Six Times Thor’s Hammer Mjolnir Has Been Broken
The trailer for Thor: Ragnarok still has people talking and has become the most watched Marvel Studios trailer for its initial 24 hours period. There’s a lot to see in that short tease for the future film coming out in November, but one of the major things at the beginning is the apparent destruction of Mjolnir. This is, of course, Thor‘s mighty war hammer, made of mystically empowered “uru metal” (not a metal you’ll find in mythology, just something Stan Lee thought of because it sounded fun). It’s a powerful mallet that holds different enchantments such as being able to transfer the might god of thunder between his Asgardian self and his human incarnation Donald Blake (as well temporarily bonding him to Earth people such as Jake Olson and Eric Masterson). It can control weather, grant flight, and bring down cosmic beings. So how could it be shattered?
Well, the fact is, there have been a handful of times where it’s been sliced, broken or shattered in the comics. Uru metal is fantastic, but not invincible, and anything that was forged can be broken. So here, for your curiosity, are five times Mjolnir the hammer has been broken and then repaired.
“Journey into Mystery” #118 (1965)
In this story by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the mighty Thor battles the Destroyer, a suit of armor created to by Odin to be a near-invincible walking weapon and able to be inhabited by a living mind. You saw the Destroyer armor back in the first Thor film, when Loki was its pilot.
During this particular fight, the Destroyer unleashes a powerful energy blasts that cuts Mjolnir in half. Thor continues the battle and afterward finds that he can no longer control his hammer’s abilities or flight. He needs Earth’s mightiest forge to repair it. So naturally, he goes to that great American metal-forging city known as Pittsburgh.
No, for real. On page one of “Journey Into Mystery” #120, we see Thor hanging out in a Pittsburgh steel mill, reforging his mighty uru hammer while workers look on in amazement. How fantastic and comic booky is that? It’s that kind of real world pragmatism mixed with comic book ridiculousness that Lee and Kirby excelled at delivering. A part of me really hopes we see movie Thor do the same thing. It would be fantastic!
“Avengers” vol. 1 #215 (1981)
An early Stan Lee and Jack Kirby Marvel villain is Owen Reece the Molecule Man. A simplistic name for an insanely-powerful person. The Molecule Man controls matter on a molecular level. Originally, he could only work with inorganic matter, but later realized this was a psychological block. In any event, the Molecule Man was facing the Avengers and Silver Surfer one day and decided screw this, enough is enough. So with one attack, he shattered Captain America’s vibranium-iron alloy shield, Thor’s uru hammer, and the Silver Surfer’s flying surfboard, while also disassembling Tony Stark’s Iron Man armor into a bizarre mess.
After the fighting settled, Owen (who honestly isn’t a bad person) decided to fix what he had broken and so he mended the shield, hammer and surfboard. Tony’s armor wasn’t fixed, as it’s not just a matter of putting pieces back together but also understanding how the technology within works. But hey, Thor got his mighty Mjolnir back, good as new!
“Thor” vol. 1 #388 (1988)
Do you know about the Celestials? They are, like other Jack Kirby creations, sci-fi alien equivalents of gods. Giant dudes in Kirby-designed armor, they go around to other planets, judging the dominant life forms, sometimes messing with the genetics of the dominant life forms (which is how Earth got mutants and superhumans later), and then sometimes come back to see if they like how things have progressed or if it might be better just to wipe the planet off the face of the map. Because, like many gods of mythology, they’re kinda jerks.
The Celestial called Exitar tends to be the guy who destroys life on planets that are deemed failures. Thor gets into it with Exitar in a story entitled “Alone Against the Celestials.” The prince of thunder is able to pierce Exitar’s armor and do some serious damage, but the Celestial’s energies destroy Mjolnir in the process. Thor continues his battle sans hammer, but is eventually dismissed by the cosmic giant. Fortunately, the conflict ends when the Celestials decide there’s no more reason to fight. Then a Replicoid (a Celestial-created clone of Thor) makes sure there are no hard feelings by using advanced, god-like tech to heal Thor’s wounds and repair Mjolnir.
“Thor” vol. 2 #10 (1999)
In the 1990s, Thor found out that there were these beings known as the Dark Gods who were similar to Asgardians and Olympians but way evil. One of them, Perrikus, spent centuries in a cell hidden by Odin. Which was fine but then he gets out in the modern day, does some damage, and uses a huge Dark God-forged blade to slice Mjolnir in half. He then attempts to pick up the remaining half of the hammer by the handle, only to discover nope, the spell that it would only be lifted by the worthy is still intact.
The pieces of the hammer crackle with energy until its true owner returns and puts the two pieces back together in “Thor” vol. 2 #11. The energies then immediately heal the hammer and boom, Thor’s back in action. Definitely the easiest repair job Mjolnir has ever had, and the only time Thor didn’t need someone’s help or a Pittsburgh steel mill. He then promptly beat Perrikus, as we all knew he would.
“Thor” vol. 2 #80 (2004)
In Marvel Comics, as in Norse mythology, the gods of Asgard are fated to die in a great battle known as Ragnarok. In Marvel Comics, this has actually happened a couple of times already, and each time Asgard and its inhabitants were reborn afterward, in slightly different forms and sometimes with different relationships to each other, but always fated to fill certain roles and lead lives that would lead to another Ragnarok. This idea came about as a means to explain some differences between comic and myth, such as why Thor is redheaded in the original myth while blonde in the Marvel Universe, and why Loki is a brother to Odin in mythology but a brother to Thor in the Marvel Universe. In 2004, that time was happening again, in the story arc “Ragnarok” by Michael Avon Oeming, with art by Andre di Vito and Laura Villari.
As in mythology, the comic book story “Ragnarok” really kicks off when Loki attacks Asgard. In this story, he has used the forge of the great fire demon Surtur to create uru hammers that mirror Thor’s own Mjolnir, arming himself and his main troops with them. In the battle, Thor slams Mjolnir against the uru hammer of Loki’s son Fenris Wolf and the uru gauntlets of Ulik the troll. The combined might of so many uru weapons slamming into each other at once causes an explosion so great that it creates a mushroom cloud. As the dust settles, Thor sees that all the uru weapons, including Mjolnir, are now shattered.
Several battles happen afterward, leading to the destruction of Asgard. By story’s end, Thor sacrifices himself to ensure that if Asgard is reborn in the future, it and its inhabitants will no longer be slaves to fate but may live out their own choices in life, choices that may not necessarily lead to Ragnarok again. In 2006, Mjolnir reforms itself somehow and falls to Earth in the pages of “Fantastic Four” #536, signaling that the time for the Asgardians to return is near. At the same time, Thor’s human incarnation Donald Blake is reborn on Earth and soon afterward reunites with the mighty uru mallet, allowing the god of thunder to return in a new comic book series in 2007.
“Thor” #600 (2009)
Bor is one of the elder Norse gods, father to Odin, grandfather to Thor. In a story penned by J. Michael Straczynski, readers learn that Bor did not really die long ago but was trapped by sorcery, by Loki from the future, all as part of a long game. In the present day, Loki returns Bor to physical form and sets him loose in New York City, casting illusions so the elder Asgardian thinks he is in a Hellish landscape and surrounded by demons. Thor arrives to see why this man is causing havoc (not knowing it’s his grandfather) and the two fight. The fight is so intense that Thor winds up shattering Mjolnir as he delivers the killing blow against Bor, only learning moments later that the man was his grandfather, turning his victory into tragedy and trauma.
Thor considered that this time it would be more difficult to fix Mjolnir. In the past, god-like energies had ripped it apart and usually been responsible for restoring it. Since it was in several pieces and not just split in two, he couldn’t reforge it himself as he had done in Pittsburgh or when he confronted Perrikus. He gets aid from Doctor Strange, Earth’s great sorcerer. Dr. Strange is able to fix Mjolnir, but only by uniting it with Thor’s own life force. It works, but Thor now knows that if Mjolnir is so damaged again in the future, he will share the damage and may die in the process.
And that wraps up our list, folks. It seems that Dr. Strange is set to appear in Thor: Ragnarok, so maybe he’ll be the one to fix Mjolnir there as well. We’ll just have to wait and see!