An old friend of Reed Richards, Ben accompanied him in finding funding for his research into the cosmic rays. While placing samples outside the space station for research, the cosmic storm hits the station while Ben was still outside, resulting in him being exposed to the cosmic cloud with even less protection than the rest of the team inside the station. As a result, his fiancé, Debbie, left him because she couldn't cope with his transformation, although Reed promised that he would do whatever it took to cure Ben.
After weeks of research with no results, Ben was manipulated by Victor into believing that Reed was delaying his research so that he could spend time with Sue. With Reed having developed a chamber that could duplicate the cosmic storm but lacking the power necessary to control the radiation generated, Victor tricked Ben into using the chamber so that he could drain Ben's power to increase his own mutation. However, after learning what Victor had done, Ben entered the chamber to expose himself to a new 'dose' of cosmic radiation, restoring his powers and appearance. Although Reed offered to work on restoring the chamber, Ben decided to accept his condition, even finding a new relationship with Alicia Masters.
By the time of Reed and Sue's wedding, Ben has mostly accepted his appearance, although he enjoyed the opportunity to briefly swap powers with Johnny to demonstrate Johnny's odd condition after contact with the Surfer causes Johnny to switch powers with the rest of the team whenever he comes in contact with them. When Victor returns, Ben immediately charged him and threatened to break his neck, but accepted the temporary alliance due to the greater threat posed by the Surfer. When Johnny borrows the powers of the entire team to oppose Victor after he takes the Silver Surfer's powers, Ben uses a demolition crane to knock Doom off the Surfer's board and into the ocean.
Powers and Abilities
- Superhuman Strength: Ben has shown sufficient strength to bend steel with his punches, to lift a firetruck (weighing about 100 tons), and when pushing himself, a large building structure (weighing about 1,000 tons) with Sue leveling it.
- Superhuman Durability: Ben has easily survived being hit with bullets, a transport truck smashing into him on a bridge, falls from several stories high, a helicoptor's tail rotor hitting him while it is still rotating, and Doctor Doom's punches and electric blasts.
- Superhuman Speed: Ben can run faster than 30 mph.
- Superhuman Stamina: Ben can fully exert himself for far longer than a regular person can due to his musculature producing less fatigue toxins.
- Can lift roughly 85 tons
- Compromised Dexerity: Ben's large fingers make it hard to grasp small objects, such as pins or rings. His large fingers and lack of skin friction also make it hard for him to pick up flat objects, like paper and index cards or press small buttons such as cell phones or touch screens.
- Physical Judgment: His strength also makes it difficult for him to grab fragile objects without breaking them, as he has less feedback to determine if the object is under stress. Even normal objects like phones, shot glasses, etc. could break under his grasp.
- Self-Image: At times, Ben is extremely sensitive about his appearance, and if pushed too far, will either become enraged or depressed.