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While flying a mission 80,000 feet over Red China, Major Matthew Gibbs and his U-2 aircraft are vaporized by Communist nuclear missiles. Instead of being killed in the heat of the blast, gibbs inherits the ability to telepathically direct atomic power. However, in order to use this power, he must first dematerialize through sheer force of will. After sending a nuclear blast to wipe out the Chinese show shot at him, Gibbs returns home. There, his CIA superior Jim Clarke code-names him Nukla.
In human form, Nukla can be cut, poisoned or shot. However, if he immediately dematerializes and remains unreconstituted for several minutes, he will recover. As Nukla, he can discharge low-radiation, no-fallout, destructive nuclear blasts, fly and instanteously transport himself to any point on the globe. His only weakness is extreme cold.