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|First appearance||The Amazing Spider-Man #113 (October 1972)|
|Created by||Gerry Conway
John Romita, Sr.
|Notable aliases||Mr. H|
Highly skilled criminal organizer
Excellent street fighter
Superhuman strength, durability and endurance
Adamantium-laced skull and upper body
Hammerhead is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is primarily an enemy of Spider-Man and a member of organized crime who exists in Marvel's main shared universe, known as the Marvel Universe.
He is closely associated with the Hammerhead "Family", a Maggia crime family. Hammerhead distinguishes himself from other villains in that he dresses up and acts somewhat like a gangster from the 1920s. Due to an injury he suffered, much of his skull was replaced with an unbendable steel alloy by Jonas Harrow, giving his head a flattened shape.
Conception and creation
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Hammerhead was created by The Amazing Spider-Man writer Gerry Conway and artist John Romita, Sr. Conway recalled that Hammerhead "was most directly influenced by the Big Man and the Crime-Master, who were among the first villains in Amazing Spider-Man. One of the more interesting things Stan [Lee], Jack Kirby, and, of course, Steve Ditko did was combining the two different kinds of milieus: superhero and Dick Tracy, with the unusual criminal characters who had some kind of physical deformity. ... Plus, Hammerhead - I liked [the] name, and John Romita came up with an interesting look. The character first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #113.
Fictional character biography
Hammerhead's family immigrated from Russia to Italy when he was a child. His father ran a garage in Toirrano, where he insisted the young man speak only in Russian, beating him severely with a mallet when he would not. Though not much is known about his life before he became an evil criminal and supervillain, he is known to have a sister.
All the while, Hammerhead dreamed of becoming a gangster. He is eventually recruited into one of the "families" of the criminal organization known as the Maggia, the Marvel Universe version of the Mafia, when a member oversees Hammerhead murdering a childhood bully and his girlfriend in a theatre showing The Godfather Part II. Originally a small-time hit-man, Hammerhead quickly rises through the ranks of the Maggia, while hiding the fact that he's actually Russian so he can be "made". In his final test, Hammerhead is brought to his father's garage (with the Maggia apparently unaware of their relationship), where he proceeds to kill his father, while telling him in Russian that he doesn't truly hate him, and that he made him (Hammerhead) this way.
One day, Hammerhead was found beaten, disfigured, and delirious with pain in an alley in New York City's Bowery by Jonas Harrow, a surgeon who had lost his medical license due to his illegal experiments. Seeing the opportunity both to save this man's life and to redeem his reputation, Harrow operated on the gunman for three days, replacing much of his shattered skull with a strong steel alloy. During the surgery, the unconscious thug fixated on the only memory he retained: an image of a poster for a movie called "The Al Capone Mob", which was hanging in the alley where he lay beaten and bloodied before Harrow found him. When he recovered, the memory of the poster and its images of 1930s-era gangsters prompted Hammerhead to start a gang of his own in the style of Capone and other mobsters of the 1920s. He even dressed as if he were living in that decade. Later on,[volume & issue needed] Hammerhead's entire skull was replaced with or reinforced with some type of nearly unbreakable metal (possibly vibranium or secondary adamantium).
A gang war broke out between Hammerhead's mob and Doctor Octopus's criminal organization. Hammerhead was forced to flee the country due to Spider-Man's interference. He later had a rematch with Doctor Octopus next to an atomic breeder reactor on a remote Canadian island which caused a chain reaction, blasting Hammerhead "out of phase" with this dimension. Some time later, he appeared as an immaterial ghost-like being to haunt Doctor Octopus. Doctor Octopus then unwittingly restored Hammerhead to a material state. Hammerhead kidnapped Spider-Man's Aunt May who was then rescued by Spider-Man as Doctor Octopus caused Hammerhead's helicopter to plummet into the Hudson River.
Hammerhead then proposed that all Maggia "families" unite under his leadership. Wearing a strength-enhancing exoskeleton, he battled the Human Torch who then fused the exoskeleton's power pack. Hammerhead was nearly assassinated by the Kingpin's Arranger during a gang war. Hammerhead was forced out of a major role in New York City organized crime by the Kingpin.
Hammerhead then allied himself with the Chameleon in the latter's bid to become the new crime lord of New York City. The two served as partners in a splinter group of the Maggia. Hammerhead hired Tombstone as a bodyguard and hit-man. He hired the Hobgoblin to kill Joe Robertson, who posed a threat to Tombstone; the assassination attempt failed. Hammerhead was kidnapped and beaten by Tombstone, who had gained superhuman powers and resented Hammerhead for not sending him to kill Joe Robertson.
Hammerhead later attended a Las Vegas crime conference to divide the resources left by the Kingpin's downfall at the time. Around this time he participates in a multi-sided gang-war focused on the Kingpin's attempt to re-take New York City for his own.
Hammerhead is a major player in underworld activities in the Marvel Universe and is highly sought after for elimination by the Punisher. He is currently one of several gang warlords struggling to control the criminal underworld in the major cities of the Eastern United States. During one of the first meetings of such warlords, Hammerhead was almost killed by the Strucker twins Fenris. This meeting was being manipulated by Baron Von Strucker, the head of HYDRA. When Don Fortunato made a bid for control of the New York underworld, Hammerhead opposed him and was almost killed as a result. When every other crime lord surrendered to Fortunato and his HYDRA allies, Hammerhead went rogue, launching a raid on Fortunato's home and successfully fighting off a HYDRA attack on his own headquarters. He did have assistance from Spider-Man and Morbius, the Living Vampire. For a time, the hero known as S.H.O.C. also assists Hammerhead. Later he was hired as by Norman Osborn to be a part of the Sinister Twelve.[volume & issue needed]
During the events of the Civil War, Hammerhead used the vacuum left by the incarceration of the Kingpin to gain a greater foothold in the ranks of organized crime, attempting to organize an army of costumed villains (consisting of the Ani-Men V, Answer I, Aura, Bloodshed, Clown, Cyclone III, Discus, Electro, Great Gambonnos, Kangaroo II, Man Mountain Marko, Mauler, Mindblast, Override, Ringmaster, Stiletto, Spot, Squid, Trapster, and Will O' The Wisp) to enforce his new criminal empire. The Kingpin manipulated various hero factions, most notably S.H.I.E.L.D. and Iron Man into breaking up Hammerhead's first convening of his army. During the conflict, Hammerhead was shot numerous times by Fisk's agent Underworld, who later confronted Hammerhead while he lay in prison. Underworld then shot Hammerhead at point-blank range with adamantium bullets.
The bullets, while not penetrating his skull, did cause severe trauma to his brain, resulting him in needing surgery, but the hospital he was brought to was unable to treat him. In mid-surgery however, men working for Mister Negative came in, killed the hospital staff, and took Hammerhead away. Mister Negative then has his surgeon Doctor Tramma revive Hammerhead and offers to transplant his brain into a new robotic adamantium skeleton, which Hammerhead agrees to.
The operation is a complete success, and Hammerhead is restored to full mobility without any ill effects. He swears loyalty to Mister Negative in exchange for his restored life, and proceeds to shape a gang of lowlife thugs into an effective army for his benefactor. He then proceeds to battle Spider-Man, besting him with no effort for the first time in years. Later, he has a rematch with Spider-Man, with Spider-Man dislocating Hammerhead's hip bone.
Mister Negative sends Hammerhead to help Spider-Man (who Mister Negative corrupted) take down the Hood, who launches an attack on Negative's headquarters. He blackmails H.A.M.M.E.R. director Norman Osborn into forcing Hood to pull out of Chinatown.
Hammerhead later begins to doubt his loyalty to Mister Negative when Silvermane appears to return.[volume & issue needed] Unknown to Hammerhead, it is actually an android controlled by Mysterio to plant such seeds of rebellion. Nevertheless, he flees a shootout with the Maggia when the Silvermane robot calls him a traitor. It is shown that Mister Negative had a computer chip put in Hammerhead's head to deliver an electroshock when necessary, which he promptly uses to punish him and remind him who is in charge.[volume & issue needed]
During the Origin of the Species storyline, Hammerhead and Mister Negative are among the supervillains invited by Doctor Octopus to join his supervillain team promising them that will receive a reward in exchange for securing some specific items for him.
Powers and abilities
Hammerhead has no superhuman abilities, yet his skull is now surgically reinforced with vibranium, or adamantium, making his head flat on top; with this, he can charge and break through objects such as brick walls without causing any pain or damage to himself. This metal can absorb physical impacts that would otherwise fracture human bone. Hammerhead is in peak physical condition comparable to that of an Olympic level athlete. He is a formidable hand-to-hand combatant whose most dangerous tactic is charging head-first like a bull toward an opponent. Hammerhead once utilized a strength-enhancing exoskeleton designed by the Tinkerer.
After an assassin's adamantium bullet penetrated a part of his head not protected by his adamantium skull, Hammerhead is surgically rebuilt by Mister Negative. Breakout surgeries replace the upper half of his skeleton with an adamantium endo-skeleton (the skeleton is shown to have a network of hydraulic servomechanisms). The upper portion of his body is now superhumanly strong as a result of the additional, hidden, cybernetic musculature, making him able to effortlessly beat a superpowered foe such as Spider-Man. Mister Negative does not use on Hammerhead the same Lord Dark Wind bonding process, used on the similarly empowered Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike for coating their bones in adamantium: instead he replaces Hammerhead's bones with replicas fashioned in the invulnerable metal. It is still unknown how his artificial skeleton can carry on biological functions.
The intervention of Mr. Negative also radically changed Hammerhead's personality. Hammerhead now recalls his life as Russian immigrant prior to the accident in which he adopted the 1920s gangster persona. Consequently, Hammerhead no longer speaks like a 1920s movie gangster, but instead behaves as a typical modern Russian mobster and hit-man, as this was apparently his original personality prior to his head injury.
Hammerhead is highly skilled in the organization, concealment, and management of criminal enterprises. He is an effective hit-man, a skilled marksman (his preferred weapon was the Thompson submachine gun), and an excellent street fighter. In his original incarnation Hammerhead was able to hold his own against Spider-Man despite being an ordinary human by using his superhumanly durable skull as a blunt instrument. After his recent augmentation he is now capable of grappling with and physically overpowering Spider-Man to the extent that he could eventually crush his foe.
House of M
In the House of M reality, Hammerhead is one of the gang leaders defeated by Luke Cage in his rise to power in Sapien Town.
In the Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness miniseries, Hammerhead briefly appears, along with the Owl and the Kingpin at a meeting to discuss how to survive the zombie outbreak. This version of Hammerhead is ultimately killed by the Punisher.
A more realistic version of Hammerhead appears as one of the antagonists of the Marvel MAX series Cage. Here, he is named Sonny "Hammer" Caputo, and is portrayed as a Mafia boss at war with Lonnie "Tombstone" Lincoln. Luke Cage states that Caputo's nickname comes from his grossly-misshapen head, which does not possess any superhuman attributes in this continuity.
The Ultimate Marvel version of Hammerhead first appears in Ultimate X-Men issues thirteen and fourteen as a mobster who has killed the parents of a little girl. The girl stumbles upon local street performer/magician Gambit, taking the girl in and decides to protect her from the mob. The girl is kidnapped and Gambit goes on a rampage to find her, blindly running into an ambush Hammerhead set up. Gambit gets out of the ambush and chases Hammerhead down. In the end, Gambit charges Hammerhead's inorganic skull full of bio-kinetic energy and causes his head to explode. It is also known his first name is Joseph.
In Ultimate Spider-Man, Hammerhead was revealed to have survived Gambit's attack, though how is not explained ("It sucked. I came back."). He kills Silvermane in the beginning of the Warriors story arc and becomes the Enforcers' new leader. He burns down one of the Kingpin's warehouses. After an intense battle with Spider-Man, Black Cat, Moon Knight, Iron Fist, and Shang-Chi, he was put in a coma when Elektra brutally stabbed him in the chest with her sai and flung him out a window.
Age of Ultron
During the Age of Ultron storyline, a reality where Ultron nearly annihilated the human race has Hammerhead and Owl capturing Superior Spider-Man and hoped to trade him to Ultron. Hawkeye came to Superior Spider-Man's rescue as the Ultron Sentinels attack.
In other media
- Hammerhead appeared in the 1980s Spider-Man cartoon series, voiced by William Boyett. Hammerhead was said to maintain crime in the mid-west. In the episode "Wrath of the Sub-Mariner", he alongside Silvermane (and his henchman Man Mountain Marko) and Caesar Cicero meet with the Kingpin when his scientist Dr. Everett has created a dissolving fluid. He is webbed up by Spider-Man.
- Hammerhead appeared in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, voiced by Nicky Blair. In this version, his head is laced with adamantium. He first appeared in the "Insidious Six" two-parter as one of Silvermane's loyal henchmen and amongst the other crime lords against the Kingpin. He was hired by Silvermane that since the Kingpin failed to kill Spider-Man, he was supposed to have the Kingpin killed. But the Kingpin used the Insidious Six, the team that failed to kill Spider-Man but managed to successfully kidnap Silvermane, however, Silvermane escaped thanks to Spider-Man. Later, Silvermane hired Hammerhead again to steal the Tablet of Time so Silvermane can get his own restored youth, as the Tablet of Time's ability was to restore youth into elderly people like Silvermane. But when Hammerhead failed due to the arrival of Spider-Man, Silvermane was displeased of Hammerhead's failure and even though Silvermane did not fire him, he was told that someone new and better will be hired. Hammerhead secretly quit Silvermane and started working for the Kingpin. After Alistair Smythe (Kingpin's right-hand man) stole the Tablet of Time from Dr. Curt Connors and Tombstone (Silvermane's new hired man) had kidnapped Connors, Hammerhead figured out Tombstone had also kidnapped Vanessa Fisk even though the Kingpin didn't know about it until Silvermane sent a note, telling about the hostage. So Hammerhead kidnapped Alisha Silver (Silvermane's daughter) before the Kingpin knew about Vanessa's kidnapping, and the Kingpin was pleased about Hammerhead's work. When Silvermane then figured out Hammerhead's betrayal and kidnapped Alisha, Silvermane and the Kingpin organized a meeting that Alistair's robot and Spider-Man had intervened. Hammerhead tried to re-kidnap Alicia but the helicopter he was kidnapping Alisha in was out of control and landed on a roof. Spider-Man then arrived and defeated Hammerhead, but Alicia then used a stun-blaster on Spider-Man, knocking out and kidnapping Spider-Man. Alistair then used his own robot again to steal the Tablet of Time from Silvermane (as Tombstone had stolen the Tablet of Time and kidnapped Dr. Conners and his wife) but when the robot was defeated, the Kingpin sent Hammerhead to retrieve the Tablet of Time. While Spider-Man was dealing with the Lizard, Silvermane, Tombstone and Alicia, Hammerhead slipped by and stole the Tablet of Time with the good guys thinking it was destroyed in the explosion of Silvermane's building, as Alicia wanted this process to come because Alisha blamed everyone against her about her father becoming a baby (as Silvermane actually overused the Tablet of Time) and tried to kill them by blowing the building up with them inside, though all of them escaped. After Vanessa left him because of his life of crime, the Kingpin thanked Hammerhead for successfully taking the Tablet of Time but told him to get rid of it, as it has led to the destruction of his relationship with his wife. Hammerhead did do as what the Kingpin told him to - by selling it to Adrian Toomes for the villain to put his own plans into action by the two-part second season finale.
- Hammerhead appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man, voiced by John DiMaggio. This incarnation is much less belligerent and more cool-headed and intelligent than he was portrayed in the original animated series. He also uses brass knuckles as weapons unlike other interpretations of the character, but retains his usual strength. His hair also is presented as being parted and joining at his forehead, as opposed to the other versions of the character, and lacks a vest under his jacket. An enforcer of the Big Man of Crime, he acts on his boss's behalf call out various forces to take out Spider-Man; first the Enforcers, then giving Montana some equipment, and finally contacting Norman Osborn to make supervillains to distract Spider-Man from the Big Man's operations. He bails Flint Marko and Alex O'Hirn out of jail only to subject the two to Oscorp's illegal experiments that turn the criminals into the supervillains Sandman and Rhino. Hammerhead later speaks with Osborn about the Green Goblin's interference. Hammerhead ends up kidnapped by the Goblin but is rescued by Spider-Man and the Big Man. He's later seen helping the Sinister Six and the Enforcers break out of jail and employing Sandman to steal a large oil tanker for profit. Prior to being the Big Man's henchman, Hammerhead once worked for Silvermane, and was in a romantic relationship with his ex-boss's daughter Silver Sable. He represents the Big Man in a bid organized by Oscorp to sell a chip that could produce Rhino soldiers. When Silver Sable shows to the meeting, he resents Silver Sable and tries to outbid Silver Sable only to be beaten by Roderick Kingsley. Hammerhead goes after Kingsley and Sable. But when Spider-Man and Rhino interfere, he reluctantly teams up with his ex-lover to fight Spider-Man and Rhino. He escapes police custody. Hammerhead becomes angered when the Big Man contacts the Enforcers directly and without his help. The Big Man stating being fed up with all of Hammerhead's various failures, from supervillains' creations, to the Sandman oil tanker fiasco, and the Rhino chip failure. When Hammerhead contacts Osborn in creating yet another supervillain, Osborn gives him advice that inspires him to betray the Big Man, starting by sabotaging the Enforcers' escape from the police. Hammerhead later secretly calls a Valentine's Day meeting between the Big Man, Doctor Octopus and Silvermane. There, he betrays everyone all by attacking Silver Sable and Vulture and framing this on his boss, causing the crime lords to fight against one other. He is fired after the Big Man gets arrested. It is later revealed that Hamerhead's actions were encouraged and manipulated by the Goblin using Hammerhead to take down the Big Man.
- Hammerhead appears in Ultimate Spider-Man vs. The Sinister Six, voiced by Jon Polito in one of his final works before the actor's passing. Seen only in the Noir universe, this version is a gang rival of Joe Fixit. He was behind a building fire that Fixit tried to hold up while the people inside were being evacuated at the cost of Mary Jane Watson's life which Spider-Man Noir blames Fixit for. In the episode "Return to the Spider-Verse" [Pt. 3], Spider-Man and Kid Arachnid arrive in the middle of Hammerhead's war with Fixit as Spider-Man Noir prevents any interference. When Martin Li gets ahold of Hammerhead's Siege Perilous fragment, Mister Negative transmutates Hammerhead into stone and takes over his gang. After Mister Negative's defeat, Hammerhead and everyone else that were petrified were restored to normal.
- Hammerhead appeared in the Spider-Man Animated Series video game. In the SNES version he only appeared on Amazing or Speculator mode on the Construction Zone level. In the Genesis version, he appeared on the "Deconstruction Zone", "The Mean Streets of the City" and "The Ravencroft Prison for the Insane" levels.
- Hammerhead is a boss in Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro, voiced by Dee Bradley Baker. In the game, Hammerhead is joined by Electro, Sandman, Beetle and Shocker. When it came to Electro's plans to abduct Dr. Watts, he introduces Hammerhead who goes through the Villains Insurance Policy. He and his Henchmen break into the New York City Science Industry Ball. His men hold several people hostage while Hammerhead goes after Dr. Watts. After Spider-Man defeats all of Hammerhead's men and free the hostages, he goes to face Hammerhead. After Spider-Man buys time for Dr. Watts to escape, Hammerhead sent his men to go after Dr. Watts. Meanwhile, Spider-Man and Hammerhead have an intense fight. Spider-Man defeats him by making his steel head crash into several walls, making him dizzy and then, Spider-Man punches Hammerhead unconscious. He was later seen in prison playing cards with Shocker as Electro rants about Spider-Man ruining his plans. Hammerhead tells Electro to shut up and then asks Shocker if he knows any other card games since all he knows is how to play poker.
- Hammerhead briefly appeared as a villain in Spider-Man: Mysterio's Menace. He had been helping Mysterio get some holographic technology with Big Wheel, Electro, Rhino and Scorpion.
- A Marvel Noir version of Hammerhead appears as a boss in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, with John DiMaggio reprising his role from The Spectacular Spider-Man. While he does not appear in the original Noir comics, the developers felt "he would be a perfect fit for the Noir universe". Joseph Lorenzini is a man who was born with a deformed head and a flat, but very thick skull. He worked as a circus freak as the "Human Bulldozer", before being recruited by Norman Osborn and taking the new name "Hammerhead", despite his 6th grade education. He is sent to New Jersey to retrieve one of the fragments of the Tablet of Order and Chaos. However, he misuses the fragment to become more powerful and plans to ovethrow Osborn and take over New York's criminal underworld. His regular Thompson 70 machine guns are replaced with a Vulcan machine gun and a missile launcher and has been fused to his arms when he uses the power of the fragment. Spider-Man manages to defeat him and claim the fragment. During the credits, he is shown in prison with ribbons tangled in twin Tommy guns he wields.
- Hammerhead is featured as a boss in the Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
- Hammerhead appears in the mobile version of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Also, Shocker mentions that Hammerhead's crew is among those in fear of Cletus Kasady's killing spree. Jean DeWolff's police files mention Hammerhead as a major gang boss currently active in New York.
- Hammerhead can be seen in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. He is seen alongside Kingpin when Spider-Man foils their bank robbery.
- Dan Slott (w), Marcos Martin (p), Marcos Martin (i). "Mysterioso, Part 1: Un-Murder Incorporated" The Amazing Spider-Man #618 (March 2010), United States: Marvel Comics
- Williams, Scott E. (October 2010). "Gerry Conway: Everything but the Gwen Stacy Sink". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (44): 7.
- Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2012). "1970s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. Dorling Kindersley. p. 63. ISBN 978-0756692360.
Writer Gerry Conway made his first major contribution to the Spider-Man saga...a new mobster was on the rise in New York's underworld - Hammerhead.
- Amazing Spider-Man EXTRA! #1 (July 2008)
- Sanderson, Peter (2007). The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City. New York City: Pocket Books. p. 18. ISBN 1-4165-3141-6.
- The Amazing Spider-Man #113-115
- The Amazing Spider-Man #130-131
- The Amazing Spider-Man #157-159
- Fantastic Four #233
- The Amazing Spider-Man #284-288
- Web of Spider-Man #51
- Spectacular Spider-Man #157
- Spectacular Spider-Man #161
- Web of Spider-Man #68
- Daredevil #307-309; Nomad #4-6; Punisher War Journal #46-48
- Spider-Man: Made Men #1 (August 1998)
- Civil War: War Crimes #1 (February 2007)
- The Amazing Spider-Man #575
- Dark Reign: Mister Negative #2-3
- The Amazing Spider-Man #642
- John Layman (w). "Marvel Team-Ups" Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness 2 (2007), Marvel Comics and Dynamite Entertainment
- Cage #2
- Ultimate X-Men #13
- Ultimate X-Men #14
- Ultimate Sider-Man #79-85
- Age of Ultron #1
- Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #12
- Hammerhead at Marvel.com