body chemistry to be altered in such a way that whenever he became angry or outraged a startling metamorphosis occured. In the initial transformation Banner's muscle mass and size increased dramaticaly and skin became green. Turning into an incoherant monster, Banner destroyed the lab and severly injured Dr. Ross. Learning that General Ross wanted to turn the monster into a weapon Banner fled in search of a cure.

When the Hulk resurfaced and defeated a unit of Ross' elite soldiers, the General offered the serum to Emil Blonsky, the only soldier to come out unscathed in a conflict with the Hulk. Blonsky underwent the first of two treatments, consiting of deep muscle and painful bone marrow shots. In the next encounter with the Hulk, Blonsky diplayed increased speed, endurance, and agility. However as the fight went on he became more agressive and rashly stood before the Hulk challenging him. The Hulk kicked Blonsky into a tree shatering almost every bone in his body.

It appeared that Blonsky was near death, however he underwent a miraculous full recovery just a day or so later. Not only was he healed but his muscle mass had increased and his overall body fat decreased. Blonsky underwent another treatment. However, shortly thereafter he showed pronounced spinal ridges on his back. Blonsky became even more agressive when Banner was tracked to the lab of Dr. Sterns, a scientist who had been aiding Banner, for his own gains.

After Blonsky savagly beat Banner, who was taken into custody by Ross, he disabled the troops guarding Sterns. Sterns, eager to see the various applications of the gamma agreed to Blonsky's demand to get the power of the Hulk (albeit reluctantly). Sterns however warned him that he was unsure how the gamma would react with the super soldier serum. Blonsky lost his temper and threatened Stern's life until he agreed to it. The resulting combination drove Blonsky mad, along with giving him strength and size similar to that of the Hulk. Blonsky was dubbed the Abomination as he set to destroying New York city until he was defeated by the Hulk.

It should be noted that the serum used by Ross on Blonsky was most likely created from what the army could piece together of Dr. Reinstein's notes and research with analysis of Steve Rogers blood as all complete samples were destroyed right after Steve became the first successful super soldier. This would explain the side effects Blonk'y exhibited (body deformation and mental deterioration) and accelerated healing ability which was not present in Steve Rogers (while Steve's body heals fast and is resistant to most poisons, infections, and resistance to aging, Steve could not heal all of his bones in a single day).

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

To be added

Captain America: Civil War

It is revealed that during Howard Stark's assassination, the Winter Soldier recovered five packets of Super Soldier serum for HYDRA; who used the serum in an attempt at creating five more Winter Soldier operatives. While the serum enhanced their strength, it reduced them to a mindless state of brutality; suggesting the serum was an imperfect attempt by Stark at recreating his late colleague's formula.

The Serum's effects on its subjects

The serum's effect on the body is to increase the molecular density of cellular fibers (skin and muscle) through synthetic proteins. However, the serum not only enhances the the body and mind, but personality and emotional traits are also amplified. These traits of the psyche are brought to the surface and can even manifest physically on the subject.

  • Steve Rogers, Erskine's insistence to find a "good man" is an understatement, in Steve Rogers he found someone with unquestionable moral value who only wanted to be the best he could be and his physical transformation is a reflection of that. As a result, he lost all of his disabilities, grew in height and mass, became heavily muscled, and gained physical and mental capabilities beyond that of normal humans.
  • Johann Schmidt, took the prototype serum, which combined with the fact that the serum was incomplete and not ready to be used, caused an external transformation that not only enhanced him physically, but made his skin red, made him lose all his hair, and disfigured his head to look and be shaped like a skull. Schmidt's appearance is a reflection of his desire to be set apart of mere ordinary humans.
  • James Barnes was subjected to Arnim Zola's attempts to recreate Erskine's serum when he was held captive with the 107th. The serum enabled him to survive the fall from Zola's train, and it seemed to be activated by his near death experience. It may have also been perfected during his transformation into Winter Soldier, as he only showed physical enhancement after this.
  • HYDRA used the packets of serum recovered from Howard Stark's death in an attempt at creating five more Winter Soldier operatives. While the serum enhanced their strength, it reduced them to a mindless state of brutality.
  • Emil Blonsky, given low dosages of the serum, but not the original, perfected one, Blonsky's extra physical manifestations (protruding skeletal structure) took a while to materialize. While he did become physically enhanced beyond human capabilities, the serum also addled his mind and made him go from arrogant on his first dosage to psychotic and power hungry on his second, his mental condition worsening each time he was dosed. He then had himself exposed to Hulk's blood and gamma radiation, which made him a giant sized version of himself, similar to the Hulk in terms of physical abilities, with a green tinge, with the external bone structure being a reflection of the tough monstrous fighter that he shows himself to be. Unlike the Hulk however, he retained his ability to think and speak, albeit with it being corrupted by the serum's effects on his mind. His mental deterioration is similar to Schmidt's insanity, as both of them used incomplete and imperfect versions of the serum.
  • Michael Peterson, was one of the people who used the Centipede Device, which had a combination of a serum similar to the Super Soldier Serum and Extremis, which was made by Aldrich Killian and Maya Hansen. The Centipede also contained a large amount of Gamma Radiation. However, it did not seem to effect his personality by much due to the Extremis also being mixed into him.


  • In the original comics the Super Soldier Serum was devolped by Professor Josef Reinstein, although it was retconned as an alias for Dr. Abraham Erskine. The doctor created the serum to work in conjuction with his "Vita-Rays" treatment to create the ultimate human. In theory, once injected with the serum and exposed to the vita-rays the person would be at the peak of human effeciency. The army wanted to use the serum to create an army of super soldiers to stand up to the Nazi war machine. The government envisioned an army of men who did not get tired, ran faster, and fought harder than any other army on earth.
  • When saturated with Vita-Rays, the serum worked more successfully. Gamma rays were believed by Bruce Banner to work similarly, but instead corrupted the serum's effects and turned him into the raging monster known as the Hulk by causing the body to release gamma in times of stress and lose of emotional control.


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