- "We had a contract: I saved your life, and you give me suits! That was our deal, and you did not deliver. I don't know if you're a genius or a fraud. I don't know what you are. Something really, really great fell into my lap. And if it hadn't, I'd be at your mercy tonight."
- ―Justin Hammer to Anton Vanko
In an attempt to discredit Tony Stark's Iron Man, Thaddeus Ross hired Justin Hammer to develop a single pilot close-quarter combat vehicle with full protection and attack capabilities. Soon, both Hammer and Ross presented the vehicle to Senator Stern in Washington, D.C. and Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes. However, despite Hammer's claims that the vehicle was not vulnerable to surface-to-air attacks, the Congolese Army was able to shoot the plane down during its first mission, leaving the pilot alone in hostile territory, leading to Stark being sent in to rescue the pilot.
Recreating the Iron Man Suit
As Iron Man continued to gain popularity, Justin Hammer again attempted to discredit him by secretly focusing Hammer Industries' resources into building their own version of the Iron Man suit with a new Arc Reactor, something many of governments were attempting to do. The prototypes were unsuccessful however and during one test flight the suit malfunctioned, twisting the pilot's body and seriously damaging his spine, although he managed to survive the incident.
Meeting with the Senator
- "We all know why we're here, in the last six months Anthony Stark has created a sword with untold possibilites, and yet he insists it's a shield. He asks that we trust him as we cower behind it."
- ―Justin Hammer
Hammer was called as an expert to prove that Tony Stark's monopoly on his Iron Man armor was a danger for the United States of America, as part of Senator Stern's attempt to force Stark to give the Iron Man suit technology to the government. Hammer showed many attempts made by America's enemies to replicate Iron Man's armor; however, Hammer was then humiliated by Stark, who showed Hammer attempting to do the same but ending up injuring the pilot's spine. Hammer tried to save face by confirming the pilot's survival but Stark ended up winning the case. After his public humiliation, Hammer's contract with the United States Armed Forces was suspended.
Later, Justin Hammer met with Tony Stark and Pepper Potts again in Monaco, where both of them were supporting one of the cars involved in the race. Hammer was with Christine Everhart, a journalist who was flirting with him for having some scoops about the new status of Hammer Industries and an interview for Vanity Fair, but she was told by Stark that Hammer lost his contract with the United States Armed Forces, forcing Hammer to defend his companies' future in the interview.
As Hammer's interview with Everhart went underway, they noticed on the television that Tony Stark had taken control of his own car and decided to race it himself. This led to Everhart leaving the interview to follow up this story instead. Having been left alone, Hammer watched the race unfold and witnessed Ivan Vanko step onto the track with his own weaponised armor complete with electrified whips and attempt to assassinate Stark. Stark survived the attack and Vanko was arrested, but Hammer watched the footage closely and saw an opportunity in finding someone who had successfully made an Arc Reactor powered suit, considering how to build his Hammer Drones.
Working with Ivan Vanko
- "What I saw you did to Tony Stark on that track, how you stepped up to him in front of God and everybody, that was... Wow!"
- ―Justin Hammer to Ivan Vanko
Hammer had Ivan Vanko freed from prison and took him to his personal secret storage facility, in which the two of them forged an alliance. Hammer told Vanko that he had to build for him many armors so advanced that Iron Man's would become old news. Vanko agreed as long as Hammer arranged to have his pet bird flown in from Russia.
As they toured the Hammer Industries facility, Vanko examined the prototype suits, pulling the head off one to examine the inside, much to Hammer's horror when he considered the cost of the prototype. Vanko then hacked into the facilities' security systems with little effort and called it shit. Over the next few days Vanko worked tirelessly on designing the new suits, as a reward Hammer brought in a bird, claiming it to be Vanko's own from Russia. Vanko told him that building armors was not the best choice, and convinced him that drones were better. Hammer believed Vanko's claims, but he did not realize that Vanko was making them for his own purposes.
Upgrading War Machine
- "I'll take it."
"All of it."
- ―James Rhodes and Justin Hammer
General Meade of the United States Air Force, who had recieved one of Stark's armors from James Rhodes, summoned Hammer to Edwards Air Force Base to improve and weaponize the suit. Hammer weaponized the armor with the best of the weapons produced by Hammer Industries, creating War Machine, who would introduce the Hammer Drones at the Stark Expo. Disappointed for having the drones not working at the Expo, which Vanko told him, Hammer had two guards keep an eye on him for not keeping to their arrangement.
Betrayed by Vanko
While playing a round of golf with Senator Stern, Hammer called Vanko for an update on the design of the new Hammer Drones, wanting to know what they would be capable of doing at the Stark Expo presentation. Vanko informed him that he would only be able to make the drones salute and not fire their weapons.
Furious about having been lied to, Hammer stormed into Ivan Vanko's room and confronted him with two security guards. Hammer ordered his men to take Vanko's bird, shoes and pillow away from him to demonstrate how it felt to have things stolen from you. Hammer then told Vanko that he was now heading to the Stark Expo to demonstrate the Hammer Drones and a new project as well. Hammer then left Vanko with his guards to watch over him.
- "Where's Vanko?"
"What are you doing here man?!"
- ―Tony Stark and Justin Hammer
At the Expo, after a brief and goofy introduction where confidently he danced on stage to music, trying to one-up Stark's presentation a few months earlier, Hammer presented his drones and the War Machine armor, each drone representing a different branch of the military; the drones saluted just as Vanko had promised.
The demonstration was interrupted by Iron Man, who has discovered that Hammer was working with Ivan Vanko. Hammer initially tried to play off the situation and nervously deny knowledge of Vanko's survival, but Vanko remotely took control of the Hammer Drones and of War Machine's armor, starting a massive attack on the Expo. As the attack started Hammer dived to safety off the stage as his drones fired upon the audience.
- "I'll get my revenge on you, someday!"
- ―Justin Hammer to Pepper Potts
Hammer tried to have his technicians regain control of the drones, but was halted by Pepper Potts and Natasha Romanoff, the latter of whom forced him to reveal Vanko's location by slamming his head onto the table and twisting his arm. Pepper in turn called the police and had him arrested for his complicity with Ivan Vanko. As he was taken away, Hammer assured her that this was no problem for him and he would be back.
Life in Prison
Justin Hammer was sent to Seagate Prison after being arrested at the Stark Expo. His stay at Seagate prison was kept a secret from a part of the inmate population, though rumors still persisted of a millionaire residing somewhere within Seagate by the time of Carl Lucas's prison sentence.
While being interviewed for a documentary, Hammer, who had apparently developed a relationship with a much younger man, stated that he resented Trevor Slattery and felt that he should be more recognized. During the interview, his partner made a gesture to him which he dismissed. At the same time, he was reading a Forbes magazine with Pepper Potts featured on the cover.
Justin Hammer is a self-centred businessman and rival to Tony Stark. Whilst overconfident, Hammer is also incompetent in terms of the quality of his technology, some of which are faulty altogether and even dangerous to the user, such as an attempt to replicate Stark's Iron Man Armour results in the injury of the pilot, the outdated software at Hammer Industries described as "shit" by Ivan Vanko and the Ex-Wife Missile, despite selling it as a weapon of mass destruction, does not even scratch Vanko's Whiplash Armour Mark II.
Following the repeated media attention being distracted from Hammer Industries to Stark, especially since the reveal of Iron Man's identity and his subsequent humiliation, Hammer began engaging in legally dubious activities to finally gain the upper hand over Stark, even breaking the terrorist Ivan Vanko out of prison and getting him to assist Hammer. Though a self-proclaimed businessman, Justin Hammer seems to be without his own original ideas such as creating a HammerExpo, a few months after Stark's own Expo, and lining it with drones (but Hammer initially asked for suits instead) and selling the War Machine Suit as his own, despite it being granted to him by Rhodes from Stark Industries. Hammer is also willing to endure repeated insults to himself and his company for a period of time for the greater good of matters, as he does with Vanko. However, when pushed to the edge, Hammer can undergo furious, almost temper-traumatic rants against an individual who wronged him.
- Expert Engineer: Though Hammer is not of the same caliber as Tony Stark, he has created a number of weapons that has impressed the United States government, replacing Stark Industries when it stopped creating them. Among his inventions are the Aerodynamic Marvel, the Battle Tank, and the Ex-Wife Missile.
- Expert Businessman: Hammer runs an industry that rivals Stark Industries and has government and military contracts. Hammer had hoped to use Ivan Vanko to create Arc Reactors for Hammer Industries when he saw the business opportunities that that technology provided.
- Stark Industries - Business Rivals
- Ivan Vanko/Whiplash † - Ally turned Enemy
- James Rhodes/War Machine - Ally turned Enemy
- Trevor Slattery - Fellow Inmate
|Appearances for Justin Hammer|
In chronological order:
- In the comics, Justin Hammer is much older and more cynical than his movie counterpart, and his hatred of Tony Stark is much more apparent. The reason for this change was to create a more anti-Tony Stark-type character by having him around the same age.