Emil Hamilton
Emil Hamilton as depicted in The Adventures of Superman #425 (February 1987). Art by Jerry Ordway (penciler/inker) and Tom Ziuko (colorist).
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceAs Professor Hamilton: The 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

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]

The character was portrayed by Richard Schiff in Man of Steel.

Publication history

Created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist Jerry Ordway, Professor Emil Hamilton first appeared in The 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 biography

Emil Hamilton first appeared in The 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 armored 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 abilities

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 versions

In other media


Emil Hamilton on Smallville


Video games


  1. ^ Greenberger, Robert; Pasko, Martin (2010). The Essential Superman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. pp. 116–117. ISBN 978-0-345-50108-0.
  2. ^ The Adventures of Superman #442 (July 1988). DC Comics.
  3. ^ The Adventures of Superman #484 (November 1991). DC Comics
  4. ^ Superman: The Man of Steel #19 (January 1993). DC Comics
  5. ^ The 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. ^ The Adventures of Superman #636 (March 2005), DC Comics.
  12. ^ The Adventures of Superman #640 (July 2005), DC Comics.
  13. ^ The Adventures of Superman #646 (January 2006), DC Comics.
  14. ^ The 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.
  18. ^ Smallville Season Eleven #6
  19. ^ Smallville Season Eleven: Continuity #4