Comics writers love to take the most distinctive aspect of a comic book character and try to reverse it. Captain America has an unbreakable shield? Break it! The Juggernaut is unstoppable? Stop him! Hulk is the strongest one there is? Find someone stronger! In keeping with that approach, writers over the years have constantly played with the idea that only Thor was “worthy” enough to lift his hammer, Mjolnir, by suggesting that perhaps other characters are worthy, as well.
The famous “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor” quote has had a few loopholes in it over the years, like how the rule only pertains to people versus artificial beings. And, of course, if you are deemed “worthy” of the hammer, you can lift it. Here, then, is a list of 15 characters who have lifted Thor’s hammer. We are sticking mostly to the “they’re worthy” category, but there are a few wild cards in there (but no “lifting it in zero gravity” or “riding it as it returns to Thor” silliness).
Besides being one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe (the amount of “Thor” stories that essentially revolve around “Just wait until Odin shows up and solves everything instantly!” are staggering), Odin is also the person who actually had Mjolnir made for Thor, so it’s not at all surprising that he can lift it. On top of this, he is the one who cast the “worthy” spell upon the hammer in the first place.
More recently, however, Mjolnir has adapted. It has not only changed its inscription (the gender-based pronoun changed from “he” to “she”), but also its determination of “worthy” has changed, and the AllFather has discovered that he himself can no longer can lift the hammer. This does not please him. Honestly, though, as you’ll see in an upcoming entry, Odin does so many slimy things that it’s unsurprising to learn that he might not be deemed “worthy” anymore.
One of the things that Marvel Comics was most famous for was something that “Superman” editor Mort Weisinger had previously established: letting fans feel as though that they had a say in how the comic books turned out. Weisinger would let young fans come up with ideas and he would have his writers adapt those ideas into stories. The reason Marvel was famous for it is because Stan Lee took the same approach, only Lee took it to a whole other level. He would work the fans’ ideas into the stories themselves, like the famed “Journey Into Mystery” #112 (by Lee, Jack Kirby and Chic Stone), in which Thor himself waded into a fan argument over who was more powerful – Thor or Hulk?
This led to the reveal of a secret fight that took place in-between pages of the “Avengers” fight against Namor and Hulk in “Avengers” #3. Thor asked Odin to remove the enchantment on Mjolnir for five minutes so that Thor could determine who really was stronger – him or Hulk. So even the characters were obsessed with “Who’s stronger?”! While the hammer’s enchantment was off, Hulk was able to lift Mjolnir.
13. RED NORVELL
No comic book character can quite capture the levels of 1950s/1960s Superman when it comes to a character acting like a total jerk to their so-called friends, all part of elaborate plans ostensibly to protect their friends. However, Odin is probably the character who comes the closest to Superman in terms of seemingly cruel, elaborate schemes designed with “good” intentions at the heart of them.
Perhaps his cruelest scheme was when Odin discovered a prophecy that said “Thor was going to die.” So in “Thor” #276 (by Roy Thomas, John Buscema and Tom Palmer), an American camera man (let into Asgard by Loki as part of a film crew doing a documentary about the magical land) was given a belt of strength by Loki and special gloves allowing him to lift Mjolnir so that he could woo Thor’s girlfriend, Sif, as the new Thor. As it turned out, Loki’s plot was secretly Odin’s plot. Since Odin knew “Thor” would die, he planned on it being a “Thor” other than his son. That’s exactly what happened, as the Midgard Serpent showed up and killed Red. Odin later resurrected him as a reward for being such a good little pawn.
When it comes to the pantheon of the gods in the Marvel Universe, it tends to be pretty confusing when you’re trying to figure out which ones are the most powerful. Still, at least in the general sense, the head of the Greek pantheon, Zeus, has mostly been seen as being in the basic vicinity of Odin when it comes to power levels.
This was demonstrated well in “Thor Annual” #8 (by Roy Thomas, John Buscema and Tony DeZuniga), where Thor and Loki both lost their memories and ended up participating in the actual Trojan War (Loki, of course, was the one who came up with the idea for the Trojan Horse). After regaining his memory, Thor and Zeus battle and Thor is shocked when Zeus was able to grab Mjolnir in mid-air, preventing it from returning to Thor’s hands! Well, at first, at least, as ultimately even Zeus could not keep it from returning to Thor. Still, just by showing that he could grab it and hold it, Zeus demonstrated that he was a very powerful being.
In “Thor” #305 (by Mark Gruenwald, Ralph Macchio, Keith Pollard and Chic Stone), one of the most interesting loopholes surrounding Mjolnir was introduced. While the hammer’s inscription does not explicitly say so, we learn in this issue (which was co-written by Mark Gruenwald, who was famous for his interest in comic book minutia like this) that the “Worthiness” clause only applies to beings that are made of flesh and blood.
This is discovered with Air-Walker, who had been killed shortly after becoming Galactus’ herald only for Galactus to then remove his soul and place it into an android body so that Air-Walker could continue to serve the mighty devourer of worlds. Air-Walker was loose on Earth and had befriended a young boy, causing havoc while entertaining the young child. When Thor confronted him and threw his hammer at him, Air-Walker shocked everyone when he was able to grab it and continue holding onto it! Ultimately, he could not keep it from returning to Thor, but it firmly established that artificial beings like androids could lift Thor’s hammer (which makes it surprising that Vision had never wielded it in the comic universe, especially since he has in the movies. Come on, Mark Waid, get on that!).
10. BETA RAY BILL
When he took over as the writer and artist on “Thor” with “Thor” #337, Walter Simonson wanted to make a big splash, so he decided that he wanted to have someone new revealed as “worthy” of Thor’s hammer even with the enchantment still on it. He also thought it would be interesting if the new wielder was someone who didn’t look like he would be worthy (the old “don’t judge a book by its cover” axiom).
Therefore, he introduced a bizarre-looking alien named Beta Ray Bill, who was traversing the universe with his people as they tried to find a new home for their race. Bill was in the lead craft in their space fleet. He ended up coming too close to Earth, so S.H.I.E.L.D. attacked. Bill had to respond and, while fighting with Thor, he picked up the god’s hammer (after it had turned back into a walking stick following the 60-second enchantment period where Thor had to touch his hammer or turn back into Donald Blake) and turned into a Thor-ized version of himself. Odin then made Thor and Beta Ray Bill fight for the right to use the hammer. They pretty much tied each other, so Odin made Bill his own hammer, Stormbreaker, which is basically just as powerful as Mjolnir.
Following the rather new tradition of opening one’s “Thor” run by introducing another character worthy of wielding Mjolnir, Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz began their run with issue #384 (with Brett Breeding inking Frenz), a story set in the future, where a powerful corporation ruled America and the small resistance forces were being pounded into submission by trolls hired by the corporation (as part of a deal between the head of the corporation and a mysterious benefactor who was secretly Loki). The rebels worship Thor and carry his famous hammer stuck in a piece of concrete. During one devastating attack by the trolls, young Dargo Ktor searched for a weapon and grabbed for the hammer, suddenly seeing himself transformed into into Thor.
He helped save his people and stop the trolls. However, his greatest success was the fact that the hammer was clearly not meant to be in the future. Loki had brought it here to screw with Thor, so Dargo Ktor’s most impressive act of heroism was to send the hammer back in time to return to its rightful owner, Thor himself. Later, the hammer returned, letting Dargo have many more adventures as Thor (once even alongside Beta Ray Bill and Eric Masterson as a so-called “Thor Corps”).
8. STEVE ROGERS
During the late 1980s, Iron Man had discovered that his armor technology was being used by villains, so he decided he had to eliminate everything out there that used it in order to ensure that no one could reverse-engineer the tech and use it for evil. However, the armored guards at the supervillain prison known as the Vault used his technology, so he had to shut them down too, which caused a problem when there was an escape attempt. Steve Rogers, then known as The Captain, showed up to stop the escape and ended up confronting Iron Man over his actions. Iron Man defeated him and left to continue his mission.
But when Thor met the Captain in “Thor” #390 (by Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz and Brett Breeding), he was not sure who was right in the argument. After all, the Captain had his title of Captain America stripped from him during this era, so maybe he was at fault? Any doubts Thor had were allayed when they were attacked by the deadly Seth’s troops. When Thor was separated from his hammer, the Captain picked it up and used it to beat up some of the thugs before returning it to Thor. Seeing the Captain’s worthiness proven in front of his own eyes let Thor know that he had no reason to doubt his friend anymore.
7. ERIC MASTERSON
Early in their run, Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz introduced architect Eric Masterson, a single father whose life was saved by Thor via merging their essences together. This allowed the book to return to an approximation of the Don Blake/Thor split, with Eric Masterson having the same walking stick that he would strike to transform into Thor.
Eventually, in “Thor” #432 (by DeFalco, Frenz and Joe Sinnott), Thor was banished over his decision to kill Loki. Eric Masterson now had his body back to himself. Or so he thought anyway, for when he struck the walking stick in anger over the unfairness of Thor’s banishment, he found himself transformed into Thor once again. Only now, he was in control of Thor’s body! Now it was Eric’s mind in a copy of Thor’s body. He then took over as Thor while the real Thor was missing, serving with distinction. When Thor returned, Odin gave Eric an enchanted mace and Eric continued to fight crime in his Thor-like body as Thunderstrike. He sadly gave his life fighting the evil Seth.
6. WONDER WOMAN
In 1996, DC Comics and Marvel blew fans minds by having a crossover event where the heroes from the DC Universe were pit against the heroes of the Marvel Universe, with fans voting in to determine who would win the various fights (leading to some bizarre results, like Lobo, who had gone toe-to-toe with Superman, losing to Wolverine, who was once defeated by the Wasp). Wonder Woman was matched up with Storm while Thor was matched up with Captain Marvel (although the Thor/Captain Marvel outcome was not determined by fan vote).
Thor defeated Captain Marvel through the use of his hammer to keep the magic lightning from hitting Billy Batson and turning him into Captain Marvel. However, the victory was marred by Thor’s hammer moving from one world to the other, where Wonder Woman discovered it. She was deemed worthy and was transformed into a Thor-ized version of herself. However, she decided that it was unsporting to use her new powers against Storm, so she discarded the hammer and then promptly was defeated by Storm.
A number of years later, DC and Marvel met up again (for what would turn out to be pretty much their final meeting for the foreseeable future), in “JLA/Avengers” by Kurt Busiek and George Perez. After first battling against each other and then seeing time itself fluctuate to the point where they believed that they had known each other and had been having team-ups for years, the Justice League and the Avengers ended up having to team up to take down the mad god known as Krona.
In the final battle, every Avenger and Justice Leaguer fought against Krona, but they each fell one after another. As their ranks began to thin down, Thor made the decision to let Superman (who had earlier been entrusted with Captain America’s shield, as Cap had taken on more of a coordinating general’s role) use his hammer. The trick here, though, is that Thor had Odin remove the “worthiness” enchantment first, so we’ll never know for sure whether Superman would have been able to lift the hammer if the enchantment had still been on the hammer.
4. AWESOME ANDROID
Following in the “artificial beings can lift the hammer” vein is the Awesome Android. The Awesome Android was formed by the Mad Thinker based on a mixture between Mister Fantastic’s unstable molecules and an ape, so the large being was malleable enough to mimic the powers of superheroes and be super strong. It served as the Thinker’s main enforcer over the years, as they fought against pretty much every superhero in the Marvel Universe at one point or another.
Over time, though, the Mad Thinker upgraded the Awesome Android so that it could absorb not just power from other beings, but also abilities like musical talent. All of these changes led to the Android gaining sentience. After almost stealing Mjolnir from Thor, Thor convinced him that he had absorbed Thor’s “Worthiness.” Therefore, it split from the Mad Thinker and got itself emancipated and declared a male, along with a new name, Awesome Andy (this was all detailed in “She-Hulk” #14 by Dan Slott, Rick Burchett and Cliff Rathburn). It went to go work for a law firm, but ultimately decided to give up its sentience and return to the Thinker after sentient life did not work out for it.
In a famous crossover between the New Mutants and the X-Men (by Chris Claremont and Art Adams), the New Mutants and Storm ended up on Asgard, where the mutants all ended up adapting to life in Asgard in various ways. Storm, meanwhile, was seduced by Loki into believing that she could take over from Thor. Loki created an approximation of Mjolnir (dubbed Stormcaster) and gave it to her (who, at the time, had lost her weather-controlling powers, so the hammer allowed to mimic her weather abilities). This turned her into a Thor-ized version of herself. She eventually broke free of Loki’s control and abandoned the faux Mjolnir.
However, that left open the question as to whether she actually would have been worthy of the hammer otherwise. The issue was brought up again in “X-Men: To Serve and Protect” #3, in a story by Marc Guggenheim, Eric Koda and Danny Miki, where Thor gave Stormcaster back to Storm and she was transformed once again into her Loki-controlled Thor-ized self. However, she then picked up Mjolnir and used it to destroy Stormcaster. She did so, though, while Thor was also holding on to the hammer, so it avoided the question of whether she could have lifted it without Thor being in contact with the Mjolnir.
When it comes to Mjolnir, Asgardians have a weird relationship with the hammer. Loki, for instance, has managed to handle the hammer a number of times over the years through various pieces of mischief. However, one of the only times that he flat out wielded it came under very peculiar circumstances.
During a fight alongside the Avengers against Red Skull (who had merged himself with the brain of Professor X to make himself a powerful telepath), Magneto angrily murdered the Skull. However, that only unleashed the powerful psionic energy being known as Red Onslaught. Red Onslaught attacked the collected heroes with special Sentinels designed to defeat any superhero, so Magneto then went and recruited a bunch of supervillains to stop those Sentinels, as they were not designed to defeat villains.
Scarlet Witch and Doctor Doom then cast an “inversion” spell to make the Professor X part of Red Skull’s brain take control. The spell worked, but it also turned all the heroes present into villains and all the villains into heroes. While under the control of the spell, Loki was suddenly worthy enough to wield Mjolnir in “Loki: Agent of Asgard” #9 (by Al Ewing and Lee Garbett). When the spell ended, though, so too did Loki’s worthiness.
1. JANE FOSTER
Jane Foster was the longtime love interest of both Don Blake and Thor. Thor once was even willing to renounce his godhood for her (and Odin was once willing to turn Jane Foster into a god, as well, but she ended up failing a “godhood test”). Over the years, they split from each other but remained close friends. When Asgard became sort of docked to Earth (in Oklahoma), Jane became the main liaison between Midgard (Earth) and Asgard. This is a role that she continued to maintain even after Asgard returned to its former state.
However, when the original Thor was revealed to be no longer worthy of Mjolnir (why, we still don’t know), the hammer was stuck on the moon. Its transcription then changed to “if she be worthy,” just in time for Jane Foster to pick the hammer up and be transformed into the new Thor. She maintains the hammer to this day, with Mjolnir adapting itself in new ways to serve her.
Who is your favorite alternate Mjolnir wielder? Let us know in the comments section!
- Ad Free Browsing
- Over 10,000 Videos!
- All in 1 Access
- Join For Free!