Project Rebirth 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 and classified under the designation Weapons Plus.
Creating Captain America
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
Following the death of Abraham Erskine, many attempts were made to recreate his success of Steve Rogers. During the Cold War, the United States Army conducted a series of experiments, testing different versions of the Super Soldier Serum on African American soldiers, however, Isaiah Bradley was the only survivor. After the Korean War, Bradley was imprisoned and used as a test subject to find a key to the success of the serum he was injected with.
By 1991, Howard Stark managed to recreate the Super Soldier Serum, however, HYDRA deployed the Winter Soldier to retrieve the serum, as well assassinate him and Maria Stark. Stark's variant of the serum was used in the Winter Soldier Program to create a squad of perfect assassins for HYDRA, however, the project was terminated because of the subjects' instability. Later, HYDRA would make many more attempts to recreate the super soldier, such as the Project Destroyer of Worlds.
In 2016, after Rogers went rogue, the United States Government launched Project Patriot to create a replacement for Captain America, who would serve as the public face of the United States of America in the race of the enhanced assets. Glenn Talbot enlisted Jeffrey Mace to become the primary subject of the project, as Mace was given an enhancement serum, based on a confiscated solution, created by Calvin Zabo. Acquiring a superhuman strength, Mace was appointed as the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., while also posing as an Inhuman, however, Mace's true nature was eventually exposed.
In 2018, following the dissolution of HYDRA, Wilfred Nagel was recruited by the CIA to resume his work on the Winter Soldier Program and recreate a Super Soldier Serum, using Bradley's blood samples. Nagel's work was put to stop when he vanished because of the Snap, and after he re-emerged from the Blip, he was recruited by the Power Broker who provided Nagel with resources to finish his work. Nagel successfully recreated the serum, however, it was later stolen by Karli Morgenthau and used by the Flag Smashers.
In an alternate reality, Steve Rogers was shot and injured by Heinz Kruger, leaving him unable to undergo the procedure. The explosive Kruger had placed damaged the equipment, causing power levels to drop, causing the project to be lost if the procedure wasn't completed immediately. Peggy Carter took Rogers' place and emerged from the chamber visibly taller and stronger, much to Colonel Flynn's disappointment. Despite Carter's protests that what she did prevented the project from being lost, Flynn stated that it already was, as he believed women were not meant to be soldiers.
|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.
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- Agent Carter: 1.04: The Blitzkrieg Button
- Agent Carter: 1.01: Now is Not the End
- The Falcon and The Winter Soldier: 1.05: Truth
- Captain America: Civil War
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 5.15: Rise and Shine
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.10: The Patriot
- The Falcon and The Winter Soldier: 1.03: Power Broker
- What If...?: 1.01: What If... Captain Carter Were The First Avenger?
- Captain America: First Vengeance
- Iron Man: Security Measures