Mjolnir (/ˈmoʊlnɪr/ MOHL-n(ee)r) is a fictional mythical weapon appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. It is depicted as the principal weapon of the superheroes Thor Odinson and Jane Foster. Mjolnir, which first appears in Journey into Mystery #83 (August 1962), was created by writer Stan Lee and designed by artists Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott.
Mjolnir was typically depicted as a large, square-headed gray sledgehammer. It has a short, round handle wrapped in brown leather, culminating in a looped lanyard. The object is based on Mjölnir, the weapon of the mythological Thor.
Mjolnir held by Thor Odinson on the cover of
Thor #494 (Jan. 1996).
Art by Mike Deodato Jr.
|First appearance||Journey into Mystery #83 (August 1962)|
|Created by||Stan Lee
|In story information|
|Type||Mystic item/artifact, Weapon|
|Element of stories featuring||Thor (Thor Odinson)
Thor (Jane Foster)
Mjolnir debuted in Journey into Mystery #83 (Aug. 1962) for Marvel Comics. Prior to this time, "Mjolnar," invented by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, appeared in Adventure Comics #75 (Jun. 1942), in the Sandman story, "The Villain from Valhalla." For Marvel, the hammer was immediately established as the main weapon of the Thunder god Thor Odinson. The weapon's origin is revealed in Thor Annual #11 (1983), although another version is presented in Thor vol. 2, #80 (Aug. 2004).
In a 2002 documentary with Kevin Smith, Lee says his brother Larry Lieber made up the name of Thor's hammer referring to the hammer's original name, the "Uru Hammer". Later, writer Roy Thomas changed the name of the hammer to the mythologically correct name of "Mjolnir" and used the name "Uru" created by Larry Lieber as the name of the fictional metal that the hammer is made from.
Other significant moments in Marvel continuity include the altering of Mjolnir's enchantments in Thor #282 (April 1979) and Thor #340 (Feb. 1984); the temporary possession of Mjolnir by a member of the Enchanters Three in Thor vol. 3, #14–15 (Aug.–Sep. 1999); and when the hammer has been damaged, occurring in Journey Into Mystery #119 (Aug. 1965); Avengers #215 (Jan. 1982); Thor #388 (Feb. 1988);Thor vol. 2, #11 (May 1999); Thor vol. 2, #80 (Aug. 2004) and Thor vol. 3, #600 (Feb. 2009).
In Marvel continuity, Mjolnir is forged by Dwarven blacksmiths, and is composed of the fictional Asgardian metal uru. The side of the hammer carries the inscription "Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor."
The hammer is created when Odinson's adopted brother Loki cuts off the hair of the goddess Sif as part of a cruel jest, and, when threatened with violence by Thor, promises to fetch replacement hair from the dwarf smiths. Loki commissions the hair from the Sons of Ivaldi and the obliging dwarves also make a magic ship and spear as gifts for the gods. Loki is convinced that no one can match their workmanship, and challenges a dwarf named Eitri to make finer treasures. Eitri creates a golden ring and golden boar spear with magical properties, and finally begins work on a hammer. Loki panics at the sight of the treasures, and, afraid he will lose the wager, transforms himself into a mayfly and stings Eitri's assistant on the brow as he is working the bellows for the forge. The assistant stops for a moment to wipe away the blood, and the bellows fall flat. As a result, the hammer's handle is shorter in length than Eitri had originally intended, meaning that the hammer could only be wielded one-handed.
Despite the error, the Norse gods consider Eitri to have forged the greater treasures, and in retaliation, Loki loses the bet and the Sons of Ivaldi sew Loki's lips shut. The ruler of the Norse gods, Odin, uses the hammer — called Mjolnir ("Grinder") by Eitri—and eventually passes it to his son Odinson, who goes by the title "Thor", who must first prove he is worthy to wield the weapon.
Another version of the hammer's origin is presented in the second volume of the title Thor, in which Odin orders the dwarven blacksmiths Eitri, Brok and Buri to forge Mjolnir using the core of a star (the movie uses this origin as well, and Odin says that Mjolnir was "forged in the heart of a dying star") and an enchanted forge. The forging of the hammer is apparently so intense it destroys the star and nearly the Earth itself.
An additional alternate take on Mjolnir's origin is presented in Jason Aaron's The Mighty Thor series. It is explained that the Mother Storm, a sentient storm the size of a galaxy, had once threatened all of Asgard. After a fierce battle, Odin managed to trap it within a nugget of uru that had earlier been given to him by dwarven blacksmiths. He ordered the dwarves to forge the nugget into a weapon that would be able to harness the Mother Storm's power but found it too difficult to control. The hammer was forgotten until eons later when his son was finally able to lift it and make it his personal weapon.
Mjolnir itself has several enchantments: no living being may lift the hammer unless they are worthy; it returns to the exact spot from which it is thrown and returns to its Thor when summoned; it may summon the elements of storm (lightning, wind, and rain) by stamping its handle twice on the ground; manipulate the weather on an almost global scale; open interdimensional portals, allowing its wielder to travel to other dimensions (such as from Earth to Asgard); and transform Thor Odinson into the guise of a mortal, the physician Donald Blake, by stamping the hammer's head on the ground once and willing the change. When Thor transforms into Blake, his hammer takes the appearance of a wooden walking stick. When disguised, the hammer's enchantments limiting those who may lift it are not in effect. The hammer itself has also shown to be unaffected by external enchantments. Thors have several times used their Mjolnirs to pin down opponent, since they cannot lift the hammer.
A previous provision of this enchantment required that the hammer could not be "gone from Thor's grasp," or out of physical contact with its Thor for more than "sixty seconds full" without his spontaneous reversion of its users to their mortal selves; fortunately, Mjolnir is small enough to be tucked into a belt for times when its user prefers to have both of their hands free. There are times when Thor had both hands free but produced Mjolnir by reaching behind Thor's shoulder; the suggestion was that Mjolnir was placed in some kind of sheath or sling on his back, with the handle pointing up so it could be quickly grasped.
In some stories this limitation did not apply in Asgard, although this stipulation was removed in a storyline in which this enchantment is transferred to Stormbreaker, the hammer of Beta Ray Bill. After this, the Donald Blake persona disappeared for a time, and Thor assumed a civilian identity simply by changing into modern clothing, carrying Mjolnir concealed within a duffel bag. Odinson eventually adopts the mortal persona of Jake Olson as penance for accidentally causing the original Olson's death during a fight, and simply pounds a fist to effect a change; during this time, Mjolnir would disappear when Olson became Thor, and reappear in Thor's fist when returning to his true form.
Mjolnir was originally capable of creating chronal displacement and therefore allowing time travel, although this enchantment was removed by the entity Immortus with the Thunder god's consent to help the planet Phantus which was trapped in Limbo. However, Thor is still able to manipulate time with Mjolnir.
When Ragnarok took place, Mjolnir was separated from Thor and fell through the dimensions, creating a tear in Hell that allowed Doctor Doom to escape (Doom having been imprisoned there after his last encounter with the Fantastic Four). Although Doom and the FF attempt to claim the hammer, none of them are able to lift it, resulting in Donald Blake — who had been returned to life when the spell negating his existence wore off with Asgard's destruction—claiming it himself. With Blake and Thor once again co-existing, the hammer resumes its original 'disguise' of a walking-stick (although Blake's original limp healed, he sustained minor spine damage during a later confrontation). The hammer is later damaged in a fight with Bor, Thor's grandfather. Doctor Strange is able to repair the hammer using the Odinforce possessed by Thor, but warns Thor that, should the hammer be damaged in such a manner again, the new link between them could result in Thor being killed himself. The hammer was also sliced in two by the Destroyer. Thor visits the forges in Pittsburgh to mend it.
After Thor's death in the fight against the Serpent, Loki is able to take Blake's walking stick — the only remaining trace of Thor after he was 'replaced' by Tanarus—and turn it back into Mjolnir in front of the Silver Surfer, the Surfer's energy and Loki's belief in his brother allowing the hammer to return to Thor and restore his memory in time to face the God -Devourer that was about to consume his soul in the afterlife.
During the Original Sin storyline as Thor and the Avengers investigate Uatu The Watcher's murder, Nick Fury whispers an undisclosed secret to Thor that causes him to lose the ability to pick up Mjolnir. The nature of Mjolnir's enchantment also changes so that even Odin cannot lift it. The hammer is subsequently picked up by an unknown female, later revealed to be Jane Foster, who inherits the power and title of Thor, with the inscription changing to read "if she be worthy".
After the destruction and reconstruction of the multiverse, the Mjolnir of the Ultimate Thor falls to land on Asgard, but the entire area where it landed is subsequently taken into the possession of the Collector, who vows to kill his various prisoners unless Thor will tell him a means of bypassing the worthiness enchantment so that he can wield the hammer himself. Although he fights his way to claim the hammer, Odinson decides to leave it, instead working with Beta Ray Bill to channel the power of the hammer to return Asgard to its rightful place. When they have returned to Asgard, Odinson tells Bill that the secret Fury told him was 'Gorr was right', a reference to the God-Butcher who believed that gods were not needed as they only brought pain and suffering. The issue concludes with another individual, later to be revealed as Volstagg, going to claim the hammer of Ultimate Thor, identified by publicity as 'the War Thor'.
When Captain America is 'reprogrammed' into an agent of Hydra by a sentient cosmic cube, he sets up a complex chain of events that allow him to take control of America, banishing Jane Foster and claiming Mjolnir for himself, his ability to wield the hammer ensuring that Odinson follows him despite Rogers's actions, believing that his ability to wield the hammer shows that Rogers is right. In the final stand, after Odinson sides with the heroes over Hydra, Sam Wilson, Bucky, and Eric Lang are able to use a fragment of the Cosmic Cube to restore the original Steve Rogers to existence. This attack also reveals that Hydra had used their cosmic cube to change the nature of the worthiness enchantment to "If he be strong, shall possess the power of Hydra", with the 'reset' triggered by the cube's restoration of Rogers also restoring the original enchantment so that the original Rogers can lift the hammer where his Hydra self cannot.
The hammer has been lifted by Earth itself when animated by magical means.
Several imitations of Mjolnir have also existed. These include Stormbreaker and the mace Thunderstrike, created for Beta Ray Bill and Eric Masterson respectively. Loki has been responsible for the creation of several imitations – a version of Mjolnir, called Stormcaster, is presented to the mutant X-Men member Storm in an attempt to control her, which she later destroyed using Mjolnir. To spite Thor, another version is given to the mercenary Deadpool. Loki also allows Surtur to use the forge Mjolnir was created from to craft copies during Ragnarok. HYDRA created evil versions of Iron Man, Captain America, Hawkeye and Thor, the Thor imitator had a technological imitation of Mjolnir. Tony Stark and Reed Richards also create a technological imitation Mjolnir for use by Ragnarok, the clone of Thor, during the Civil War storyline. A tiny version was created from a sliver of Mjolnir for the use of Throg, leader of the Pet Avengers.
Mjolnir can be used both offensively and defensively.
As one of the most formidable weapons known to man or god, it is described as impacting with sufficient force to "level mountains," with primarily adamantium and vibranium proving impervious. Other offensive capabilities include creating vortices and forcefields (capable of containing an explosion that could potentially destroy a galaxy); emitting mystical blasts of energy; controlling electromagnetism; molecular manipulation; and generating the Geo-Blast (an energy wave that taps a planet's gravitational force), Anti-Force (energy created to counter-act another force), the thermo-blast which can even challenge such beings as Ego the living planet, and God Blast (a blast that taps into Thor's life force). The hammer can travel through planets to return to Thor. It can even create antimatter particles and whirling it round can create winds powerful enough to lift the Taj Mahal. The hammer can also move extremely heavy objects, including the Washington Monument.
There are also other several rarely used abilities. Mjolnir can track a person and mystical items; absorb energy, such as draining the Asgardian powers of the Wrecking Crew into the Wrecker; or detect illusions, as Thor once commanded the hammer to strike the demonic Mephisto, who was hiding amongst false images of himself. As a former religious relic, Mjolnir is lethal to the undead, causing creatures such as vampires to burst into flame and crumble to dust. Mjolnir also can project images, as Thor shows a glimpse of Asgard to fellow Avenger Iron Man. It is near-indestructible, surviving bullets, Anti-matter, and the Melter's melting beam.
The hammer has two properties relating to movement. When it is deliberately thrown by Thor, it will return to his hand despite any intervening obstacles or distance, even traveling through planets to return to Thor. When it has been dropped or set aside, it takes a fixed position, from which it cannot be moved except by a 'worthy' individual.
The hammer has also drained energy from the radioactive supervillain called the Presence, who is forced to surrender before being killed. Mjolnir was able to absorb, contain, and direct the energy of a Null Bomb, which was powerful enough to destroy an entire galaxy. Mjolnir also causes a side effect when used against the hero Union Jack: when Thor erroneously attacks the hero with a blast of lightning and then cancels the offensive, Union Jack is accidentally endowed with the ability to generate electricity. The hammer has been used to both power an Atlantean warship and temporarily drain the forcefield of the villain Juggernaut. If someone swears on the hammer their spirit can be summoned up after death. As well as absorbing radiation, the hammer can repel it back.
The hammer's ability to transform its user also purges the user of any toxins or radiations in their systems; however, this works against its current wielder, Jane Foster, as she is currently suffering from cancer, with the result that her transformations purge her of the radiation used in her chemotherapy while leaving the cancerous cells alone.
But Mjolnir is also not indestructible, having been damaged several times: a force beam from the Asgardian Destroyer slices it in two; the Molecule Man dispels the atomic bonds between the hammer's molecules, vaporizing Mjolnir; the hammer shatters after channeling an immeasurable amount of energy at the Celestial Exitar; Dark god Perrikus slices Mjolnir in half with a magical scythe; and the hammer is shattered when it collides with the uru weapons of Loki's Storm Giant followers, resulting in an atomic-scale explosion.
During the Celestial Saga storyline, an earlier version of Mjolnir is revealed to exist and was apparently thrown to Midgard (Earth) by Thor's sons, Modi and Magni, landing in the Rhine river where it transformed into the magical Rhinegold.
A version of Mjolnir in the What If? series was wielded by Rogue after she accidentally absorbed Thor's powers, the remnants of Thor in her psyche helping her assume his role.
In a future visited by the Hulk where Earth had been decimated by nuclear wars, Thor's hammer was one of the many mementos of the age of heroes kept by the now-elderly Rick Jones; the Maestro—the Hulk's twisted future self—attempted to use the hammer against the Hulk during their second confrontation in Rick's museum of hero memorabilia, but failed to lift it even with Thor's death as he was naturally unworthy to do so. A later storyline set before the Hulk's fight with the Maestro featured the elder Rick working with his younger self to defeat Thanatos- another alternate Rick- by using his own ability to summon and lift the hammer, explaining that he had been judged worthy to use it for things that young Rick had yet to do and Thanatos would never achieve. In a similar but alternate dystopian future, Mjolnir also rests in a super-hero artifact vault overseen by Rick Jones.
Mjolnir can be seen as one of the many treasures in the one-shot 'The Last Heist' that takes place in the "Tellos" universe.
In the Ultimate Marvel imprint title The Ultimates and its sequel The Ultimates 2, the Ultimate version of Thor wields a Mjolnir styled after a classical war hammer. Loki claims that Thor is not really a god, and that Mjolnir is not magical in origin, instead an advanced technological marvel designed by the European Union Super Soldier Program to mimic Thor's powers, but this proves to be false. At the end of The Ultimates 2 Thor proves his divinity and reclaims his Asgardian powers to defeat Loki. In The Ultimates 3: Who Killed The Scarlet Witch, Thor wields a hammer more closely resembling the mainstream Marvel Universe Mjolnir. In one scene where he is entering a secured building, the computer controlling access identifies first Thor, then Mjolnir; this leads another character to question why the computer identified Mjolnir as a separate, sentient organism, but Thor does not give an explanation for this. He later displays a wall of weapons, including both hammers, which he states were gifts from his father forged by Ulik the Troll. However, in the prequel miniseries Ultimate Comics: Thor it is revealed that the original hammer is not the "real" Mjolnir but instead Dr. Braddock gives Thor tech-armor, and Thor suggests to turn the power supply into a hammer. Neither version of the hammer seems to be such that its use is restricted by the worthiness test. In Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates Thor puts his hammer inside the Room With No Doors with his son Modi, so that he may escape the destruction and genocide of the Asgardians. With Thor being the last Asgardian alive and his hammer is gone, he loses his divine powers and becomes mortal. Tony Stark kept Thor's tech armor and hammer since Thor no longer felt he had use for it, and gives it to Thor to "restore" his powers because he feels the world "needs a god of thunder".
Mjolnir is briefly seen by itself during a post-credits scene in Iron Man 2 (2010) at the bottom of a giant crater in New Mexico; S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson informs Nick Fury, "We've found it." It has since appeared in every Marvel Cinematic Universe film that features Thor including Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), Thor: The Dark World (2013), and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). In Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Hela destroys Mjolnir during a battle with Thor, but at the film's conclusion Thor learns how to channel his power without using the hammer as a focus.