In a few weeks, we'll be at the midpoint of 2019. Not even a full month ago, Avengers: Endgame raked in billions of dollars at the box office. You almost can't go anywhere these days without hearing or seeing a reference to Earth's Mightiest Heroes. As it stands, the MCU and contemporary Pop Culture are practically synonymous with one another.
We bring all this up because we're sure that even a casual filmgoer knows what Mjolnir is. Heck, autocorrect doesn't even flag the name of Thor's legendary hammer anymore! But did you know that Mjolnir isn't Thor's first weapon? Here are 10 facts about Thor's first battleax, Jarnbjorn.
10 Jarnbjorn Was Made By Dwarves
Most of Asgard's best weapons and armors are Dwarven made. In the realm of Nidavellir, the Men of Svartalfheim forge some of the strongest armaments in the universe. These guys are insanely committed to their craft. The Dwarves are so dedicated that they place magical enchantments on just about everything they make. Jarnbjorn is an exquisite example of Dwarven craftsmanship; this ax is sharper than any Earthern tool yet is light as a feather. The Dwarves of Nidavellir also created Mjolnir at Odin's request. A young and immature Thor wanted to take Mjolnir for his own. However, the hammer deemed Thor unworthy. In turn, Thor took up the ax as his very first weapon.
9 It "Cancelled The Apocalypse"
En Sabah Nur is a very foreboding name in the Marvel Universe. It's the birth name of Apocalypse, a mutant who possesses immense, god-like power. Apocalypse is very old; he's so ancient that many of the Marvel Universe's brightest minds think he's the first mutant! Apocalypse isn't exactly humble or sane either. His goals range from global conquest to deification. His megalomania became so wild that the actual gods of the Marvel Universe stepped in. Centuries ago Thor got into a brutal battle with Apocalypse. The First One gave the God of Thunder the fight of his life. In the end, Thor beat Apocalypse with Jarnbjorn!
8 Kang The Conqueror Used To Own It
Kang the Conqueror is an almost unimaginably powerful villain in the Marvel Universe. His origin story is very complicated and hard to explain with just a few words. We'll put it like this; Kang is the sort of guy that regularly gives Doctor Doom and The Fantastic Four a hard time. Kang is also a time traveler who visits different time periods on a whim. One day, Kang caught wind of Thor and Apocalypse's battle. The Conqueror traveled back in time to scavenge. Kang searched far and wide until he eventually found Jarnborn and took it as his own weapon.
7 "Iron Bear"
It's been said that every great weapon needs a great name. Some weapons have names that sound great and are easy to understand. Take the Odinsword, for instance; this divine weapon belongs to Thor's father and can cut down Gods! Other weapons have trickier names. Mjolnir doesn't have an exact English translation—it roughly means 'to crush' or 'to grind,' but even those aren't direct translations. Jarnbjorn roughly means 'iron bear' once translated from Old Norse. Fans also think that the weapon is a reference to the giantess Járnsaxa. In Norse Mythology, Thor and Járnsaxa are lovers. They have a few children together, though they aren't married.
6 Jarnbjorn Is Virtually Indestructible
We were all heartbroken when Hela crushed Mjolnir into dust at the beginning of Thor: Ragnarok. While the MCU version of Mjolnir can be broken by the Goddess of Death, the weapons forged in the comics are much more durable. Remember those enchantments we mentioned earlier? Well, the Dwarves of Nidavellir often enchant their weapons and armor to make them virtually indestructible. Thor displayed Jarnbjorn's durability when he fought Apocalypse back in the day. With the ax, Thor could deflect the mutant's energy blasts right back at him! The God of Thunder can also parry incoming blows by deftly swinging Jarnborj at the right time.
5 Buried With Baron Mordo
Thor's first weapon sure does sound great, doesn't it? It can tank energy blasts and cut through every known material in the universe. Thor made the ax even better by blessing it with his blood! Metal! Like, that's super gross if you think about. But it's also really cool! Some of you might be saying 'if Jarnborn is so awesome, why'd Thor ever give it up?' Long story short, Thor didn't; he lost it after fighting Apocalypse. Like we mentioned earlier, Kang eventually heard about this and started searching. The Conqueror eventually found it buried with Baron Mordo, implying that Mordo found and used Jarnbjorn years before Kang.
4 If He Be Unworthy
The consistent theme in Thor's stories is that he mainly uses Jarnbjorn when Mjolnir is out of reach. A few years ago, The God of Thunder became unworthy to wield his signature hammer, thus spawning the Unworthy Thor mini-series. Jane Foster would inherit Mjolnir and the title of Thor. Thor Odinson would go back to his roots—taking back his old ax before going soul searching. A prime difference between Mjolnir and Jarnbjorn is that anyone can wield the ax. Thor Odinson actually lost an arm when Malekith took up the ax. Only those deemed worthy—not good, or just, but worthy—can wield Mjolnir.
3 It's A Very Grounded Weapon
Another big difference between Jarnbjorn and Mjolnir is that the ax holds no sway over storms. Just his MCU counterpart, comic book Thor relies on his hammer to help him channel his powers. Without it, the God of Thunder can still fire off bolts of lightning like nobody's business. He can also call down storms and conjure up tornadoes. However, Thor's control over the elements is less refined without Mjolnir. It also takes a lot out of him and leaves him drained. Jarnbjorn doesn't help Thor in this department at all. As a result, Unworthy Thor tends not to use his weather-based powers as much.
2 Jarnbjorn Partially Inspired Stormbreaker
In Avengers: Infinity War, Thor forges Stormbreaker with his friends in order to kill Thanos. Odinson had to lose his home and his family, then tank a neutron start to earn it! Fans of the MCU will never forget this iconic weapon. However, there are probably quite a few people wondering what inspired it. As it turns out, Jarnbjorn and the Ultimate version of Mjolnir partially inspired Stormbreaker! Thor's first ax is an incredibly powerful weapon that's also enchanted. In the comics, Thor has yet to use Jarnbjorn against the Mad Titan. However, the God of Thunder has used his ax against a foe that's arguably stronger.
1 It Can Kill Celestials
There are tons of powerful beings in the Marvel Universe, but the Celestials are about as big and as bad as they come. These cryptic beings are so ancient that they genuinely predate dirt. They've also had a hand in shaping and molding the Marvel Universe as we know it; allegedly, the Celestials created Mutants, Inhumans, and Meta-Humans through experimentation. Just like Apocalypse, the Celestials have twisted god complexes. The Asgardians have fought the Celestials on numerous occasions. Odin usually leads the charge and sends these guys packing. Once, Thor had to do the job himself. The God of Thunder took on Exitar the Executioner. Using Jarnbjorn, Thor slit Exitar's throat and killed the cosmic tyrant!