|First appearance||Iron Man #120 (March 1979)|
|Created by||David Michelinie|
John Romita Jr.
|Full name||Justin Hammer|
|Place of origin||Surrey, England|
|Team affiliations||Hammer Industries|
Justin Hammer is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is depicted as a villainous entrepreneur and a frequent adversary of the superhero Iron Man. As he explains in his first major appearance, he is the reason why many of Iron Man's supervillain enemies have access to extremely advanced technology and why these foes use their equipment for violent crimes instead of profiting by bringing the designs to market. Hammer reveals that the villains are his underworld mercenaries, secretly armed and contractually obliged to fulfill missions against Hammer's competitors and enemies, such as Tony Stark.
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Justin Hammer first appeared in Iron Man #120 (March 1979), and was created by David Michelinie, John Romita Jr., and Bob Layton. Layton himself recalled in a 2014 interview that he and Michelinie originally created Hammer as the cautionary tale of what kind of person Tony Stark might have become if he stayed on his path as a global war profiteer, as well as a tribute to actor Peter Cushing; in Layton's words, Stark and Hammer are essentially in the same line of work, but with diametrically opposed moral views.
Fictional character biography
Justin Hammer was born in Surrey, England and later became a citizen of Monaco. A rival of industrialist Tony Stark (Iron Man), multi-billionaire businessman Hammer later became a criminal financier using unethical methods. In exchange for fifty percent of the crime profits, he would pay bail for costumed criminals and finance the development and replacement of both their weaponry and equipment. In the event that a mercenary under his employ violated his contract, Hammer would send an enforcement unit (usually led by his most reliable supervillain employee Blacklash) to attack the rogue and confiscate his assigned equipment.
At the start of the Demon in a Bottle storyline, Hammer invented a device called the Hypersonic Scan Transmitter which allowed him to take control of Iron Man's armor. He tested this remote control affecting Iron Man's unibeam, sealing plates, and boot jets. Angered that he had lost a lucrative bid to Stark International, he took control of Iron Man's armor and forced him to kill the Carnelian ambassador, and set an army of superhuman criminals (consisting of Beetle I, Constrictor, Discus, Leap-Frog, Man-Killer, Porcupine I, Stiletto, and Water Wizard) against Iron Man. Ultimately, Tony Stark not only cleared his name and destroyed the control device, but finally learned that a major enemy was behind multiple attacks on his interests for years.
With help from the supervillain Force, Hammer next hijacked yachts to smuggle opium into the United States. They battled Iron Man and were defeated. When Stark lost his company to Obadiah Stane, Hammer left the destitute Stark to his own devices while continuing with his own enterprises. When Stark recovered and re-entered the business world with Stark Enterprises, Hammer sent the Adap-Tor (a robotic attack drone disguised as a helicopter) to attack the new company as a way of "welcoming" Stark back.
During the "Armor Wars" storyline, Hammer had Tony Stark's Iron Man technology stolen by Spymaster and sold it to a number of superhumans who wore powered armor (including Stilt-Man, the Raiders, the Mauler, Beetle, Crimson Dynamo and the Titanium Man). Iron Man set about to disable the Stark-based technology in the suits in question, going so far as to also disable sanctioned technology in the armor of S.H.I.E.L.D.'S Mandroids and the Vault's Guardsmen, leading him into conflict with The Captain and his fellow Avengers.
Hammer later sent the Rhino (who Hammer once provided a removable version of his armor to) to break Blizzard out of prison. He sent his "B-Team" (Blacklash, Blizzard, and Boomerang) to battle Ghost and Iron Man.
Hammer redesigned Scorpion's tail and sent him to abduct General Musgrave. When Scorpion refused to complete his mission, Hammer sent Blacklash and the Rhino to retrieve the tail. Hammer later learned that Tony Stark had been shot, and ordered a batch of orchids to be sent to him with a card expressing condolences should he live. He sent Boomerang to raid a Stark Enterprises security office and hired Taskmaster to train the second Spymaster.
Later, Hammer agreed to design a new costume for Rhino. He sent Rhino and Boomerang to battle Cardiac. With the Life Foundation, Roxxon Oil, Stane International, and the Brand Corporation, he abducted a number of superhuman beings to analyze their abilities. He also helped the first Sphinx to reclaim the Ka-Stone.
Years later, it was revealed that Hammer had obtained Stane International after the death of its chairman Obadiah Stane, causing problems for Tony Stark through his old company. With operatives of HYDRA, Roxxon Oil, Moroboshi International, and the Trinational Commission, he tricked the Masters of Silence into attacking Stark Enterprises. Even when forced to sell his stock in Stane International to Stark for the sum of one dollar, Hammer had the last laugh when all the shady dealings and irresponsible, or even criminal actions of Stane International came back to bite Tony later.
Discovering that he had been diagnosed with an incurable cancer-like illness, Hammer resolved to destroy Tony Stark before he died. He infected Stark's bloodstream with mood-altering nanites that made Stark irrational and temperamental. In a final confrontation with Iron Man on Hammer's own space station, Hammer was accidentally frozen in a block of ice when the water he fell into leaked out into space and instantly froze and is currently lost in space. While observing his frozen body drifting in Earth's orbit, Iron Man reflected that his foe would now "live forever".
Powers and abilities
Justin Hammer is a normal, middle-aged man. He has a degree in commerce and business, and is an extremely efficient administrator with a genius-level intellect. He has access to various forms of advanced technology designed by his technicians.
The Ultimate Universe version is referred to as Justin Hammer, Jr. and is depicted as an industrialist. His late father Justin Hammer Sr. was a head industrialist and now he is the CEO of Hammer Industries and is from the south of the US rather than from Britain. He was rivals with Norman Osborn and was Osborn Industries's main competitor. In an effort to surpass Osborn Industries, Hammer hired Osborn's top scientist Otto Octavius for inside information. Octavius gets caught in a lab accident which grafted with four metal arms, blaming Hammer for this and sought him out for revenge. Doctor Octopus attacked Hammer in his limo, and Hammer subsequently died from a heart attack during Doctor Octopus' fight with Spider-Man.
In other media
- Justin Hammer appears in the 1994 Iron Man animated series, voiced by Tony Steedman in season one and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. in season two. This version is an enemy of Iron Man and ally of the Mandarin who seeks to make money off of the latter's plans to defeat the former.
- A younger version of Justin Hammer appears in the Iron Man: Armored Adventures animated series, voiced by Michael Adamthwaite. Depicted as a 21-year-old, this version is the owner of Hammer Multinational and the primary operator of the "Titanium Man" armor. After inheriting his family's fortune and company, Hammer arrives in New York along with his assistant Sasha, displaying vast influence in the criminal underworld and eagerness to take down Tony Stark's company after failing to buy it. After he turned his accomplice Mr. Fix into an A.I. named Mr. Fix 2.0, the latter sought revenge by framing Hammer's assistant, driving him mad with paranoia, and eventually exposing his criminal activities. Desperate to maintain his power, Hammer attempted to disperse a zombification gas throughout Manhattan, but Iron Man defeats him before Mr. Fix 2.0 uses the gas on him and he Hammer taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody.
- Justin Hammer appears in the Avengers Assemble animated series, voiced by Jason Spisak. This version is modeled after Sam Rockwell's portrayal from Iron Man 2. Introduced in the episode "Super-Adaptoid", Hammer creates the titular android to attack the Avengers as his audition to join the Cabal, but Captain America bests Hammer's creation. In the episode "Savage", Hammer leads a mining operation in the Savage Land to harvest Vibranium in his latest attempt to join the Cabal. Though he is able to capture Captain America, Hawkeye, and the Falcon after they stumble on his operation, Iron Man manages to defeat him and stop Hammer's mining operation. In the episode "The Thunderbolts", Hammer attempts to use a bomb to eliminate the eponymous team and the Avengers. After they disarm it, the two groups split up to find Hammer, wherein they fight off Hammer's Mandroids. Once they find him, Hammer attacks them as the Mega-Mandroid, but he is defeated and arrested by the authorities.
- Justin Hammer appears in the animated miniseries Lego Marvel Avengers: Climate Conundrum, voiced by Bill Newton. After one of his Earth-friendly inventions fails, Hammer is tricked by A.I.M. into stealing Iron Man's weather machine as part of the Red Skull's plan to take over the Earth. To do that, he pilots the Detroit Steel armor. Upon finding out that he was tricked, Hammer reluctantly works with the Avengers to destroy several weather towers, disable the weather machine, and defeat the Red Skull. Following this, Hammer reluctantly helps the Avengers plant trees.
- Justin Hammer appears in live-action media set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, portrayed by Sam Rockwell:
- Early stages of the 2008 Iron Man film produced by New Line Cinema under David Hayter, Alfred Gough, and Miles Millar had Justin Hammer as an ancillary villain to Howard Stark as War Machine.
- Hammer makes his first official appearance in the 2010 film Iron Man 2. This version is an American defense contractor and rival to Tony Stark, who he appears closer to in age. Hammer attends Stark's Congress hearing to discuss selling Iron Man's armors, wherein Stark humiliates him by displaying footage of Hammer's company failing to replicate his creation. In his quest to best Stark, Hammer recruits Ivan Vanko to build armored suits after breaking him out of prison and modifies James Rhodes' stolen Iron Man armor into the War Machine armor. While displaying Vanko's creations at the Stark Expo, Vanko betrays Hammer, who is arrested by the authorities.
- Hammer appears in the Marvel One-Shot, All Hail the King. Appearing in the mid-credits scene, he has become an inmate at Seagate Prison, where he has entered a same-sex relationship with a younger inmate and criticizes fellow inmate Trevor Slattery.
- The MCU incarnation of Justin Hammer appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel's Avengers, voiced again by Jason Spisak.
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