Jason Aaron and Olivier Coipel’s “Unworthy Thor” #1 really ‘hammers’ home just how bad things have gotten for the original God of Thunder. First, he lost the ability to wield Mjolnir during the events of “Original Sin.” Later, in “Thor” #1, Malekith sliced off the Odinson’s arm, forcing the god to adopt a prosthetic made of black Uru.
“Unworthy Thor” #1 shows what all this means in practical terms. Odinson now fights with a battleaxe, Jarnbjorn, and he “can no longer fly or traverse the realms except by goat-power,” on the back of trusty Toothgnasher. He struggles to vanquish foes like Ulik and the trolls, who would have been easy pickings in his better days, and he’s on an oh-so-healthy diet of “alcoholic beverages and self-loathing.”
However, there is a new hope for the Odinson. In this issue, Nick Fury (in his current Watcher-replacing guise of The Unseen) reveals another, far less devastating secret than the one that rendered Odinson unworthy: there is another hammer. The Mjolnir of Ultimate Thor somehow survived the destruction of the Ultimates universe during “Secret Wars,” and it’s just waiting for a worthy one to claim it.
While this is not news to those who read Aaron and Chris Sprouse’s “Thors” series, that tale ended with Ultimate Mjolnir in an unknown location. Now, with the help of Fury/Unseen, Odinson is officially on a quest to take possession of the hammer. After all, it’s just waiting for the taking — should he be worthy.
But where is it waiting? “If there is truly another Mjolnir,” says the Odinson, “Old Asgard is where it would fly.” However, when he arrives at his destination, there is nothing there but Beta Ray Bill. The entire realm has vanished! “I know where [Asgard]’s been taken,” says Bill, “But I fear we’ll need an army to get it back.” Being Beta Ray Bill, he then graciously offers the hammer-less Odinson his own war hammer, Stormbreaker.
Of course, Asgard isn’t the only difficult thing to retrieve. Three months after learning about Ultimates Mjolnir, Odinson finds himself a prisoner in a “wretched place” where every day he repeats the same futile fight to reach what looks like Ultimate Mjolnir: “I escape their chains and fight my way toward freedom until their seemingly endless numbers overwhelm me.”
Odinson had better hurry up and escape his mysterious prison. As we know from the end of “Mighty Thor” #12, and indeed, a mention in this very issue by Ulik, the War of the Realms is on the way, so Thor is likely going to need Odinson’s help ASAP. Has stolen old Asgard been converted into a weapon for the coming war? Who has the power to steal an entire realm – and whose side of the war are they on?
Given the recent revelations about the nature of 616 Mjolnir, I’m also curious to see if Ultimate Mjolnir will turn out to be similarly opinionated – or if it will have a stranger alternate origin of its own. In its original origin story, Ultimate Mjolnir actually contains a piece of Asgard itself. Has old Asgard been hidden away inside the hammer?
Perhaps most importantly, Odinson’s quest could still be in vain. If Ultimate Mjolnir follows the same rules for worthiness as the 616 hammer, odds are good it would still reject him. However, if it doesn’t have the same requirements, that begs the question: what, exactly, makes these hammers different? And how will they work together in the War of the Realms?
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