Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Guide to Recognizing Your Thors

One of Battleworld’s more interesting aspects is that it is policed by a squadron of Thors, hammer-wielding Worthy-types whose weapons were forged in dying stars created – as far as they know – by God Emperor Doom. This toe-headed team of tough guys has its own Secret Wars series as of today, by Jason Aaron and Chris Sprouse. In honor of the new book, here’s a look at the few, the proud, the ones who’ve been able to lift mighty Mjolnir or one of its similarly crafted cousin-hammers.

The Odinson: The original Mjolnir-swinging, Goldilocksing, Loki-fighting, god-of-thundering Avenger. First appearance: Journey Into Mystery #83, August 1962.

Jane Foster: Not necessarily the current Thor, because the current Thor is many Thors, but the Thor pre- and post-Secret Wars (she was among the small crew that made it off Earth 616 in Reed Richards’ Raft). When the Odinson is rendered un-Worthy by original-recipe Nick Fury during last year’s Original Sin crossover, his cancer-stricken ex gives Mjolnir a whirl. First appearance: Journey Into Mystery #84, September 1962. First appearance as Thor: Thor #1, October 2014.

Beta Ray Bill: aka Bojack Norseman (joke credit: Al Kennedy of the House to Astonish podcast). A horse-faced alien seeking to protect his stable – er, race – does battle with the Odinson and finds himself Worthy. He has his own hammer, Stormbreaker. He also has a spaceship called Skuttlebutt. First appearance: The Mighty Thor #337, November 1983.

Thorlief Golmen, aka Ultimate Thor: Is he a peacenik whackadoo, or is he a god? Either way, let’s make him a government-sanctioned superhero. First appearance: The Ultimates #4, June 2002.

Eric “Thunderstrike” Masterson: In a move that can only be described as pandering to a vocal minority of 1990s lumberjacks, Marvel for a time gave the hammer to a common Midgard mortal, who also briefly had his own series that was essentially “What if we gave Thor an Image makeover?” Thunderstrike is the name of his mace, and probably also his penis. First appearance: The Mighty Thor #391, May 1988.

Throg: Walt Simonson, perhaps Thor’s most prolific and best-loved writer, transformed the Odinson into a frog for a time in the 1980s. He got better, but eventually another character, a former college football star named Simon Walterson (homage much?) became the Frog of Thunder, wielding a hammer that was actually a sliver of the original Mjolnir. First appearance: The Mighty Thor #364: February 1986.

Ragnarok: aka that Thor clone from Civil War that killed Bill Foster. Not really a Thor. Not really Mjolnir. Still deadly. First appearance: Civil War #3, July 2006.

Odin: Thor’s father, naturally, was also able to lift the hammer. However, once his son lost that ability last year, so, too, did Odin, which, as you can imagine, he found incredibly emasculating. First appearance: Journey Into Mystery #85, October 1962.

Steve Rogers: Because OF COURSE Captain America is Worthy. First picked up a hammer: The Mighty Thor #390, April 1988.

Storm: In a 1980s X-Men story, Loki presents Storm, then depowered and rocking that badass Mohawk and leather vest, with an imitation hammer called Stormcaster. First picked up a hammer: Uncanny X-Men Annual #9, 1985.

Deadpool: “There is a man … with a typewriter.” Christopher Priest, who wrote Deadpool after Joe Kelly, is primarily responsible for Wade Wilson’s awareness of being a comic book character, as a direct result of a storyline in which Loki gives DP an imitation hammer to annoy his brother. During this storyline, Deadpool also briefly believes Loki to be his father. First picked up a hammer: Deadpool #37, February 2000.

Superman: Proving that being Worthy knows no multiversal bounds, Superman picked up both Thor’s hammer and Captain America’s shield – in the same panel, no less – to battle the villain Krona in the 2003-04 intercompany crossover JLA/Avengers by Kurt Busiek and George Perez.

Also there were all those hammers that got meted out during Fear Itself, but … meh.

In addition to writing for The Matt Signal, Dan Grote is now the official comics blogger for The Press of Atlantic City. New posts appear Wednesday mornings at His new novel, Magic Pier, is available however you get your books online. He and Matt have been friends since the days when Onslaught was just a glimmer in Charles Xavier's eye. Follow @danielpgrote on Twitter.

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