One of the most powerful objects that can be found among the Marvel Universe — and, arguably, any comic book universe — is Thor’s trusty hammer, Mjolnir. Forged by Dwarven blacksmiths and carved out of uru, Mjolnir is the ideal Asgardian weapon that any character would beg to hold. Unfortunately, not every Asgardian — or any regular person — can just pick up the hammer. The hammer comes with a special statement engraved in fine print which clearly states that “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” If that reads too much in old English for some of our readers, here’s a modern translation: anyone who’s not worthy can’t pick this thing up. This isn’t about actual physical strength either — the worthiness of a person also has a lot to do with what’s inside and not just outward strength.
Mjolnir is coated with a special enhancement delivered by Odin himself that prevents the hammer from getting picked up by unworthy people, which in turn prevents the almighty hammer from falling into the wrong hands and being used in any nefarious ways. As a result, very few characters — a small handful, in fact — can even claim to have successfully tried to lift up Mjolnir from the ground. Of course, we all know that Thor can lift it up as Mjolnir is the Norse God’s signature weapon of choice, but there are a select few others who can do the same. With that in mind, take a look at 20 characters who were worthy enough to pull of this feat.
20. JANE FOSTER
When Thor is suddenly incapable of lifting his hammer, Mjolnir gives his ex, Jane Foster, the strength to lift it up and become the new Thor in his absence. However, every time she lifts up the hammer and transforms, Jane’s cancer only gets worse when she reverts back and all the progress from her chemo is reversed.
She was told by Dr. Strange that if she transformed one more time, it would be the end of her. She agreed to hang up her Thor boots, until she learned Asgardia was flying towards the sun. Despite knowing the repercussions, she became Thor again to save Asgardia, but at the cost of her life as Thor.
19. BETA RAY BILL
Officially the first character outside of Marvel’s Norse mythology to pick up Mjolnir, Bill here was an alien looking for a new home for his race. When S.H.I.E.L.D. mistake Bill and his people for a threat, they send Thor after them. When the two of them scuffled, Bill got a hold of Mjolnir, reverting Thor back into his Donald Blake persona.
As a result, Odin made them fight for the right to be Thor. Since they basically came to a draw, Bill was given his own hammer, called the Stormbreaker, which is just as powerful as Mjolnir, which fell back into Thor’s hands.
18. CONAN THE BARBARIAN
We usually get a lot of wacky versus match-ups in comic books between some of our favorite characters, but one of the wackiest came in What if… The Mighty Thor Battled Conan the Barbarian. As the title suggests, Thor and Conan cross paths. Then, they fight over a misunderstanding, of course, and then become friends when everything’s cleared up.
However, later on, Thor finds himself severely wounded in battle, and in his final breath, he passes his hammer on to Conan. Now wielding Mjolnir, Conan becomes a god, which makes the Barbarian even more of a wicked warrior than he already was before.
17. AWESOME ANDY
The Awesome Android — or Awesome Andy for short — was created by The Mad Thinker with the intention that the beast could absorb powers of other superheroes. Once he upgraded the creature, Andy was able to absorb other things as well. He absorbed Thor’s worthiness, allowing him to pick up Mjolnir.
In the midst of all of this, Andy became a sentient being, which convinced him to get himself emancipated from The Mad Thinker, declared a male, and legally changed his name to Andy. Afterwards, Andy got a job at a law firm, but after realizing how tough normal life is, he returned to The Mad Thinker.
During the major crossover event, “Axis”, the Red Skull became a major threat after merging himself with Professor X’s brain and becoming a powerful telepath. Long story short, to counterattack the big bad, Scarlet Witch and Dr. Doom cast an inversion spell to allow the Professor to take control of the Red Skull’s brain.
The consequences of this action is that it created a world where all of the world’s superheroes had become supervillains, and vice versa. Meaning that now, Thor was suddenly evil, and Loki was a goodie who was worthy enough to wield Mjolnir. Under normal circumstances, Loki can’t so much as nudge the hammer.
Due to all of the unforgivable villainy that he has committed over the course of his tenure as an esteemed comic book villain, Magneto is probably the last guy that any of us would expect to be worthy enough to lift Mjolnir. He actually has proven able to lift Mjolnir, albeit through cheating.
Using his electromagnetism powers, Magneto is able to control the air around the hammer opposed to actually using his strength and worthiness to lift it like other wielders can. Regardless of how he does it, he is still able to do it, and that reserves him a very unique spot on our list.
There have been plenty of instances in comic book history where the Hulk has proven able to lift Mjolnir from the ground, but most of these times have been through some kind of trickery (one time, magic made Hulk believe he was holding Mjolnir, when it was just a stick) or during a dream sequence.
The closest the Hulk actually came to lifting the real deal was through a loophole. While under the tutelage of Thanos in Avengers Assemble, Hulk fought Thor and while Thor was already holding the hammer, Hulk could lift it himself while grabbing onto Thor’s hand.
13. RED HULK
The fifth issue of the second volume of the 2008 comic book series Hulk left readers stunned, specifically for two reasons. One being that the Red Hulk absolutely obliterated Thor in hand to hand combat — Thor did not even stand a chance.
Using Thor’s own momentum against him, Red Hulk was able to drag them both into space and taking advantage of the weightlessness of outer space, he was able to grab Mjolnir and clobber Thor with it. As if that was not bad enough, Red Hulk also punched The Watcher in the face and stole The Silver Surfer’s surfboard in the span of the same issue.
At the beginning of Avengers: Age of Ultron, we caught a scene where all of The Avengers try lifting Thor’s Mjolnir, only to fail each time. Later in the film, using a combination of a synthetic body intended for Ultron, one of the six Infinity Stones, and the J.A.R.V.I.S. A.I. system, The Vision was created.
Within a minute of The Vision being alive, the character was able to pick up Thor’s hammer with great ease, only to hand it right back to the Norse God immediately, which also established just how trustworthy the character could be from the start to just hand over an all-powerful object.
Despite being an all-powerful god, even Thor has to retire at some point. When the god finally decided to settle down into the role of his alter ego, Dr. Donald Blake, Mjolnir was in desperate need of a new owner. Enter Eric Masterson, an ordinary human construction worker who impressed Thor immensely with his bravery in times of dire danger.
When Masterson was injured during a battle between Thor and Mongoose, Odin decided to merge Thor and the civilian together to save his life. Together, they became Thunderstrike, until they split again. This was when Masterson received his own Mjolnir-lite weapon, called Thunderstrike.
We all know that Rogue has the ability to absorb the powers of other mutants, but a fact that many fans neglect is that she is also capable of absorbing the worthiness of other mutants. Which is why the one shot story What if… Rogue Possessed the Powers of Thor concerned itself with Rogue — back in her supervillain days — yanking Thor’s powers, which in turn allowed her to be worthy enough to lift Mjolnir.
9. CAPTAIN AMERICA
We all remember the heartstopping moment in Avengers: Age of Ultron when Captain America nearly lifted Mjolnir. This may not have come as a shock to those who read comics where Cap has proven multiple times to be worthy enough of lifting Mjolnir. One of those instances came in Thor #390 in 1998, after Captain America had gone independent as just The Captain.
Cap visited Avengers mansion and soon found himself in an ambush from Grog and the Demons of Death. In the heat of battle, Cap lifted the hammer with ease and pummeled some baddies before returning it to Thor.
No, not the MCU movie. This Ragnarok refers to the character who was a clone created by Tony Stark using a strand of Thor’s hair in the wake of the Superhuman Registration Act, in hopes of bringing a much needed pair of muscles onto his side of the fence. After a mission where he defeated The New Warriors, the clone adopted the name Ragnarok and joined the Dark Avengers.
Initially, he was given a man made version of Mjolnir, which was really just a giant vibranium hammer that anybody could pick up if they tried. However, during a trip to an alternate universe, Ragnarok discovered he could in fact lift that universe’s Mjolnir.
As a member of The Ultimates, Thor battled Ultron and Magneto and during the thick of battle, he lost his hammer to Magneto, who found a way to lift it despite not being worthy. And of course, with Magneto being Magneto, he abused it, most infamously using it to cause a flood.
Moments before his lover’s — Valkyrie — life could be taken by the Goddess of Death, Hela, Thor sacrificed his own life to Valhalla to save her. To make sure that Thor did not die in vain, Valkyrie confronted Magneto, sliced off his arm, claimed Mjolnir herself and became the new Thor.
6. DR. DOOM
There was once a time when Dr. Doom was obsessed with wanting to wield Mjolnir and claim all of its power. It all started when he found himself trapped in hell, until Ragnarok took place and as a result, Mjolnir was separated from Thor once the hammer fell through different dimensions.
One of those dimensions happened to be into hell itself, where it tore open a portal where Dr. Doom was able to step through and step back onto earth among the living. Once he was outside of hell, Dr. Doom decided to give it a go at trying to pick the hammer up off the grab, and lo and behold, he can lift it.
During the company colliding JLA/Avengers event, the Justice League and The Avengers found themselves working together to take on the threat of a mad God named Krona. Krona defeated them all one after another. It took Superman wielding both Mjolnir and Captain America’s Shield before a final blow could be dealt to the enemy.
However, Superman initially was not worthy enough to lift Mjolnir. Moments before he picked the hammer up, Odin lifted the worthiness enhancement from the hammer because he thought in the hands of the Man of Steel, the hammer was in good hands in that moment. He thought right.
In issue three of X-Men: To Serve and Protect, Thor visited the Queen of Wakanda on her land to hand her a strange relic he found among the ruins of Asgard: the Stormcaster. In a previous story, Loki manipulated Storm into wielding this equivalent of Mjolnir after she lost her weather powers.
Once she broke free from Loki’s control, she discarded the weapon, but when Thor returned it to her, she used it again. However, once she was done with the Stormcaster, Thor handed Storm his real Mjolnir, and she used it to destroy the Stormcaster, albeit while Thor was still holding onto it.
3. BLACK WIDOW
During the What if… Age of Ultron storyline, the God of Thunder is vanquished to a permanent end, if you catch our drift. In a world without Thor, Ragnarok falls upon the universe, and as we all should know, that can only spell the end of said universe. With the balance of the universe all out of whack, the universe is in desperate need of a new hero to come forward to save the day.
More specifically, a new God. That new God comes in the form of Black Widow, who upon visiting the grave site of Thor, realizes that she can lift Mjolnir. The series ends with a wheelchair bound Fury commemorating Natasha’s efforts as a god.
2. WONDER WOMAN
During the big DC/Marvel crossover event of 1996 which pitted classic heroes from each company against each other, Marvel’s Thor was pitted against DC’s Shazam. The battle had become so heated that Thor had been separated from his hammer. Wonder Woman came across it, and decided to pick it up.
Despite the prophecy on the hammer foretelling that “HE be worthy” if they lift the hammer, Wonder Woman lifted it with ease. However, not deeming it fair to face her opponent — Storm — with her new Thor-ized powers and weapon, she put the hammer down before her fight with Storm. She lost.
1. SILVER SURFER
In the 16th issue of Thanos, the title character travels to the end of the time itself to find out that in the future, Thanos did in fact succeed in destroying everything and everyone in the universe. All that remains is ruins, rubble, and the Silver Surfer, now going by the title of “The Fallen One,” after Galactus was too busy collecting dust in a dirt pile to keep using the name.
The reason why Surfer was the only one alive was because he was too busy becoming “worthy” over the last million years to find himself in Thanos’s path. At the end of the issue, Surfer calls onto Mjolnir, and lightning surrounds him.
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