There are two accounts explaining how Kenneth Hale became the Gorilla Man. The earliest account suggested that Hale was plagued by nightmares of a Gorilla Man in deepest Africa. Becoming obsessed with finding the Gorilla Man, Hale traveled to Africa where he tracked down the mythic beast and fought it to death. In killing the Gorilla Man, Ken Hale himself was transformed into a new Gorilla Man.
However, the true account of Ken Hale's transformation into the Gorilla Man is much more detailed. A soldier of fortune, Ken Hale lived for thrills and adventure. Fearing old age and death, he sought immortality on the African continent. He heard tell of a gorilla that stands like a man, and that if he killed it, he would live forever, never aging. He hunted the beast, but when he met it, he could not kill it. Leaving it alive, Hale wandered the jungle, becoming lost and sick. The gorilla found him and forced Ken Hale's hand. Ken killed the beast in self-defense, not knowing that he had just taken the curse of the gorilla man upon himself. He obtained his immortality, but it came along with spending the rest of his immortal life in the body of a gorilla.
Hiding out in the jungles of Africa, the Gorilla Man was eventually approached by FBI agent Jimmy Woo who recruited him into his G-Men. Their first mission was to save President Eisenhower from the Yellow Claw in his Mongolian fortress. The president was rescued but the Yellow Claw escaped. 6 Months later the G-Men were disbanded.
In the Fall of 1959, Gorilla-Man saved the life of General Hill when he was the target of an assassination attempt by ICON. Powell McTeague had warned Nick Fury about the danger to the General's life. Fury told Namora, who telephoned Woo. Woo, in turn, contacted Hale and asked him to stake out the general's house. When the two men investigated the assassin's body, however, they discovered that the man appeared to have been dead for days prior to his being shot.
When Xavier vanished after sending out a telepathic distress call, Miriam Christiansen suggested Hale as a guide to her nephew Angel. The X-Men eventually located Xavier within a cave with an entrance carved to resemble a face. The cave's mouth closed when they entered and the X-Men were overwhelmed by feelings of despondency. Hale was unaffected and forced Cyclops to breach the cave roof with his optic blasts and then helped the X-Men escape. After the cave's collapse, Hale declined to return to the US with the X-Men.
By the modern age, the Gorilla Man was recruited by Nick Fury into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Howling Commandos unit. The Howling Commandos launched an assault on a doomsday cult that was utilizing technology bought from the Lords of the Living Lightning.
When Goom broke out of his cell, Gorilla-Man brought him down single-handedly. He then discussed with Groot the terms and conditions of being a member of the squad. When the recently-freed Merlin's forces attacked, Gorilla-Man was among the Commandos to face them down.
With Area 13 overrun by Merlin's forces, Warwolf and Gorilla-Man realized that the portal to Merlin's location was still open. They had the cells of the giant monsters being held opened, and jumped through the portal just before a stampede of monsters followed them.
The Commandos waited just outside of Merlin's camp, and were soon joined by dozens of other Commando members who followed them through the portal. The group then launched an assault on Merlin's forces. During the battle, Gorilla-Man and Warwolf located Merlin, who fled when he realized he couldn't win this fight.
Becoming Agents of Atlas
After Jimmy Woo was seriously injured on a rogue mission, he was found by S.H.I.E.L.D. with very little brain function and taken back to a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility and put on life support. Dugan brought in Gorilla Man for questioning as the only clues they had linked this mission to the original G-Men and Hale was the only member they could contact. With no knowledge of what Woo had done, Hale requested to say a final goodbye, but Hale instead contacted M-11 and Marvel Boy who rescue him. Marvel Boy was able to restore Woo by reconstructing him as he last remembered Woo, which was from there time together in the 1950s. This restored his youth, at the expense of Woo's memories of the intervening 50 years.
The quartet traveled to Woo's house for clues and find Derek Khanata already there. After taking Jimmy Woo's Car and Marvel Boy taking an imprint of the house, the G-Men attempted to leave without Khanata but Khanata reveals he has discovered the whereabouts of Venus. Travelling with the group to Africa, the G-Men met Khanata's cousin, who found Venus at the site of Gorilla Man's transformation, having turned the war torn area peaceful. But soon after their arrival Yellow Claw attacked the group.
After a small scuffle Yellow Claw was revealed to have been a robot and Jimmy was rescued by his team-mates. Leaving Africa with Venus, the team return to where Jimmy was initially injured in hopes of finding a temple, however they find nothing. Leaving M-11 behind, Woo and team travel to an old coffee shop Woo used to visit, Gorilla Man reveals M-11 visited him before S.H.I.E.L.D. did to inform Hale that he needed to rescue Woo and Marvel Boy revealed his origins and how there was a second version of himself. As the story concludes, the team sees M-11 trying to travel to Antarctica since he has concluded that Namora isn't dead and needs to be rescued. Travelling there they find what appears to be the remains of Namora.
Namora was revealed to be alive by Marvel Boy and while M-11 freed Namora, the rest of the team were attacked by giant crabs and were rescued by a newly revived Namora. Feeling that he has taken his team away from their lives, Jimmy tries to send the rest of the team home but they all refused and plan to continue helping him investigating. Using a list compiled by Woo before he lost his memories, they began to investigate all possible operations of the Atlas Foundation, with every single site they visit being one. After taking down some pirates, the team is attacked again by Yellow Claw and his terracotta army, in the fight Yellow Claw escaped and not even Grayson could detect his presence.
During the search, Namora revealed the secret about Venus' true nature, having known of the legend of the Siren. Venus fell into depression and filled all of her companions with despair. This caused Marvel Boy to reveal the fact that Jimmy suspected M-11 of being the traitor in the midst. Feeling betrayed Marvel Boy attacked and seemingly destroyed M-11 due to the fact he had abandoned the Uranians forever just to be used as a puppet. This angered Namora who felt M-11 had cared enough to track her down and free her and destroyed Marvel Boy's spaceship and attacked Marvel Boy himself. Gorilla Man jumped to Marvel Boy's aid so Namora attacked him as well. While the rest of the team began to fight each other, Woo calmed her and was able to help her rediscover her confidence Venus proceeded to sing, soothing the rest of the team and they returned to their mission to take down the Atlas group.
Woo and his team go back to the San Francisco branch of Atlas and re-enter the hidden room. This time, they survive and confront Yellow Claw and Mr. Lao. It turns out that Yellow Claw was waiting for Woo to come, to claim the mantle of Genghis Khan. With the title of Great Khan, Woo also assumed control over the holdings of The Atlas Foundation. Jimmy then asked Khanata to lie to S.H.I.E.L.D. and tell them that they actually perished in the temple so they can continue in secret.
The transition away from being a criminal organization was not easy however as one of the the early missions after becoming the Atlas foundation involved a rogue faction of the organization who did not want to stop their criminal activities. Using a theatre production they would use the audiences life force, combined with a totemic vessel to create an army of monsters. The group teamed up with Spider-Man to stop them, after him and the group were attacked. Initially unsure which side the group was on Spider-Man fought with Gorilla Man until Siren used her song to calm him down. Gorilla Man vouched that Spider-Man was a hero so they teamed up and stopped the rogue faction when M-11 destroyed their power source at the Rockefeller Center. In order to keep. their existence a secret, Marvel Boy wiped everybody but his team's memory of the incident including Spider-Man's.
During the Secret Invasion, Namora killed a Super-Skrull and was captured by other Skrulls. She was later rescued by Gorilla Man and M-11, and returned to Marvel Boy's Ship with a Skrull as a hostage. Their location was discovered and the team defended the ship while Jimmy asked Venus to us her powers to the kill the attackers. Venus didn't want to use her powers to kill and Marvel Boy revealed that the Skrulls were not malevolent and just wanted to join the human and Skrull races together. Jimmy however, was defending the human race and got M-11 to wipe out all the attacking Skrulls.
The Atlas Foundation hindered the Skrulls' activities on the West Coast during their Invasion. Afterwards, however, the world had changed, and Woo and his team took a surprising step: to use Plan Chu's villainous reputation to present themselves as the Agents of the Atlas Empire. Their first act was to steal all the gold in Fort Knox, which Norman Osborn had earmarked for special weapons programs.
Wolverine & Fat Cobra
Wolverine and Gorilla Man began battling adversaries who were trying to stop them. Unfortunately, since they were heavily outnumbered and overpowered by Dragons, they were forced to give up as Master Po and Yuen Yee were captured. Wolverine and Gorilla Man were left to the mercy of the Dragons as the old master was pushed down a bottomless pit and the young boy was taken to the Jade Claw's hideout. There he was put to work in the fields. Meanwhile, Wolverine and Gorilla Man managed to free themselves, and with the aid of Fat Cobra, managed to devise a plan to infiltrate the Jade Claw's base. They battled the Jade Claw and the Dragons and defeated them while Yuen Yee rescued the slaves. During the fight Soulstriker attempted to take Logan's soul, but failed due to Logan's previous journey to Hell and back. When her domain was crushed Suwan returned to China.
Mystical Enchantment: As a result of killing the last Gorilla-Man, Hale has inherited the enchantment of Ngi and has been physically transformed into a gorilla. As a result of his transformation, Hale possesses various attributes associated with the enchantment:
- Superhuman Strength: As Gorilla-Man, Hale is as strong as an adult mountain gorilla. At his peak, he possesses sufficient strength to lift approximately 1,500 lbs.
- Superhuman Stamina: The enchantment has dramatically increased Hale's musculature and it is significantly more efficient than that of a normal human. His muscles produce less fatigue toxins during physical activity than the muscles of an ordinary human. He can exert himself at peak capacity for several hours before the build up of fatigue toxins in his blood begins to impair him.
- Superhuman Durability: Hale's bodily tissues are harder and more resistant to some types of injury than the bodily tissues of a normal human. For instance, he is much more resistant to impact and blunt trauma forces than a normal human. He can withstand impacts, such as falling from many stories up or being repeatedly struck by a superhuman foe, that would severely injure or kill a human with little to no injury to himself.
- Superhuman Agility: Hale possesses the natural agility of the great ape in which he's named for. His agility, balance, and bodily coordination are enhanced to levels beyond the natural physical limits of the finest human athlete.
- Superhuman Dexterity: As with an actual gorilla, Hale is able to use his feet to perform most of the same purposes that he can accomplish with his hands. For example, he is able to tie knots with his toes and can use weapons such as guns or knives as comfortably with his feet as with his hands.
- Superhuman Sense of Smell: As Gorilla-Man, Hale has a sophisticated and highly developed sense of smell. Hale is able to remember, identify, and track individual targets by their natural scent even through dense jungle terrains and if the scent has been greatly eroded by natural factors.
- Immortality: Another part of the Gorilla-Man enchantment is the fact that Hale is functionally immortal. As long as Hale is Gorilla-Man, he is immune to further aging and is also immune to the effects of all known Earthly diseases.
- Hale is a skilled armed and unarmed combatant, having received training from various military groups. His natural prowess as a combatant has been greatly improved with the addition of his superhuman powers.
- Hale was noted by the Skrulls as a skilled battle strategist.
The enchantment doesn't grant Hale complete immortality. He can't die through natural means, such as old age and disease, he can be killed in much the same way as a normal human being. For instance, Hale can be killed by a bullet just as he used to kill the previous Gorilla-Man.
He is an expert in weapons usage with a preference for firearms.
- Jess Nevins' profile says he was a member of the Explorer's Club.
- 108 appearance(s) of Kenneth Hale (Earth-616)
- 7 minor appearance(s) of Kenneth Hale (Earth-616)
- 11 mention(s) of Kenneth Hale (Earth-616)
- 110 image(s) of Kenneth Hale (Earth-616)
- 9 quotation(s) by or about Kenneth Hale (Earth-616)