Marvel Cinematic Universe

Super Soldier Serum

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Super Soldier Serum
Super Soldier Serum
Creator Abraham Erskine
Owners Strategic Scientific Reserve
United States Armed Forces
Users Johann Schmidt
Steve Rogers
Bruce Banner
Emil Blonsky
Movie The Incredible Hulk
Captain America: The First Avenger
TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Game Captain America: Super Soldier
Comic Captain America: First Vengeance
Status Active
"The serum amplifies everything that is inside, so good becomes great; bad becomes worse. This is why you were chosen. Because the strong man who has known power all his life, may lose respect for that power, but a weak man knows the value of strength, and knows... compassion."
Abraham Erskine to Steve Rogers[src]

The Super Soldier Serum is a special formula developed by the German scientist Dr. Abraham Erskine and later semi-reproduced by Bruce Banner. It was responsible for the super-human abilities of Johann Schmidt, Steve Rogers, Bruce Banner and Emil Blonsky.

History Edit

World War IIEdit

"You picked a most inopportune time to become a faliure, Herr Erskine. But I knew you would fail. All I would have to do is bide my time. And an opportunity for me to provide a technological solution to the übermensch soldier program would present itself."
"My serum did not fail. It did...exactly what I designed it to do. It enhances...what is already within. It is Herr Schmidt...who has being human.
Arnim Zola and Abraham Erskine[src]

Johann Schmidt injecting himself the serum

Erskine began developing his serum in 1930 while still in Germany. In 1940, the formula was tested on the SS general Johann Schmidt, turning him into Red Skull in the process.[1]Erskine would later describe to Steve Rogers how the formula wasn't ready for use, and how the serum's personality amplifying effects made Schmidt into the evil man he became.[2]

After Erskine escaped to America, he joined the Strategic Scientific Reserve, the predecessor to S.H.I.E.L.D. There he took part in a project to create a Super Soldier, Project Rebirth, and using Vita-Rays he successfully used the serum on Steve Rogers, who became Captain America. Unfortunately, the scientist was killed and the last vial of the successful serum was destroyed by HYDRA spy Heinz Kruger, with the last remnants of the serum remaining in Rogers' DNA.[2]

In October 1943, Sergeant James Buchanan Barnes of the U.S. Army was captured by HYDRA and sent to work at the top secret weapons facility in the Austrian Alps. When he was too weak to work, Dr. Zola used him as a subject for his experiments with the new Super Soldier Serum. He was injected with the serum shortly before he was liberated by Captain America a month later.[2][3]

In 1944, Captain America was captured by HYDRA during his attack on Baron Zemo's castle in Bavaria. HYDRA's top scientist Arnim Zola used that opportunity to extract some of Captain America's blood and use it to recreate the Super Soldier Serum for Project Master Man. Zola managed to make a small amount of Super Soldier Serum but that sample was destroyed by Captain America.[4]

During the first icy months of 1945, Captain America and Sergeant Barnes led an attack on the HYDRA train that was transporting Dr. Zola to another base. During the fight, Bucky fell off the train, seemingly falling into an icy river below, whose cold waters no ordinary man could survive. However, thanks to the serum flowing in his veins, Barnes was able to survive, though at the loss of his left arm.[3]

21st CenturyEdit

Blonsky serum

Emil Blonsky injected wih the serum.

"You must realize that what I'm about to tell you is very sensitive, both to me and to the Army. You know that we have a Bio-Force Department, and that we had a bio-force enhancement research project developed during World War II..."
"A Super-Soldier.
Thaddeus Ross and Emil Blonsky[src]

In 2001, General Ross of the US Army revived the Bio Force Enhancement Project, a secret project set-up after the relative failure of Project Rebirth. A failed attempt to reproduce the serum with added bouts of Gamma Radiation led to the accident that turned Bruce Banner into the Hulk. Banner was later forced to flee from Ross, who employed the British soldier Emil Blonsky to track him down. General Ross, eager to sustain Blonsky's will to fight, gave him an injection of a different serum, which gave him abilities similar to those of Captain America. Later combination with the altered serum in Banner's blood turned Blonsky into the Abomination.[5]

As of 2013, scientists recreated a very similar version as one of the components of the Centipede Serum, designated to give a person superhuman abilities. This serum was mixed with the Extremis virus, Gamma Radiation and technology from the Chitauri for injection.[6]


The raw serum's general properties seemed to be enhanced strength and senses, as well as emphasizing the user's key personality traits. Johann Schmidt's evil meant that the serum ripped the flesh from his skull, while Steve Rogers' bravery enhanced his body to the peak of human ability. Emil Blonsky's strength and fast regenerative abilities were part of his love of fighting.

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.

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 also brings out and enhances what the person truly is.

These personality traits are brought to the surface and manifest physically on the subjects:

  • Johann Schmidt/Red Skull took the prototype serum. Schmidt's external transformation is that of a living Red Skull. Schmidt has always wanted to be seen as removed from mere ordinary men around him, and as such his appearance is a reflection of that.
  • Steve Rogers/Captain America was the only successful attempt. 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.
  • Emil Blonsky/Abomination had the serum injected into his spine. Blonsky's extra physical manifestations, protruding skeletal structure, takes a while to materialize. Due to the replacement of the vita-rays with the gamma radiation in the Hulk's blood, the serum kicked into overdrive, giving Blonsky a Hulk-sized version of himself with a green tinge, with the external bone structure being a reflection of the tough monstrous fighter that he shows himself to be.
  • Chan Ho Yin/Scorch was also injected with the Centipede Serum. This serum increased his previous pyrokinetic powers. Before this, Chan was ordered by S.H.I.E.L.D. to keep his powers secret, but he had always wanted to be remembered by his gift. After being administred with the serum and betrayed by draining his fire-resistant blood platelets, Chan become mentally unstable and killed at least two people before being neutralized himself.



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