Mjolnir (comics)

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Mjölnir
Thor 494.jpg
Mjölnir held by Thor on the cover of
Thor #494 (Jan. 1996).
Art by Mike Deodato Jr.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceJourney into Mystery #83 (August 1962)
Created byStan Lee
Jack Kirby
Joe Sinnott
In story information
TypeMystic item/artifact, Weapon
Element of stories featuringThor (Thor Odinson)
Thor (Jane Foster)

Mjolnir, known more formally as Mjölnir (/ˈmjɔːlnɪər/) is a fictional magical weapon appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. It is depicted as the principal weapon of the superhero Thor 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 is typically depicted as a large, square-headed gray sledgehammer, with 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.

Publication history[edit]

"Mjolnar" was initially conceived by writer Joe Simon and artist Jack Kirby for the story "The Villain from Valhalla", in Adventure Comics #75 (Jun. 1942). Mjolnir debuted in Marvel Comics title Journey into Mystery #83 (Aug. 1962), being the means by which physician Donald Blake transformed into Thunder god Thor Odinson (by striking it on the ground). The first use of the hammer's name was in the "Tales of Asgard" feature in Thor #135 (Dec. 1966) in a story by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The weapon's origin is eventually revealed in Thor Annual #11 (1983), with another version presented in Thor vol. 2, #80 (Aug. 2004).

In a 2002 documentary with Kevin Smith, Lee says his brother and co-creator Larry Lieber originally referred to Mjolnir as the "Uru Hammer".[1] Writer Roy Thomas eventually changed the name of the hammer to the mythologically correct name of "Mjolnir" and maintained the Larry Lieber concept of it being composed of fictional metal "uru".[2]

Origin[edit]

Mjolnir's origin in Marvel continuity mirrors the original Norse legend. The hammer is created when Odin's adopted son 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 create the hair and 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 then 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. Loki loses the bet and in retaliation 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 Thor, on the condition that he first prove he is worthy to wield the weapon.[3]

In the second volume of Thor, another version of the hammer's origin is depicted when Odin orders the dwarven blacksmiths Eitri, Brok and Buri to forge Mjolnir using the core of a star.[4]

The series The Mighty Thor provides another version of Mjolnir's origin: after an extended battle Odin traps a galaxy-sized storm called "Mother Storm" in a nugget of uru, which Odin orders the dwarves to use to create a weapon capable of using Mother Storm's power.[5]

Enchantments[edit]

Odin placed several enchantments upon Mjolnir prior to Thor wielding the hammer:

  • No living being may wield it unless they are worthy. This is reflected in the inscription on the side of Mjolnir, which states:Whosoever holds this hammer, if they be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.[6] For almost the entirety of Marvel continuity, this has exclusively been Thor.
  • Once thrown it will always return to the wielder's hand after being thrown. By hurling the hammer and holding the lanyard, Thor is capable of flight.[7]
  • The wielder can the elements of storm (lightning, wind, and rain) by stamping its handle twice on the ground.[8]
  • Mjolnir can open interdimensional portals, allowing its wielder to travel to other dimensions (such as from Earth to Asgard);[9]
  • Also originally capable of creating chronal displacement and therefore allowing time travel.[10] This enchantment was removed by the entity Immortus with the Thor's consent to aid a planet trapped in Limbo[11] This was eventually revealed to be a deception by Immortus to eliminate the superhero team the Avengers's access to time travel[12]). Thor, however, is still able to manipulate time with Mjolnir.[13]
  • Originally transform Thor 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 cane. Odin also stipulated that if Thor was separated from Mjolnir for more than sixty seconds, he would revert back to his mortal persona until striking the cane once again.[14]

The last enchantment was eventually removed and transferred to Stormbreaker, the hammer of character Beta Ray Bill.[15] After this the Donald Blake persona disappeared, and Thor assumed a civilian identity simply by changing into modern clothing (carrying Mjolnir concealed within a duffel bag). Thor eventually adopts the mortal persona of Jake Olson as penance for accidentally causing the original Olson's death during a battle, and simply pounds a fist to effect a change. During this period Mjolnir would disappear when Thor became Olson, and reappear when returning to his true form.[16]

Powers and abilities[edit]

  • Mjolnir is described as impacting with sufficient force to "level mountains"[17] with only fictional metal adamantium proving impervious.[18]

Capable of creating:

  • Emitting mystical blasts of energy; controlling electromagnetism; molecular manipulation;[22]

Generating exceptional offensives:

  • Geo-Blast (an energy wave that taps a planet's gravitational force)[23]
  • Anti-Force (energy created to counter-act another force)[24]
  • God Blast (an energy blast that taps into Thor's life force)[25]

Mjolnir can also absorb energy;

The hammer is also capable of empowering others - accidentally endowing the hero Union Jack with the ability to generate electricity.[29] - and removing any harmful radiation or other toxins from a host.[30]

There are also several rarely used abilities:

  • tracking a person[31]
  • locating mystical items[32]
  • detecting illusions[33]
  • project images, as Thor shows a glimpse of Asgard to fellow Avenger Iron Man.[34]

As a former religious relic, Mjolnir is also lethal to the undead, causing creatures such as vampires to burst into flame and crumble to dust.[35]

Mjolnir is also not indestructible, having been damaged or destroyed several times in continuity: a force beam from the Asgardian Destroyer slices it in two;[36] the Molecule Man dispels the atomic bonds between the hammer's molecules, vaporizing Mjolnir;[37] shattered after channeling an immeasurable amount of energy at the Celestial Exitar;[38] Dark god Perrikus slices Mjolnir in half with a magical scythe;[39] and shattered when it collided with the uru weapons of Loki's Storm Giant followers, resulting in an atomic-scale explosion.[40]

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 Fantastic Four 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. 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. The hammer was also sliced in two by the Destroyer.[41] Thor visits the forges in Pittsburgh to mend it.

After Thor's death in the fight against the Serpent,[42] 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,[43] 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.[44]

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.[45] 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".[46]

After the destruction and reconstruction of the multiverse, the Mjolnir of the Ultimate Thor lands in 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.[47] Although he fights his way to claim the hammer,[48] 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',[49] but Volstagg is eventually convinced to put the hammer down as his actions as the War Thor are driven by his rage to the point of endangering innocents.

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 the true Rogers also restoring the original enchantment so that the original Rogers can lift the hammer where his Hydra self cannot.[50]

In a desperate battle with Mangog, Jane Foster sacrifices Mjolnir--and, due to her currently failing health, her own life--to defeat the powerful Mangog by binding Mjolnir and Mangog in Gleipnir, the chain used to bind Fenris the wolf, and hurl both into the sun, effectively destroying Mjolnir, herself & The Mangog.[51] Thor is subsequently able to work with Odin to channel the power of the cosmic storm that had been trapped within Mjolnir to bring Jane back to life. After being restored to life, Jane returned to her life on Earth, retrieving the last small fragment of Mjolnir--a pebble barely the size of Thor's fingernail but still too heavy for him to comfortably lift--to encourage Thor to consider resuming his role as God of Thunder by asking him to consider what he would be capable of without a hammer after seeing what she was capable of with one.[52]

During the War of the Realms, Thor sacrificed an eye and the last fragment of Mjolnir to the World-Tree to gain the necessary knowledge to defeat Malekith's assault, allowing him to gather three more Thors to assist him in the struggle; King Thor of the future, the Viking Thor who had originally fought Gorr, and Jane Foster, wielding the damaged hammer of the War Thor. As Thor confronted Malekith, he channeled the power of the ancient Mother Storm to reforge Mjolnir, overcoming his unworthiness by accepting Fury's proclamation that Gorr was right and vowing to prove himself better than the gods who had come before.[53]

Wielders[edit]

Other than Thor and Odin, certain other individuals have proven capable of lifting Mjolnir in the primary continuity:

Several imitations of Mjolnir have also existed:

Other versions[edit]

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.[74]

In other media[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stan Lee & Kevin Smith (6 November 2002). Stan Lee's Mutants, Monsters & Marvels (Video). DHG Productions. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  2. ^ Larry Lieber & Roy Thomas (Fall 1999). "Alter Ego 02 : A Conversation with Artist-Writer Larry Lieber". Alter Ego. No. 2. TwoMorrows Publishing.
  3. ^ Thor Annual #11 (1983)
  4. ^ Thor vol. 2 #80 (August 2004)
  5. ^ The Mighty Thor vol. 2 #12 (Dec. 2016)
  6. ^ Journey into Mystery #82 (Aug. 1962)
  7. ^ Journey into Mystery #82 (Aug. 1962)
  8. ^ Journey Into Mystery #83 (Aug. 1962)
  9. ^ Journey Into Mystery #88 (Jan. 1963)
  10. ^ Journey Into Mystery #86 (Nov. 1962)
  11. ^ Thor #282 (April 1979)
  12. ^ Avengers Forever #8 (July 1999)
  13. ^ Avengers #300 (Feb. 1989)
  14. ^ Journey into Mystery #103 (April 1964)
  15. ^ Thor #340 (Feb. 1984)
  16. ^ Thor vol. 3, #1 (July 1998)
  17. ^ Thor #312 (Oct. 1981)
  18. ^ Avengers #68 (Sep. 1969)
  19. ^ Journey into Mystery #82 (Aug. 1962)
  20. ^ Journey into Mystery #85 (Oct. 1962)
  21. ^ Thor #407 (Sept. 1989)
  22. ^ Journey Into Mystery #115 (April 1965)
  23. ^ Thor #161 (Feb. 1969)
  24. ^ Thor vol. 3, #25 (July 2000)
  25. ^ Thor vol. 3, #12 (June 1999)
  26. ^ Avengers #277 (March 1987)
  27. ^ Avengers vol. 3, #44 (Aug. 2001)
  28. ^ Thor #411–412 (both Dec. 1989)
  29. ^ Invaders #33 (Oct. 1978)
  30. ^ The Mighty Thor #1 (vol. 2, Jan. 2016)
  31. ^ Avengers #13 (Feb. 1965)
  32. ^ Journey Into Mystery #120 (Sept. 1965)
  33. ^ Thor #310 (Aug. 1981)
  34. ^ Earth's Mightiest Heroes #1–8 (Jan – May 2005)
  35. ^ Thor #332 (June 1983)
  36. ^ Journey Into Mystery #118 (July 1965). Repaired Journey Into Mystery #120 (Sept. 1965)
  37. ^ Avengers#215 (Jan. 1982). Restored in Avengers#216 (Feb. 1982)
  38. ^ Thor #388 (Feb. 1988) Restored by the Celestials in Thor #389 (Mar. 1988)
  39. ^ Thor vol. 2, #11 (May 1999) Restored Thor vol. 2, #11 (June 1999)
  40. ^ Thor vol. 2, #80 (Aug. 2004). Mjolnir was not recreated after this last incident until Thor vol. 3, #1 (Sept. 2007)
  41. ^ Thor #118
  42. ^ Fear Itself #7
  43. ^ The Mighty Thor #9
  44. ^ The Mighty Thor #10
  45. ^ Aaron, Jason (w), Deodato, Mike (a). Original Sin #7 (August 2014). Marvel Comics
  46. ^ Jason Aaron (w), Russell Dauterman (a). Thor v4, 1 (October 2014), Marvel Comics
  47. ^ The Unworthy Thor #2
  48. ^ The Unworthy Thor #4
  49. ^ The Unworthy Thor #5
  50. ^ Secret Empire #10
  51. ^ The Mighty Thor #705
  52. ^ The Mighty Thor #706
  53. ^ War of the Realms #6
  54. ^ Thor #276 (Oct. 1978)
  55. ^ Thor #337 (Nov. 1983)
  56. ^ Thor #390 (April 1988)
  57. ^ Thor #433 (June 1991)
  58. ^ Thor #600 (April 2009)
  59. ^ Thor #355 (May 1985)
  60. ^ Loki: Agent of Asgard #9 (Dec. 2014)
  61. ^ Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #9 (December 2014)
  62. ^ Thor vol. 4 #8 (May 2015)
  63. ^ Thor vol. 6 #7 (May 2015)
  64. ^ Free Comic Book Day: Secret Empire (April 2017)
  65. ^ Thor #339 (Jan. 1984)
  66. ^ Thor #459 (Feb. 1993)
  67. ^ X-Men Annual #9 (1985)
  68. ^ To Serve and Protect #3 (Jan. 2011)
  69. ^ Deadpool #37 (Feb. 2000)
  70. ^ Thor vol. 2, #80 Aug. 2004
  71. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #520 (August 2005)
  72. ^ Civil War #1–7 (May 2006 – Jan. 2007)
  73. ^ Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1 - 4 (July - Oct. 2009)
  74. ^ The Ultimates #4 - 13 (March 2002 - April 2004)

External links[edit]