While Captain America was first introduced to audiences way back in March of 1941, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s depiction of the scrawny kid turned brawny hero in Captain America: The First Avenger brought the concept out of the ’40s and into the modern consciousness. Since then, there’s been no shortage of articles comparing the titular hero to ongoing efforts to pull the best possible performance out of the human form, but how practical are these efforts really? It turns out, they’re increasingly practical–and that may be bad news for the United States.
Of course, it’s important to remember that not every scientific effort to improve human performance is inherently related to the military. While Captain America benefitted from defense research in his own transition into the peak of human capability, today’s pharmaceutical conglomerates and university-backed researchers are making significant strides toward improving human performance in the private sector. In a truly all-encompassing “super soldier” effort, the research, treatments, and even body modifications found in these other endeavors would almost certainly play a vital role–and to be clear, that’s the way the Pentagon would probably prefer.