Professor Hamilton

Professor Emil Hamilton is a fictional comic book character appearing in books published by DC Comics, usually as a supporting character in stories featuring Superman.[1]

Emil Hamilton
Professor Hamilton.jpg
Emil Hamilton as seen in Adventures of Superman #425 (February 1987).
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceAs Professor Hamilton: Adventures of Superman #424 (January 1987)
As Ruin: Adventures of Superman #630 (September 2004)
Created byMarv Wolfman (Writer)
Jerry Ordway (Artist)
In-story information
Alter egoEmil Hamilton
Team affiliationsS.T.A.R. Labs
Notable aliasesRuin
AbilitiesGenius-level Intelligence
Expert scientist

Publication historyEdit

Created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist Jerry Ordway, Professor Emil Hamilton first appeared in Adventures of Superman #424 (January 1987). His depictions in various incarnations range from that of a trusted ally to Superman and his colleagues to one who is cautious and mistrustful of Superman and his power, to an unambiguous villain. The character was named after Edmond Hamilton, who wrote stories about Superman and other characters from the 1940s to the 1960s.

Fictional character biographyEdit

Emil Hamilton first appeared in Adventures of Superman #424 (January 1987), as an apparent villain, using his gadgets to attack Superman in an attempt to gain funding by proving that they worked. A former employee of S.T.A.R. Labs and the US Government, it transpired he had been driven insane when all his research was bought up by Lex Luthor, who took credit for the inventions. He was placed in a mental health facility and responded well to treatment. On his release, he set up a laboratory in Suicide Slum and quickly became Superman's "scientific advisor", eking out a general living as a technical consultant. He was responsible for creating many devices that aided Superman, including the Phantom Zone Projector and early Superman Robots, as well as helping Superman during such problems as the 'Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite', when red kryptonite created by Mister Mxyzptlk shut down Superman's powers; until Superman's powers were restored, Hamilton provided him with various machinery such as a force field belt and an armoured suit to allow him to continue as a hero. Later, another force field belt Emil provides allows Superman to get around the power-blocking talents of the artificial life forms 'Psi-Phon' and 'Dreadnaught'.[2]

Emil's first time turning evil is when the immortal 'Mister Z' brainwashes him into assisting in an attack on Superman.[3]

Later, Superman is fighting the alien monster Doomsday. Working with Bibbo, another ally of the Man of Steel, Emil sets up a powerful laser and scores a direct strike on the monster. It does little to stop it.[4] The two combatants seemingly fall dead and Emil creates a CPR unit for the hero. Bibbo is injured while using it and Hamilton takes over. Their efforts fail and Superman is declared dead.[5] This failure causes feelings of intense guilt that not even Hamilton's long-term female friend Mildred Krantz can help him overcome.[6] After the hero's return, Emil helps in the investigation of a Superman 'corpse duplicate'.[7] He lost an arm during the "Fall of Metropolis" storyline, but replaced it with a self-designed cybernetic prosthesis.

He also provided Superboy with the visor that duplicated Superman's vision powers (x-ray and heat vision). This helps Superboy get a start on a heroic career in Hawaii. Hamilton would also enjoy time in that state as well.[8] He spends time with Superman, assisting him in restoring in Fortress of Solitude and saving the lives of the citizens of the Bottle City of Kandor.[9]


Many years later, when John Henry Irons returned to Metropolis, just prior to the B13 Event, Hamilton felt he was being sidelined, as Superman now had access to a scientific genius who was also a fellow superhero. He disappeared during the B13 Event when Metropolis was transformed into a future version of itself.

He eventually resurfaced as the Overmind, the leader of a cyberpunk gang plotting the return of Brainiac 13. He claimed, however, that the B13-technology in his prosthetic arm was controlling his actions. Presumably this claim held some truth, as he later returned to his role as Superman's advisor using his innate understanding of the futuristic technology now available to him.

Hamilton, together with several other scientific geniuses and robotic beings (Automan, Brainstorm, Doctor Cyber, Ford, and Rosie the Riveter), was for a brief period part of the composite cybernetic being called Enginehead. However (if this story is still canon), the being seems to have been divided into the individual personalities again shortly after the events of the series.[10]

In a 2005 storyline it was revealed that Hamilton was, in fact, the villain named Ruin, who had been targeting Superman's loved ones.[11] Ruin claimed to have discovered that Superman was sucking the sun dry of its solar energy, and that, in 4.5 billion years, it would mean the end of life on Earth. The identity of Ruin had been kept a mystery, until it seemed that Clark's friend, and former President of the United States, Pete Ross was Ruin.[12] Pete Ross claimed innocence, but he became even more suspect when he escaped from custody. It turned out that it had been Hamilton who had framed Ross and kidnapped him again from prison. Hamilton then confronted and revealed himself to Superman, seemingly killing the 5th dimension imp Mister Mxyzptlk in the process when he tried to save Superman.[13] Superman defeated the insane Hamilton and saved Pete, Lana Lang, and their child. Superman later cleared Ross' name and reputation, and Hamilton was apparently imprisoned.[14]

During the events chronicled in the "Infinite Crisis" storyline, Ruin was one of many superhuman criminals who joined the villainous Society organized by Alexander Luthor Jr..

The pre-"Flashpoint" version of Emil Hamilton appears during the 2015 "Convergence" storyline. He has seemingly reformed, having made a home in the pre-"Flashpoint" Gotham City on the planet Telos, and repaired his friendship with Jimmy Olsen. Emil spent time rebuilding the Whiz Wagon, a flying, multi-purpose vehicle, as self-imposed reformation therapy.[15]

Powers and abilitiesEdit

Emil Hamilton is a normal human being and thus, has no inherent super powers, though he is a brilliant scientist and inventor, having designed and built devices such as a force-field generator. However, as Ruin he dons a "power suit." The suit allows Ruin to take advantage of his knowledge of Superman's weaknesses. Powerful blasts of Kryptonian red sunlight can be fired from the suit, which essentially sap Superman of all his powers. Also, Ruin is able to transport himself to the Phantom Zone (though at a detriment to his health), and reemerge anywhere, effectively allowing him to teleport. If the suit is forcibly removed from Hamilton's body, it self-destructs with a massive force, apparently enough to destroy a small city, although enough time elapsed between the removal and the explosion for Superman to get it to a safe distance using his superspeed.

Emil has designed various prosthetic arms with unusual abilities, including one that acted as a sunscreen dispenser.

Other versionsEdit

Professor Hamilton made an appearance in the Elseworlds tale, JLA: The Nail.[16] In this story, Hamilton still operates S.T.A.R. labs, but it is a secret-alien research facility in Smallville, Kansas that includes various heroes and villains who have been publicly identified as aliens to increase paranoia among the population (it is unclear if Hamilton is a willing part of the propaganda program or genuinely believes the idea that metahumans are alien invaders). Hamilton also appeared in Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl and Batgirl, featuring Batgirl and Supergirl, having previously worked with Lex Luthor to create a new solar battery only to be disgraced when he tried to reveal the truth about the project (it actually uses the corpse of the infant Kal-El as a power source).[17] He also appears in the Smallville Season Eleven comic, a continuation of the TV series.

In other mediaEdit


  • Dr. Emil Hamilton appeared in two episodes of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (both in the second season), as a S.T.A.R. Labs scientist, played by John Pleshette. In the episode "That Old Gang of Mine", Hamilton had used the DNA of Al Capone (portrayed by William Devane) to regenerate the criminal as part of an experiment that would reprogram him as a good citizen, though this also led to Al Capone making Hamilton recreate John Dillinger (portrayed by Robert Clohessy) and Bonnie and Clyde (portrayed by Amy Hathaway and Joseph Gian) as part of a plot to take over Metropolis. The clones are defeated by Superman and arrested by the police as Hamilton goes quietly with Detective Wolfe. In the episode "Return of the Prankster", Hamilton explains to Lois Lane and Clark Kent how Prankster's light ray causes paralysis, and makes special contact lenses for Superman to use in order to defeat Prankster.
  • Professor Hamilton was a regular in Superman: The Animated Series, voiced by Victor Brandt. He is the director of S.T.A.R. Labs. He constructs things such as Kryptonite-resistant suits from lead and inter-dimensional warps, as well as working a Phantom Zone projector in the episode "Blasts from the Past". After Darkseid's brainwashing of Superman in the third season's finale "Legacy", Hamilton begins to feel a growing distrust of metahumans. Later in Justice League Unlimited, Professor Hamilton (now voiced by Robert Foxworth) had secretly become a confederate of Amanda Waller, the leader of Project Cadmus. Hamilton is Cadmus' expert geneticist who uses cloning and other such methods to create metahumans loyal and subservient to that organization. This includes a clone of Supergirl in the season one episode "Fearful Symmetry" named Galatea, who would be of primary importance in the Cadmus Project's endeavors against the Justice League. Superman finally discovers Hamilton's betrayal of trust in "Question Authority". Hamilton is unrepentant of his actions, and makes it clear that he believes Superman can never be fully trusted again, comparing Superman to Lucifer. In one surprising moment, Galatea hugs Hamilton referring to him as "Daddy."
  • There were two Doctor Hamiltons in the live-action TV series Smallville:
Steven Hamilton was introduced in the first season, portrayed by Joe Morton. He was hired by Lex Luthor to examine the effects of kryptonite, and later to produce a cure for the effects of the deadly Nicodemus flower during his work for Cadmus Labs. In the second season, he dies from overexposure to kryptonite. The series has given no indication of any relationship between Steven and Emil Hamilton other than a shared surname.
Emil Hamilton on Smallville
In the season eight episode "Identity", Emil Hamilton's name was seen in a Daily Planet article about the mysterious "Red-Blue Blur", Clark Kent's earliest superhero identity, which had been sighted around the city of Metropolis. His first on-screen appearance is in the episode "Bulletproof", where he is played by Alessandro Juliani, who went on to appear in a total of 14 episodes. He appears as a private doctor hired by Oliver Queen for his team who saves the Martian Manhunter's life following being shot by a corrupt police officer.
In "Beast", after Clark loses the use of his powers to Parasite, Hamilton equips Clark with a fast, high-tech car. In season ten, he regularly assists the Justice League, he is subject to interrogation by proponents of the Vigilante Registration Act, attends Clark's bachelor party, and has a one-night stand with Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman).
  • In the TV series Supergirl, Sarah Robson portrays DEO Doctor Amelia Hamilton, a female version of the character.


  • Dr. Emil Hamilton was portrayed by Richard Schiff in Zack Snyder's 2013 film, Man of Steel. In this version, he is a DARPA scientific adviser for the U.S. military, who is hired to view the Kryptonian scout ship found in the Arctic. He later attends the interrogation of Lois Lane and Superman, and plays a crucial part in the film's climax, in which he helps destroy the Kryptonian world engine that threatened to destroy all human life, though Hamilton sacrifices his own life in the process.
  • An alternate universe version of Emil Hamilton appears in Justice League: Gods and Monsters, voiced by Trevor Devall. He is part of LexCorp's "Project Fair Play", a weapons contingency program that would destroy the Justice League if necessary. Professor Hamilton is seen discussing the project with the other scientists involved (consisting of Will Magnus, John Henry Irons, Michael Holt, Pat Dugan, Kimiyo Hoshi, Karen Beecher, Thomas Morrow, and Stephen Shin) before they are attacked and killed by the Metal Men. On Hamilton's part, he was stabbed by the Wonderdroid with his body dropping near the billiards where Beecher was hiding. Will Magnus survived as he secretly orchestrated the attack on his fellow scientists.

Video gamesEdit

  • In the 1999 video game Superman 64, Professor Hamilton appears as a supporting character alongside Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane, but they are captured by Lex Luthor in the beginning of the game.
  • In the beginning of the 2006 game Superman Returns, Professor Hamilton gives instructions on the meteor shower to Superman.


  1. ^ Greenberger, Robert; Pasko, Martin (2010). The Essential Superman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. pp. 116–117. ISBN 978-0-345-50108-0.
  2. ^ Adventures of Superman #442 (July 1988). DC Comics.
  3. ^ Adventures of Superman #484 (November 1991). DC Comics
  4. ^ Superman: The Man of Steel #19 (January 1993). DC Comics
  5. ^ Adventures of Superman #498 (January 1993). DC Comics
  6. ^ Superman: The Man of Steel #20 (February 1993). DC Comics
  7. ^ Superman (vol. 2) #95 (December 1994). DC Comics
  8. ^ Superboy (vol. 4) #1-3 (February–April 1994). DC Comics
  9. ^ Superman (vol. 2) #117 (November 1996). DC Comics
  10. ^ Enginehead #1-6 (June–November 2004). DC Comics.
  11. ^ Adventures of Superman #636 (March 2005), DC Comics.
  12. ^ Adventures of Superman #640 (July 2005), DC Comics.
  13. ^ Adventures of Superman #646 (January 2006), DC Comics.
  14. ^ Adventures of Superman #647 (February 2006), DC Comics.
  15. ^ Convergence: Superman #1 (April 2015), DC Comics.
  16. ^ JLA: The Nail #2 (September 1998), DC Comics.
  17. ^ Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl and Batgirl #1 (September 1998), DC Comics.

External linksEdit