“Whosoever holds this hammer, if s/he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” That’s the inscription etched onto the side of Mjolnir, the mythical Asgardian weapon of choice for the mighty God of Thunder. Yet, as we’ve seen many times before, merely being worthy enough to wield the hammer does not necessarily make you Thor. After all, everyone from Vision (as seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron) to Captain America (including the Hydra version seen in the current Secret Empire crossover) and even Squirrel Girl can lift Mjolnir.
If it’s not the hammer, then what makes someone Thor? Well, we know there can be more than one person worthy, and it extends beyond the Odinson that we know from comics and the movies. We’re also soon to discover what it means to be Thor without Mjolnir in the films, as Hela easily destroys the hammer in the trailers for the upcoming movie Thor: Ragnarok. Here, CBR takes a look at those characters that have been found worthy of the powers and the mantle of Thor. Not only that, we’re ranking them from weakest to strongest to determine, once and for all, who is the greatest, strongest version of the Mighty Thor!
15. YOUNG THOR
The Odinson we know and love wasn’t always worthy to wield the hammer; that kind of Godly responsibility has to be earned. No, there was a time in his youth where the man they would come to call Thor was merely a headstrong, arrogant, swaggering boy learning (sometimes the hard way) what it means to be a God.
We see the young, pre-worthy Thor in Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic’s early issues of Thor: God of Thunder, where the past, present and future versions of the God of Thunder come together to battle Gorr, the God Butcher. Before that, we know of the young Thor’s upbringing with Loki, where his brash nature and admiration from his father Odin would breed contempt in his adopted brother. While he’s the weakest version of Thor, he still displays the early elements of what will make him the God of Thunder.
14. UNWORTHY THOR
Moving from a time before he was worthy, to a time after that worthiness was taken away, in current Marvel continuity the mantle of Thor has been lost by the Odinson. In a single moment, with a single whisper, Nick Fury divulged a single, secret truth to Thor during the Original Sin storyline, and with that epiphany realized, the Odinson found himself unworthy to lift the mighty Mjolnir.
It’s taken nearly three years to uncover just what it is that was said to Odinson to make him realize he wasn’t worthy, but since then he’s been on a roller coaster of self-discovery, and a quest to regain what he believes is rightfully his hen the time is right. Wielding the ancient Asgardian ax Jarnbjorn, he’s still a formidable character, but nowhere near the strongest Thor.
13. THROG: FROG OF THUNDER
There have been, bizarrely, multiple versions of a Frog with the powers of Thor! The first appeared in Walt Simonson’s seminal run on Thor, when the God of Thunder himself was transformed into a frog, joining forces with Puddlegulp and King Glugwort in a bitter war against the rats. Yep, that happened.
Following this adventure, in a book called Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers, it’s revealed that Puddlegulp was actually a human called Simon Walterson, turned into a frog by a witch’s curse. He then happens upon a sliver of Mjolnir and Puddlegulp becomes Throg: Frog of Thunder! From there, he joins Lockjaw and the rest of the Pet Avengers in retrieving all of the fabled Infinity Gems. He’s not higher on this list because, well, he’s a Frog, but we figure a worthy frog is still more powerful than an unworthy Odinson!
12. RED NORVELL
Roger Norvell (known as Red to his friends) belonged to a film crew attempting to chronicle the real lives of Asgardians, but when they were shunned by Thor, Loki stepped in to help. If Loki offers to help, you know that your personal journey is going to take an unpredictable turn, right? Red is smuggled into Asgard as an unwitting pawn of Loki and Hela’s plans to bring about Ragnarok, but while there, he becomes infatuated with Lady Sif.
Seizing on this turn of events, Loki sends Red on a trial to gain the powers of Thor and — in theory — win Sif’s love. Odin meanwhile was aware of his adopted son’s machinations and plotted to imbue another with the powers of Thor in case Odinson was struck down during Ragnarok, as was prophesied. These two circumstances converged and thus, for a short while, Red Norvell became the second God of Thunder.
During the first superhuman Civil War, Thor was out of the picture. Currently working through the death cycle of the Asgardian Ragnarok, Odinson wasn’t around to take a side in the conflict around the infamous Superhuman Registration Act. Reed Richards and Tony Stark weren’t going to let a little thing like death stand in their way, though!
Constructing a clone of Thor, Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man were able to send their own God of Thunder into battle. Later dubbed Ragnarok (or Clor, for Clone Thor,) Project Lightning was considered a success and was almost as powerful as the real thing. So much so, in fact, that it was able to overpower and murder giant-size hero Goliath. It’s later revealed that the clone was worked on by the Skrull imposter of Hank Pym, which may help to account for its psychotic, murderous tendencies.
10. THOR 2099
In Marvel 2099, there’s a whole Church of Thor, and in Nueva York, Reverend Cecil MacAdam leads a flock of Thorites. Led to believe he could become the hero of his religious beliefs, MacAdam accepts an offer from the evil head of Alchemax — Avatarr — to become the new Thor, and assist Avatarr in combating the new wave of heroes that are flooding the city.
Imbued with Godlike powers from a hammer similar to Mjolnir, Thor 2099 fights against the newly formed X-Men and the 2099 versions of Doom, Spider-Man and Punisher. In a climactic battle, Spider-Man kicks away Mjolnir, the main source of Macadam’s powers. Unable to give up the mantle of Thor so easily, he chases after the hammer as it’s thrown into the heart of the floating city of Valhalla. The city is destroyed in the explosion, seemingly killing the Thor of 2099.
9. DARGO KTOR
Traveling even further into the future — 2587 to be exact — we find the world in ruins and the oppressive force of The Corporation ruling over the remains. A group of rebels and worshippers of the myths of Thor find the enchanted hammer of Mjolnir in a cave, and… well, you probably know where this is going by now.
Yes, one of the rebels, Dargo Ktor, reaches for the hammer and becomes the new God of Thunder when the rebels are attacked by Loki, who’s now working with the insidious chairman of The Corporation. There was some resistance to Dargo as its new master, however, and Mjolnir refused to obey the new Thor. When Dargo defeated Loki and finally overthrew the Corporation, he used Mjolnir to open a portal, sending the hammer through the rift in the hopes it would find its rightful master.
8. ULTIMATE THOR
Much like a lot of the Ultimate universe, that Thor of Marvel Universe 1610 is a lot darker and more complex than his regular 616 counterpart. In this world, political activist and social anarchist Thorlief Golmen claims to be the reincarnated embodiment of the Norse God of Thunder, after having a nervous breakdown and spending over a year in a psychiatric institution.
There was a lot of initial skepticism to his claims, but he turned out to be the real deal, although he refused Nick Fury’s offer to join the Ultimates at first, as that universe’s version of the Avengers is a lot more militarized. He only agrees to join once the President increases the foreign aid budget twofold. He’s generally weaker than the 616 Thor, and his powers are a lot more vulnerable. Magneto even steals Mjolnir at one point, which he uses to bring about the cataclysmic Ultimatum event.
Thunderstrike was the name later adopted by Eric Masterson, but for a while there, he shared a body with the actual Thor, much like Donald Blake in the original Thor comics. Eric started life as a supporting character in the Thor comics until he was close to death at the hands of the Mongoose (really) and Odin merged him with the God of Thunder in order to save his life.
The act of separating Eric from the essence of the Odinson was a recurring theme throughout his time as the God of Thunder until he’s given Mjolnir and Thor-like powers of his own during Odinson’s banishment. His time is short, however, after he is manipulated by the Enchantress into attacking Sif, which enrages Thor, who fights Eric and reclaims his powers. After the manipulation is uncovered, Odin gives him an enchanted mace and the new identity of Thunderstrike, a sort of “lesser” version of the God of Thunder.
6. WAR THOR
The newest Thor on our list, the War Thor, aka the All-New, Ultimate Thor, is the product of major conflict and upheaval in both Asgard and Midgard. Wielding the hammer of the original Ultimate Thor (this Mjolnir slipped through the cracks in the multiverse following 2015’s Secret Wars), The War Thor is the scarred, jaded and angry alter-ego of none other than Volstagg, long-time ally of the God of Thunder and formerly jolly member of the Warriors Three.
The War of Realms is currently raging across the cosmos, and Volstagg was a Senator for Asgard, working on Svartalfheim with the refugee children of the ravaged realm of Alfheim. When the war comes, however, and all of the children are killed, Volstagg in his grief picks up Ultimate Mjolnir and takes on the mantle of the War Thor. Time will tell if he will be worthy, or if his grief will overpower him.
5. STORM THOR
During the 2015 Secret Wars event, God Emperor Doom ruled over the newly created patchwork planet of Battleworld, and what better force to help him maintain his rule and uphold the law than a Corps made up of multiversal Gods of Thunder? Thus, the Thor Corps.
There were all manner of Thors present and working in the Thor Corps, including Alison Blaire of Earth 15513, and even a Dino-Thor of Earth 200111. These were the best of the best, hand-picked from an infinite number of dead universes. A prominent member was Storm Thor, the perfect pairing of the God of Thunder and the X-Men’s resident “Weather Ororo Monroe. Originally from Earth 904, Ororo was given the powers of Thor through a mystical hammer called Stormbringer, fighting as the Sovereign of Asgard until her recruitment into Battleworld’s Thor Corps.
4. BETA RAY BILL
Speaking of the hammer Stormbringer, another creation of Walt Simonson’s epic run was Beta Ray Bill, debuting in 1983’s Thor #337. Intentionally starting life as an ambiguous anti-hero, the Korbinite initially is presented as a foe to Thor, and as they battle the God of Thunder is separated from his hammer for 60 seconds, reverting him back to the human Donald Blake. Beta Ray Bill then strikes Blake’s cane on the ground and — being worthy — claims the powers of Thor.
This was the first time in comics that another being had claimed Thor’s powers, so it was a huge deal. Odin proclaimed that Bill and Odinson would fight to the death to become the rightful owner of the powers. Bill wins, but spares Odinson’s life, declaring him too worthy an opponent. Odin then forges Bill his own hammer, called Stormbringer, and since then Bill has been a firm ally and equal number to his blood-brother, Thor.
3. JANE FOSTER THOR
For the longest time, Jane Foster was the love interest of both Donald Blake and Thor, even appearing in the 2011 Thor movie and its sequel Thor: The Dark World, played by Natalie Portman. Since 2014, however, she’s taken on the mantle of Thor after the Odinson was declared unworthy during the Original Sin event.
Jane Foster currently fights two very different battles. As Thor, she wields Mjolnir in ways that Odinson never did, proving herself his equal, and even better, in many ways. Her human persona, however, is fighting a losing battle with cancer, and her frequent changes into the Goddess of Thunder are making her illness worse. Despite this, she chooses to wield the hammer whenever she’s needed, even becoming a prominent member of the current Avengers lineup, and battling against Malekith in the War of Realms.
2. THOR ODINSON
The original. Son of Odin. Brother of Loki. God of Thunder. The Mighty Thor. Since Journey Into Mystery #83 back in 1962, Thor Odinson has wielded Mjolnir, fighting for his home of Asgard and his adopted home of Midgard (aka Earth.) He was a founding Avenger in both the comics and the movies and is a constant example of the best that Marvel has to offer.
Of late, his fortunes haven’t been that great (see Unworthy Thor from earlier in the list), but with Marvel Legacy, right around the corner, a redemption isn’t too far away. With Thor: Ragnarok on the horizon, his popularity is about to soar yet again, and he very nearly made it to the top of the list. After all, who could possibly be a stronger Thor than Thor himself?
1. OLD KING THOR
Surviving the death of Asgard, of all other Gods, of the Earth and the heavens, defeating Galactus, killing Gorr the God Butcher, this truly is the strongest Thor. Inheritor of the Odin-Force (renamed the Thor-Force, naturally), nicknamed The Destroyer and sitting on the throne of Asgard as the final All-Father, King Thor is a God above all others.
He’s lost an eye and an arm (gaining the arm of a destroyer and a cool eye patch in the process), but King Thor is nothing if not a survivor. Introduced in the previously mentioned Thor: God of Thunder, it takes the combined might of King Thor, Young Thor and Thor Odinson to defeat the God Butcher, but when they do, King Thor claims Gorr’s sword for his own, making an old God even more powerful, and easily the strongest of all Thors.
What do you think? Did we miss any versions of Thor that should be on the list? Let us know in the comments!
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