With the release of "Thor" on May 6, 2011 and "Captain America: The First Avenger" on July 22, 2011, Marvel.com presents the Essentials, a series of articles showcasing each character's expansive history and mythology in the Marvel comics.
From character retrospectives to a look at memorable storylines and interviews with key creators, the Essentials will act as the perfect guide for fans both old and new! Look for new Cap Essentials every Monday and Thor Essentials every Thursday as we head toward the release of each film!
By Marc Strom
|The Project: Rebirth lab|
Project: Rebirth gave the world Captain America at the onset of World War II, but with the death of its lead scientist, the program intended to create an army of Super-Soldiers was left with only one. In the decades since, the program has continued in various forms and with varying degrees of success.
Now we take the time to look back at the program that not only created Captain America, but Nuke, Wolverine, Fantomex and many others by peeling back the layers to expose the long and twisting history of Project: Rebirth and everything it led to.
An Army of Super-Soldiers
|Dr. Abraham Erskine|
In America, Erskine began work on Project: Rebirth, the government's initiative to create the ultimate fighting man. After many false starts, Erskine perfected the Super-Soldier Serum and performed his first test on the frail, patriotic Steve Rogers. The trial proved a resounding success, resulting in the creation of Captain America.
However, upon the completion of the test, a Nazi spy in the audience shot and killed Erskine. Unfortunately, Erskine never committed the formula for the Super-Soldier Serum to paper, and thus with the scientist died any hope of replicating the process that created Captain America...but that wouldn't stop the U.S. government from trying its best.
The story of Abraham Erskine's escape from Europe came to light in THE MARVELS PROJECT #1-2, collected in THE MARVELS PROJECT, and we first saw Project: Rebirth and Dr. Erskine in CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1, collected in MARVEL MASTERWORKS: GOLDEN AGE CAPTAIN AMERICA VOL. 1.
The Secret History of Project: Rebirth
|Isaiah Bradley in uniform|
During the operation, all but Bradley perished. Isaiah went on one final mission, shutting the German Super-Soldier program down while wearing a variation on Captain America's own uniform. Captured by the Nazis, Bradley came face to face with Hitler but eventually escaped and returned to his home in the Bronx, where he continues to live to this day. His grandson, Elijah Bradley, carries on his grandfather's legacy as the Young Avengers' Patriot.
Isaiah Bradley's story was revealed in TRUTH: RED, WHITE & BLACK #1-7, collected in the graphic novel of the same name.
|Captain America and Daredevil vs. Nuke|
Looking into Nuke's origins, Captain America discovered the insane mercenary a product of a continued Super-Soldier program. Nuke was the lone survivor of a group of 20 test subjects--all criminals--the program used to once again attempt to replicate the process that made Captain America. Cap later broke into the facility holding Nuke and, along with Daredevil's help, exposed the killer's origins.
This experience took its toll, however, as it would contribute towards Steve Rogers' disillusionment with his country and temporary resignation as Captain America.
Nuke invaded Hell's Kitchen in DAREDEVIL #232-233, collected in DAREDEVIL: BORN AGAIN.
The scientists of the Weapon Plus Project created the World, a self-contained environment where they could even control the rate at which time progresses. Most recently, Wolverine returned to the World with Fantomex in order to keep Norman Osborn from gaining control of it during his Dark Reign. There, Wolverine and Fantomex battled Weapon XVI, a sentient virus that infected people and forced them to worship the World.
Ultimate Project: Rebirth
In 2000, Marvel launched its Ultimate line of comics, contemporary re-interpretations of their most classic characters. Over the last 10 years, the Ultimate Universe has grown to include new visions of many of Marvel's greatest heroes and villains.
|Ultimate Nick Fury's army of super soldiers|
Work on the Super-Soldier program continued, with Nick
The beginnings of the Super-Soldier program were explored in ULTIMATE ORIGINS #2 and #4, collected in ULTIMATE ORIGINS, while Nick
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