Thanks to a sky-high Rotten Tomatoes score and an extremely enticing trailer, the anticipation for Thor: Ragnarok couldn’t be higher. Of all the Hulk smashing and zippy liners, one thing that really stood out was seeing Thor’s mystical hammer Mjolnir being destroyed by the Goddess of Death, Hela.
For the Marvel Cinematic Universe these are new waters we’re treading. As far as movie fans know, Mjolnir was simply indestructible. But for us nerdy comic fans, this is old hat, it’s happened at least six times.
Let’s explore just how and why Thor’s legendary hammer has previously crumbled.
The Destroyer Destroys
The first time the unthinkable happened was way back in 1965 in Journey Into Mystery #118. After some of Loki’s patented tomfoolery, the dreaded Destroyer armor was unleashed on Earth and was causing quite a ruckus. Worthy of note is that the Destroyer was able to actually lift Thor’s hammer—a feat that had not been achieved by anyone other than Thor himself at this point.
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But, not only could the Destroyer lift it, he could also destroy it. He fired immense energy from his fingertips slicing poor Mjolnir in half. Luckily Odin (Thor’s All-Father) intervened and stopped the Destroyer’s onslaught. Thor then boogied on over to Pittsburg and got his hammer fixed up using a blast furnace. Classic Jack Kirby and Stan Lee goodness!
The next time Mjolnir got broked it had some friends to share in its pain. Molecule Man often plays the supervillain to our faithful heroes, using his power to change matter and manipulate reality at the atomic scale for evil.
In battle with Marvel’s biggest heroes, Molecule Man atomized Thor’s Mjolnir, as well as Captain America’s shield, and Silver Surfer’s surfboard. Later he comes to his senses and reconstitutes our heroes’ weapons and agrees to go to therapy. Not every story has to have a super cool ending, sometimes it’s okay for things to just end. (From Avengers #215, 1981)
Self-Inflicted Hammer Wound
The unthinkable is becoming pretty thinkable at this point. Mjolnir can be broken, it just takes somebody really powerful to do it. What makes the third time interesting is Thor himself breaks Mjolnir, this time, by bashing it against a freaking Celestial’s head!
Celestials are these enormous 2000-foot tall space gods. They travel across the universe seeding life on planets, then destroying that life if they don’t think it’s progressed enough after an amount of time. In Thor #388 the Celestials ran afoul of a thunder god who meant to oppose them in their bid to end life on Earth. After a short time, the Celestial known as Exitar saw no point in continuing the fight. He healed Thor’s wounds and fixed his hammer and the Earth lived to see another sunrise.
Two Becomes One
In Thor Vol. 2 #10, the Dark Gods had enslaved Odin and taken over Asgard while Thor was busy being a superhero on Earth. The Dark God Perrikus sliced Mjolnir in two with his badass sword, then tried to lift what was left of the handle. Unfortunately, he wasn’t even worthy enough to lift the handle as the Odin’s enchantment remained intact.
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Thor got the pieces of his hammer back together, and they uhhh… they just kind of reformed, and the hammer was whole again, because comics! He then gives Perrikus the beat down of an immortal lifetime, saves Odin, Asgard and the day.
Loki had the fire giant Surtur forge several hammers from the same mold that Mjolnir was made from. He then gave the hammers to Thor’s greatest foes, like Ulik the Troll and Fenrir. They attacked and destroyed not only Mjolnir, but Asgard as well. This kicked Ragnarok off, and brought Thor to the end and back again as he sacrificed both his eyes and his life for the power to change the cycle of Ragnarok forever. Thor Vol. 2 #80 (2004)
More Loki Tricks
The most recent Mjolnir destruction time was again another Loki prank. Loki brings Thor’s grandfather Bor from the past into the present. Then in true Loki fashion, he makes Bor see illusions of demons, when there’s nothing there but regular old New York townsfolk. Thor attempts to stop him, and an enormous battle ensues.
Never having met his grandfather, Thor holds nothing back, he bashes the elder god so hard against the head that it breaks Mjolnir and kills Bor. Thor then learns that he killed his own grandfather and is banished from Asgard, so that Loki could continue his schemes unimpeded. Thor had to call in help from Dr. Strange to fix Mjolnir this time, and had to share some of his own life essence to get his hammer back. Bet he wishes it was still the 90’s so his hammer would just reform at will. Thor #600 (2009)
So that’s all the times poor Mjolnir has been broken. That poor hammer has seen some stuff, man.