Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor, may very well be the most famous weapon within the Marvel Universe. Thanks to Thor’s adventures with the Avengers and as a solo hero, the hammer’s ability to harness lightning and pack a god-smashing punch is well known. And while it’s not always visible, the hammer has also usually carried an inscription, “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of…Thor.”
Despite all appearances, this inscription is not set in stone. Since Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby brought Thor into the Marvel Universe in 1963, the inscription on Thor’s hammer has changed a few times, most notably in the past decade. Now, we’re going to take a closer look at how Mjolnir’s inscription has changed along with its wielders.
One of the most significant changes made to the hammer’s inscription occurred in 2015’s Thor #1, by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson, where Mjolnir’s inscription changes to reflect its new wielder’s gender. When Jane Foster took on the mantle of Thor, part of the inscription on Mjolnir changed from “if he be worthy” to “if she be worthy.” The change to its inscription may have not been major, but it marked that the mythical hammer could recognize that anyone could be worthy of its power.
This change occurred after Thor realized himself to be unworthy of the hammer and was forced to give up its power on the Moon .On the final page of Thor #1, a woman of mysterious nature is seen approaching the hammer — and just like Odin had did when forging the weapon — she spoke these words, “There must always be a Thor,” and changed the hammer’s inscription.
When Captain America pledged his loyalty to Hydra in Secret Empire, he shocked the Marvel Universe, but he shocked it even more when he picked up Mjolnir in 2017’s Secret Empire: Free Comic Book Day by Nick Spencer and Andrea Sorrentino. To do this, the inscription on Mjolnir was changed to read “Whosoever holds this hammer, if they be STRONGEST, shall possess the power of…HYDRA.”
While this was seemingly made possible due to the evil Captain America’s convictions, this alteration was part of the crossover’s reality-altering antics. Using cosmic shards from the pieces of the Kobik cube, Elsie was able to temporarily change the inscription on Thor’s hammer to be wielded only by the person who has the strongest will to carry Hydra’s mission. As those shards faded away, the evil Captain America was no longer able to use Thor’s hammer in Hydra’s name, and he lost the power of the hammer to good old Steve Rogers.
The latest change to Mjolnir’s inscription is seen in the final pages of Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman’s War of the Realms #6. Thor Odinson forges a new hammer using the God Tempest after Jane Foster hurled the original into the center of the sun. The new inscription says, “Whosoever holds this hammer, if they be worthy, shall possess the power of…Thor.”
This is another significant change in Marvel Comics because it shows that the hammer can be wielded by anyone who is worthy of its power. In the entire mythology of Thor, the whole inscription centers on being ‘worthy’ of lifting Mjolnir, and this revision to the inscription underscores how one’s worthiness is ultimately the most important factor in wielding the power of Thor.
Thor's hammer is one of the mightiest weapons in the Marvel Universe, and the inscription on it has changed several times over the past decade.