"I’m still your mother and I care about you. I can’t help behaving in this way, it’s what a mother does." "What a mother does? Do you really want to get into it about your mothering skills? How about when we got into that fight when I was twelve because you didn’t think I’d washed the dishes fast enough or properly and you broke a plate on my head? I’m sure that’s what a mother does. Or the time when you were drunk because of something Dad supposedly did and beat the crap out of me. Oh wait, I’d say the time, but that’s presupposing that it was the only time, and that there were really too many to count." "There’s your answer. If your father hadn’t-" "You know, too much blame gets put on Dad. Dad wasn’t the greatest, but he did try. Honestly, you should take a step back and really look at the past and see whether or not there are some things you need to apologize for. Because I’m pretty sure that you’ll be able to come up with at least a couple And maybe those people deserve some apologies for the things you’ve done in your life, mother." "It’s obvious that talking to you gets either of us nowhere. I don’t know why I bother sometimes. I was one of the best mothers to you and all you can do is throw a few moments of weakness back at me. A few, that’s all. I know why you do it. You’re ungrateful. You don’t know how to be thankful. And I tried, Lucas, to instill in you those values. But you’re too much like your father. You’re a lost cause, but I still love you. I am your mother. I have to go. Goodbye Lucas."
— Evelyn Gates and Lucas Gates
Lucas Gates was born in New York City, New York. The son of two prominent and skilled lawyers, Lucas was often left home alone or in the care of a nanny. From a young age, he started developing a sense that he was an unwanted child, and that his parents had married out of convenience than love. Maybe there had been love at one point, but it had slowly devolved into hate and anger. Lucas often felt the residual effects of this, as his mother used to take out her frustrations with his father on him. Sometimes this constituted verbal or emotional abuse. Other times it took the presence of more physical abuse.
His mother, always the good lawyer, ensured that there were never any visible marks. His father was either oblivious to what was happening, or didn’t care. Growing up, Lucas found himself in a very cold household, to say the least, and retreated into his books, particularly into books about science. Though he could never please his mother, getting a plate broken over his head when he was twelve, for example, for not washing the dishes quickly enough, he was able to do any experiment that he could think of.
Fellow students didn’t help, and Lucas was often the subject of extreme bullying. No matter how many times he went to his parents for help, they were too absorbed with themselves to bother helping him and dismissed his claims as merely children being children.
Despite the physical, emotional, and mental abuse that he suffered from his mother, and the lack of consideration from his father, Lucas managed to complete all of his studies, and graduated high school at the age of 12. From there, he applied to a number of schools, and got in, getting full rides to multiple schools. He set up his applications based off of how far away they were from New York City, wanting to get away from his parents.
He got his first Bachelor’s degree when he was 14, and never looked back, accumulating more and more degrees in a wide array of scientific fields. But it wasn’t until he got to learn about radiation that he found his niche, all because of a man named Robert Bruce Banner.
Transformation: The process by which Gates usually transforms into the Hulk is presumably the result of the chemical catalyst, adrenaline (a.k.a. epinephrine). As in normal human beings, Gates' adrenal medulla secretes large amounts of adrenaline in time of fear, rage, or stress, which hormonally stimulates the heart rate, increases blood-sugar levels, and inhibits sensations of fatigue. Whereas the secretion heightens normal physical abilities in normal human beings, in Gates' case it triggers the complex chemical-extra-physical process that transforms him into the Hulk. The total time of transformation falls anywhere between seconds to five minutes, depending on the initial adrenaline surge, which will be determined by the original stimulus. Soon after the transformation, the amount of adrenalin in the Hulk will return to more normal, reduced levels. However, there have been instances in which Gates became the Hulk without any discernible increase in heart rate or adrenal levels, suggesting that the true trigger mechanism into the Hulk is far more psychological than physical. When the Hulk transforms back into Banner, the excess muscle mass and energy is lost, presumably to the same place he derives it. As the Hulk's transformation is mostly a stress reaction, it is virtually impossible to attack, wound or sedate him in his human form without Hulk erupting almost instantaneously in self-defense.
Unlimited Strength: The Hulk possesses the capacity for virtually limitless physical strength. In effect, upon actually estimating Hulk's raw potential, a cosmic entity stated outright that the Hulk's strength is intrinsically limitless. His uttermost potential is unlimited. However, Hulk possess a base strength level. While in an enraged state, adrenaline surges through the Hulk's body, magnifying his extraordinary strength drastically beyond his standard limits. The Hulk's immeasurable strength is directly proportional to his level of rage, excitement, and stress. The Hulk also grows stronger the more radiation and dark magic he catalyzes. Finally, as Paul Matthews theorizes, Banner subconsciously restrains the Hulk's maximum potential because he quantifies and calculates the external variables so that the Hulk could never hurt someone. However, if the suppression of Banner's restrictions occurs, the Hulk can neutralize this limitation. The Hulk has also performed impressive feats of strength.
Superhuman Leaping: The Hulk is able to use his highly developed leg muscles to leap great distances. As the Hulk becomes enraged, his strength increases considerably, which means he can jump farther than usual. The Hulk has transposed 1,000 miles with a single leap, and he jumped on top of the Mount Olympus from ground level, in one single leap. On more than one occasion, the Hulk has nearly jumped into the Earth's orbit. The Hulk also shows incredible precision with his ability to aim his jumps and landings. He grabbed missiles on multiple occasions and landed on islands barely visible from the height he fell from. The Hulk's super leap has also been measured as reaching 473 mph.
Superhuman Lung Capacity: The Hulk can inhale great quantities of air for several effects. The Hulk can expel the air at great speeds to knock down forests and even armed troops.
Superhuman Stamina: The Hulk's body counteracts fatigue poisons that build up in his muscles during physical activity. In an enraged state, the Hulk is capable of exerting himself at peak physical capacity for several days before fatigue begins to affect him. However, much like his vast physical strength, the Hulk's stamina does increase as he becomes angrier. In an enraged state, the Hulk was able to efficaciously stalemate the warrior's madness Thor (a state which temporarily enhances Thor's strength and stamina to 10 times that of his normal state in exchange for adversely affecting his intelligence). The Hulk's stamina has even been described as "almost unlimited".
Vast Invulnerability: In addition to immense strength, the Hulk's body possesses a high degree of resistance to physical injury. The Hulk has survived tremendous amount of punishment. The Hulk's skin is impervious to conventional blades, adamantium and vibranium being strictly the few known metals that can effectively pierce and penetrate his skin. Hulk was even able to excerpt Adhesive X from his entire body without any injury. This invulnerability extends to the optic system since bullets, grenade shrapnel, and even Valkyrie's enchanted blade Dragonfang did not penetrate nor damage it. The Hulk is capable to withstand high caliber bullets, ultra-powerful energy blasts, pressures extremes, falls from orbital heights, maximized heat without blistering, maximized cold without freezing, and also powerful impacts. The Hulk has withstood several times the impact of ground zero nuclear explosions, the Human Torch's Nova Blast, with a maximum temperature of one million degrees Fahrenheit, and the crushing pressures of 100Gs without suffering damage or harm. The Hulk was also able to withstand a planet-devastating impact, a planet-shattering impact at point blank range, the Galaxy Master's planet-destroying strongest attacks, and a mighty blast from Galactus. Hulk even withstood energy calculated as over 100 times the power of Hercules' strongest blows. The Hulk's durability, much like his strength, is fueled by rushes of adrenaline while angry.
Regenerative Healing Factor: Despite the Hulk's high resistance to physical harm, it is possible to cause the Hulk injury. However, the Hulk is capable of regenerating damaged or destroyed areas of his body (even his limbs) with much greater speed and efficiency than an ordinary human. In fact the Hulk was able to molecularly rebuild his body after being atomized. The Hulk also demonstrated his exceptional healing capacity when all of his skin and most of his muscle mass were extracted from his body. Hulk regained his mass and healed within only seconds. Even the Omega-Level biokinetic Elixir's death touch could only retard him temporarily. The Hulk's regenerative factor also enables him to resist to physical transmutations. Additionally, the Hulk heals faster and more extensively the madder he gets. Combined with the Hulk's superhuman durability, it makes him exceedingly difficult to defeat or incapacitate, as noted by Wolverine.
Diseases Immunity: The Hulk is completely invulnerable to all known Earth-based diseases and viruses, including AIDS. He can operate under intense conditions for extended periods of time due to his body not developing fatigue toxins quickly.
Decelerated Aging: For all intents and purposes Hulk lives indefinitely. Because of an enhanced regenerative healing factor, derived from the properties of gamma energy that empowers him, the Hulk has an extended lifespan.
Superhuman Speed: Regardless of his size, Hulk's superhumanly strong legs allow him to run at speeds that are well beyond the natural physical limits of even the finest human athlete. Hulk's speed is so relatively high that, while tunneling underground from Subterranea to California at superhuman speeds, the Avengers apprehensively feared that Hulk could fracture the San Andreas fault line in a matter of hours. The Hulk has been fast enough to capture mortar shells and missiles shot at him. The Hulk has also eventually been recognized to be extremely agile proportionally to his size. His reflexes have even been described as "lightning-fast reflexes".
Reactive Adaptation: There have been several events in the past where Hulk has not only faced extended periods of time in oxygen-less outer space without suffocating, but he has also repeatedly spoken in these inhospitable habitats. It was theorized by Nick Fury that the Hulk could adapt to the environment of space as an inherent property of his mutation. For example, Hulk can harmonize his biological structure with the depths of the ocean. Therefore this suggests that the Hulk could adapt to a wide diversity of inhospitable environments. It is plausible that this ability is enhanced by the Hulk's rage. Accordingly, it has also been stated that the Hulk doesn't always need to breathe.
Increased Psionic Resistance: In many instances the Hulk has demonstrated great psychic resistance as side-effect of his rage and the multiple personalities inside his mind. In normal conditions it is virtually impossible to mentally enslave Hulk. In parallel this ability also increases with his rage. In an example of his mental prowess, the Hulk was even able to survive using the Ultimate Machine, which contained the collective knowledge of an entire universe. The Hulk has withstood telepathic attacks from a wide range of telepaths, though he has never gone up against the Phoenix.
Genius-level Intellect: Dr. Lucas Gates is a genius in nuclear physics among others, possessing a mind so brilliant that it cannot be measured by any known intelligence test. According to Gates, he's one of the eight smartest people on the planet. It has been said that in terms of raw intellect, there are few that surpass him. Only one has been named, Paul Matthews. Lincoln McCray is said to be on the same level as Gates, if such a word can or should be used to describe intelligence of their kind.