The rule of Thor’s mystical hammer is simple and straightforward: whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor. That’s the message emblazoned on the hammer, Mjolnir, but it gets a little less clear cut in practice; the determination of worthiness decided by an inanimate, if magical, object can be easy to shift one way or another as the plot requires. Despite being in a world populated by powerful superheroes, not everyone has the purity of intent to wield the Norse god’s trademark weapon.
The recent Avengers: Age of Ultron had a fun party scene that addressed the question of worthiness head-on, with each Avenger giving it their best shot, to no avail. Even Thor himself had to prove his worthiness to his father Odin to receive the hammer – and he’s lost it a fair few times through the years, too. Worthiness isn’t a fixed trait, but rather something that depends greatly on circumstances, which can change with time. Because of that, many characters have had a chance to access the power of Thor – some through loopholes, some thanks to cheating. But no matter how, they all got a taste of that power for a panel or two.
Here are 15 Characters Who Have Lifted Thor’s Hammer.
Anyone even halfway familiar with the wisecracking, fourth-wall-breaking mercenary Deadpool might raise an eyebrow to hear that he once got a hold of Thor’s hammer. The entire ordeal was orchestrated by Loki, Thor’s adopted brother and perennial thorn in his side, who manipulates Deadpool into stealing the hammer. Deadpool does so while Thor is on a heroic mission. Thor drops the hammer and Deadpool takes advantage of the relative chaos to locate it first; deprived of the object that allows him to transform into his godlike form, Thor takes on the appearance of his human alter ego and Deadpool is suddenly sprouting a cape.
He goes on to take the hammer along on the usual irreverent Deadpool misadventures: ordering fast food, playing festival games, and batting around some baseballs mid-game. However, there is a catch: Deadpool wasn’t actually in possession of the real Mjolnir. The real one was still lying where Thor had dropped it, made invisible by Loki, who also created the false one that would give Deadpool the illusion of Thor’s powers and in the process cause a lot of trouble for everyone. Still, it was fun while it lasted.
14. Beta Ray Bill
Hailing from an alien from a race known as Korbinites, Beta Ray Bill became a partially cyborg protector of his home planet after it was decimated by a demon from Thor’s homeworld Asgard. On a mission to find a new place to live, Bill came into contact with Thor himself. They fought and Mjolnir got away from Thor, which is when Bill discovered he was able to pick it up. There was no trickery involved; it was purely because he was worthy and wanted to use it to protect his people.
Odin recognized this and decided the fair way to resolve this situation would be for Bill and Thor to fight it out – again. Bill won again, but that didn’t mean he got to keep the hammer; instead, as a pretty sweet consolation prize, Odin created a new hammer for him called Stormbreaker that Bill could wield himself. One interesting thing about Bill is that he was designed to be purposefully hideous, to throw audiences off until his inner nobility was revealed.
The Marvel What If…? series explores storylines that differ slightly from the accepted canon, diverging at important moments and delving into an alternate reality. One such story takes the moment when Rogue and others in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants attack the Avengers. In the regular canon, Rogue’s ability to absorb the life force of others had her zapping Carol Danvers of her powers and vitality. Instead, What If…Rogue Possessed the Power of Thor? had Rogue doing the same to Thor, killing him and in the process gaining enough of his intrinsic Thor-ness to be able to control the hammer. Rather than being worthy on her own, Mjolnir seems to recognize her as Thor.
The resultant surge of power kills Vision and Iron Man, and also leads to the deaths of everyone in the Brotherhood. Rogue is understandably at a very low place, at which point Loki smarms in to take advantage of the situation. His plan is to use Rogue to take out Odin, leaving them free to conquer both Asgard and Earth. She goes along at first until a visit from Thor’s spirit convinces her to honor her new position as the Goddess of Thunder and do some good with it.
12. Conan the Barbarian
Another issue of What If…? brought Thor into contact with Conan the Barbarian, a sword-wielding character who existed in a time between cavemen and ancient societies. Both characters lived in similarly fantastical settings and were considered great warriors, making a run in between the two plausible. Thanks once again to Loki’s troublemaking, Thor ended up in Conan’s land Hyboria with a bad case of amnesia. Thor and Conan met and became fast friends thanks to shared interests, i.e. being super tall muscular guys who like to battle.
Mjolnir is lost during their adventures and, once Thor regains his memories, he’s on a quest to find it (he should get one of those trackers for it that people put on their car keys). The hammer is found by the villain Toth-Amon, and in the fight to get it back, Thor causes them both to be struck by lightning. The villain dies, but despite being the God of Thunder, so does Thor. He leaves Mjolnir to his new best friend Conan, who is able to use it to become a god. Whether this means Conan is worthy or not is up to debate; perhaps having Thor’s stamp of approval is enough.
Marvel’s Ultimate Universe is an alternate world that is known for its darker and grittier take on familiar heroes. In that world, Magneto lost his children Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch and the ensuing grief drove him to extreme actions. Magneto’s electromagnetic powers gave him the ability to manipulate all kinds of metals, and it turned out that Mjolnir was no exception to Magneto’s sphere of influence. Magneto wasn’t actually able to lift the hammer, but he was able to manipulate the air around it to much the same effect.
However, in the main Marvel universe, Magneto is unable to control Thor’s hammer at all. The hammer is forged from a particular metal not native to Earth called Uru, and because it is not native to Earth, it’s less able to be controlled by Magneto. That doesn’t exactly explain what’s different about the Ultimate universe, but hey – they’re not comics if they don’t have a couple of plot holes.
Eric Masterson has the makings of a very traditional heroic backstory: he was a very normal man who found himself in extraordinary circumstances and rose to the challenge. Eric was just a regular guy, a construction worker, when he came into contact with the God of Thunder. He was the collateral damage in a throwdown between Thor and the villain Mongoose, but Odin recognized Eric’s intrinsic decency so he saved his life in the only way he could: Odin merged Thor and Eric into one person.
For a while, Eric functioned as Thor’s identity when he wasn’t running around in a cape and helmet – any time Thor needed to be a civilian, he assumed the identity of Eric Masterson. This was how Eric was able to use Mjolnir. However, eventually Thor and Eric were able to separate again, with Odin forging a new weapon just for Eric: a mace called Thunderstrike. The Allfather is just giving those out like candy on Halloween, it seems.
9. Black Widow
Natasha Romanoff got her shot at Mjolnir in another What If…? issue, in which Thor is, once again, dead thanks to the catastrophic events of Ragnarok, an apocalypse based in Norse mythology that takes the lives of all the superpowered heroes. This leaves behind all the heroes without special abilities and, when it comes time to battle the Frost Giants, that’s a problem.
As everyone is getting overwhelmed, Natasha is sent out to retrieve the hammer. There are no tricks or loopholes involved in her being able to lift it, aside from the general alternate universe theme of the story; she is simply worthy of Mjolnir in that moment. Some have theorized that having the heart of a warrior is of great importance when utilizing Thor’s hammer – it doesn’t only require nobility and honor, but certain qualities that would be admirable to a society of Norse warrior gods. Natasha may have a morally grey background, but she is certainly a warrior.
8. Awesome Android
Awesome Android, also known as Awesome Andy, is a robot built by an evil inventor called the Mad Thinker. Awesome Android was created as both a servant and an underling, someone to do the Thinker’s bidding without asking any questions. However, he was also designed to be able to absorb the abilities and talents of others to become more powerful; this had the unfortunate (for the inventor) side effect of making Awesome Andy sentient. He is able to be freed from the control of the Mad Thinker and strikes out on his own.
His ability to copycat any quality he came into contact with led to Awesome Andy being able to copy that specific quality that makes Thor who he is: his nobility and purity of purpose. Because of that, Andy could lift Mjolnir, which was the event that sparked off his quest for independence in the first place. Experiencing Thor’s sense of justice made him able to seek justice for himself.
The film Avengers: Age of Ultron delivered a mini twist in the form of newly created humanoid robot, the Vision, being able to casually pick up Thor’s hammer and hand it to him. Though it functioned as a quick gag in the movie, it also served the purpose of proving that the Vision was trustworthy when no one had any other evidence to go on. This is unique to the Marvel Cinematic Universe; the Vision’s comic book counterpart has not been shown to lift the hammer.
Part of Vision’s ability to do so involves reasons similar to Awesome Andy: as a robot, he doesn’t quite follow the same rules as his human colleagues. Although they can lift the hammer, doing so doesn’t give either android the full powers of Thor. Even so, it is a shorthand way to show you a lot about a new character; loopholes aside, seeing anyone else besides Thor with Mjolnir makes an impact on the audience.
As a mutant with the powers of weather manipulation, X-Men member Storm has something in common with the God of Thunder right off the bat. However, her tangle with Mjolnir is once again thanks to the interference of Loki; he really lives up to his title as the God of Mischief.
Loki created a similar hammer called Stormcaster that he gave to Storm as part of his continued machinations for the Asgardian throne. It gave her powers similar to Thor’s, but Storm wasn’t interested in Loki’s games and power plays. She rejected Stormcaster, though many years later she came to hold it again. As a newly empowered Goddess of Thunder, she battled with Thor, but instead of harming him she snagged Mjolnir so that she could destroy Stormcaster once and for all. So not only did Storm prove herself worthy, she also willingly gave up incredible power twice – seemingly more proof that she is deserving of the honor.
DC Comics and Marvel had been planning a big crossover for a long time before it eventually came to fruition. The deal to produce a few crossover titles started negotiations in 1979, but after a lot of push and pull, the project ended up being shelved for years. JLA/Avengers wasn’t released until 2003. Luckily it had a lot of flash and dramatics to make up for the wait.
During the comic’s run, Superman got his hands not only on Thor’s hammer but also Captain America’s shield, making for a pretty iconic cover to the fourth issue. Superman was able to use Mjolnir once to deliver an important blow to the enemy, but later in the issue when he tried to pick up the hammer to return it to Thor, he could no longer lift it. The series’ writer Kurt Busiek defined worthiness as not just being an inherent quality but something that can change moment to moment. Sometimes it was tied to a specific action: defeating the villain was a worthy goal, so Superman was worthy then, but just handing the hammer back? Doesn’t count.
4. Captain America
It probably isn’t a surprise to learn that Captain America is worthy, considering his good heart and steadfast morals. Cap is all about honesty and doing what’s right, but he’s also not afraid to lead the charge into battle, making him fit the bill pretty perfectly when it comes to lifting Mjolnir, which he has done twice so far.
Both times involved the Avengers in some serious danger, facing huge threats that knocked Thor out of commission and left Cap to pick up the slack. The first time, Cap merely returned the hammer to Thor (though it didn’t work for Superman, but comic book loopholes don’t always stick), and the second occasion involved Cap grabbing the hammer after his trademark shield had been shattering in a big brawl. He used it to rally the other Avengers to fight their enemy the Serpent. Unfortunately Cap didn’t get a cool new cape out of the deal.
3. Wonder Woman
Although JLA/Avengers was a big crossover years in the making, but there was a short series in the 90s that pitted classic characters from Marvel and DC against each other to see who would come out on top – a little bit like Celebrity Deathmatch for comics. Wonder Woman’s opponent was X-Men‘s Storm, though prior to the rumble she had a shot with Mjolnir. Thor lost his hammer in his own battle with DC’s Captain Marvel, which is when Wonder Woman stumbled upon it.
She picked it up easily (while remarking to herself about the subjectivity of “worthiness”) and got a serious jolt of power that definitely would have given her an edge over her opponent. However, that honor that made Wonder Woman so very worthy also made her too noble to fight with an obvious advantage, so she gave up the hammer in order to have a fair fight with Storm. Honor doesn’t necessarily win a fight, though, and Storm ultimately took home the victory.
After multiple entries dealing in Loki royally messing things up for his brother just out of a self-serving thirst for power, it may come as a surprise to learn he once accomplished his ultimate goal: to possess the power of Thor. Having been jealous of Thor since childhood, Loki had gone through just about every scheme and trick he could to get Mjolnir, or at least get it away from Thor.
When an event called the Inversion caused Loki to become the God of Heroism and Truth instead of his usual mischief and evil, he becomes a new Avenger (and an inverted Thor becomes a new villain). Loki also finally becomes worthy of Mjolnir, which he discovers when he reaches for it during a battle with the newly belligerent Thor. However, the Inversion spell is undone during the brawl, causing Loki to once again lose Mjolnir to his brother.
1. Jane Foster
When the most recent Thor title featured a female iteration of the character on the cover, it grabbed a lot of media attention – especially when the creators behind it insisted the new mystery woman was Thor. She wasn’t Lady Thor, she was the real deal; even so, she wasn’t the Thor everyone had come to know, and the discovery of her true identity was a driving force in the story. It was eventually revealed to be none other than Thor’s on-again/off-again love interest Jane Foster.
The new Thor had taken over at a time when the original Thor (going by Odinson when de-powered) was no longer worthy of Mjolnir. While at first Odinson attempts to take his hammer back, he comes to respect the abilities of Thor and gives her his blessing to continue on in his stead. Odinson had initially dismissed the idea that Jane might be the one wielding Mjolnir solely because he knew she was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, but it turns out that while transformed she was perfectly healthy – though when she wasn’t, Jane’s cancer was actually getting worse because of the toll transformation took on her body. Despite that, Jane Foster is still the current Thor, and has perhaps proven herself the worthiest of all.
Bonus entry: Hulk and Red Hulk
As this list has proved, loopholes can be instrumental when it comes to lifting Thor’s hammer. Both Hulk and Red Hulk have become experts at utilizing Mjolnir without actually needing to be worthy of lifting it.
Red Hulk latched onto the moving hammer’s momentum to launch both himself and Thor into space, where the combination of his own strength and the lack of gravity allowed him to use the hammer against Thor. Hulk has pulled some similar maneuvers himself (grabbing onto the hammer while it is in motion and going along for the ride) but once during a showdown with Thanos he was able to handle the hammer while Thor was still holding onto it. That took care of the worthiness requirement, which is what freed Hulk up to use the hammer.
Have any other characters held the hammer? Let us know in the comments!