Character » Gorilla-Man appears in 254 issues.

    A mercenary who was cursed to be stuck in the body of an immortal gorilla. He is one of Marvel's oldest characters and member of the Agents of Atlas, named for the former name of Marvel Comics.

    Short summary describing this character.

    Gorilla-Man last edited by SlamAdams on 05/08/23 07:02AM View full history


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    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 tales 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.


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    Ken Hale was created by artist Robert Q. Sale and an unknown writer back in 1954 in an issue of Men's Adventures, which was published by Atlas Comics, Marvel's predecessor.

    Major Story Arcs

    Agents of Atlas

    In 1958, Ken was found in the jungle by Jimmy Woo and his contacts. Woo had been charged with creating a special team for an important rescue mission: President Eisenhower had been kidnapped by The Yellow Claw. Other members included: Venus, Marvel Boy, and M-11, all of whom came to Jimmy in a dream. Within 24 hours, Woo had them working like a 10 year team and returning Eisenhower to the United States. They operated for another six months before they were unceremoniously disbanded and had their mission logs classified.

    The Agents of Atlas
    The Agents of Atlas

    Decades later, Ken was working for SHIELD as a monster hunting “Howling Commando” when he conspired with his old teammates to rescue Jimmy Woo from SHIELD, after he was injured during a mission investigating the Atlas Foundation. Marvel Boy had alien tech that could heal Jimmy, however, it also de-aged him to his 1950s self, losing any knowledge he had of the mission that went wrong. They would need to re-investigate all of Jimmy’s previous steps, and they enlisted the help of SHIELD Agent Khanata and Atlantian Namora to do so.

    Eventually, M-11 was revealed to be under the control of Yellow Claw, but Jimmy was able to convince him to stop cooperating with Yellow Claw’s programming and share what he knew about Jimmy’s previous mission. It led them to the room under San Francisco where an injured Jimmy was first recovered by SHIELD. This time, they were able to pass through and meet Mr. Lao, a man transformed into a dragon protecting the legacy of Genghis Khan in the form of the Atlas Foundation. Jimmy’s career and the formation of his team, including Ken’s transformation into a gorilla, had all been Lao’s plan, so they could take over as the Agents of Atlas.

    With Khanata’s help, they faked their death and used Lao’s resources to work in secret to change the world for the better.

    Dark Reign

    Fake confronting the Avengers
    Fake confronting the Avengers

    Although their death fake out served them well, Ken and the other Agents of Atlas started to to be a little more conspicuous. This got the attention of Norman Osborn, who had taken over SHIELD thanks to his part in ending the Skrull invasion. Jimmy decided to enter an uneasy truce with Norman: for autonomy (and to keep their secret villainous cover story) they would aid Osborn’s plans in any way that he wanted to keep off the books.

    One of Norman’s requests was black market weapons manufacturing using an Atlas Foundation subsidiary, with Ken designated as their go-to weapons tester. They seeded clues so that the arms deal could be interrupted and got the attention of the Avengers. They faked a retreat so the Avengers thought they successfully grabbed the weapons, while they had a legitimate reason to brush off Osborn.

    This gave them the opportunity to run down another lead that Bob, The Uranian (formerly Marvel Boy) psychically scanned from Osborn’s mind. He had been meeting with a Dark Cabal, which included Namora’s cousin, Namor, among their members. When they went to confront him, he entered an independent truce with them outside of Osborn’s out of love for his cousin.


    When Ken’s teammate, Venus, is kidnapped, he and the other agents raid Utopia to steal Cerebro. They were hoping to use it to extend Bob’s psychic abilities to find her, but when the X-Men caught them, Namor showed up and vouched for Atlas. They located her in San Francisco bay working for her creator and old boss, the sea monster Phorcys, who seeks to use her siren call to herd humans for his meals.

    Sneaking into the Olympus Group
    Sneaking into the Olympus Group

    Ken, M-11, and Venus were put on lifeguard duty, stopping people from jumping off the Golden Gate bridge into Phorcys’ maw, while Jimmy tried reasoning with Venus past Phorcys’ influence. Once the old god’s lure was broken, he retreated, and Venus rejoined her team. She told them that she was thrown to her creator by the Greek god, Aphrodite, who was angry that the siren was posing as her Roman counterpart. Once Venus was freed, the team set their sights on the Olympus Group of Manhattan, a one-time business partner of the Atlas Foundation and a front for the Greek gods in this modern world.

    They tried sneaking in through the underground tunnels with Venus yet again posing as Aphrodite, riding a naked Ken like a horse, much to Ken’s dismay. They fooled almost all the monster guards except the chimera, who smelled the siren on Venus, causing a fight to occur and the real Aphrodite to be alerted. She fought Venus with dueling siren songs, enthralling more and more people, until Venus enthralled Aphrodite instead. Feeling genuine love for the first time in a long time, the cynic goddess gave up her title to Venus, freeing the Agents of Atlas and traveling the world to get back in touch with her feelings.

    The Serpent Staff

    Finding the Bloodface Guards
    Finding the Bloodface Guards

    The Agents of Atlas kept running into superhumans, and it was getting difficult trying to explain that they weren’t the bad guys when the Atlas Foundation had multiple active criminal enterprises as part of its portfolio. The team split up to put a stop to the biggest of them. Ken had just returned from stopping an art heist by Borgia Omega and immediately went back out to Africa to take down Mustafa Kazun, who was running multiple crime rings with his private army, called the Bloodface Guards. Ken chose him because he was pictured carrying the same serpent staff that belonged to an old employer, Mr. Wolward.

    Ken made contact with Ji Banda, a local contact set up by Khanata, disguised with a holographic inducer. They were able to capture a member of the Bloodface Guard and scare Mustafa’s location out of him with Ken’s gorilla form. Unfortunately, they hesitated when they came across the large army and were captured by a magical animal manifestation of Mustafa, who turned out to be a former co-worker who had stolen the serpent staff from Wolward.

    When Ji was poisoned, Ken was forced to submit to Mustafa’s hypnotic snake staff to save Ji’s life. However, he proved immune to its power after years of exposure to it. He faked his hypnosis until backup from Atlas arrived, at which point, he grabbed the staff and broke it.

    Wolverine: Goodbye, Chinatown

    Vs Wolverine
    Vs Wolverine

    Logan has been called upon by Master Po to stop a drug war breaking out in the San Francisco, Chinatown, underground. Their first stop is a warehouse owned by the Jade Claw, that is store house for heroin. After Logan kills all the guards in his usual Berserker style, he is jumped by Gorilla-Man. Gorilla-Man explains that he has been fallowing this crew for three days and they were about to lead him to their source but then Logan stabbed them all.

    Gorilla-Man and Logan get in an argument and while they try to kill each other, Master Po, learns of secret passageway. The passageway takes Logan, Gorilla-Man, Master Po, and Logan's pal Yuen Yee, underground where the group comes across a tunnel that goes from San Francisco to China. They also learn that Jade Claw is using real dragons to transport her drugs, and she has hired some Kung-fu masters to guard the route.

    Logan, Gorilla-Man and Master Po are jumped by Darkstrider, Razorfist, Rock of the Buddha and Soulstriker. Soulstriker punches Gorilla-Man's soul, a fact that Gorilla-Man keeps harping on. The fight comes to an abrupt end when Soulstriker captures Master Po and Yuen Yee. When Gorilla-Man and Logan give up to save the boy and old man, they are tied to two dragon to be drawn and quartered for their trouble.

    After the villains leave, Gorilla-Man uses his opposable big tow to untie them and Fat Cobra finishes the rescue. The three make brief introductions and continue on to find Yuen Yee and the Jade Claw. When they come across three dragons Logan has a plan. They let them selves get eaten and sneak into Jade Claw's compound inside the dragon's stomachs.

    Once inside the compound the three heroes make the dragon's vomit them up and they begin to fight the Jade Claws forces. They are helped when Master Po shows up with some dragons of his own and these dragons tip the scale in the heroes favor.

    After the battle Gorilla-Man, Logan, Fat Cobra, Master Po, Yuen Yee, and the rescued slaves of Jade Claw are all seen at a pub in Westchester, sharing a pint. When asked what happened to Jade Claw, Gorilla-Man response is, last he'd seen her she was running back to China.

    Mercs for Money

    Mercs With Money
    Mercs With Money

    Ken’s first run in with the Mercs for Money was when they hired him to be their guide in the jungles of Vietnam while working for Umbral Dynamics. The team would split up soon after that.

    Ken was then recruited by Domino for a new roster of the Mercs for Money after Machine Man found out the Umbral was up to no good. Machine Man had originally slipped that info to Deadpool, who decided to take them down solo. He failed, but was saved by Dom’s new team. Ken and the rest of the team agreed to stick together as long as Domino leads instead of Deadpool.

    They take on a few more missions until Deadpool’s estranged wife, Shiklah, attempts to take over the world. Because Gorilla Man counted as a monster, he fell into her trance and attacked his own team until Hit-Monkey could convince Ken that he wasn't truly a monster. Unfortunately, this made him susceptible to Shiklah's sleep device, which she magically adjusted to only work on non-monsters. Luckily, Machine Man was still immune. He was able to destroy the device, freeing Ken and the others, and rejoining the fight against the monsters.

    Agent of Wakanda

    Dealing with the vampires
    Dealing with the vampires

    When Black Panther was named the chairperson of the Avengers, he created a support staff called the Agents of Wakanda. One of his first recruits was Gorilla-Man, who was also appointed Head of Security for Avengers Mountain.

    Unfortunately, the immortal curse of the Gorilla-Man had been wearing on him. He wanted a way out, and to do so, he made a deal with Dracula. In exchange for actual death, Dracula kept him on the Avengers as a mole.

    Eventually, Ken would try to circumvent his deal with Dracula by making a deal with Red Widow instead. He let them sneak into Avengers Mountain to arrest She-Hulk, however, Red Widow went back on her word. She wounded her teammate, Ursa Major, who had been a spy for the Avengers, instead, leaving Ken behind for the Avengers to deal with.

    Luckily, the Avengers knew about both of Gorilla-Man's deals and Winterguard's plans. They allowed Ken to continue being a mole so that She-Hulk could be taken by the Russians as a spy. After she escaped the Red Room with a power upgrade, she grabbed Gorilla-Man and brought him to Atlantis to help her protect it. Ken would be fatally wounded and on the verge of death realized he wished to live. After the Avengers saved him, he was on the mend on Wakanda's wildlife reserve where his friend, Ursa, was in a coma.

    The God Quarry

    Upon Ursa waking from his coma, Gorilla-Man convinced him to return to Avengers Mountain for a second chance. They found it empty, as the Avengers had gone into the timestream to track and defend the legacy mantle holders. This led the Avengers to The God Quarry where Amazon Prime, a sorcerer supreme variant of Loki. put out a call to all Avengers, including the Deathloks he had sent to find recruits. One of those Deathloks had uploaded himself to Avengers Mountain, which he started to pilot. Ursa and Gorilla-Man rode the Celestial to The God Quarry to join the Avengers in battle and hopefully earn redemption.

    An army of Dooms wanted to take control of Loki's Avengers Tower, but Mephisto wanted to break through the barrier of the quarry to the raw energy leftover by the previous cosmos. After stopping both Doom and Mephisto, Fei, Ursa returned to his homeworld with The Avengers, who he joined mourning at a memorial to Robbie Reyes and Brandy Selby, who sacrificed themselves to save the quarry.

    Character Profile

    • Height: 6'
    • Weight: 340 lbs
    • Eye Color: Brown
    • Hair Color: Brown
    • Citizenship: American
    • Marital Status: Divorced
    • Occupation: Mercenary; formerly Agent of Wakanda, Avengers Mountain butler, Agent of SHIELD, Agent of Atlas
    • Known Relatives: Lily Hale (ex-wife)

    Powers and Abilities

    As Gorilla-Man, Hale possesses the body, and therefore the strength, agility, and endurance of a mountain gorilla, while still retaining his normal human intelligence. He is an expert in weapons usage with a preference for firearms, and is a skilled hand-to-hand fighter. Gorilla-Man also has been granted immortality, thus he does not age and has retained the same level of strength and physical prowess over decades. It is noted he has opposable toes.


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