Marvel Cinematic Universe

Calvin Zabo's Formula

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"What are you gonna do, Cal? Without that concoction that you take, you're nothing. What's in those vials, anyway? Muscle milk?"
Gordon to Calvin Zabo[src]

Calvin Zabo's Formula is a chemical compound created by Calvin Zabo. It gives its user enhanced strength.


"I wasn't strong. I couldn't protect the people I loved. So I tried to change, improve myself, with chemistry. Results were... inconsistent. Some volatility issues. But I keep working on a formula. Always tweaking.."
Calvin Zabo[src]

In an effort to make himself stronger, Zabo concocted this formula. Zabo admitted his use of the liquid to the Slicing Talons. It was obvious even then that it was still enhancing his strength, shattering a coffee mug with his bare hands.[1]

The formula was in Zabo's office, when he retrieved the equipment he used to piece together Jiaying, and showed the kit to Skye.[2]

Zabo was handed over to S.H.I.E.L.D. in an effort to come to a truce between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans. A nearly-empty vial of the formula was retrieved from his jacket, and he denied knowledge of it.[3]

Once in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, Zabo was placed in a cell and interrogated by Phil Coulson. Jemma Simmons ran an analysis on the formula Zabo had taken and determined that it contained several drugs including anabolic steroids, methamphetamine, and liver inhibitors, as well as less conventional ingredients such as gorilla testosterone and peppermint. Simmons determined that even one vial of such a concoction should land an ordinary person in the hospital, and that Zabo had taken three.

Zabo divulged to Coulson that it was a formula of his own invention, designed to enhance his strength, determining the risk to his life worth protecting Skye. Coulson attempted to reason with Zabo, pointing out that everything he had done was on Jiaying's behalf, but Zabo refused to believe he was being manipulated by his wife. Zabo then went into cardiac arrest, necessitating Simmons to use adrenaline to start his heart again. This happened to be the missing component the serum needed to work, and Zabo underwent a physical transformation marked by enlarged veins and accelerated fingernail growth in addition to the intended superhuman strength result.

Coulson, Simmons and Leo Fitz tried subduing Zabo with I.C.E.R.s, but they failed to even slow him down. Zabo pursued the agents, wreaking havoc in the S.H.I.E.L.D. base until Coulson was able to pin him against a hangar wall with the S.H.I.E.L.D. SUV.[4]

Coulson managed to talk Zabo down, expressing his opinion that Zabo was not a monster, but a good man, acknowledging that everything he had done was out of love for his family. Zabo managed to free himself, but rather than attack, he agreed to work with Coulson to protect Skye.[5]

Capabilities and Composition

"Tell me you figured out what drugs Cal took, because my gut's saying everything ever made."
"I haven't fully sequenced the formula yet, if only for the multitude of trace drugs found, but my initial list includes anabolic-androgenic steroids, a liver enzyme blocker, various metabolic enhancers, methamphetamines, what appears to be gorilla testosterone, and, no lie, a drop of peppermint. I think it's an ill-conceived attempt at super strength."
"Other than Cap, every attempt has been ill-conceived."
Phil Coulson and Jemma Simmons[src]

According to Jemma Simmons' initial analysis, the formula is composed of anabolic-androgenic steroids, a liver enzyme blocker, various metabolic enhancers, methamphetamines, what appears to be gorilla testosterone, and a drop of peppermint. However the formula requires at least one milligram of adrenaline to achieve its full effect.[4]

In its completed state, the formula grants the user vastly increased strength, allowing Zabo to shatter tempered glass with his bare hands, toss heavy equipment, tear the hood off a S.H.I.E.L.D. SUV, or crush bones. While under the formula, Zabo also becomes more durable and remained standing after multiple I.C.E.R. rounds, though he claimed to have lost feeling in his legs. The formula has a number of physiological side effects, including heightened aggression, bulging veins and hands as a result of increased blood flow, and lengthening of the fingernails.


In chronological order:



  • In the comics, Calvin Zabo's Formula is called the Hyde Formula.


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