“Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor” – so goes the magical inscription outlining exactly who should (and just as importantly, shouldn’t) be able to heft Thor’s mighty mallet.
However it turns out the criteria for worthiness – originally laid down by Odin – are more than a little vague. Indeed, more than a few individuals have proven themselves able to swing Mjolnir despite their apparent lack of merit, suggesting the All-Father didn’t quite think the whole thing through properly!
Time and again, the hammer has been handled by people who clearly don’t deserve its awesome power. More often than not, these superheroes and villains have gotten their mitts on Mjolnir by craftily exploiting loopholes within the wording of Odin’s spell.
Other times, their ability to utilize the Marvel Universe’s most impressive building implement is down to a dubious manipulation of physics or other elemental forces. And then there are baffling instances where someone bearing Mjolnir actually does appear to meet Odin’s standards, only to have that privilege revoked by a seemingly fickle All-Father!
No matter how it happens, all that really matters is that despite the best efforts of Thor and his Pops, occasionally Mjolnir finds itself falling into the wrong hands, which is why we’ve pulled together this list of 15 Most Unworthy People To Wield Thor’s Hammer!
We know what you’re thinking: “What a minute – Superman belongs in the DC Universe, not Marvel!” But as long-time comic book readers will already know, the Man of Steel – along with the rest of the Justice League – joined forces with Thor and his pals in the Avengers in the historic JLA/Avengers mini-series.
Among the many, many cool moments featured in this landmark team-up was the sight of Superman taking up both Captain America’s shield and Thor’s hammer – something that gave fans of both comic book universes goosebumps. With the colossal power of Mjolnir boosting his own incredible strength, the Last Son Of Krypton was a decisive factor in the good guys winning the day – but it later turned out he was only able to use the hammer “on loan”…
That’s right: as soon as the fighting stopped, Superman found himself no longer able to lift Mjolnir, with Thor revealing that Odin – for reasons best known only to himself – had only considered the Man of Steel worthy of using it on temporary, “needs must” basis!
14. Red Hulk
Remember when we mentioned characters harnessing Mjolnir’s power by abusing the laws of physics? Well, the time that the Red Hulk got his crimson paws on Thor’s hammer is arguably the worst example of this.
His first method of doing so was fairly clever (although as we’ll see later, not exactly original): the Rulk overpowered Thor whilst he was still holding onto the hammer, ensuring that the Odinson was technically doing the heavy lifting when Rulk took over.
The second way Red Hulk was able to use Mjolnir was much more shocking – both to the God of Thunder and fans alike. When their struggle shifted into orbit, the Rulk took advantage of the weightless environment to negate the hammer’s immense (magical) mass and swing it about with ease.
The reason why this second instance riled up readers so much? Strictly speaking, it shouldn’t be possible! Whilst Thor’s hammer is indeed insanely heavy, the real reason why so few people can heft it is due to the spell laid upon it by Odin.
That’s why someone like Captain America can raise the hammer aloft, whereas other far mightier powerhouses can’t – and it’s also why Rulk shouldn’t have been able to do so!
If there’s a scarier prospect than Mjolnir’s power winding up at the fingertips of the notoriously unhinged Deadpool, we don’t want to imagine it! Predictably, when the Merc With A Mouth found himself inexplicably worthy of wielding the hammer, chaos quickly ensued.
It later transpired that the hammer brandished by Deadpool was a fake – one of many knock-offs to crop up over the years – conjured into existence by Thor’s trickster of a brother, Loki. Regardless, this imitation Mjolnir granted Wade Wilson all the powers and abilities of the God of Thunder, right down to kitting him out with a cape and winged headgear.
12. Ultimate Magneto
Another entrant that falls under the “suspect storytelling logic” umbrella, Ultimate Magneto is able to exert control over Mjolnir – unlike his regular Marvel Universe counterpart. The idea here is that, while the Magneto of this reality is just as unworthy of the hammer as the mainstream incarnation, uniquely, his mutant powers do work on the Uru metal from which it was forged.
This means that the Master of Magnetism can manipulate the hammer as he would any other metallic object – although as in the case of Red Hulk, this seems to breach the non-physical aspects of Odin’s enchantment. On the plus side, it seems that Ultimate Magneto is unable to access the hammer’s full potential, which at least makes sense, considering he can only move it by cheating!
When Vision casually hands Mjolnir to Thor in Age of Ultron, it not only serves as a fun pay-off to a running gag, it also establishes the android as an ally worthy of his fellow Avengers’ trust. That said, while it’s an efficient bit of storytelling, it does seem a little unlikely that Vision – whose Zen-like personality is decidedly un-Asgardian – could meet the criteria established by Odin.
Maybe that’s why it comes as little surprise that the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Vision is the only incarnation of the character who has proven capable of handling Mjolnir. Without wanting to resort to “comics versus films” quibbling, we’d nonetheless argue that it’s therefore fair to say that, as Vision can only perform this feat in one specific reality, he doesn’t count amongst the hammer’s most worthy bearers.
10. Awesome Android
There’s an undeniably goofy charm that underpins the rationale behind the Awesome Android’s ability to harness the power of Mjolnir. See, the sentient robot – also known as Awesome Andy – doesn’t inherently deserve this rare honor based on his own personal attributes. However, thanks to his ability to duplicate the qualities of others, the Awesome Android can replicate Thor’s worthiness and lay a valid claim on the Odinson’s trademark weapon!
It’s a fun circumnavigation of the hammer’s enchantment, neatly undermining Odin’s mystical mojo (not to mention the All-Father’s intellect) via cheap physics-based or grammatical loopholes. Of course, in the God of Thunder’s absence, the Awesome Android’s Mjolnir-lifting credentials quickly evaporate, so his status as an “unworthy wielder” is ultimately a bit of a no-brainer.
Lest more casual fans start to think that the enchantment laid upon Mjolnir is sexist, we’d like to point out that several women have been depicted as worthy over the years. Of these, perhaps the most prominent are Storm and Jane Foster – the latter of whom even assumed the mantle of Thor.
That said, one female character who has traditionally been portrayed as being unworthy to heft this divine gavel is the X-Men’s Rogue. The exception to this rule appears in an issue of What If…? where, after Rogue touches the Thunder God, her mutant gift to absorb another person’s skills, memories, and very essence is shown to encompass whatever it is that makes Thor himself worthy to wield Mjolnir.
While there’s a strong possibility that the Rogue of the core Marvel Universe timeline could likewise steal the traits necessary to lift Thor’s hammer, in the end, she’d still be unable to do so based on merit alone.
Because no list would be complete without at least one evil clone, we present for your consideration Ragnarök – Thor’s deranged cyborg doppelgänger. Created by Mister Fantastic, Ant-Man, and Iron Man to replace a then-MIA Thor, Ragnarök initially used a facsimile of Mjolnir which merely mimicked the powers of the original.
Fast forward a few years, and this faux God of Thunder found himself banished to a twisted alternate reality – a world so topsy-turvy that he qualifies as worthy to lift the actual hammer of Thor! True, this privilege didn’t come without any strings attached – an unflattering bald-headed, bearded look came hand in hand with wielding Mjolnir for Ragnarök – but it’s still hard to understand how such an obvious nutcase could meet Odin’s supposedly stringent criteria.
7. The Hulk
Arguably the strongest character in the Marvel Universe, the Hulk’s inability to lift Mjolnir has undoubtedly caused the green Goliath plenty of frustration over the years. After all, when your blows can shake entire planets, it can be hard to accept that a relatively small object like the hammer is too great a load for you to manage.
Still, we don’t want to give you the impression that the Hulk has never been able to declare “hammer time” with Thor’s Uru mallet. On the contrary, the Jade Giant has done so on multiple occasions!
The most notable of these was when he faced down Marvel Universe big bad Thanos, where he utilized a similar method to his red-hued counterpart, flailing Mjolnir about while Thor was still holding it as well (ensuring the worthiness criteria were met).
If there’s one thing that should have become abundantly clear by now, it’s that the spell surrounding Thor’s hammer isn’t exactly difficult to hoodwink. Never was this more apparent than when Enrakt – younger brother of the Odinson’s enemies the Enchanters Three – used his sorcery to usurp control over Mjolnir.
Interestingly, Enrakt was less concerned about tapping into Thor’s considerable power, and more hung up on messing with the God of Thunder’s head. This manifested itself in several different ways, including preventing Mjolnir from returning to Thor’s hand, and causing it to become lodged in a wall.
Now, technically, this doesn’t quite count as wielding the hammer, per se – it’s closer to meddling with it. All the same, Enrakt’s mastery of Mjolnir – he was able to not only catch it, but fling it with ease – was sufficient enough for him to qualify for this list.
5. Roger Norvell
There’s really no other way to start this next entry than to say: “And then there was the time a TV cameraman was granted the powers of Thor.” After the God of Thunder snubs a film crew attempting to make a documentary on Asgard, crewmember Roger “Red” Norvell was left eager for revenge.
Enter: Loki, who uses his fiendish magic to bestow the mighty abilities of Thor upon Red – seriously: dude does not miss a chance to screw with his brother – right down to his worthiness to wield Mjolnir. Norvell quickly proved himself an unfit bearer of the Odinson’s hammer, causing all sorts of ruckus before he finally came to his senses and heroically sacrificed himself for the greater good.
Perhaps the craziest part of this whole story comes later on, when it becomes clear that it wasn’t just Loki who was manipulating Red for his own ends – it turns out Odin was as well! When the All-Father decides that Thor is shirking his responsibilities in Asgard in favor of hanging out on Earth, he revives Red to serve in his son’s place.
Part of the gift and curse of comic book continuity is just how inconsistent it can be – and this certainly applies to robotic life form Air-Walker’s qualifications for handling Mjolnir.
Due to a dubious interpretation of the enchantment’s wording in relation to non-flesh and blood beings – which from a very reductive point of view are non-gendered – this former herald of Galactus is allegedly exempt for the worthiness clause!
Now, setting aside the obvious gap in logic here – surely not meeting the requirements of Odin’s spell counts as an instant fail? – this also flies in the face of other established Marvel Comics canon. After all, if this loophole applies to Air-Walker, shouldn’t it extend to every other android or cyborg as well? Maybe the pen and ink version of Vision should consider having another attempt at raising the hammer after all!
3. Rick Jones
If there’s anything more potentially confusing than reading a storyline involving alternate timelines and versions of characters, it’s trying to explain it – but we’ll do our best here! Basically, there was this one time when Rick Jones – the ultimate sidekick of the Marvel Universe – came across two future variants of himself, one good and one evil (because of course they were).
Of these, the benign elder incarnation – hailing from the popular “Future Imperfect” reality – revealed that he was able to control Mjolnir, something his present day self is incapable of doing. Confirming that worthiness is something characters have to earn (rather than being born with), Future Imperfect Rick claimed to have done so at some point in his yesterday, our tomorrow. The end result is a novel, “Schrödinger’s hammer” scenario, where someone both is and isn’t worthy of Thor’s powers simultaneously!
On the one hand, there’s nothing more awesome than a frog version of Thor, who brandishes his own tiny Mjolnir forged from a sliver of the original hammer. Seriously: concepts as delightfully bonkers as Throg, the Frog of Thunder are what makes the comics medium so worthwhile!
And yet on the other hand, accepting that a garden variety amphibian – even one that was formerly a human being, prior to being bewitched – makes the grade when it comes to wielding Mjolnir really is a bit much to swallow!
Call us speciesists if you will, but we struggle to accept that Throg is considered worthy ahead of countless fully humanoid heroes (including Superman, may we remind you). In fact, the idea is more than a little insulting!
Given he’s the God of Evil, Loki obviously lacks the inherent qualities needed to waive the enchantment attached to Mjolnir – but that hasn’t stopped him from trying to lay claim to it over the years! However, one of Loki’s most successful efforts to wield the hammer came about without any treachery at all on his part.
When Scarlet Witch and Doctor Doom accidentally cast a spell that caused the moral alignment of several heroes and villains to become inverted, a newly-noble Loki discovered that he now qualified as worthy of Mjolnir. Harnessing the weapon and its awesome powers, he faced off against the now-wicked God of Thunder, before Scarlet Witch was able to reverse the spell’s effects, and the status quo (and sanity) was restored!
What other unworthy characters have wielded Thor’s hammer? Let us know in the comments!
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