Marvel Movies
Marvel Movies

The Super Soldier Serum was a serum 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 worked 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 leader Johann Schmidt, who took an interest in Erskine's work, intercepted the scientist on the German/Swiss border on September 14th.

Five years later in the Bavarian Alps, Schmidt took part in an test involving Erskine and his Super Soldier Serum which turned Schmidt into what he would become known as the Red Skull. Erskine was 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.

Captain America: The First Avenger

After a long search for the perfect subject, the frail Steve Rogers was found and transformed into the perfect human specimen; becoming Captain America. However after the experiment, Erskine is killed by a HYDRA agent.

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 crossed enemy lines to get them back. By doing this, Phillips finally gave him active duty status 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 fulfilling its mission. He was declared missing, presumed killed in action. However, the cold temperatures 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 formula, but with only one showing promise. This formula was part of Weapon Plus and developed by Dr. Reinstein. The project was eventually shelved until it was uncovered by General Thaddeus Ross. Ross used subterfuge to get his daughter, Dr. Betty 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 convinced 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 occurred. In the initial transformation Banner's muscle mass and size increased dramatically and skin became green. Turning into an incoherent monster, Banner destroyed the lab and severely 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, consisting of deep muscle and painful bone marrow shots. In the next encounter with the Hulk, Blonsky displayed increased speed, endurance, and agility. However as the fight went on he became more aggressive and rashly stood before the Hulk challenging him. The Hulk kicked Blonsky into a tree shattering 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 savagely 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) however, Sterns 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 Blonksy 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.

The Project Centipede scientists created a new version of the serum. Which was designed to give a person enhanced abilities. The serum was made up with the mixture of Gamma Radiation and Extremis, with technology from the Chitauri.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

James Barnes is revealed to have survived his fall from Zola's Train due to the experiments performed on him with the Super Soldier Serum. Now possessing superhuman abilities of his own, Barnes is brainwashed by HYDRA into their assassin the Winter Soldier whose abilities from the serum allow him to match Steve Rogers in battle.

Captain America: Civil War

It is revealed that during Howard Stark's assassination, James Barnes as 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 that the serum was an imperfect attempt by Stark at recreating his late colleague's formula.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Doctor Wilfred Nagel was able to successfully recreate the Super Soldier Serum in Madripoor, after many years of studying the HYDRA Winter Soldier program serum and the blood sample of America second successful super soldier, Isaiah Bradley from the CIA. The vials of the serum were stolen by Karli Morgenthau and were given to the Flag Smashers. John Walker found the last vial and dosed himself. Eventually, Karli was killed by Sharon Carter while Oeznik killed the enhanced Flag Smashers with a car bomb on the orders of Helmut Zemo, leaving Walker as the only surviving Super Soldier from this particular batch of serum.


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 emotional traits are also amplified, particularly positive and negative emotions. Wilfred Nagel's serum was more subtle, there was no physical change but strength and other attributes were still amplified.

  • 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.
  • Steve Rogers: Abraham Erskine's insistence to find a "good man" is an understatement, in Steve he found someone with unquestionable moral value who only wanted to be the best he could be. He was the only subject to receive the perfect serum. 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. Steve also gained a greatly extended lifespan, not aging much over the years and surviving 70 years in the ice only to emerge in the same shape that he had been in when he was accidentally frozen. Only after traveling back in time and living there for another 70 plus years did Steve finally become elderly.
  • Bucky Barnes: Bucky was subjected to Arnim Zola's attempts to recreate Erskine's serum when he was held captive with the 107th. The imperfect 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 superhuman natural abilities after this.
  • Isaiah Bradley: During the Korean War, the U.S. Armed Forces used African-American soldiers as test subjects for a new serum, lying to them saying that they were being given tetanus shots. Isaiah was the only subject that survived. According to Bucky, Isaiah was feared by HYDRA as much as Steve Rogers
  • HYDRA: HYDRA used the packets of imperfect serum recovered from Howard Stark's death in an attempt at creating five more Winter Soldier operatives. While the serum significantly enhanced all of their natural abilities, it also increased their aggression significantly.
  • Emil Blonsky: Given low dosages of an imperfect serum, Emil'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. However, unlike the Hulk, 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.
  • Mike Peterson: Mike 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
  • Flag Smashers: The serum enhanced the strength and agility among other physical abilities of the Flag Smashers who took it. With a single punch to the chest, Karli Morgenthau killed Lemar Hoskins by accident, having never intended such an outcome for her strike. The serum also enhanced the healing abilities of the Flag Smashers, allowing Karli to survive at least one bullet wound from Helmut Zemo. However, these abilities were limited as Karli was killed by three gunshots from Sharon Carter and the other Flag Smashers surrendered without a fight after being surrounded and outnumbered by John Walker, Bucky Barnes, Sam Wilson and mortal police. The remaining enhanced Flag Smashers were then killed with a car bomb by Oeznik on the orders of Helmut Zemo.
  • John Walker: Due to the expectations and pressure of being the "New Captain America", Walker injected himself with the serum after the times he was defeated and outclassed by the Flag Smashers and Dora Milaje. The serum enhanced Walker's strength and agility, among other physical abilities, but also seemingly making himself more mentally unstable. He shows signs of suffering from PTSD. When his best friend and partner were killed Walker went into a blind rage and chased down and brutally murdered the nearest Flag Smashers than afterwards saying it was justified while obviously delusional. But for all his actions Walker is a decent man who wants to protect others. He later broke through his revenge desires to do the right thing and to help Bucky Barnes save the Flag Smashers' hostages.

Perfect Super Soldier Serum Abilities

  • Physical Transformation: The serum heals all disabilities, makes the subject taller and increase muscle-mass. The serum also enhances the attractiveness of the user, physical appearance, features and muscle mass are altered, enhanced, and perfected. All physical imperfections (i.e. warts, moles, scars, blemish, freckles, unwanted hair, etc) heal and result in user possessing perfect skin. Dentition becomes perfect, their voice becomes more compelling, alluring and appealing. The hair on their head restores and enhances to perfection. Their bodily scents become extremely pleasant and compelling. The serum grants the user a perfect body, with flawless skin, beautiful hair, golden-proportioned body and muscles, and makes them well-endowed.
  • Enhanced Strength: Physical strength is enhanced, enabling user to lift up to 3 tons.
  • Enhanced Durability: Bones, muscles, skin, tissues all become denser and tougher than normal, which makes them very durable compared to a normal human.
  • Enhanced Speed: Boasts phenomenal speed, able to intercept a bullet fired from point-blank range. Can run and move at speeds that are far superior to the finest Olympic athlete. Easily capable of running 30 mph.
  • Enhanced Stamina: Their musculature produces less fatigue toxins during physical activity than the musculature of an ordinary humans.
  • Enhanced Agility: The body's agility becomes greater than that of an Olympic gold medalist. The body can instinctively coordinate itself body with perfect balance, equilibrium, flexibility and dexterity.
  • Enhanced Reflexes: Reflexes are enhanced to the very peak of human potential. Auto-reflexes allow body to easily dodge gunfire and attacks even when not consciously aware of them, immense reflexes can be used to attack and counter instead of just defensive purposes.
  • Enhanced Senses: Senses are also greatly enhanced, which enables them to see, hear, smell, feel and taste things imperceptible to normal humans.
  • Accelerated Perception: Mental performance becomes greatly enhanced beyond the peak of human potential and perfected. Allowing the mind to operate in the most efficient and rapid manner possible. Able to analyze and understand languages, machinery and people's minds and actions within a matter of seconds. Able to immediately develop solutions to any problem they happen to face and formulate how to overcome an obstacle. They can understand the mechanics behind any issue they face and know what must be done to solve any problem. They gain a tactical ability, that allows to immediately intuit the best way to engage in any tactical problem, (situation, puzzle, object, opponent, etc) effectively resulting in perfect leadership.
    • Perfect Memory: Gain total recall and permanently remembers and can instantly recall everything ever read, seen, heard, etc perfectly, without trouble or pause for thought. The brain has unlimited storage, analysis and processing capacity. Able to duplicate and master any physical act, or skills after seeing it done once.
  • Accelerated Healing Factor: The body can rebuild itself whenever it's damaged, healing can happen within seconds with small wounds, and the process is perfect, leaving no scars or marks. Any and all injuries will heal rapidly and perfectly without leaving a trace of injury.
    • Enhanced Longevity: The body restores to it's prime and the aging is completely stopped, thus; granting them a form of ageless immortality. However, this appears to have its limits as after returning to the past to be with Peggy Carter, Steve Rogers was an old man by the time he reached 2023 again. Despite having been born in the 1930s and living up to 2024 without being placed in cryostasis, Isaiah Bradley has the bearing of a man in his 60s.
    • Enhanced Immunity: The body possesses physical, mental, social, spiritual, emotional and sexual health superior to any human to have ever lived. Possess endless vitality, libido and will to live. Every part in and of his body, external and internal, is at first-rate health and condition, devoid of any disorders, diseases, disabilities, etc. Tall, lean, brawny muscles/body shape and perfect golden-proportioned body doesn't change regardless of calories intake or time.


  • In the original comics, the Super Soldier Serum was developed by Professor Josef Reinstein, although it was retconned as an alias for Dr. Abraham Erskine. The doctor created the serum to work in conjunction with his "Vita-Rays" treatment to create a body as perfect as a body can be and still be human. In theory, once injected with the serum and exposed to the vita-rays the person would be at the peak of human efficiency. 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. Bruce Banner didn't have the original formula so he combined Vita-Rays with gamma rays to work similarly, but instead gamma rays 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.


See Also