Who Has Wielded Thor's Hammer?
Celebrate 60 years of the Thunder God with those who were worthy of Mjolnir!
Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Mighty Thunderer—Thor Odinson! Creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby found lightning in a bottle when they introduced the world to their take on the Norse god of thunder in 1962’s JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #83. In the now-classic tale, Dr. Donald Blake became embroiled in an alien invasion and found the lost hammer of Thor, Mjolnir. With the hammer in hand, the mild-mannered Blake could channel the power of a thunder god, becoming Thor’s host at will.
Lee and Kirby may not have intended it at the time, but they set the stage for additional Thors when they revealed this inscription on Mjolnir, or “That Which Smashes”: “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.”
And so they have. Over the past six decades, several men and women have been recognized as worthy. Including a surprisingly high amount of characters in the last two decades! Take a look back at some of Mjolnir’s most magnificent wielders, and read their comic stories now on Marvel Unlimited.
ROGER “RED” NORVELL
Most of the people who can pick up Mjolnir have an intrinsic worthiness for the role of Thor. That was a quality that Roger “Red” Norvell lacked when he gained the power in THOR (1966) #276. Red was part of a film crew that was transported to Asgard by Loki. And at Loki’s behest, Red took Thor’s Belt of Strength and bathed in the Fires of Geirrodur before claiming Thor’s Iron Gloves.
The gloves were the key, since they allowed Red to lift and wield Mjolnir without being worthy. Red claimed Thor’s power out of greed and because he wanted the warrior Sif “as his own.” Regardless, Red fought alongside Thor to save the golden realm from Goddess of the Underworld Hela, and he earned his redemption when he lost his life. All-Father Odin later resurrected Red and restored most of his power. But there can only be one true God of Thunder.
BETA RAY BILL
Beta Ray Bill is perhaps the most startling incarnation of Thor to date, because few would suspect that an unknown alien has the heart of a valiant hero. Before he encountered the Odinson in THOR (1966) #337, “Bill” had already been chosen by his people, the Korbinites, as their champion. His cybernetic implants served him well during his misguided battle with Thor. And when Bill got his hands on Thor’s hammer, he was transformed by the power it contained.
Thor and Bill quickly resolved their differences and fought side-by-side against threats to Asgard and the entire universe. Bill returned Mjolnir to Thor, and in reward for his bravery, was given another enchanted hammer called Stormbreaker. Because of the strong bonds that were forged in battle, Bill and Thor even came to consider each other brothers.
It’s a common misconception, but Steve Rogers was not Captain America when he lifted Mjolnir in the landmark THOR (1966) #390. At the time, Steve had been forced to give up the mantle of Cap and his iconic shield. But he refused to give up being a hero, and he assumed a new heroic identity as “the Captain.”
In Thor’s moment of need, Steve was able to lift Mjolnir and turn the tide of battle before returning the hammer to his friend. Curiously, Steve is one of the few wielders of Mjolnir who didn’t gain the full powers of Thor. Perhaps because Steve’s nature is so selfless that he never thought about the implications of having all that power in the first place.
Can an android prove itself to be worthy of the power of Thor? If the events of SHE-HULK (2005) #14 are any indication, then the answer is “yes.” The Mad Thinker’s Awesome Android was redesigned by his master with the ability to copy any power or attribute. And apparently that included Thor’s worthiness! But rather than strike down the android as a rival, Thor appealed to its heart and explained the bond they shared through Mjolnir. Awesome Android embraced these words and even helped Thor capture the Mad Thinker. He also reinvented himself as “Awesome Andy” by forsaking the way of villainy and working for a law firm.
There may be some who question whether Eric Masterson truly lifted Thor’s hammer by himself in THOR (1966) #408. At that moment in time, Thor was attempting to call Mjolnir to his hand while he was briefly helpless before Mongoose. But it was Eric who picked up the hammer and held it over his head, which proves that he was worthy. Eric was fatally wounded while attempting to protect Thor, and the Odinson couldn’t allow his friend to die. By the grace of Odin, Thor and Eric were merged body and soul.
That arrangement lasted until THOR (1966) #432 when Odin sent Thor into exile. Much to Eric’s shock, he remained on Earth as a new version of Thor. In this form, Eric fought Thanos during INFINITY GAUNTLET (1991). After proving his valor time and time again, Eric was given his own enchanted weapon and a new heroic identity, Thunderstrike, in THOR (1966) #459.
Let’s be clear: General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross—AKA Red Hulk—is not worthy of Thor’s powers nor has he actually lifted the hammer under normal circumstances. Instead, he found a way to cheat the rules in HULK (2008) #5. Red Hulk correctly guessed that the enchantment on Thor’s hammer required gravity to be effective. In the void of space, there was nothing stopping the Red Hulk from briefly stealing Thor’s hammer and beating him with it. But that’s far from worthy behavior.
There is some confusion over whether Thor’s time as a frog counts as a separate wielder of Mjolnir. It does not. Having said that, THOR (1966) #364 does mark the first appearance of Puddlegulp, a friendly frog who was once a human named Simon Walterson. A curse turned Simon into a frog, but he liked the simple life it gave him. And his friendship with the transformed Thor allowed him to fight side-by-side with a god and save his colony.
In MIGHTY THOR #700, Puddlegulp became Throg, a frog with the powers of Thor thanks to his hammer, Frogjolnir, which was made from a sliver of Mjolnir itself. Puddlegulp may not have the size of the other Thors, but he has earned his place in the Thor Corps.
[RELATED: The Frog as Worthy as Thor]
Believe it or not, the God of Mischief was once worthy of Thor’s powers... but only because he had undergone a complete inversion of his moral compass. In AVENGERS & X-MEN: AXIS (2014) #9, Loki found himself in the unfamiliar role as the hero when he confronted the inverted “evil” Thor on the moon. This version of Loki was so pure of heart that he was able to pick up Mjolnir and transform into a version of Thor. And Loki relished playing the part until the inversion was reversed and he was once again unworthy. To add further insult to injury, Thor was so power drunk that he didn’t remember his brother’s finest hour.
JANE FOSTER: GODDESS OF THUNDER
Ever since JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #83, Jane Foster has been an integral part of Thor’s life. They have even shared an epic love story. But in the aftermath of the ORIGINAL SIN event, Thor was no longer worthy of Mjolnir, which set the stage for a new Thor. A Mighty Thor.
Jane’s incarnation of the Mighty Thor was briefly seen in THOR: GOD OF THUNDER (2012) #25, before officially making her debut in THOR (2014) #1. For a time, not even Odin himself knew that Jane had claimed his son’s hammer. Few could have predicted that the Mighty Thor would become one of the greatest heroes in all of the realms. In recognition of Jane’s bravery, Odin offered her a place in Valhalla when she fell in battle against Mangog in the “Death of the Mighty Thor” arc. After returning to her mortal body and defeating cancer, Jane accepted the opportunity to become the last Valkyrie, guide and ferrywoman to the dead.
[RELATED: Jane Foster's Mightiest Moments]
The “Age of Khonshu” began because Moon Knight’s patron deity, the moon god Khonshu, realized that the Hell-Lord Mephisto was coming for Earth with greater force than ever before. Unfortunately, this drove Khonshu a little mad, and he dragged Marc Spector (AKA Moon Knight) even further into a state of instability as they stole weapons and powers from the modern era’s most powerful heroes.
In AVENGERS (2018) #33, Moon Knight took down several Avengers by himself, including Thor. Moon Knight even seized control of Mjolnir as he revealed that the Uru metal of the hammer is just another moon rock. So while Moon Knight couldn’t physically wield the hammer, he could command it to obey his will. And that control extended to Khonshu as well.
BLACK PANTHER 1,000,000 BC
Speaking of the “Age of Khonshu,” the present-day Black Panther, T’Challa, revealed that one of his predecessors had claimed Mjolnir in Earth’s distant past. The proof was laid out in AVENGERS (2018) #36, although we have yet to learn how this Stone Age Black Panther came to acquire the hammer of the gods—or how he lost it.
Eddie Brock was once Spider-Man’s most fearsome foe. As Venom, he murdered and maimed just to get a chance to kill Peter Parker. Regardless, Venom’s slow road to redemption culminated in KING IN BLACK (2020) #5 in the final battle with Knull, god of the symbiotes. It was in this event that the Enigma Force resurrected Eddie and gave him the powers of Captain Universe.
Shortly thereafter, Eddie effortlessly summoned Mjolnir from Thor’s hand and merged it with the Silver Surfer’s surfboard to become the ultimate weapon against Knull. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Eddie saved both his home world and the universe. Eddie subsequently released his hold on the mighty weapon, and allowed Thor and Silver Surfer to reclaim their respective items.
By herself, Squirrel Girl has defeated Doctor Doom, M.O.D.O.K., Terrax, Thanos, and other top tier Marvel villains. But she finally met her match in original graphic novel THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL BEATS UP THE MARVEL UNIVERSE. An accident perfectly duplicated Squirrel Girl into two identical young women: Doreen and Allene Green. Suddenly, the Squirrel Girls were like the sisters they never had, at least until Allene decided that squirrels should rule the world!
Allene went on to beat Doreen and almost every other hero in the Marvel Universe as she pushed the world towards total squirrel domination. But in her darkest hour, Doreen’s best friend, the squirrel known as Tippy-Toe, teleported Thor’s hammer to the moon and saved Doreen’s life. Because Doreen grasped Thor’s hammer, she was found worthy by Mjolnir and given his powers. By comparison, Allene couldn’t pick up Thor’s hammer because she had truly gone nuts.
“WHAT IF?” BLACK WIDOW
A tale from the “What If?” Multiverse! The AGE OF ULTRON caused enormous problems for all of Marvel’s heroes in this dimension and the next. In WHAT IF? AGE OF ULTRON (2014) #3, one of the ripple effects of Ultron’s A.I. takeover caused Thor to die prematurely before he could fulfill his role in Ragnarok. Consequently, the Earth was overrun by Asgard’s enemies. Black Widow was an unlikely choice to become Thor’s next avatar, but her willingness to sacrifice herself for the greater good made Natasha Romanoff a new goddess of thunder.
Thunder goddess Natasha returned in WHAT IF? AGE OF ULTRON #5 alongside other heroes whose timelines were smashed by Ultron’s invasion. They even became the “Avengers Infinity” team. But the price of their victory was high, as it left them stranded on a barren Earth.
If you control the narrative (and your stories are vague about the whole continuity thing), does it really count if you wield Thor’s hammer? Asking for a friend named Gwen Poole. In GWENPOOL STRIKES BACK (2019) #4, Gwenpool broke more than just the fourth wall. She recruited several of her past selves before traveling to another comic to steal Thor’s severed arm, which in turn allowed her to briefly use Mjolnir to smack the heck out of the Hulk. It was a ridiculous plan which shouldn’t have worked. But it did.
After hundreds, if not thousands of years as Galactus’ herald, the Silver Surfer felt the weight of his sins for serving the Devourer of Worlds. But in the desolate future seen in THANOS (2016) #16-17, the Surfer was the last hero in existence who could challenge King Thanos. However, the Surfer decided to postpone their confrontation as long as possible because of Mjolnir. Silver Surfer knew he was unworthy, so he spent a very long time trying to obtain Thor’s power via the hammer. And it worked. When Silver Surfer returned, the power of the Thunder God came with him.
Unfortunately this wasn’t enough to defeat the Thanos of the present and King Thanos of the far future. Yet for a few brief shining moments, Silver Surfer had the redemption that he sought.
You may not know Dargo Ktor’s name by heart, but he is the once and future Thor. He made his debut in THOR (1966) #384, which established Dargo’s far future timeline in the year 2537. Although the people of this era lived under an oppressive regime, a cult had sprung up around Mjolnir. Dargo was never a member of this cult, but he was found worthy by the hammer during an attack. After taking the mantle of Thor, Dargo freed his world and became the champion they sorely needed.
As established in THOR #440, Dargo is also one of the founding members of the Thor Corps with Beta Ray Bill and Thunderstrike.
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