Thor is literally a god. He’s muscular, he’s got immense power, and a magic hammer called Mjolnir that is his most trusted ally in combat. Flying and summoning devastating cracks of lightning are among his notable skills. In other words, he’s a tough dude. These things contribute to Thor being one of the most prominent and influential members of the Avengers. In a crew that also includes the likes of Iron Man and the Hulk, he is an especially formidable hero.
He is not, however, invincible. Thor has a number of weaknesses. Some are things to which he is vulnerable – they can hurt or even kill him. Others are personality traits that occasionally don’t serve him well. Using specific examples from decades of comic book pages, as well as his recent cinematic experiences, we’re about to outline some of them for you. Of course, a superhero is only compelling if he has interesting foibles to face, and Thor most definitely has a few. We think you’ll find these particular examples surprising. Knowing them will give you a new appreciation for him, in addition to making you realize that his well-being in battle isn’t a sure thing.
Here are 15 Weaknesses You Didn’t Know Thor Had.
15. High-level spells
High-level magic is one of the tools that can be used against Thor with observable efficiency. For direct evidence, look no further than Amora the Enchantress and her sister, the sorceress Lorelei. Could they kill him with their magic? Probably. But these wicked ladies appreciate a hunk when they see one, so they use their skills on Thor in a more personal manner.
Amora used a magic mirror to make Thor fall in love with her. Hey, it’s easier than using an online dating service to find romance!
Lorelei, on the other hand, is a more overtly carnal individual. In one of the most disturbing plot lines the character has been part of, she used magical spells to compel Thor to have sex with her. It was a fairly controversial act, as many readers pointed out this was technically assault.
14. Magical weaponry
If magical spells do the trick on Thor, any sort of weapon imbued with magic will just kick things up a notch, as we’ve seen on more than one occasion.
In Thor #1, released in 2014, our hero got his hands on a spiffy new weapon – a charm-infused battle ax called Jarmbjorn that was crafted for him by the same dwarves who made Mjolnir. Unfortunately, this pretty cool fighting instrument made its way into the hands of an enemy, who used it to chop Thor’s arm off.
A magic arrow similarly damaged our hero in Thor: Son of Asgard #5. The malicious Queen of Norns took on Thor during a siege of Asgard. Pulling the magical arrow from its quiver, she proceeded to shoot Thor directly through the chest, killing him instantly. That would seem to be a pretty dire situation, although Odin has a few tricks of his own. He uses magic sand to bring his son back to life.
13. Brotherly love
Like all siblings, Thor and Loki don’t always get along. Actually, they rarely get along. That’s because Loki uses his sorcery powers to engage in all kinds of mischief that his brother doesn’t approve of.
To say they have sibling rivalry would be an understatement. Provocateur that he is, Loki relishes the chance to make life difficult for Thor, in whatever manner possible.
In spite of multiple attempts to take away Thor’s power, have him banished from Asgard, and even to kill him, Loki is almost always given a pass. Thor has every reason to solve the problem once and for all by just snuffing Loki out. He doesn’t do that, though.
Loki is, for better or worse, his brother, and that means something. He holds out hope that someday Loki will see the light and become a better person. Of course, we know that hope is in vain, which makes his leniency occasionally frustrating.
12. Twilight Sword
First, a little history. The Twilight Sword is a weapon belonging to Surtur the fire demon. It’s powerful enough to slice through just about anything like a knife going through butter. In other words, you don’t want to come in contact with it. The Twilight Sword was initially forged to destroy Asgard during Ragnarok. Since it has the power to repel magical objects — like Mjolnir, for instance — Thor doesn’t stand much of a chance against it.
That plays out notably in the Avengers: Prime series. Hela, the Asgardian Goddess of Death, obtains the Twilight Sword, using it to attack Thor and his colleagues. It’s more than effective in causing significant destruction. During this time, she strikes him with it, shoving it straight through his body. Hela plans a second blow, this time targeting Thor’s head. He is dramatically saved from decapitation, but the whole incident is a little too close for comfort.
11. Feelings of unworthiness
You wouldn’t think a god would have any reason to feel insecure. And yet, at times Thor is very susceptible to self-doubt. Original Sin #7 provides an excellent example of this.
Thor had previously fought Gorr the Butcher, a serial killer who targeted gods because he thought they were unworthy of worship and would eventually destroy mankind with their arrogance. Obviously, neither Gorr’s attitude nor his actions sat too well with Thor, who decapitated the villain in the heat of battle.
So when Nick Fury later told him that “Gorr was right,” it was enough to send him into an existential tailspin. Thor knew that if Gorr’s assessment was accurate – he wasn’t really the heroic defender that he viewed himself to be. Instead, he’s just a jerk with a big hammer — and one who might end up doing the world more harm than good. Not a pleasant way for a god to view himself.
10. Poor taste in allies
You read that right. In The Invaders #32, published in 1978, Thor is, for reasons a little too complicated to get into here, transported to Nazi Germany. Hitler is attempting to defeat Joseph Stalin, who is wiping out large groups of people across Europe. That sounds bad to Thor, so he joins the cause, a little too naïve to realize that his new colleague is at least as terrible as the guy he’s trying to stop. Even when told about Hitler’s anti-Semitism, Thor is weirdly ambivalent.
Only after der Fuhrer recruits a band of trolls to enlarge his army does Thor wise up to the evil right in front of him. He bolts back to Asgard, making sure to wipe everyone’s memory clean about his existence before he does.
9. Losing his hammer
One of the worst things that can happen to any fictional hero is to lose his or her signature weapon. Imagine Luke Skywalker without his lightsaber, the Ghostbusters without their proton packs, or Captain America without his shield. Having a cherished weapon in hand gives the hero an added measure of confidence. Take that away and you have potential catastrophe. For this reason, Thor becomes vulnerable whenever he’s separated from Mjolnir.
On the rare occasions when that happens, his powers are instantly diminished. He can no longer fly or summon lightning. He has nothing of weight to hurl at an enemy. He can’t shatter anything to pieces. Mjolnir is really the source of his abilities, so stripping him of it immediately gives his opponent a leg up. That’s something a villain can easily exploit, turning one of the mightiest superheroes into one of the most powerless in a flash.
8. Warrior Madness
Warrior Madness isn’t necessarily a good thing, but it isn’t exactly a bad thing, either. You could accurately call it Thor’s version of a sociopathic disorder. Any time he gets stressed to the max or pushed to the brink of his limits, he becomes something of a crazed lunatic, prone to fits of rage the likes of which dwarf Wolverine‘s berserker rage and Hulk‘s smash mode.
In fact, Warrior Madness is so extreme that Odin has declared it forbidden on Asgard. While the burst of super-strength that accompanies it can theoretically be harnessed for good purposes, the condition often causes Thor to become homicidal. He’ll viciously attack anyone unfortunate enough to be standing in his general vicinity, be it friend or foe. His ability to discriminate on that count falls away.
7. Following rules
Although Thor is weirdly patient with Loki, a straw did break the camel’s back in one storyline. One of the biggest, most non-negotiable rules on Asgard is that you don’t kill another Asgardian. It’s a rule that Thor broke, albeit with relatively justifiable reason.
The Mighty Thor #432 finds Loki kidnapping an innocent man. His condition for releasing the hostage is simple: he wants possession of Mjolnir. The siblings brawl, but Thor typically can’t bring himself to put Loki out of commission permanently. He knows full well that such an action is forbidden.
Loki, being the dishonest jerk that he is, naturally attempts to follow through on the promise to kill the hostage. Realizing that his brother will never play by the rules, Thor finally grows a pair, using Mjolnir to kill Loki. Needless to say, their father Odin is furious when he finds out what happened, and he banishes Thor from Asgard as a consequence.
6. He swings first and asks questions later
Superheroes routinely fight bad guys. It’s a whole other thing when they fight other heroes. And since Thor is fiercely determined to win any battle in which he finds himself, he fights hard. Nowhere is that more evident than in the movie The Avengers, particularly the scene where he basically tries to kill Captain America.
Thor has come to Earth in search of Loki. He first meets Iron Man. They scrap for a little bit. Then Cap shows up. Upon noticing that the Asgardian wields a pretty massive, dangerous-looking hammer, he makes a polite request that the weapon be put down. Thor’s not having it.
Instead of complying, he attacks, swinging Mjolnir as hard as he can and bringing it down on Cap, who fortunately has his shield to protect him. Without that shield, Thor undoubtedly would have killed him. Granted, they learn to work together after this, but really, this is not a good way to introduce oneself.
5. He has a slippery grip
We all know that one of the worst things that can happen to a police officer is to have a criminal gain access to their gun. Even if the bad guy doesn’t kill them with it, there can be heavy penalties at work later on. A similar kind of thing happened to Thor in Thor #337.
In this case, the person snatching his weapon wasn’t so much a bad guy as an opponent. Beta Ray Bill was a Korbinite tasked with leading his people to a new home after theirs was destroyed. Thor was sent by Nick Fury to investigate on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s behalf. Bill viewed his presence as a threat, and the two scuffled. In the process, Thor lost control of Mjolnir. Bill picked it up and assumed all its powers.
4. The teeth of Jormungandr
Thor comics borrow a lot of things from Norse mythology, few of them as intriguing as Jormungandr. According to legend, it is a massive sea serpent – and by “massive,” we mean that it utterly dwarfs anything else in its path. The creature appears periodically in Thor comics, always signaling bad news for our hero.
That’s because it doesn’t really even matter if Jormungandr as a whole is there or not. If it is, Thor is in immediate danger of being gnawed by the beast’s deadly fangs. But even if just one tooth is around, it’s not good.
Amazing Spider-Man #683 finds Electro stealing one of those teeth from a museum. He gives it to Doctor Octopus, who places it inside Rhino’s head. Shortly thereafter, Rhino rams Thor with the tooth, putting the Asgardian down for the count. You know something is dangerous when a single tooth is enough to incur that kind of damage.
3. Abusive to women
Only someone of great worthiness can hold Mjolnir. For that reason, you wouldn’t expect that a guy who beats up women would be worthy. Well, not only did Thor get physically abusive, his victim was none other than former love Jane Foster.
Thor #4 – written by Jason Aaron and published in 2015 – has Thor doubting his godhood. That’s enough for him to lose his ability to wield Mjolnir. In the comic, he’s now referred to as “the Odinson” and, through a complex series of events, Jane becomes the new Thor. She gets the hammer, which he desperately and selfishly wants back. Fisticuffs ensue, during which Odinson delivers a wallop. Oh, and did we mention that Jane is suffering from terminal cancer?
2. Mjolnir isn’t foolproof
The very sight of Mjolnir is enough to strike fear into the hearts of Thor’s enemies. The hammer is fallible, though. Pieces of it can fall off.
In one much-ridiculed Thor comic, Loki put a curse on his brother, turning him into a frog. Not only that, Thor became a frog who battled a band of evil rats in Central Park. Thor also befriended another human-turned-frog, Puddlegulp. After their victory over the rats, Thor departed to stop Loki.
The short series Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers discloses that Puddlegulp later found a sliver of Mjolnir that chipped off during battle. Just by picking up that small piece, he was able to assume some of Thor’s powers, becoming the Frog of Thunder, also known as Throg. If any Tom, Dick, and Harry can pick up a tiny flake of Mjolnir and gain god-like powers, it could lead to unparalleled confusion.
1. He doesn’t always think about the repercussions of his actions
Comics have always incorporated real-life world and political events into their stories, which can yield tales that are very poignant and relevant. It can also be the kind of thing that really doesn’t age well. For a prime example of the latter, look no further than Journey Into Mystery #93, published in 1963. It features Thor callously nuking China.
The story concerns leaders in Communist China looking for a way to defeat him. One of their scientists, who specializes in radiation, begins dousing himself with hazardous material. Eventually, he develops immense powers and dubs himself Radioactive Man. Thor fights him and, for a time, seems primed to lose.
The story ends with Thor re-gaining the upper hand, creating a tornado that propels his nemesis back to his homeland. Radioactive Man sets off a massive nuclear blast when he lands. It apparently never occurs to Thor that he would presumably wipe out a lot of Chinese civilization by doing this.
Which of Thor‘s weaknesses do you find most intriguing? What other vulnerabilities does he have? Give us your thoughts in the comments.
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