Emil Hamilton

    Character » Emil Hamilton appears in 313 issues.

    A scientific genius and one-time friend to Superman, and now the mysterious villain Ruin.

    Short summary describing this character.

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    Little is known about Emil Hamilton's early life. A scientific genius, he attended university and completed a Ph.D. in an unknown but presumably science-related field. He at some became employed by the US government and found work at STAR Labs.


    Emil Hamilton was created by Marv Wolfman.

    Character Evolution

    Modern Age

    In his early appearances Hamilton was portrayed as a heroic character. He has slowly made the transition into villainy.

    Major Story Arcs

    Superman's Friend

    Driven mad by Lex Luthor's constant theft of his ideas, Hamilton is briefly held in a mental institution where he recovers from the stress. Upon his release he takes up residence in the Suicide Slums and becomes involved with Superman as the superhero's scientific adviser. During this time he provides numerous technological supports to aid in his adventures, including the Phantom Zone Projector, powered suits, and robots.

    Death of Superman

    When Superman comes under attack by Doomsday, Hamilton attempts to aid the hero. He creates a laser cannon which he and Bibbo Bibbowski use against the creature. The cannon hurts Doomsday, but it is destroyed shortly after its inaugural use, when Doomsday falls onto it. After the two combatants have exhausted each other and Superman lies apparently dead, Hamilton attempts to revive the hero with a CPR device. His efforts fail and Superman is declared dead. Hamilton is overcome with guilt because of his inability to save his friend.

    The Fall of Metropolis

    During the chaos of the Fall of Metropolis, Hamilton is tasked by Superman to attempt to reverse engineer one of the helmets belonging to Team Luthor soldiers. After the release of the hallucinogenic gas over Metropolis he is attacked by one of the affected citizens and shot in the arm. Despite his injury he is able to enact his plan to disperse the hallucinogen by dumping enzymes in the bay. Assisted by Superman, he manages to disperse the cloud. Despite Superman's best efforts to get him adequate medical care, the wound to his arm is too serious, and it is amputated. He later creates a cybernetic arm with which to replace his lost limb.


    Upon the arrival of John Henry Irons to Metropolis, Hamilton begins to feel that he is superfluous to Superman, who now has Irons to rely on for technological support. During the B13 Event he vanishes from the city, resurfacing some time later as Overmind, leading a cult that is planning to resurrect Brainiac. Following the defeat of the gang he claims that the Brainiac technology in his cybernetic arm was responsible for his actions. As this is apparently the case, he soon returns to his position as friend and assistant to Superman.


    Becoming convinced that Superman's presence on Earth was slowly draining the Sun of energy and would eventually lead to the destruction of the Earth, Hamilton takes on the persona of Ruin and begins attacking Superman's loved ones. He also dedicates a great deal of time to framing Pete Ross, one of Superman's close friends and the current President of the United States. He ultimately reveals his true identity to Superman and attacks the hero, apparently killing Mr. Mxyzptlk in the process. The pair fight, and Superman is ultimately able to defeat his erstwhile friend and rescue his hostages Ross, Lana Lang, and their child. Defeated, Hamilton is then imprisoned

    Infinite Crisis

    Hamilton, still going by Ruin, joins Alex Luthor's Society of Super-Villains and aids them in carrying out Luthor's plans.

    Powers and Abilities

    Hamilton possesses a genius-level intellect, specializing in the area of technology and science. He is able to use his intellect to engineer a vast number of useful gadgets. He possesses a cybernetic arm that has a number of abilities that he has built into it. As Ruin he wears a super-powered suit that he has specifically designed to take advantage of Superman's weaknesses. It also allows him teleportation through a connection to the Phantom Zone.

    Other Media


    The DCAU

    Hamilton makes his first DC Animated Universe appearance in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "A Little Piece of Home". He remains a recurring supporting character throughout the remainder of the series. Similarly to his comic appearance, Hamilton is portrayed initially as a supporter of Superman, and provides him with a great deal of supportive technology. However, over the course of the series he begins to grow mistrustful of metahumans, culminating in the episode "Legacy," when a desperate Superman threatens him into saving Supergirl. His distrust for Superman and other heroes is carried forwards into his appearances in Justice League Unlimited. He is a secret supporter of Amanda Waller and Cadmus, providing the genetic sample that enables the creation of the Supergirl clone Galatea. He is voiced in Superman: The Animated Series by Victor Brandt, and by Robert Foxworth in Justice League Unlimited .


    Man of Steel

    Emil Hamilton was in the 2013 reboot of the Superman film franchise, Man of Steel. He was portrayed as a scientist working alongside the military to analyze and investigate any and all things alien. Hamilton was played by American actor Richard Schiff.


    Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

    Hamilton appears in two episodes in this series, "That Old Gang of Mine" and "Return of the Prankster". In his first appearance he is a STAR Labs scientist who clones Al Capone, and is forced by the clone to create clones of numerous other notorious criminals. He is rescued from his criminal creations by Superman. In his second appearance he uses his scientific skills to aid Superman in defeating the Prankster, providing him with insight into the villain's weapons, as well as special contact lenses. He is portrayed by John Pleshette.


    Hamilton makes his first physical appearance in the episode "Bulletproof". Unlike his comics portrayal, this version of the character is a medical doctor who is hired by Oliver Queen to care for the members of the Justice League. He appears as a recurrent supporting character throughout the remainder of the series. He supports all of the heroes in the show, and also unlike his comics appearance never turns against the heroes. He is portrayed by Alessandro Juliani.

    Video Games

    Superman 64

    Hamilton appears as a supporting character who is kidnapped by Lex Luthor.

    Superman Returns

    Hamilton makes a brief cameo appearance in this game.


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