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#14811577 Aug 10, 2021 at 06:19 PM · Edited 1 year ago
1485 Posts
Ever since the origin of Captain America during the Golden Age of comics, the concept of government-funded projects researching the creation of superhumans has been a feature of comic-book worlds. Understandably, the military and intelligence services of any country would drool over gaining the ability to produce super-powered operatives on demand. In the comics there have been frequent attempts to find a way to mass-produce supers. Successes are usually very rare, often accidental, or come with serious physical and/or mental drawbacks. The official Champions Universe follows that pattern. America in particular has a long history of "super-soldier" projects, but other countries have or had their own attempts. Governments typically have more funds and resources than individuals to devote to that research. They also typically want to maintain control of the supers they create, which may cause conflict with some of their test subjects.

Because it may inspire some CO players with concepts for character or nemesis origins, or background plot elements, I'm summarizing the known government super-soldier projects in the CU here. Most of the data below is paraphrased from Champions Universe, with some taken from the Champions Villains trilogy, Golden Age Champions, and UNTIL: Defenders Of Freedom. More info on any of the following is available upon request. 😇 Please keep in mind that this list need not be exclusive. Obviously many countries would have long desired to make their own supers, and even America could have had more projects than the ones mentioned here.

During WW II the demon-possessed mystic Der Totenkopf ("the death's-head"), in charge of Nazi Germany's superhuman assets, performed numerous experiments on volunteer soldiers to attempt to create superhumans, combining occult rituals with "weird science" contributed by several researchers, including a young Albert Zerstoiten (the future Dr. Destroyer). They had a handful of successes amid many horrific and fatal failures, a couple of which survived WW II.

The United States responded with Project Achilles and Project Ascension, which each had one success, the heroes Achilles and the Comet, both killed during the war.

In the late 1960s Project Perseus developed a process to significantly augment a human's physical and mental prowess, although not to superhuman levels. That process was used to create the series of government heroes using the code-name, the All-American.

In 1977 Project Yeoman succeeded in granting low-level superhuman strength and toughness to six Navy Seals, who formed the first Ameriforce One and went on numerous covert missions, until all were killed in action in 1983. (At least they're believed to have all been killed.) 😉

In 1986 or shortly thereafter, the Cyberline process was developed to augment physical abilities in genetically-compatible people to low-superhuman levels. It was adopted by the newly-formed PRIMUS to create its Golden Avenger and Silver Avengers. The need for daily "booster" treatments to maintain Cyberline's benefits is probably the reason it wasn't adopted by the military.

Project Sunburst in 1994 was an attempt by "rogue generals" to create mutated soldiers who could survive a nuclear war, by detonating a nuclear device near a group of volunteers (not told what they were really volunteering for) while they wore "protective" suits. Most of the volunteers died immediately, or soon after from radiation poisoning. A few slipped into comas, and are still held in secret storage. Some of those "awoke" with super powers; to date all such have become villains.

One of the Sunburst volunteers was apparently unaffected, but actually developed a minor brain mutation that made him the only one able to test-run the prototype powered armor developed by the army's Man Amplification Project. Unfortunately for the Army, he made off with the armor and became a mercenary supervillain, calling himself Armadillo.

Project Onslaught in 1998, based on splicing human and animal DNA, resulted in one hero, code-named Janissary, although the process left him prone to impulsiveness and violence. He was killed while deployed to Iraq. A more severe version of that side-effect led another subject to take up a villainous career under the name Onslaught.

The American military continues its research to develop a means to reliably create superhumans, as well as more effectively control them, primarily through their top-secret Department 17. D17's recent research has focused on trying to improve the Cyberline process. Note that one past recipient of Cyberline developed permanent powers, probably due to a latent mutation, and was given the code-name, Liberty Guard. The records of that accident were stolen by Soviet spies and used by Directorate Black-12 to create the Soviet Guard in the late 1980s.

Several Soviet heroes were the product of Directorate Black-12, their government's program to create superhumans to serve it. (Their successes were as mixed as similar American programs.) The Directorate was headquartered at the highly secure city of Larisgrad in the Ural Mountains, which also housed much other classified scientific research. After their government funding dried up post-Communism, the Larisagradians chose to go freelance, offering their design and construction services to the highest bidder.

Directorate Black-12 produced a handful of superhumans in exchange for killing, crippling, or driving insane hundreds of “volunteer” test subjects. Spartanyets (“the Spartan,” a low-level speedster-brick with enhanced senses and military training), Nyepobyedimiy (“Invincible,” a brick), and some members of Red Winter, the USSR's government black-ops team [see Champions Villains Volume Two], were its best-known “graduates”; its most embarrassing failure became the supervillain Gorbun (“the Hunchback,” a matter transformer and "biomanipulator"), who’s still semi-active in the Russian underworld despite his advancing age. [Paraphrased from Champions Universe p. 143.]

In either the early 1980s or late 1990s (the official lore is inconsistent on this point), UNTIL attempted its own Future Soldier Program to enhance its agents. Most of the volunteers suffered severe physical and/or mental disabilities. One subject avoided mental breakdown while gaining the desired physical abilities, and still serves UNTIL today under the code-name Gladiator. Another volunteer was physically augmented, but developed rampant paranoia and fled UNTIL to become the supervillain Scimitar.

Before and during the Iraq War Saddam Hussein partnered with the (fictional) Middle Eastern state of Awad to attempt to create superhumans. The program produced only one, Saddam's personal bodyguard Turs al-Sh’ab (“the Shield of the People”). At last report Awad had secretly offered the director of UNTIL's Future Soldier Program millions of dollars to bring his expertise to Awad to revive their project, since his superiors at UNTIL had cancelled the FSP.

Another fictional rogue state, Chiquador in South America, has been conducting secret superhuman-creation experiments with the assistance of ARGENT. They have succeeded in augmenting physical abilities, but so far haven't been able to avoid severe mental side-effects.

#14812546 Aug 11, 2021 at 02:39 AM
42 Posts
Handle - @deathrunner12
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