The supersoldier (or super soldier) is a concept soldier, often fictional, capable of operating beyond normal human limits or abilities. Super soldiers are common in military science fiction literature, films and video games. Today, DARPA is developing an externally powered XOS exoskeleton design (pictured) for greatly increased strength and endurance. Fictional supersoldiers are usually heavily augmented, either through eugenics, genetic engineering, cybernetic implants, drugs, brainwashing, traumatic events, an extreme training regimen or other scientific and pseudoscientific means. Occasionally, some instances also use paranormal methods, such as black magic or technology and science of extraterrestrial origin. The creators of such programs in the entertainment industry are viewed often as mad scientists or stern military personnel depending on the emphasis, as their programs would typically go past ethical boundaries in the pursuit of science or military might.
In the book The Men Who Stare at Goats (2004), Welsh journalist Jon Ronson documented how the U.S. military repeatedly tried and failed to train soldiers in the use of parascientific combat techniques during the Cold War, experimenting with New Age tactics and psychic phenomena such as remote viewing, astral projections, "death touch" and mind reading against various Soviet targets. The book inspired also a war comedy of the same name (2009) directed by Grant Heslov, starring George Clooney.
Examples of fictional supersoldiers
- Dark Angel: A group of genetically-enhanced children escape from a lab project. Years later we meet Max, one of the escapees who now works for a messenger service in the post-apocalyptic Pacific Northwest.
- Captain America: The First Avenger is the 2011 film rendition of the Captain America franchise featuring Chris Evans. A scientist, Dr. Abraham Erskine, is commissioned by the United States military to counter the actions of the Nazi regime, with both sides looking to create a new fighting force. Dr. Erskine's method of creating a supersoldier involved injecting a top-secret serum of his own design, as well as bombarding the subject with "vita-rays", inducing massive muscle and skeletal growth and increased performance.
- Crysis: A video game series started in 2007 featuring a near future with a massive alien-built structure found on the fictional Lingshan Islands near the East Philippines. As an elite soldier recruited from the United States Army's Delta Force, the main character, codenamed "Nomad", wears a Nano-Suit that provides the user a massive boost in combat capability and defensive stature. Using this technology, the player combats North Korean forces and extraterrestrial invaders.
- F.E.A.R.: A psychological-horror video game series started in 2005, spanning a number of years and a variety of nightmare-fueled enemies, all centered around the main antagonist Alma Wade, a supernatural enemy using fear to destroy entire cities. The first game takes focus on supersoldiers, as the beginning plot is centered around The Pointman searching for a cannibal named Paxton Fettel who has taken control of Armacham Technology Corporation and their genetically-modified supersoldiers, who become the game's focal enemy.
- Halo: The protagonist of the video game series is a supersoldier called a SPARTAN-II. Master Chief or John-117, as he is usually referred to, was taken as a child from his home on a human extrasolar colony and was replaced with a flawed clone that died soon afterwards, as were 74 other children; later he underwent extreme military training and special cybernetic augmentations to become a Spartan. Spartans not only have superhuman size and physical capacity, but are also recognizable by their trademark high-tech state-of-the-art MJOLNIR-series powered armor.
- Prototype: An action-adventure video game from 2009 set in Manhattan in the midst of a outbreak of a virus called BLACKLIGHT. An enemy faction of the game, Blackwatch, deploys supersoldiers specializing in close combat. According to officers, they were exposed in controlled environments to the BLACKLIGHT virus, giving them superhuman strength, speed, and endurance. These enemies have titanic body structures, standing almost as tall as tanks, and are more than capable of fighting the protagonist with their bare hands, even being shown to heft large missiles with one hand and toss them like projectiles.
- First Earth Battalion
- Project MKUltra
- Human enhancement
- Captain America
- Space marine
- List of Supersoldiers in fiction
- The future soldier. A Soldier Domain for Full Spectrum Warfare. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
- Damien Gayle (12 August 2012). "Army of the future". The Daily Mail online. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
- Tim Adams (21 November 2004). "Acting the giddy goat.". Book review. Guardian News. Retrieved 5 August 2013. "The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson, Picador, pp.240."
- Heussner, Ki Mae (Nov 9, 2009). "Psychic Spies: Any Truth in 'Men Who Stare at Goats?'". ABCnews.com. Retrieved 13 July 2013. "Ronson, Jon (2009). The Men Who Stare at Goats (Simon & Schuster). ISBN 978-1439181775."