Thor’s hammer Mjolnir is enchanted so that only the worthiest of heroes can wield the weapon and the awesome powers it bestows. For everyone else, the hammer becomes too heavy to budge. While the hammer is Thor’s signature weapon, a handful of other characters have actually been able to pick it up, one way or another.
With Marvel relaunching a new Thor #1 comic this Wednesday that features a female Thor wielding the hammer, we decided to look back at who else has lifted it, one way or another.
Just one note before we begin: We’re only counting cases where characters have lifted Mjolnir itself and not a copy, so that leaves out characters like Storm, Hercules, and Deadpool. Sorry, Deadpool.
As seen in: She-Hulk Vol. 2 #14 (2006)
Mjolnir’s enchantment is designed to prevent any living being from lifting the hammer unless they’re worthy. But as it turns out, the “living being” part can serve as a convenient loophole in the right circumstances.
Awesome Andy began life as the Awesome Android, a robotic enforcer built by the Mad Thinker and capable of mimicking all sorts of superhuman powers. The Awesome Android was traditionally portrayed as a brainless construct. But when Dan Slott kicked off his She-Hulk run, he revamped the character into a bumbling but well-meaning legal assistant in the offices of Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzburg, & Holliway.
The source of this transformation from Awesome Android to Awesome Andy was eventually revealed in a flashback issue. It turned out that the Mad Thinker upgraded Andy’s abilities to the point where he could copy any personality trait. By copying Thor’s nobility, Andy was able to lift Mjolnir. But the transformation sparked a new intelligence within Andy. He turned against his creator, cleared his name by proving he was a victim of the Mad Thinker’s influence, and began working at GLK&H as a way of paying off his legal bill.
Beta Ray Bill
As seen in: The Mighty Thor #337 (1983)
Perhaps the single most iconic example of another hero lifting Mjolnir came as writer/artist Walt Simonson began his now-legendary run on The Mighty Thor. Simonson introduced Beta Ray Bill in his first issue. Bill was the chosen protector of his race, the Korbinites, and genetically modified to become their protector as they fled their galaxy’s destruction. Bill and Thor initially came into conflict through a classic case of superhero misunderstanding. Thor was knocked unconscious during the fight and reverted to the form of Dr. Donald Blake. And when Bill picked up Blake’s walking stick and struck it against the wall, he suddenly found himself wielding Mjolnir and the power of Thor.
This alien defender proved himself worthy where countless others had failed. And by all rights, defeating Thor in battle and claiming his weapon made Bill the rightful owner of Mjolnir. But instead of keeping it, Odin had another enchanted hammer forged named Stormbreaker and gave it to Bill. Thor got Mjolnir back, plus he found himself a new friend and powerful ally.
As seen in: Thor #600 (2009)
You could consider Mjolnir to be a family heirloom of sorts. Odin ordered the hammer’s forging, and he was able to lift it even when Thor himself was a headstrong, unworthy boy. And it seems the privilege extends to generations past as well. In Thor #600, Loki (a woman at the time) used her magic to resurrect Odin’s father, Bor, in the middle of Manhattan. Thanks to his confusion and Loki’s manipulation, Bor saw the city as a realm full of demons in need of smiting. And when his grandson appeared to intervene, Bor saw him only as the lord of the demons.
Thus began a furious battle between Thor (empowered with the might of the Odinforce) and a god more powerful than even Odin himself. When Thor launched Mjolnir at Bor, the elder god merely caught the hammer and tossed it away.
Thor was eventually able to summon all his might and bring down his grandfather, but the feat left Mjolnir shattered. And for the crime of striking down a fellow Asgardian, Thor was banished from Midgard. Which, of course, was what Loki really wanted all along.
As seen in: The Mighty Thor #390 (1988) / Fear Itself #7 (2011)
If any Avenger other than Thor is worthy of lifting Mjolnir, it has to be Captain America. Which is why Steve Rogers has proven worthy of wielding the hammer on two separate occasions.
The first came in 1988, during a period where Steve had abandoned the mantle of Captain America and gone independent as “The Captain.” Cap paid a visit to his buddy Thor at Avengers Mansion, only for the team to be attacked by Grog and the Demons of Death (great band name). When Thor was subdued by the combined might of these villains, Cap was able to lift Mjolnir long enough to send it back to its rightful owner.
Cap had the chance to wield Mjolnir for a slightly longer stretch in the event Fear Itself. With his trusty shield having been shattered by the Serpent, Cap had nothing but some automatic weapons to battle the Serpent’s minions. Luckily for him, Thor lost his grip on Mjolnir during his battle with his uncle. Mjolnir crashed to Earth, and Cap hoisted it high and led the charge.
As seen in: What If? Vol. 1 #39
For as long as Marvel published Conan comics, it’s surprising that we didn’t see more crossovers between Robert E. Howard’s heroes and the Marvel Universe. But we did at least see a glimpse of the crossover opportunities with this issue of What If?
In this hypothetical tale, Thor was transported back in time to the Hyborian Age. With no memory of his previous life, Thor fell in with Conan and began leading the life of a thief/reaver/slayer. Conan always was good at multitasking. Eventually, Conan’s nemesis Thoth-Amon caught wind of the amazing weapon in Thor’s possession and tried his best to harness Mjolnir’s might for himself. In the aftermath of the battle, Thoth-Amon was burned to a crisp and Thor lay dying of his wounds. He passed Mjolnir onto Conan, making it probably the one time in Conan’s career he happily dabbled in magic.
Unfortunately, while the ending of the issue implied Conan went on to enjoy his newfound godhood, we never actually see what a Mjolnir-wielding Cimmerian is capable of. This is one What If? issue that definitely needs a sequel.
As seen in: Avengers Assemble #4 (2012)
Given Hulk’s temperament and love of smashing, he’s come into conflict with Thor a number of times over the years. And Hulk being the strongest one there is, he’s attempted to lift Mjolnir with varying degrees of success in their many battles. Perhaps the closest Hulk has come to truly lifting Mjolnir was in Avengers Assemble #4. Thor attempted to wallop Thanos with Mjolnir, only for Thanos to mind-control Hulk and force the Jade Giant to catch the hammer. Hulk was able to both deflect Mjolnir and whack Thor in the face with it. Granted, Thor was still holding onto Mjolnir throughout the brief skirmish, but we’ll give Hulk the accomplishment all the same.
It’s also worth mentioning Hulk’s even more powerful, villainous alter ego, Maestro. Hulk met his future self in the mini-series Hulk: Future Imperfect, encountering a world where Maestro had systematically wiped out every super-powered individual on Earth. Maestro had a trophy room showcasing relics of his many victories, including Mojlnir neatly tucked away in a display case. Unless Maestro somehow managed to punch Thor in just the right way to make the thunder god drop his hammer into the case, we assume the villain had to have lifted the hammer himself.