Justin Hammer is character that appears in the Marvel Comics He is a business rival of Tony Stark and is one of Tony's arch-enemies, particularly in the Michelinie-Layton era.

History

Justin Hammer was born in the British town of Guildford - the heart of Southern England's Surry County. He graduated from Oxford with a degree in commerce and business, and set up Hammer Industries in London, but eventually moved to Monaco for tax purposes. At some point he married and had a daughter, Justine, who he ruthlessly groomed to be the eventual heir to his dynasty. By the time Tony Stark had become Iron Man, Hammer was a widower, and Justine had her own daughter, Sasha.

Hammer Indstrusties had become one of the world's leading weapons suppliers after Stark International had moved out of weapons productions. However, Hammer had other manufacturing interests besides weapons, and in those interests, Stark had the edge.

While Hammer initially did not know that Iron Man and Tony Stark were the same man, he did conclude that any plans against Stark International would be doomed to fail unless the Armored Avenger was destroyed. Operating through a series of proxies that could not be traced back to him, Hammer reached out to several "Jobbers" - supervillains who were tough enough to survive numerous encounters with the Avengers, but not powerful enough to be a threat on their own - and proposed a lucrative arrangement: In exchange for working as mercenaries for him, Hammer would finance the development and replacement of their weaponry and equipment. If they were captured, he would use his pull within the legal system to ensure their incarceration was relatively short. His fee was half the profits of their criminal enterprises. Whiplash became his primary enforcer, and would also serves as the executioner who would punish anyone who violated the terms of their contract. Although Iron Man had suspected that a mysterious benefactor had been upgrading the equipment of his long-time enemies and securing their releases from prison, there was no way for him to prove who it was... any paper trail invariably led to a fake shell corporation.

Hammer Industries and Stark International were in a fierce bidding war for the rights to build industrial plants in the Republic of Carnelia. Ultimately, Stark won out, as his proposal promised more jobs and cleaner energy sources. Angered by being outbid, Hammer plotted revenge. He hired a talented robotics prodigy, Dr. Phillip Barnett, to build a device called Hypersonic Scan Transmitter, which could emit an Electronic Low Frequency (E.L.F.) signal that could neutralize the controls of Iron Man's Model 4 armor and manipulate its actions. Hammer had Dr. Barnett carefully time the field tests so they could easily be mistaken for random malfunctions.

Iron Man finally gets evidence to support his theory of a mysterious "Big Bad" behind his recent troubles when he thwarts a robbery in Atlantic City by Whiplash, Blizzard, and Melter; Whiplash is eager to avenge his previous defeat, but is reminded that "Mr. Hammer" wants Iron Man alive. Not long after, Iron Man meets the Carnelian ambassador, Sergei Kotznin, in a Public Relations event, when his armor malfunctions, resulting in Sergei getting killed by a repulsor blast, and Iron Man publicly viewed as a murderer.

While Iron Man agrees to have his armor impounded, he secretly has Ant-Man infiltrate Ryker's Island to interrogate Whiplash. Whiplash reveals what he knows about Hammer, but by this point Hammer is ready to reveal himself to Iron Man, so he arranges for Whiplash and his accomplices to be released in anticipation for the confrontation. Stark has Rhodey fly him to Monaco, where he acts like stereotypical obnoxious American tourist and allows himself to get arrested. Hammer's private militia arrive in short order, taking Stark to Hammer's private villa. Hammer reveals himself as the mastermind behind Stark's recent troubles, and then reveals he has no chance of escape, they are actually on a giant floating fortress in international waters. Stark escapes confinement and retrieves his briefcase, containing a spare set of Iron Man armor. He makes short work of Hammer's henchmen and captures Dr. Barnett. While Barnett's confession ultimately exonerates Iron Man, Hammer's connections ensured he was not implicated in the crime.

Hammer kept relatively quiet during Iron Man's feud with Obadiah Stane. Stane's machinations eventually drove Stark into exile, forcing Rhodey to take up the mantle of Iron Man. Hammer never bothered him, it was as though he somehow managed to sense he was not the "real" Iron Man. Once Stark finally defeated Stane, Hammer bought shares of stock for Stane International on the cheap, expanding his assets. He then "welcomed" Stark's return by sending the Adapt-Tor, a transformable weaponize drone, to attack Iron Man.

Eventually, Force, one of the mercenaries that had accepted Hammer's contracts, had decided he wanted to go straight. Hammer responded by sending Whiplash, Beetle, and Blizzard to eliminate him. Iron Man defended the defector from his would-be executioners, and in scanning Force's armor, discovered that Hammer had been upgrading several of his mercenaries with "S-chip" technology stolen from Stark Industries.

Hammer eventually discovered that he had terminal cancer. Though he accepted his fate and had no desire to cheat death, he did want to live long enough to see the war against Stark finally end. By this point, he had discovered that Iron Man and Tony Stark were one and the same. He retreated to an orbital space station, where the null-gravity slowed the advance of his disease, and prepared his final showdown against Iron Man. He hired Spymaster to go after Iron Man, injecting him with a nano-virus developed by Dr. Barnett that slowly affected Stark's sanity. Stark was eventually cured with help from Rhodey and Jocasta, and set out to confront Hammer as Iron Man. During the final confrontation, Iron Man defeats several of Hammer's troops before he is suspended in an energy field above a pool of water. He is distracted when Barnett, fearing the battle had negatively impacted the station's structural integrity, flees in an escape pod. In a show of spite, Hammer activates the pod's self destruct system. However, given the pod's close proximity to the station, the explosion knocks Hammer off his feet and sends him falling into the pool. Iron Man set himself free from the field and blasted a hole through the station’s hull; Hammer was blown into space with the water and instantly froze. He was last seen drifting through space in a block of ice, with Iron Man musing to Rhodes that, in a weird way, he will live forever.

Legacy

After Hammer's death, the "Hammer Girls" carried on his villainous legacy, taking full advantage of the events of World's Most Wanted and Stark Disassembled to turn Hammer Industries into the premier Defense Contactor. While Justin Hammer was a villainous version of Tony Stark's businessman persona, Sasha does it one better by serving as the Captain of the Detroit Steel Corps, wearing a suit of armor reminiscent of her grandfather's favorite enforcer.

Quotes

"My passion for privacy has given new meaning to the word 'houseboat'."
―Justin Hammer, describing his elaborate floating fortress
"Have you ever wondered where some of your foes get the money to develop their weapons, pay their bail, replace their broken equipment? It is my pleasure to offer sanctuary and financial aid to those gentlemen and ladies...for a mere 50% of their profits."
―Justin Hammer, Demon In a Bottle
"I know many things, but the awareness that I've finally bested you is the sweetest knowledge of all!"
―Justin Hammer, Bad Blood

Notes

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Trivia

  • Justin Hammer's appearance was modeled after actor Peter Cushing.

Gallery

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References

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External Links

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