Justin Hammer was born in Surrey, England, but resided in Monaco, France. He kept his main headquarters on a villa that was like a floating barge in the Mediterranean sea. Hammer was an industrialist like Tony Stark, but a significant part of his fortune was amassed through the funding of organized crime. When a criminal signed on as his minion, they agreed to pay him half of their profits in exchange for upgrades to their equipment and getting their bail paid in the event of an arrest.
Hammer was always seen trying to outsmart Tony Stark in every single way and shape. For example, on multiple accounts Justin has tried to kill Tony Stark and steal his Iron Man armor to build multiple prototypes for the highest bidder, good or evil.
David Michelinie and Bob Layton created Justin Hammer for the story in Iron Man #120. They set the plot while Michelinie wrote the script and John Romita, Jr did the breakdowns on the art and Layton finished the work on the art.
Justin Hammer proved to be a dangerous threat to a powerful businessman like Tony Stark. Hammer wanted to do more than defeat Stark as a business rival. Hammer viewed Stark as an obstacle that should not have gotten in his way. Hammer wanted to ruin Stark's reputation and business and became a deadly enemy for Stark's other identity as Iron Man. Stark would find a way to overcome Hammer which led to a rivalry between the two of them that lasted for years. Hammer used any opportunity he could to make life difficult for Stark. In the end, Hammer became obsessed with killing Stark.
Major Story Arcs
Justin Hammer had a significant role in a period of Tony Stark's life that became known as the Demon in a Bottle. Hammer lost a bidding contract with the country of Carnelia to Stark International. Hammer reacted in a personal manner with a vendetta against Tony Stark. Hammer planned to ruin Stark's reputation by defaming Iron Man. Hammer had his engineers build the hypersonic scan transmitter which was integral in his plans to ruin Stark. This device transmitted a signal that could breach the refractory coating of Iron Man's armor and take control of the armor. Hammer tested the device three times before attempting to take full control.
While aboard SHIELD's Helicarrier, Iron Man was eavesdropping on a group of rogue SHIELD agents who hired the first Spymaster to assassinate Stark. The spotlight feature in Iron Man's chest beam spontaneously activated and illuminated the agents.
During an underwater fight with Namor, the plexiglass sealing plates in Iron Man's helmet opened which allowed water to flood into the armor through his mouth and eye slits.
The jet booster on Iron Man's right boot jet fired up mid-flight, throwing him off balance and sending him through an office building (which was actually played out to be the Marvel Offices). Additionally, neither of his boots responded to his commands.
Iron Man dismissed the faulty actions of his armor as temporary malfunctions or glitches after a thorough diagnostics and systems check on his armor proved it to be operating according to specifications.
Hammer was satisfied with the test results and proceeded with his plan to put his transmitter into use that day when Iron Man visited the UN Building. The signing ceremony for the contract between S.I. and Carnelia was held at the UN Building and the Carnelian ambassador requested that Iron Man be present at the event. The Carnelian ambassador was a fan of Iron Man and one of the major reasons that Stark International was chosen to build the plant in Carnelia. However, during the signing ceremony, Hammer used the hypersonic device to activate Iron Man's repulsor and blasted the ambassador, killing him.
Stark began his own investigation of who was taking control of his armor. Stark learned the location of the person who set him up was in Monaco. Soon after Stark and Jim Rhodes had landed in Monaco, Stark was captured by Hammer's henchmen and brought to his headquarters via an amphibious craft. Stark learned that although Hammer was not as public a figure as Stark, Hammer's wealth and power was second only to that of Stark's influence. Stark International had been Hammer's business rival for a long time but the Carnelian contract was the most recent competition between the two. Stark also learned that losing the Carnelian contract to him was the main reason that Hammer discredited him.
Stark then tried to escape the complex, only to learn that it was a moving, floating, houseboat. Stark was put in a cell, but then he escaped again, destroyed the transmitter and changed into his Iron Man armor. Hammer sent his minions after Iron Man, who dispatched them easily, and then Hammer attempted to escape to international waters by powering up jet powered lift pods on the bottom of his floating Villa.
Iron Man cracked the structure in half but Hammer was able to escape in another vehicle with the aid of the first Spymaster. Stark was able to prove Iron Man's innocence when he captured the scientist who created the hypersonic scan transmitter. As a result of Hammer's actions, though, Stark experienced psychological repercussions.
Through the years afterward, Hammer remained active in his illegal operations. He and his minions continued to have conflicts with Iron Man and occasionally other heroes. Hammer's actions would result in another tumultuous event in the life of Tony Stark called the Armor Wars.
Hammer's role in the Armor Wars was small but possibly the most important in this event. Hammer had the first Spymaster steal some of Iron Man's armor designs, and then sold them to various individuals, including the Mauler, the Raiders, Crimson Dynamo, Stilt Man and Titanium Man. Iron Man vowed to destroy his stolen technology using negator packs which meant fighting his greatest foes. He even had to destroy some of his allies' armors to be sure that they weren't used for evil purposes. Iron Man seemed to be attacking enemies as well as friends.
Obadiah Stane, another longtime enemy of Iron Man and chairman of Stane International, committed suicide after a battle with Iron Man. Hammer secretly seized control of S.I. and immediately tried to instigate problems for Stark through it. He teamed up with other shady and criminal organizations, among them HYDRA and Roxxon Oil, to attack Stark Enterprises, which ended in failure. Hammer had to sell his stock in Stane International to Stark for only one dollar, but his revenge came when the criminal activity of the company became Stark's responsilibity.
Hammer was diagnosed with a terminal disease certain to kill him. He decided to kill Stark as his final accomplishment instead of making peace with his life. Hammer had the second Spymaster infect Stark with a cocktail of nano-bots that would control his mood. Hammer altered Stark's temperament to make him irrational, violent and a danger to himself and others. Rhodes was eventually able to help Stark even though it meant risking his life. Iron Man flew up to the space station that Hammer was using as a base that resulted in a deadly confrontation. An explosion occurred on the space station that accidentally froze Hammer in a block of ice that orbits the Earth.
Ultimate Earth Justin Hammer
Justin Hammer in the Ultimate Universe, a modern and continuity free re-imagining of the Marvel Universe, was an enemy of Spider-Man, instead of Iron Man. He was from the South and in the race between pharmaceutical companies to gain funding from the government to create the next super-soldier, He and Norman Osborn are the top competitors. However, his advances are not as legitimate as he would have everyone believe. Secretly, he experimented on human test subjects, turning two-bit crooks into such monstrosities as Electro or the Sandman.
In addition, he paid Otto Octavius, Osborn's top scientist, to feed him information. When Octavius had metal arms fused to him in a lab accident, he suspected it was Hammer's doing in an attempt to cover up his bribes. This led Octavius to hunt Hammer down, eventually finding him and attacking him in New Jersey. Spider-Man was able to stop him from murdering Hammer but in the end, Hammer died of a heart attack in his own limo.
In Other Media
Justin Hammer appeared as one of the main antagonists in Iron Man: The Animated Series. Hammer appeared in several episodes as a foe for Tony Stark and Iron Man and as an ally for the Mandarin. Hammer was voiced by Tony Steedman in Season 1 and later voiced by Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. in Season 2.
Iron Man: Armored Adventures
In season 2 of Iron Man: Armored Adventures, a young, 21 year old version Justin Hammer appears as a recurring antagonist. Voiced by Michael Adamthwaite, he appears as one of Tony's business rivals before eventually donning the Titanium Man armor to battle him one on one.
Justin Hammer appears in Season 1 of Avengers Assemble, voiced by Jason Spisak. He is introduced as a business rival of Tony Stark's who tries to discredit Iron Man and the Avengers with his Super-Adaptoid android. This is later revealed to be a ruse, as Hammer is actually working for the Red Skull in order to gain membership in the Cabal. The plan fails and Hammer is denied membership, though he does return to menace the Avenger on several occasions.
Iron Man 2
Justin Hammer appears as one of the main antagonists of Iron Man 2, portrayed by Sam Rockwell. This version of Hammer is depicted as being younger than his comic counterpart in order to further his portrayal as an "evil" version of Tony Stark. He is introduced as a rival businessman and inventor who loses a contract with the U.S. military after it is revealed that he has unsuccessfully been trying to sell knock-off versions of the Iron Man armor to foreign governments.
Hammer attempts to get revenge by recruiting Ivan Vanko, a crazed scientist with a grudge against the Stark family, to help create his own suits. After being hired to refurbish and customize James Rhodes' War Machine armor, Hammer unveils the drones Vanko created in order to pitch them to the government. Vanko hijacks the drones as part of a ploy to kill Stark, which results in Hammer being arrested.
He later makes a cameo appearance in the short film, All Hail the King, where he is shown incarcerated for his crimes.