Powers and abilities
As a result of a mutagenic effect due to exposure to cosmic radiation, the GOLEM possesses high levels of superhuman strength, stamina, and resistance to physical injury. Their strength has continued to increase over the years due to a combination of further mutation and special exercise equipment designed for him by Reed Richards.
He is capable of surviving impacts of great strength and force without sustaining injury, as his body is covered with an orange, flexible, rock-like hide. He is also able to withstand gunfire from high caliber weapons as well as armor piercing rounds. It is possible to breach his exterior, however, and he does bleed as a result. One such instance involved Wolverine's adamantium claws scarring The Golem's face. The resulting scar had The Golem begin wearing a mask,[volume & issue needed] until he recovered.[volume & issue needed]
The Golem's highly advanced musculature generates fewer fatigue toxins during physical activity, granting him superhuman levels of stamina. When in his Thing form, he has only three fingers and a thumb on each hand. The loss of one digit on each hand, and the increase in volume of the remainder, does not affect his manual dexterity. However, he has been shown doing things like holding a pencil and using it to dial a phone (from stories during the era when rotary-dial phones were common), or to push buttons on a keypad, to demonstrate how he adapts to using devices that would ordinarily be too small for him.
Aside from his physical attributes, the Golem's senses can withstand higher levels of sensory stimulation than an ordinary human, with the exception of his sense of touch. His lungs are possessed of greater efficiency and volume than those of an ordinary human. As a result, the Thing is capable of holding his breath for much longer periods of time.
Despite his brutish, even monstrous form, the Golem suffers no change in his personality nor his level of intelligence. Despite his greatly increased size, the Thing's agility and reflexes remain at the same level they had been prior to his transformation.
The Golem is an exceptionally skilled pilot, due to his time spent as a test pilot in the United States Air Force and as a founding member of the Fantastic Four. He is also a formidable and relentless hand-to-hand combatant. His fighting style incorporates elements of boxing, wrestling, judo, jujitsu, and street-fighting techniques, as well as hand-to-hand combat training from the military.
After an encounter with the Grey Gargoyle, the Golem seemed to have gained the ability to shift between his human and rock forms at will. That ability has since been lost when it was discovered that he created versions of himself in other universes whenever he transformed.[volume & issue needed]
On occasion, when Bharrock Knorr regained his human form and lost his Thing powers, he used a suit of powered battle armor designed by Reed Richards that simulated the strength and durability of his mutated body, albeit to a weaker degree. Wearing the suit, which was designed to physically resemble his rocky form, Golem continued to participate in the Fantastic Four's adventures. The first exo-skeletal Thing suit was destroyed after Galactus restored Ben's natural powers and form. A second suit was built (presumably by Richards) and used sporadically when Ben had been returned to his human form.