Project Rebirth, also called Operation: Rebirth, Weapons Plus, the Bio-Tech Force Enhancement Program, the Erskine Program, and the Super Soldier Program, was a United States government project initiated in the 1940s during World War II, the goal of which was to use Abraham Erskine's Super Soldier Serum to transform Allied soldiers into super soldiers in order to fight against the Axis powers.
Administered by the U.S. Army's Infantry Weapons Development Program and the Strategic Scientific Reserve, their first and only success was Steve Rogers, who became the superhero known as Captain America. The project was terminated after Erskine was assassinated by HYDRA.
- "What was Project: Rebirth's goal?"
"That's still classified to all but Omega clearance, Coulson. But to give you an idea of its importance, what Stark has is just a prototype...a reject. The final product was lost... Although you can bet your life we'll never stop looking for it."
- ―Phil Coulson and Nick Fury[src]
Steve Rogers was chosen by Abraham Erskine to become the first American super soldier via the Super Soldier Serum. The test was successful, but Heinz Kruger shot Erskine and took the serum. After Erskine's death, Kruger ultimately committed suicide with a cyanide pill.
The serum was lost, as the vial Kruger had was destroyed in his flight from Rogers; the project was disbanded. Blood samples were taken from Rogers by scientists and Peggy Carter in hopes of recovering the serum; of the twelve samples taken, one was given to Howard Stark.
Legacy of Project Rebirth
In 2016, after Steve Rogers went rogue, President Matthew Ellis appointed Brigadier General Glenn Talbot to find a new enhanced individual to be the public face of the United States of America in the race of the enhanced assets. Talbot took inspiration from Project Rebirth to start "Project Patriot", creating a enhancement serum based on a modified confiscated solution to use on Jeffrey Mace, an American journalist that was revered as an hero following his actions in the Bombing of the Vienna International Centre.
|Appearances for Project Rebirth|
In chronological order:
- In The Incredible Hulk, the Super Soldier Program was labeled "Weapons Plus." In the comics, Project Rebirth was the first iteration Weapon Plus program, labeled as "Weapon I," which continued to create projects over the decades, including "Weapon X."
- Howard Stark stated his desire to name the operation "Brooklyn Project," to contrast with the Manhattan Project and let Robert Oppenheimer and his crew in Los Alamos know they had competition. In an ironic twist, Stark would wind up working with Oppenheimer on the Manhattan Project later in the war.
- Before Captain America was rediscovered in 2011, the specifics of his creation (Project Rebirth itself) were highly classified. For example, within S.H.I.E.L.D., only Omega-level personnel knew the full details. To the rest of the world, he was a war hero and icon of American wartime propaganda with an origin shrouded in mystery.