Max Hammer was a criminal mob boss that dominated the New York underworld before the modern age of super-heroes. By his own accord, Max claimed to have mentored the Kingpin, though there is no official record indicating such a claim as fact. 
Years after Max retired as the "King of Crime", his health began to deteriorate. He developed advanced stages of cancer and was confined to a wheelchair. Desperate to prolong his life, Max researched modern advances in medicine and learned about Dr. Bruce Banner's recent invention of the Gammascope – a device that siphoned raw gamma radiation from the heavens and could potentially heal diseased blood cells. Hammer knew that Banner would never willfully test his process on a known felon, so he sought alternative measures to insure Banner's cooperation.
Max arranged for the mercenary known as Boomerang to be released from prison. He sent Boomerang to Banner's laboratory retreat, Northwind Observatory, with instructions to kidnap Banner's paramour, Kate Waynesboro. Boomerang did as instructed, and managed to bring Waynesboro to one of Max's safe houses. Hammer arrived at Northwind Observatory and blackmailed Banner into using the Gammascope to heal Max's broken body. Max became the Gammascope's first human test subject.
Bruce performed the process, and it appeared to work perfectly. Max Hammer was healed, but his skin turned light green as a harmless side effect. The Hulk left Max to rescue Kate Waynesboro, but the cosmic entity known as the Beyonder interrupted the journey, spiriting the Hulk away to another world to participate in his "Secret Wars".
With the Hulk absent, Hammer had complete access to all of Banner's equipment. He was so overwhelmed with his renewed health however, that rather than steal Banner’s work, he began using the Gammascope to heal the sick and dying masses.
When the Hulk eventually returned from the Secret Wars, he was enraged that Hammer would use such an untested process on innocent people. Banner's fury was augmented by the fact that he was slowly losing control over his Hulk persona. Banner and Hammer both learned, too late, that the Gammascope process yielded more devastating long term results. Hammer transformed into a brutish mockery of his former self, with power equitable to that of the Hulk himself. The two monsters fought one another, and the Hulk gave in to his darker fury, nearly beating Max Hammer to death.
The Galadorian space knight, Rom, arrived on the scene suspecting to find Dire Wraith activity in the area. At the behest of Kate Waynesboro, Rom used his Neutralizer ray to burn out the gamma cells in Max's body. Fortunately, Max's exposure to gamma radiation had been so recent, that not enough time had passed for it to permanently alter his genetic structure. Healed of the Gammascope's effects, Max Hammer reverted to his previous infirm condition.
Exposure to Bruce Banner's Gammascope enhanced Max's strength, speed and stamina to superhuman levels.
Max Hammer's strength level were well below average, with the exception of the time that he was exposed to gamma radiation.
In recent years, Max's health has suffered serious decline, and he has been confined to a wheelchair.
- In his first appearance, Max was identified as "Max Stryker". Subsequent appearances identified him as "Max Hammer", suggesting that the former name may be an alias.
- Although Max Hammer shares a similar background with industrialist Justin Hammer, there is no indication whether the two are related, or even aware of one another.
- 4 Appearances of Max Hammer (Earth-616)
- Media Max Hammer (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 2 Images featuring Max Hammer (Earth-616)
- Quotations by or about Max Hammer (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Max Hammer (Earth-616)
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