Out of all the powerful weapons in the Marvel Universe, few are as iconic or important as Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor. Like his mythological counterpart, the Avenger’s powers and identity are so tied to Mjolnir that he has only been separated from it on a few and extremely noteworthy occasions. After an extended period without his hammer, Thor has once again regained his title and is wielding a new Mjolnir.
While the new hammer seems to have the same lightning-related abilities as his old one, the original Mjolnir had many unusual abilities that were rarely used or referenced since it debuted in Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby’s Journey Into Mystery #83. Now, we’re taking a look back at some of the strangest abilities Thor’s hammer has ever put on display.
Long before Thor was born, Odin had Mjolnir created after battling an ancient, semi-sentient cosmic hurricane known as the God Tempest, and he trapped it in a chunk of celestial Uru metal. The God-King wished to harness the Tempest’s awesome powers for his own use. But even in hammer, it was able to resist him, and Odin angrily cursed Mjolnir so only he could ever wield it. After hundreds of years, the Tempest died, and Odin was finally able to use Mjolnir in battle, but he was still wary of it and left it to gather dust in Asgard’s armory until his son Thor proved worthy of bearing it.
Even though the Tempest died in its prison, the hammer was still imbued with its incredible power and a form of sentience. As a result Mjolnir often shown a measure of free will and intelligence, often helping it’s bearer discover ancient secrets or aiding them in battles and quests. It even projected a humanoid form to speak face-to-face with it’s new Thor, Jane Foster, in Mighty Thor #12, by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman.
Thor usually uses Mjolnir to manipulate the weather and use wind and lightning, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the energy-based attacks it can create.
Mjolnir lets Thor project three forms of devastating energy: the ‘God Blast,’ is a concentrated beam of the god’s own life-energy that is capable of killing Celestials and entities like Galactus, the ‘Anti-Force,’ which is capable of destroying a planet and taking down villains like the Mangog, and the ‘Thermo-Blast,’ which can destroy multiple planets in one hit.
One of the keys behind Thor’s near invulnerability lies in Mjolnir’s ability to absorb energy. It doesn’t matter whether he’s hit by magic, lasers or electromagnetic waves; in most cases Mjolnir will simply direct it back at his enemies tenfold. At times Thor has been able to use Mjolnir to absorb various energy sources at will, draining bombs, magical artifacts, robots, and even people’s life forces.
A secondary aspect of this is the hammer’s ability to sense and track unusual energy, especially mystical and supernatural energy. This lets Thor track down magical beings or deities and alerts him when magic is being used near him. For someone who has to defend ten different dimensions full of monsters and myths and deal with a mischievous little brother, this is an especially useful power.
Mjolnir can manipulate matter on a molecular level in several ways. If swung a certain way, Thor can use it to open up a temporary wormhole and travel vast differences or between dimensions.
He’s also used it to transmute elements on occasion, most notably during a fight with the Absorbing Man where he forced the villain to transform from iron into helium in Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Journey Into Mystery #115. Mjolnir can also alter it’s bearer’s own molecules, rendering them invisible or intangible.
While it’s not often remarked upon, Mjolnir has provided invaluable aid to Thor over the years as the world’s best communication device. One of Odin’s more thoughtful enchantment’s on the hammer is ‘All-Tongue’ which gives it’s bearer the ability to communicate with all sentient beings in their own language, even if Thor’s own dialogue is written as “Olde English.” Mjolnir can also send and receive long-distance and interdimensional messages, allowing Thor to effectively communicate with his family and allies from anywhere in the ten realms. Mjolnir is even capable of helping it’s bearer understand the long lost past by projecting events that took place nearby.
The ability to send messages is the only one of these powers that have been used by the new Mjolnir but in a much more powerful form. It will be interesting to see whether any others will appear in future Thor comics, and how the god will use them in his fight with the Black Winter.
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Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, might be one of Marvel's most famous weapons, but the God of Thunder doesn't always use its most shocking abilities.