Did Tony Stark believe he'd put Justin Hammer behind him forever? You'd have to ask the billionaire industrialist, but it's a safe bet Iron Man has never truly forgotten one of his most diabolical foes ever.
More than simply a business rival, Hammer toiled for years to destroy Stark from the inside out, challenging him every step of the way and making the Golden Avenger look over his shoulder more than once. Some would say it amounted to "just business" but Justin Hammer saw it as survival of the fittest, to be played as dirty, mean and nasty as possible. His legacy survives through the Hammer Girls in May 19's INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #26 and a new version rises in the feature film "Iron Man 2."
Its hammer time once again, Iron Man-better review your history!
While trying to enjoy a sultry evening in Las Vegas with new girlfriend Bethany Cabe, Stark ran afoul of Justin Hammer's hired goons, Blizzard, Boomerang and Blacklash. Iron Man won that round and cashed in his winnings, but when he returned to his job found Hammer's eye still upon him. Asked to bodyguard a foreign dignitary he stood helpless as his foe took remote control of his armor and killed the man he swore to protect.
Turnaround time: Justin Hammer, his front company threatened by the strange attentions of The Ghost, sought out none other than Iron Man himself to protect his precious assets. As a show of strength, the bad guy businessman sent his B-Team-Blizzard, Boomerang and Blacklash-to aid Stark but along with an order or two to watch for an opportunity to switch sides.
Tony Stark-War Machine? Yes, and alongside the mysterious Masters of Silence he spearheaded a thrust into Hammer's stronghold in a last-ditch attempt to end his rival's reign. In a chokehold, Hammer surrendered his Stane International stock to Stark for one dollar, but Tony ended up with a raw deal when he also received the company's legacy of illegalities at the hands of Hammer.
The fall of the Hammer? Sick and dying, Justin Hammer resolved to obliterate Tony Stark once and for all, and after infesting his foe with nanites he prepared to receive him onboard his orbiting space station. Iron Man, decked out in new space armor, met the challenge yet in the end lost his prey to the cold, unfeeling depths of airless space. Justin Hammer: space Popsicle.
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