In Captain America: The First Avenger, Dr. Erskine creates the formula and uses it successfully on two people. In The Incredible Hulk, General Ross dusts off the old Super Soldier serum, except the tank it's stored in says it's developed by Dr. Reinstein with a Stark Industries logo on the label. When I first saw Hulk, I thought this was a callback to Captain America's serum, as it's referred to as a Super Soldier serum earlier in dialogue, and the label has the term 'Vita-Ray' which is a crucial component to Captain America's creation. Is the serum in Hulk a different serum than Captain America's?

Something to note is that in the original Captain America #1 comic book, the scientist who injects Steve Rogers with the serum to turn him in to Captain America is named Professor Reinstein. I only know this as that comic is one of the extras on the Iron Man 2 blu-ray. My incredibly limited knowledge of the Captain America lore told me that Erskine was the inventor of the formula.

  • 5
    Reinstein is a US government alias of Erskine's. In 1980 or '81, there was a Captain America comic including a flashback wherein Steve Rogers is introduced to a Dr. Reinstein, but immediately recognizes him as the famous scientist Erskine. In retrospect, I think that was a clean-up of an earlier continuity error in the comics, along with a similar tweak to Steve's middle name. Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 17:16
  • Updated my answer to account for 'Avengers' information. Like I needed the extra rep :-P
    – Jeff
    Commented Jun 21, 2012 at 14:22
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    It was definitely NOT Erskine's formula, but an attempt to recreate it. There is a scene in the film where Ross explains to Blonsky how Banner became the Hulk. During that discussion, Ross explains about the various attempts to recreate the formula, and Blonsky volunteers to try the most viable version of it despite any negative results.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 19:15
  • "When I first saw Hulk, I thought this was a callback to Captain America's serum" — of course, The Incredible Hulk came out three years before Captain America: The First Avenger, so just in terms of the movies, it was a call-forward if anything. Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 20:14

6 Answers 6


If you are referring to the serum which was given to Tim Roth's character (Emil Blonsky) I do not believe it was the same serum that was created by Dr. Erskine.

In Captain America: The First Avenger all of Dr. Erskine's serum is destroyed almost immediately after Steve Rogers is imbued with it.

In The Avengers movie Steve Rogers is speaking with Agent Coulson about Dr. Banner. I don't have the exact transcript but it went something like this:

Rogers: So Dr. Banner was trying to reproduce the same serum used on me?
Coulson: A lot of people were.

The serum used on Col. Blonsky was one of those attempts to reproduce Dr. Erskine's formula. When General Ross has the serum administered to Blonsky he says they are going to start with small dose and at the first sign of side-effects they were going to stop treatment. Since there was no reason to suspect Dr. Erskine's formula to be flawed (given the success of Rogers) this must be an attempt to reproduce the original work.


It depends on what continuity you mean. In the original comics continuity, there was no connection. Banner didn't have any 'serum' injected, just gamma rays. In the Ultimate comic line, it was a direct successor to Cap's serum. In the movies...it's less clear.

Frankly, the two recent Hulk movies don't really seem to be related. It's possible that Incredible Hulk (the more recent, I believe) was meant to tie in to Captain America. If this is the case, they will likely work it into the Avengers movie somehow (likely subtly).

That said, the term 'super-soldier' isn't particularly witty or novel. Independent creation of a 'super soldier' formula by SI is possible, especially if they were trying to recreate Dr. E's stuff.

If that's the case, they'd likely call it the 'super soldier serum' as a callback to what they wanted to duplicate.

If it isn't an attempt to recreate Cap's serum, it's not an unlikely name to give a liquid injection (serum) to turn a soldier into a superhuman.

UPDATE (post-Avengers release): Cap specifically asked if any of the superhumans he was dealing with were a result of trying to recreate the serum. Coulson's response was positive. It's remotely possible that Black Widow or Hawkeye have been enhanced by an offshoot of the serum, but the only other possibility on the Avengers is Banner. It isn't confirmation, but it's as close as we're likely to get at this point.

Since the current filmverse draws heavily from the Ultimate Universe, it's also possible that

Fury has taken the serum

as this character was subjected to the serum in that continuity.

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    The recent Hulk film, The Incredible Hulk was a reboot of the franchise, and is part of the shared film universe Marvel's been building in the lead up to The Avengers. Thus, Tony Stark shows up at the end of the film to inquire about getting Banner to join The Avengers.
    – user1027
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 2:02
  • @Keen: Right, I recall that part. I wasn't clear on it being a reboot, but I'm glad that 'Hulk' didn't happen (officially).
    – Jeff
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 13:04
  • @MichaelEdenfield That does make more sense. That scene is a little too vague on its own. Thanks for the info!
    – user1027
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 3:23

The serum given to Blonsky was an attempt to recreate Erskine's original formula, the last sample of which had been stolen by Hans Kruger and then subsequently destroyed during his capture by Steve Rogers in 1943. Various people had been attempting to recreate it since then, but were largely unsuccessful due to the fact that Erskine was the only person who knew exactly what went into the serum. The only truly successful attempt was HYDRA's experiments on Bucky, as evidenced by the feats he performs in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The other part of the serum, Vita-Rays, were necessary to the original formula working as it was designed to. However, if one was to attempt to replicate the effects of the serum and not necessarily the serum itself, one would not necessarily need Vita-Rays for it to work,as evidenced, again, by the fact that Arnim Zola, working without knowledge of Vita-Rays or their existence, managed to turn Bucky into a super soldier. Based on that, I believe that the reason the serum used on Blonsky turned him into a monster is not because they didn't have Vita-Rays or because the serum was imperfect(if you recall, Blonksy was able to do things after receiving it that we'd previously only seen Cap do), but rather because he was a nasty person inside, which, in The First Avenger, is why it turned Johann Schmidt into the Red Skull.


Is it the same exact serum from Captain America: The First Avenger ?


All traces of that particular serum were destroyed in the 1940s, and Dr Erskine [much like Dr. Reinstien in the comic] was the only person who knew the exact formula. Even in the 1990 low budget Captain America film, that story detail remains the same; the serum's creator Dr.Vascelli, was said to have "kept the details of the formula in her head", so it "died with her" and no new super soldiers could be made. Howeer, in the film The Incredible Hulk , Marvel attempted to tie the plot points together in much the same way the Ultimates Avengers had, with a nod to the 1970s Incredible Hulk TV show:

In both versions of TIH , Dr. Banner [David in TV, Bruce in the film] was seeking to use Gamma Radiation as the key element ot "unlock the hidden strength" factor; the difference was that in the film version, Bruce Banner [played by Edward Norton] used Dr. Erskine's research into Super soldier production as a jumping of point. Now, considering that Howard Stark likely worked with the government to create the "vita ray booth" that stimulated the cell growth and genetic alterations in Steve, it is possible that, while lacking any real knowledge of the chemical forumla, they may have had access to the energy-emitting device, or plans there of. Considering Bruce may have been doing research into how Gamma radiation can enhance human capability, much like how in the TV show, David Banner noted that human physical output seems to increase with sunspot radiation output, he possibly could have supplimented the "gamma chair" for the "vita-ray booth. This is likely why we see the omage to the TV series in TIH movie's opening scene.

This would tie in well to the Ultimates story line where it was stated that the Hulk had been an inadvertant result of previous research into Captain America's super soldier process. However, that would mean Bruce in the MCU had to essentially reverse engineer the process, "creating" a new type of Super Soldier Serum which would work in line with his already existing gamma research. It's possible then tat he was at least a part of creating the serum in that movie, but again, its unlikely that it is the same serum that made Steve. The end results are simply wfar too diverse.

Lastly, keep in mind that whenever they speak of bruce's work in the MCU, they speak mostly to his work in gamma radiation, not in Super soldier Serum creation, though TIH movie does say he was working on "project" of developing enhanced soldiers.


Blonsky was only injected with a recreated version of serum used on Steve Rogers, however he did not receive any of the vita ray treatment Steve Rogers underwent. I believe the vita ray treatment is quite important in permanently locking in the serum into Steve Rogers body/DNA. The missing vita rays to Blonsky would have either made him directly weaker than Rogers and/or would have made the serum in his body last only a short while before needing another dose.


Blonsky was injected with a version of the Hulk SS serum twice (of which Ross still had since Banner left), not a version of the Cap serum. The Hulk itself was an attempt at recreating the serum using gamma rays instead of vita rays.

Red Skull and Cap had the same serum, Erskine started with Red Skull except no vita rays for Red Skull caused his red skull (so we know Bucky got the rays). Erskine defected to US, helped create Cap, then died. Zola got wind that they needed radiation so he created Bucky.

Not to mention that SHIELD/HYDRA was still taking Cap's blood, and created Isaiah Bradley from a new breed of the serum. Then Hydra killed Tony’s father and stole his version of the serum, which was superior to anything previously made.

To recap:

  • Bucky and Cap had the same as Red Skull
  • Isaiah Bradley's was created from a serum derived from Cap's blood
  • Blonsky had the Hulk serum (derived from Cap's blood by Banner)
  • Zemo killed all the Stark Serum users in their sleep
  • Carli, the Flag Smashers, and US Agent had a recreated serum (from Isaiah Bradley’s blood)
  • You could greatly improve this answer by editing it to cite your sources and provide any relevant quotes. Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 15:31
  • I've removed some of the claims in this answer (such as Blonsky's serum being allegedly superior) as they lack sources and are irrelevant to the actual question, which is whether Blonsky's serum was the same as Cap's.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 17:10

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