MCU Theory: Why Red Skull Was Disfigured by the Super-Soldier Serum
The film Captain America: The First Avenger showed the transformation of both the titular character and his arch-nemesis, Johann Schmidt, aka The Red Skull. While both men took the same super-soldier serum developed by Dr. Erskine, there is a major difference in how the formula reacted to their bodies. Steve Rogers became the super soldier that we all know and love whereas Schmidt's face was left red and disfigured. Both of them were regular humans who took the same formula, so how did they end up so different? A new fan theory on Reddit from user u/rafael-a puts forward a possible explanation for these wildly contrasting outcomes.
The theory suggests that the reason why Steve Rogers did not end up with his face disfigured was because of penicillin. Just prior to Roger's transformation in Captain America: The First Avenger, Dr. Erskine injects him with penicillin beforehand. This was important as penicillin is a form of antibiotics that work to kill bacteria within the body -- an essential step because Erskine's super-soldier serum supposedly enhances microbes as well. Rogers also underwent his massive transformation within a sterile pod, another necessary step to avoid his body having any further contact with surrounding bacteria. Johann Schmidt, on the other hand, did not take the serum within a sterile environment, instead opting to do so within his HYDRA laboratory. The serum also enhanced harmful bacteria within his body as he did not take a dose of penicillin nor was he seen taking any other measures to make sure his body was as clean as can be. The bacteria grew in a way that destroyed the skin on his face (and likely other parts of the body) and would have killed him if it wasn't for his enhanced healing factor, leaving his body in a constant battle against super bacteria.
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