A struggling actor, Tom Hawke's luck drastically 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. Gaining superhuman strength and durability, Tom realized that he wanted more than short term success. He met with Linda Warren, Jamal Blass and Carlos Jimenez, who had also gained abilities, and proposed that they become an Ultrahero team, helping people while bolstering their careers. The other agreed and formed the Squad, each taking code names; Starburst, D.J. Blast, Forsa and Hardcase.
For six months the Squad achieved great success, fighting crime, aiding the police and performing acts of charity. They became celebrities and media darlings. Their good fortune was not to last though. Attacked by the creature NM-E, the heroes were overcome. In a last ditch effort, D.J. Blast focused all his power on NM-E, causing a massive explosion. Only Hardcase and Starburst escaped, but not without cost; Starburst was comatose. Grief stricken by the tragedy, Hardcase retired from heroics. He would later learn that Rex Mundi was responsible for the attack.
During his retirement, Hardcase became an action movie star, portraying himself on the screen. He came out of retirement to battle Headknocker, an Ultrahuman with incredible strength. Headknocker was in the process of robbing a bank, when Hardcase noticed that the police were outmatched. He intervened and defeated the villain. Hardcase seeing that some-one is needed to police the rouge Ultras announced his return to the hero scene.
Hardcase was approached by the Choice Corporation's Super Model spokes women, who went by the codename Choice. She enlisted him to help her discover her origin. Eventually they become romantically linked. The Ultra known as the Alternate informs them that the answers they seek are in the Aladdin's Groom Lake facility. The two of them teamed up with Strangers and infiltrated the facility, where Hardcase discovered that this government agency was using his dead teammates Forsa and Starburst's genetic research. Later Haedcase and Choice travel to the Moon where they discover the being that was responsible for the "Jumpstart Effect", which was responsible for granting most Ultras their abilities. The being was only known as Entity of the Moon. They agreed to become protectors of the Entity. The pair was mysteriously separated Choice is teleported off the moon to a place called the Godwheel.
Hardcase would later appear in the company of Freex members Pixx and Wet Mary also known as Contrary, Hardcase is asked to start up a new team of Ultras. He refuses due to his not having overcome the fate of the Squad. After watching Prototype and Prime lock horns on the News after announcing that they were to become the UltraForce. He runs to keep them from spreading more fear of Ultra across the planet. He finds the two hotheads engaged in a battle with warlord Atalon of the Fire People. Together they defeated the Fire People and foiled their plan of conquest of the Earth. Hardcase reluctantly becomes team leader. Hardcase eventually had to face NM-E once again. With the help of UltraForce the monster was defeated.
Argus teleported Ultraforce and a number of other Ultras, off to another dimension to retrieve the Crucible Keys. The Crucible Keys are the Roc's Egg, the Crystal Crown and the Windsword. Most of the Ultras realized that this would be a grave mistake, so they split into two groups, those that would serve Argus and those that would stand against him. Hardcase and many others fled to the Godwheel to obtain the Keys. Hardcase teamed up with Flygirl in search of the Roc's Egg. They would lose the Roc's Egg to the insidious Lord Pumpkin, who kills Flygirl. Seeing her death traumatized Hardcase once again. The surviving Ultras banish Argus, Hardcase discovered that Choice was on the Godwheel and they were briefly reunited. During this short time, he learned that she was pregnant. Later Hardcase discovered the Time Gem, one of the Infinity Gems, and using it tried to prevent the Squad’s death. He failed, but his actions created an alternate timeline. The trickster god Loki from Earth 616 then stole the gem from him.