Although Thor is considered one of the most formidable heroes in the entire Marvel Universe even without his trusty hammer, Mjolnir has become one of the character’s most iconic assets due to its incredible power -- turning Thor from a powerful god into a nigh-unstoppable force of nature. One of the weapon’s defining characteristics though, is the enchantment placed on it by Odin that allows it to be used only by those deemed “worthy” enough to wield the hallowed hammer.
The problem here -- and it’s a problem that comic book writers have taken full advantage of over the years -- is that the concept of worthiness is so open to interpretation that it can seem almost random at times, with different writers setting different parameters of who can be considered as such. The result is that while some of the most righteous, altruistic heroes in existence can’t lift Mjolnir, other, more morally gray characters can. That’s without taking into consideration the characters who’ve found methods of nullifying the enchantment, be it through magic, trickery or even raw strength. Here we’ll be taking a look at 15 of the least worthy characters ever to lift Mjolnir -- no matter what method they used to do so.
A mutant with the ability to absorb the powers of other heroes and villains, Rogue is often considered one of the more overpowered X-Men -- especially after permanently absorbing the powers of Carol Danvers -- but what would happen if Rogue absorbed the powers of Thor in this fashion?
Well, that’s exactly what happens in What if… Rogue Possessed the Power of Thor? which sees Rogue -- still a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants at this point -- use her potent abilities on the God of Thunder himself, killing several Avengers in the process. Essentially tricking Mjolnir into yielding its power with her newfound abilities, this evil version of Rogue is certainly not worthy of lifting the hammer, even if she does eventually come to her senses by cleaning up her mess and becoming the new Thor.
14 BLACK WIDOW
Despite her dubious superhero moniker suggesting otherwise, there’s no question that Black Widow has proved herself to be a true hero over the years. Still, Natasha certainly has both a dark side and a dark past -- one that readers know little about given her often-convoluted origins. Constantly referencing her past misdeeds and “red ledger”, it’s clear that Black Widow has had quite the brutal history, due to brainwashing.
Nevertheless, she was deemed worthy by Mjolnir itself during the events of What if… Age of Ultron #3, which saw The Midgard Serpent kill Thor during an intense battle, effectively plunging the world into chaos. Visiting the site of Thor’s death, Black Widow soon finds that she’s able to lift the hammer easily, with the issue implying that the world’s need for a new god to restore balance may have had something to do with her ability to wield the hammer.
13 CONAN THE BARBARIAN
Conan the Barbarian got his first taste of god-like power in What if… #39, which marked the barbarian’s first and only crossover with the God of Thunder. In the issue, Thor befriends Conan and his gang of barbarians after getting stranded in the distant past, before his hammer catches the attention of Conan’s arch-nemesis -- the nefarious Thoth-Amon.
Seeking to take Mjolnir for himself, Thoth-Amon is eventually defeated by Thor and Conan, although Thor is severely wounded, succumbing to his injuries soon after. After his newfound friend’s passing, Conan discovers he’s able to wield Mjolnir for himself, making him even more powerful than he already was. While it makes sense to some degree that Conan can lift the hammer -- he’s an unmatched warrior, for a start -- he seems to enjoy violence just a little too much to be truly worthy. He is a barbarian after all.
While it’s been solidly established in Marvel’s mainstream universe that Mjolnir is exempt from Magneto’s power over magnetism, the Ultimate Universe changes this part of the continuity, painting a completely different picture when it comes to Thor's magical hammer and the Master of Magnetism. Sure, the hammer is subject to a different set of rules in this universe, but Mjolnir is still Mjolnir, no matter the continuity it resides in.
It’s also worth mentioning that the subject of whether Magneto truly lifted the hammer is up for debate, considering the villain technically used electromagnetism to control the air around the hammer rather than lifting it in the traditional sense. Either way, the fact that Magneto was able to manipulate Mjolnir in any capacity earns him a spot on this list.
Although Marvel has toyed with the idea of Hulk lifting Thor’s hammer dozens of times over the years, instances of it actually happening are rare, and are often depicted in either dream sequences or alternate-future scenarios. The Maestro -- a villainous alter-ego of Hulk -- has been shown to own Mjolnir as a trophy, for instance.
The closest Hulk has gotten to genuinely wielding Thor’s hammer however, comes in Avengers Assemble #4, in which Hulk -- under the influence of Thanos -- grabs the hammer while Thor is still holding onto it. This reveals a rather huge loophole in Mjolnir’s enchantment, and subsequently allows Hulk to pummel his rival. It’s also notable that Hulk has only ever been shown to lift Mjolnir through brute force, and it’s highly unlikely the hulking beast will ever be considered truly worthy. After all, that temper isn’t exactly befitting of a noble Asgardian warrior.
One of the most violent, unstable heroes the Marvel Universe has to offer, Deadpool is one of the last characters you’d expect to be able to lift Mjolnir -- but that’s exactly what happens in Deadpool #37. Kind of.
After being manipulated by Loki into depowering and capturing Thor, Deadpool is surprised to learn that he can lift Mjolnir, immediately setting off on a series of grand adventures -- which include ordering 37 gorditas from Taco Bell and scoring a home run at a local baseball game. Of course, it’s soon revealed that Loki had planted a fake copy of Mjolnir to trick Deadpool, meaning that the Merc with a Mouth was never worthy to begin with -- which makes perfect sense. While this may not count as Deadpool lifting Thor’s hammer, the whole idea is just too ridiculous not to include here.
After a typically convoluted series of events results in Nova Corps Captain Gabriel Lyn (aka Air-Walker) having his soul revived in the body of an android, the previously noble warrior becomes a shadow of his former self. Having fallen completely under the influence of Galactus, Air-Walker soon crosses paths with Thor himself, and the two engage in a heated skirmish.
Able to stop Mjolnir in its tracks after Thor launches it his way, Air-Walker proceeds to use the hammer to beat the snot out of Thor, leaving him incapacitated. Although his ability to wield Mjolnir was initially thought to be connected to his status as an android, it’s since been suggested that it’s in fact Gabriel’s past as a Nova Corps member that made him worthy -- which is incredibly odd considering his clear unworthiness at the time of lifting the hammer.
8 WONDER MAN
While Wonder Man is undoubtedly considered a superhero, he’s also flirted with villainy at certain points. This makes him an unlikely candidate to wield Mjolnir, especially in comparison to his fellow heroes, but this is something he eventually managed to do back in Marvel Comics Presents #45.
After Enchantress imbues him with the powers of a god in a failed plot to destroy the Avengers, Wonder Man soon manages to regain his sanity and fight back. With his newfound power and noble intentions, Wonder Man is able to summon Mjolnir to his side, using the hammer to defeat Enchantress and free his friends in the process. One of the only times anyone besides Thor has been able to actively summon Mjolnir rather than just lifting it, it’s surprising that people don’t reference this moment more -- even if his “worthiness” was likely just a temporary means to an end.
7 THE DESTROYER
Forged from a near-indestructible metal even stronger than Thor’s hammer itself, The Destroyer is an ancient piece of enchanted armor created by Odin to combat incredibly powerful entities considered a threat to Asgard. The armor has done more harm than good over the years however, and has been used as Loki’s plaything much more frequently than it’s been used for its intended purpose.
Coming to blows with Thor countless times over the course of its history, The Destroyer is built to be virtually unstoppable, and physically stronger than even the likes of Thor and the Hulk. Perhaps most worryingly however, The Destroyer is able to lift and use Mjolnir at his will, his status as an empty suit of armor negating the hammer’s enchantment altogether.
6 ROGER "RED" NORVELL
Concerned that the prophecy surrounding Ragnarok will result in the death of Thor, Odin grooms cameraman Roger “Red” Norvell to take his place as the God of Thunder, effectively tricking the unsuspecting man into dying in Thor’s place. Fighting Thor for the affections of Lady Sif, Norvell eventually succeeds in claiming Mjolnir for his own, eventually earning the respect of several Asgardians as well as Odin himself -- so much so that Odin brings him back to life after his untimely death.
While Norvell does prove himself to be a competent hero, it’s only due to Odin’s intervention that he’s deemed “worthy” of wielding Mjolnir and taking Thor’s place at all. The epitome of an everyman, there’s nothing particularly special or heroic about Red -- but he does serve as living proof that anybody can become a hero under the right circumstances.
Father to Odin and grandfather of Thor and Loki, Bor has had a rough couple of millennia. After being turned to snow by a time-traveling Loki, Bor is presumed dead for thousands of years, until Loki revives the god right in the heart of Manhattan.
Delusional and aggressive thanks to Loki’s trickery, Bor perceives Midgard as a twisted shadow of its former self, populated by demons and monsters. Commencing an attack on the people of New York, Thor soon intervenes. Launching his hammer at Bor, Thor is taken aback when his grandfather catches it, tossing it aside rather nonchalantly. While it’s never fully explored why Bor is exempt from Mjolnir’s enchantment, it’s likely to do with his royal lineage, or the fact that he was born long before the enchantment was placed upon the hammer.
4 VOLSTAGG (WAR THOR)
After witnessing the deaths of several children following an assault from Surtur and his evil minions, the usually jovial Volstagg is quickly driven to near madness, resolving to exact revenge on everyone he feels is responsible for the absolute vicious attack. Tracking down the remains of the Ultimate Universe’s Mjolnir -- which are currently stuck on Earth-616 -- Volstagg lifts the hammer and is reborn as the menacing War Thor.
Becoming increasingly violent, Volstagg summons a raging storm on Muspelheim, but is stopped by Jane Foster -- the current Thor -- before he has the chance to decimate its entire population. After a lengthy battle between the two, Thor eventually manages to get through to Volstagg, convincing him to give up on his violent crusade.
3 RED HULK
One of the only characters to ever lift Mjolnir through brute strength alone, Red Hulk shocked readers in back in 2008 when he easily bested the Mighty Thor in Hulk #5. Taking advantage of Mjolnir’s momentum, Red Hulk held onto the hammer as it hurtled towards the atmosphere, taking Thor with him, before channelling his inner bully and beating Thor with his own hammer in the weightlessness of space.
Later revealed to be General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross himself, Red Hulk is certainly one of the least worthy characters to ever wield Mjolnir, whether in his devious, scheming human form, or his destructive, ‘roided-up form. With Hulk #5 angering readers who felt that Thor didn’t get a fair shake in the battle, Thor got his vengeance a couple of years later, defeating Red Hulk just as easily as Red Hulk beat him the first time round.
Easily one of the most powerful characters in the entire Marvel Universe, Odin has wielded Mjolnir on several different occasions -- perhaps most notably in 1,000,000 BC as part of a prehistoric Avengers team. Having ordered the creation of Mjolnir as well as placing the enchantment on it himself, it’s not hard to see why he’s able to lift the hammer. But is he really worthy?
Shown to be cold and mercurial on a multitude of occasions, Odin has become jaded over the millennia, exhibiting a cruel indifference to the plight of humanity, refusing to help them and even actively forbidding it several times in the past. Sure, he’s had his fair share of his heroic moments, but the character often looks out for the interests of Asgard above all else, even if the result is millions of deaths -- not exactly what you’d expect from a “worthy” hero.
Perhaps the last person you’d ever want to get their hands on Mjolnir, the Trickster God has managed to do just that through various schemes in the past, always through some kind of mystical loophole or illusion. He managed to transform himself into Thor during Earth X, for instance, which allowed him to lift the hammer.
The most memorable instance of Loki lifting Mjolnir took place in the "AXIS" event, in which Scarlet Witch and Doctor Doom perform an inversion spell to give Professor X control over Red Skull’s brain. The result however, is that all the surrounding heroes become villainous, and the surrounding villains become heroes, meaning that Loki suddenly finds himself worthy of wielding Mjolnir, which he inevitably uses to battle an evil Thor.
Who do you think is the least worthy character to lift Mjolnir? Sound off in the comments below!