- It's the last thing I wanted...but what choice have I got? Put on your best smiles, gang, 'cause we're about to...introduce the world...to Ultraforce.
- -- Hardcase src
Tom Hawke was a struggling actor working in Hollywood, California whose life was changed after being struck by the "Jumpstart Effect", a burst of energy from the Entity, the ancient alien spaceship responsible for most of the world's super-beings called Ultras. He gained superhuman strength and durability, Hardcase realized that he wanted more than short term success. He met with Starburst (Linda Warren), DJ Blast (Jamal Blass) and Forsa (Carlos Jimenez), who had also gained powers. The team decided to help people while bolstering their careers, and together they formed the Squad.
The Squad was active in Los Angeles for several months as heroes and celebrities. They arranged official sanction with the police department, assisting in raids against local gangs and emergency response. The Squad was woefully unprepared for their first Ultra opponent, the Nano-Mechanized Entity or NM-E. The creature tore through the Squad, dismembering Forsa and seriously injuring Starburst, before DJ sacrificed himself in a massive blast that apparently killed him and the creature. Forsa died at the hospital and Starburst remained in a coma, prompting Hardcase to retire from ultra-heroics.
- Nanotech Enhanced Physiology: Hardcase was made into an Ultra by the "Jumpstart effect" that changed him, had effectively converted him into a nanotech being, with each cell an independent thinking machine. As such, Hardcase learned he had many untapped abilities, such as not needing to breathe.
- Superhuman Strength: Incredibly strong, Hardcase is able to throw a car over 50 yards with little effort. His leg muscles allow him to leap nearly a mile.
- Superhuman Speed: Hardcase is capable of running and moving at speeds much greater than even the finest human athlete.
- Superhuman Stamina: Hardcase's musculature generates less fatigue toxins during physical activity than the musculature of a human being. Hardcase can physically exert himself at peak capacity for several hours before fatigue begins to impair her.
- Superhuman Agility: Hardcase's agility, balance, and bodily coordination are enhanced to levels that are beyond the natural physical limits of even the finest human athlete.
- Superhuman Reflexes: Hardcase's reaction time is similarly enhanced, enabling him to react at a level that is beyond the natural physical limits of the finest human athlete.
- Superhuman Durability: Hardcase's bodily tissues are much harder and more resistant to injury than those of a human. He is capable of withstanding tremendous impact forces, falls from great heights, exposure to temperature and pressure extremes, the vaccuum of space, and powerful energy blasts without sustaining injury. His body is also specially adapted to withstand the physiologically debilitating effects of moving and running at high rates of speed without sustaining injury.
- Regenerative Healing Factor: Hardcase possesses a regenerative healing factor, allowing him to regenerate from what would normally be considered life-threatening wounds in a matter of moments. The process is sped up if he drinks seawater.
- Diverse Nanotech Manipulation: As he developed his powers, Hardcase discovered his abilities were virtually unlimited. He demonstrated the ability to control other sources of nanotech, generate intense cold, mentally merge with technology, create life, time travel, etc.
- 75 Appearances of Tom Hawke (Earth-93060)
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