|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|
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. Mjolnir, which first appears in Journey into Mystery #83 (Aug. 1962), was created by writers Stan Lee and Larry Lieber 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.
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". Writer Roy Thomas eventually changed the name of the hammer to the mythologically correct name of "Mjolnir" but maintained the Larry Lieber concept of it being composed of fictional metal "uru".
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 gadfly 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.
In Thor Annual #11, the origin is changed in small but subtle ways. First, the treasures are commissioned by Odin as gifts for both of his boys, but Loki forfeits his share when he touches Gungnir, Odin's spear. Secondly, Loki turns into a moth instead of a gadfly, and just annoys Eitri instead of biting him. Thirdly, while the dwarfs still forge the golden duplicating ring known as Draupnir and Mjolnir, instead of making a golden boar spear they just make a magic gold boar that can fly.
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.
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.
Odin placed several enchantments upon Mjolnir prior to Thor wielding the hammer:
The last enchantment was eventually removed and transferred to Stormbreaker, the hammer of character Beta Ray Bill which was commissioned by Odin as a replica of Mjolnir. After this the Donald Blake persona disappeared (eventually returning from the after life), 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. Thor was also once again bound by the original rule whereby he would revert to Olson if kept away from Mjolnir for more than a minute.
The enchantment eventually changes: during the Original Sin storyline, Nick Fury whispers an undisclosed secret to Thor that causes him to lose the ability to pick up Mjolnir. The change extends to other gods, as Odin also cannot lift it (Fury's comment to Thor was simply "Gorr was right", validating to Thor that an old foe's claim that gods brought only pain and suffering was correct). 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.
Capable of creating:
Generating exceptional offensives:
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 – and removing any harmful radiation or other toxins from a host.
There are also several rarely used abilities:
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.
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; the Molecule Man dispels the atomic bonds between the hammer's molecules, vaporizing Mjolnir; shattered after channeling an immeasurable amount of energy at the Celestial Exitar; Dark god Perrikus slices Mjolnir in half with a magical scythe; and shattered when it collided with the uru weapons of Loki's Storm Giant followers, resulting in an atomic-scale explosion. Mjolnir was not recreated after this last incident until Thor returned to Earth several years later. Temporary wielder Jane Foster sacrifices Mjolnir and herself to defeat the monster Mangog by hurling them all into the Sun. Thor and Odin are able to resurrect Jane, who subsequently presents Thor with the last fragment of his hammer.
During the War of the Realms storyline, Thor is able to channel the power of the ancient Mother Storm to reforge Mjolnir, declaring that Gorr was right and vowing to prove himself better than the gods who had come before.
Other than Thor and Odin, certain other individuals have proven worthy of lifting Mjolnir in the primary continuity:
Alternate versions of the Silver Surfer, Conan, Black Widow, and Valkyrie have lifted Mjolnir through worthiness. Other Marvel characters have lifted Mjolnir not through worthiness but through technicalities such as absorbing Thor's powers, including the Air-Walker, Awesome Android, Magneto, Rogue, Wonder Man, and Doctor Doom.
Moon Knight also has the ability to lift Mjolnir as it is made from Uru, a metal ore from the moon of a dead universe. So, with the help of Khonshu's influence, Moon Knight has the ability to control the hammer.
Two DC Comics characters have lifted Mjolnir in Marvel/DC crossover events:
Several imitations of Mjolnir have also existed:
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, with no restrictions on who can wield it. The origin of this Mlojnir is first told in Ultimates 2 when the European Defense Initiative were making a Norway super soldier program involving a battery-powered suit and hammer with the hammer acting as a portable power unit, though twisted by Loki's manipulations of reality tricking everyone that Thor was actually his mentally unbalanced brother who stole the suit. In Ultimate Comics: Thor, the traditional hammer appears made by Odin's workers and sought after by Loki on Earth. This version was used a plot device when the hammer temporarily crossed over into the mainstream Earth-616 universe, being found and used by the Asgardian Volstagg and later Jane Foster before being destroyed. The surviving fragments are reassembled into another weapon for Foster once she abandons the Thor persona.
Main article: Mjolnir (Marvel Cinematic Universe)
Mjolnir is a recurring item throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) media franchise, most often used by Thor. Like its comic book counterpart, it is a powerful Asgardian hammer used as an offensive, defensive, and projectile weapon. It is capable of controlling and conjuring weather including lightning, and allows the carrier to fly if the hammer is spun and released with enough power. Mjolnir is enchanted by Odin, requiring any person who lifts it to be "worthy" and grants the user "the power of Thor" if they are able to do so.
Main article: Stormbreaker (Marvel Cinematic Universe)