“Whosoever holds this hammer, if s/he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” This line, chiseled along the side of Marvel’s most iconic weapon, is right up there with Spider-Man’s bit about “power and responsibility” in terms of modern comic book scripture. This message, inscribed on Mjolnir, Thor’s mighty hammer, is much like the uru metal that makes up its business end. Loaded.
Translated from the original Old Norse, Mjolnir means “grinder” or “crusher. That, of course, is appropriate, given Thor’s propensity for bashing, pummelling or otherwise crushing all forms of villainy in the Marvel universe. However, as proud as its lineage may be and as individually stunning is its power, the Mjolnir in the Marvel universe is but one divine hammer in the workshop. Here, then, are 15 of the coolest versions of Mjolnir to explore… if ye be worthy.
15. THE MCU
First appearing for a few seconds in the after-credits stinger in “Iron Man 2,” the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of Mjolnir is what has brought the hammer to the forefront of modern mainstream audiences. Eschewing its cracked, stoney appearance in the comics, this version boasts a much more metallic look, with decorative “Norse” accents. Otherwise, its size and shape have been a mostly faithful translation of the iconic weapon. But how about what’s going on under the hood?
So far, the MCU Mjolnir hasn’t shown quite the breadth of powers its 616 predecessor enjoys, but it is able to bequeath upon its chosen bearer (Chris Hemsworth) all of the staples of cinematic godhood: flight, strength, weather manipulation, great hair — all the hits. Like the 616 version, it’s also able to gird its bearer for war, as it did when it armored Thor before his throwdown with The Destroyer in 2011’s “Thor.” Interestingly, it appears to have been shattered by Hela, Asgard’s hell goddess, in the upcoming “Thor: Ragnarok.” Another point of note is that this wasn’t Mjolnir’s first live-action Marvel appearance. That honor goes to 1988’s made-for-TV film, “The Return of the Incredible Hulk,” featuring a much slimmer look.
14. ULTIMATE THOR
Originally appearing on the cover of “The Ultimates” #1, by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch, the Ultimate Mjolnir is at once a great source of power… and essentially powerless. The European Defense Initiative Bio-Mechanical Suit was designed as a tech answer to the Super Soldier Serum, providing its wearer with super strength, durability, flight and weather control. However, it needed a source of power. That’s where the hammer came in. In actuality, this Mjolnir is a massive battery, used to power the output of the E.D.I. suit and teleport its wielder anywhere on earth.
This harness and hammer were tested first on Thorlief Golmen, who was also the real (though amnesiac) Thor. He would later claim the “true” Mjolnir – which was exactly like the 616 version — but his manmade gear still packed Thorlief quite a punch. Also, with its solid-silver sheen, longer hilt and half-hammer / half-axe look, it wins in the style department hands-down. Interestingly, its power seems to be augmented since last being seen in 2015’s “Secret Wars.” Crashing into the 616 universe as the last remnant of Battleworld, it is currently in the hands of an unknown character in the 616 calling themselves “War Thor.”
13. MEDIEVAL MJOLNIR
Earth 37072 is one conquered by the nefarious wizard Kulan Gath, who used an infernal spell to transform Manhattan into a medieval dystopia (before himself being usurped by Zarathos, the demon within Ghost Rider). Everyone who enters Gath’s Manhattan is affected by his magic, instantly forgetting that they left the modern trappings of life — everyone, that is, except for Spider-Man. Spidey enlists the aid of the dimension-hopping team, The Exiles, to set things right. Unfortunately, the world is protected by twisted medieval versions of the Avengers, including a rather bulky-looking, brown-bearded Thor.
Alas, not much is known about this Thor or his Mjolnir, which first appeared in “Exiles” #56, by Tony Bedard and Jim Calafiore. We say alas because this bludgeon is a thing of beauty. Looking like its handle was basically ripped off a barbell, with its strategically-placed grips, this Mjolnir is hewn, head-to-hilt, from a gleaming metal. Given its shape, it looks more like a silver version of what was called an Otsuchi — a type of “war mallet” used by Samurai to break down doors in Feudal Japan — than a viking weapon. But wherever it’s from, whatever it can do… it casts one mean shadow.
12. DISK WARS
“Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers” was… weird. An anime that premiered in Japan in 2014, it basically mixed Marvel superheroes with Pokemon. To briefly explain, the heroes of this Earth are trapped within small disks called Digital Identity Securement Kits (D.I.S.K., get it?) that were initially meant to imprison supervillains. One thing leads to another, and it’s the heroes who get locked up. Luckily, these disks are bonded to five plucky youths, who are able to release the Avengers for short intervals, battling Loki and his plans to obtain ultimate power. Of course, with Loki around, Thor can’t be far behind (even if his essence is trapped in a CD).
If ever Thor’s hammer spent an amorous night with a Light Bike from “Tron,” the Mjolnir of Earth-TRN413 would be the result. With “futuristic” piping, this bulkier version looks like one of DC’s Mother Boxes with a handle… which is actually kind of awesome. Regardless of its slightly divergent look, this version still seems to contain the standard Mjolnir powers, with Thor using it to call down a whirlwind and lightning in Episode 5, “Mighty Thor Descends.” It also has its typically incredible strength and the ability to bust heads.
Introduced as part of The Liberators — a multinational team whose mission was to conquer and occupy the United States — Perun was one of the group’s heavies; their own version of Thor. Named after the Slavic god of thunder and empowered using stolen technology originally created for the aforementioned Ultimate Thor, he had hugely enhanced strength, could fly, was nigh-invulnerable and could manipulate weather. However, instead of just one Mjolnir (which was the battery to Ultimate Thor’s gear, and thus, subsequently, Perun’s), he was outfitted with both a sweet looking hammer and a sickle (for that deep Soviet feel).
With these weapons at his disposal, Perun was able to call down lightning in the middle of Time’s Square, easily defeating Quicksilver during The Liberators’ opening salvo in “Ultimates 2” #9, by Millar and Hitch. Along with his sickle, Perun’s hammer let him strike an imposing silhouette. It was basically a hilt that merged into a ball, on either side of which was a cylindrical mallet; a bit like a bulbous Tie Fighter on a stick. Unfortunately, Perun was eventually killed by a clone of the Hulk, who had also become a vampire… because comics are the best.
Named after the infamous Norse god apocalypse, the character Ragnarok first appeared at the end of “Civil War” #3, by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, defending Iron Man’s pro-registration team. Initially mistaken for the real god of thunder, this “Thor” was actually an identical clone-android created by Tony Stark, Hank Pym and Reed Richards after the original’s apparent death. However, that reveal would only come after he would snap and murder the titanic hero, Black Goliath, upping the stakes of the Civil War.
Destroyed by Hercules and later killed again by the real Thor, this fake would rename himself Ragnarok and go on to join The Thunderbolts and a later version of the Dark Avengers. While he isn’t a patch on Thor’s strength, his power is mighty… as is his hammer. His original technological facsimile was a powerful conductor of electricity and could control the weather to a limited degree. After this weapon was destroyed, Ragnarok found his own hammer on Earth-13584, a pocket universe created by A.I.M. This Mjolnir had a longer hilt and a slightly curved, elongated head. It presumably imbued Ragnarok with all the powers of Thor, while changing his appearance into something much more metal.
Despite being one big ruse and having very limited appearances, Stormcaster has become a fan favorite in the Marvel universe. It originally appeared in 1985’s “Uncanny X-Men Annual” #9, by Chris Claremont and Arthur Adams, as a gift to Storm from Loki. The Asgardian rascal was trying to woo the then-powerless Ororo Munroe to be his unwitting pawn against the X-Men. Using his magic to make her fellow mutants appear as threats, Loki armed Storm with the hammer to combat them. Luckily, Wolverine took the brunt of her fury (in the form of a powerful enchanted blast), eventually convincing Ororo that she was being duped.
She tried to take immediate vengeance, but since Stormcaster was tied to his power, Loki easily brushed her attack aside and absconded. Ultimately destroyed in “X-Men: To Serve And Protect” #3 after Ororo uses Mjolnir to break it (and its spell over her), Stormcaster had the same abilities as Mjolnir. However, as it was inextricably linked to Loki’s magic, the true extent of its powers remains unknown. Still, with its blunt front and angled back — and thanks to a super-fly looking Storm once energized by its Asgardian energies — Stormcaster was one helluva hammer!
“The world still needs heroes” — thus read the inscription on the magical mystery mace known as Thunderstrike. Bequeathed to Eric Masterson by Odin after the former architect’s tumultuous tenure filling in for Thor, the uru weapon has many of the same powers as Mjolnir, but with a slightly different look. Forged with a more angular head, a slightly longer handle and later rocking an extreme chain handle rather than a leather strap, Thunderstrike imbued Eric (and later his son, Kevin) with super strength, invulnerability, flight, the ability to sense mystical energies and a host of other Thor-like abilities. It could also emit blinding light and project powerful energy blasts (as opposed to calling down lightning, which is more Mjolnir’s schtick).
However, while Thunderstrike is basically a cooler-looking copy of Thor’s hammer, it is markedly less powerful. Eric found this out the hard way in his battles against his archenemy Bloodaxe (in “Thunderstrike” #1, by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz) and the unstoppable Juggernaut (“Thunderstrike” #2). Still, Thunderstrike (both the weapon and the hero) wins in terms of style; not everyone can pull off a lightning bolt earring and ponytail combo, but Big E did it with suitable aplomb.
7. THOR GIRL
Unlike others on this list, Tarene wasn’t given a magic hammer, she made one her damn self. Introduced by Dan Jurgens and John Romita Jr. in “Thor” #22, Tarene was destined to become a being called “The Designate,” a cosmic god prophesied to evolve life across the universe. When she first met Thor, he was freeing her from Thanos, who had attacked Asgard in a mission to obtain ultimate power. Inspired, she transformed herself into an homage of her hero, complete with her very own hammer. Thus, “Thor Girl” was born!
Tarene never named her war-mallet, but she did rub some signature stank on it by encasing it in pure gold. That’s just classy. While hers was significantly smaller than Thor’s, Tarene’s gilded gavel contained within it all the same powers of Mjolnir. In fact, as an extension of her nearly-limitless divine power, it might have been the most powerful hammer of all… at least for a time. She would go on to lose her cosmic powers following the death of Odin, so she and her hammer became slightly less powerful versions of Thor and Mjolnir. But hey, she still had a golden friggin‘ hammer. Sometimes, that’s all that matters.
6. CRUSHER (RED NORVELL)
Originally the cameraman in a TV crew making a documentary about Asgard (in “Thor” #273, by Roy Thomas and Tom Palmer), Roger “Red” Norvell grew smitten with the Lady Sif. That was enough of a foothold for Loki to get in Red’s ear, convincing him to don Megingjord (Thor’s “Belt of Strength”) and reach into the “Fire of Geirrodur” to retrieve the Iron Gloves of Power. Together, these gave Red the power of Thor (including the ability to lift Mjolnir), not to mention a fetching fur loincloth. Red would die in issue #278, fulfilling a prophecy that “Thor” would perish in battle against the Midgard Serpent.
However, in “Thor” #478, by Thomas and M.C. Wyman, Odin resurrected Red from Valhalla to replace his then-estranged son, who had relinquished his title to defend Earth. This is when Odin gave Red his own hammer, “Crusher.” Boasting the same powers of Mjolnir, Crusher was your classic, double-handed war hammer. Interestingly, in the original Thor myth, Sindri (the dwarf who first forged Mjolnir) was embarrassed by its shorter-than-usual handle, citing it as the only flaw in its design. Crusher, then, is technically an improvement, as it conveys the strength in both of Thor’s arms.
“Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be UNWORTHY, shall possess the power of Thorr.” This was the inscription on this “evil” version of Mjolnir from Earth-14325. It first appeared in 2014’s “Avengers” #5, by Jonathan Hickman and Salvador Larroca, in which Thorr’s team (the so-called “Tyrant Avengers”) were brought to our earth by A.I.M. They were later defeated by the 616 Avengers and teleported to another reality. Thorr’s Mjolnir, however, remained.
Not to be confused with the Norwegian-American metal band of the same name, Thorr’s hammer is similar in look and equal (though clearly opposite) in power to that of “our” Mjolnir. The only real difference between the two is that Thorr’s was not fettered by a worthy enchantment. This would come in handy for the 616 Thor, who, after the “Original Sin” event, was unable to lift his own hammer. He could, however, lift Thorr’s, and did so in “New Avengers” #27, by Hickman and Szymon Kudranski, during a battle against the cosmic sorcerers known as the Black Priests. Perhaps because he had been so-long de-powered, or because of the hammer’s influence, Thor revelled in his new dark power… and in the sick new threads Thorr’s Mjolnir gave him.
Born in the halcyon days of “Amalgam Comics” (when it was still possible for Marvel and DC to work together), Thorion was the combination of the golden-haired thunder god and DC’s decidedly less-dreamy New God, Orion. He was basically the comics equivalent of that Game of Thrones / Muppets mash-up tee you own. And while not much is known about Thorion, having only appeared in 1997’s “Thorion of the New Gods,” by the impressive team of Keith Giffen and John Romita Jr., what is known is that he was super powerful and locked in a perpetual battle against his erstwhile father, Thanoseid (a Thanos/Darkseid combo), and his pseudo-bro, L’ok D’saad.
Through his slightly squat, yet not-less menacing version of Mjolnir, Thorion not only represented the tenuous peace brokered between the warring worlds of Apokalypse and New Asgard, he also channeled the power of the so-called “Astro-Force.” This nebulous source of energy was great enough to grant him all the abilities of Thor and Orion (a heady mix), and also absorb an immense explosion of apocalyptic energies meant to bring upon a “second ragnarok,” wrought by the powerful demon Surtur and yet another mash-up called the Mother Cube. That’s some hammer!
3. THE HAMMER OF SKADI
Led by Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen, 2011’s “Fear Itself” was basically what this list is all about: wicked hammers. On a quest for power, the daughter of Red Skull — the aptly-named Sin — awakens The Serpent — aka, the angry brother of Odin, Cul Burson. She does this by finding the legendary Hammer of Skadi (Cul’s daughter), becoming possessed by her spirit. She then enlists others in her designs to conquer the world with fear. As we mentioned, there were loads of hammers in “Fear Itself,” like the meat tenderizer-looking Hammer of Angrir, which possessed The Thing. Then there was the Hammer of Nul, wielded by the Hulk, which resembled a nastier version of Thunderstrike.
But Skadi’s was a thing of (evil) beauty. Unlike the other hammers, Skadi’s was far more elegant, looking like a cross between Perun’s and a classic rapier, with its hand-guard. It gave Sin/Skadi powers comparable to Thor’s, granting her impossible strength, massive energy projection and the ability to teleport. Chosen to wield it when neither her father nor Hitler himself could even lift it, the hammer also designated Sin as a true force of evil, later empowering her enough to kill Captain America.
In terms of raw power and sheer damn style, magic hammers don’t come much cooler than Stormbreaker. Cast in solid uru and looking downright fierce with its bulbous head, this solid-gold beauty is the height of interstellar couture. That’s because it was made specially by Odin for the alien horse-man known as Beta Ray Bill. It was your classic case of mistaken identity that brought Bill and Thor to blows. Bill was tasked with defending his people, the Korbinites, who mutated him into their powerful equine enforcer, just before nearly going extinct. Unfortunately, Thor came crashing into Bill’s ship, the Scuttlebutt, waking him from suspended animation and causing a fracas.
The ensuing clash led to an identity crisis which, in turn, caused a deathmatch between the two in the fiery realm of Skartheim for ultimate control over Mjolnir. Bill, surprisingly, won! Having already proven himself worthy of wielding Mjolnir, Bill was given a new weapon by Odin himself in “Thor” #339, by Walt Simonson. The All-Father personally enlisted acclaimed Dwarf blacksmith, Eitri of Nidavellir, to create Stormbreaker, which would imbue Bill with all the limitless Asgardian powers he had earned, but with a decidedly more golden gleam. Your move, Mjolnir!
1. THE ORIGINAL
By far the most iconic hammer in… well, any medium, the Mjolnir that first appears in “Journey Into Mystery” #83 by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott is one bitchin’ bludgeon. Like the Norse myths, Marvel’s Mjolnir was forged as a gift to the gods by the finest blacksmiths in the Nine Realms: the Dwarves. Originally, Odin himself filled the hammer with his magic. However, in 2016’s “The Mighty Thor” #12, by Jason Aaron and Russel Dauterman, it is revealed that Mjolnir’s power comes thanks to a sentient cosmic storm, which Odin wrestled into submission and trapped within the hunk of uru that was then hewn into its famous hammer shape.
What are these powers, you ask? Well, not only does it transform its bearer into a super-strong teutonic purveyor of divine justice, its nigh-unbreakable frame also facilitates flight, weather control, energy projection, absorption and redirection, transmogrification, teleportation and instant healing, among many, many others. It’s also fiercely loyal, as it can only be hefted by the worthy, and always flies back to its bearer after being thrown. If you absolutely, positively have to pulverize everything into dust (and look good doing it), accept no substitutes.
Which of these hammers wouldst thou wield? Let thy voice thunder ‘pon yon comments section!
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