Thor’s Hammer, Mjolnir, is one of the best-known and most powerful artefefacts in Marvel’s fictional universe. And while we could talk about its powers and abilities, a more interesting question is usually related to who can lift the powerful weapon, i.e., whom the Hammer finds worthy. Only a select few heroes have – so far – been able to lift it thanks to their worthiness, which is usually not associated with power. But, what about the villains? Surely Thanos, who is one of the strongest villains in the Marvel Universe, could lift such a small weapon? Well, keep reading to find out.
As of yet, Thanos is unable to lift Mjolnir because the Hammer would certainly not consider him to be worthy. Still, Thor’s recent nightmare suggested that it might happen in the future, so we’ll have to wait and see whether Thanos will lift Mjolnir or not.
Marvel Comics is a comic book publishing company founded in 1939 under the name Timely Comics. Timely Comics changed its name to Marvel Comics in 1961. Along with its chief rival, DC Comics, Marvel Comics is the biggest and most important mainstream comic book publisher in the United States.
Marvel has, along with DC Comics, contributed to the development of American comics, specializing in the superhero genre. Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Jack Kirby are just some of the pivotal writers who’ve helped shape the style and universes of Marvel Comics. Throughout the years, Marvel has created several pivotal superhero characters and has launched successful franchises such as the Avengers, X-Men, and Guardians of the Galaxy, all of which have been adapted into movies, TV shows, and video games. Some of the most famous Marvel Comics heroes are Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Wolverine, Professor X, Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey; but, the franchise also includes famous supervillains such as Thanos, Apocalypse, Galactus, Loki, Magneto, the Mandarin, Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, Venom, and others.
Now that we’ve given you a short introduction, let us discuss the topic of this article in more detail.
Who is Thanos?
Thanos is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Thanos was created by Jim Starlin and made his debut in The Invincible Iron Man #55 (1973) and has since become one of the best-known villains in the Marvel universe, but also comic books in general.
Although Starlin himself admitted he was inspired by DC Comics’ supervillain Darkseid, Thanos has gained popularity as a stand-alone character and a cornerstone of Marvel’s Multiverse.
Thanos was inspired by the Freudian concept of “Thanatos”, just like his brother, Eros, was inspired by the Freudian concept of the same name.
He is the son of two Eternals, but also a carrier of the Deviants gene, which explains his physical experience. Believing him to be a danger to the universe, his mother wanted to kill him, but his father stopped her.
As a child, he was a pacifist and would only play with his brother and their pets. Later on, he became fascinated with nihilism and the concept of death, eventually falling in love with Mistress Death, the embodiment of Death in the Marvel universe.
Soon after that, Thanos became a supervillain, initially a pirate, but soon had more grandiose plans. He was not satisfied with mere piracy; he wanted more.
He wanted ultimate power, to rule over the whole universe and to become the most powerful being alive. This is why he wanted to collect the Infinity Stones, so he could shape reality according to his own will.
A lot of his works are motivated by his love for Mistress Death, for whom he has killed on several occasions. He is a very powerful cosmic entity and has fought practically every major superhero group in the Marvel universe, including the Avengers, the X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Thanos even fought an alternative version of himself, King Thanos, after the latter had killed everyone on the universe; King Thanos knew that it was only Thanos (i.e., a younger version of himself) that could kill him, which is why he used the Time Stone to bring him to the alternative future.
Thanos has appeared in a lot of derivative material, including TV shows, video games and the MCU, where he was the main villain of the first large narrative. He was played by Josh Brolin.
How powerful is Thanos?
As far as sheer power is concerned, Thanos is without a doubt one of the most powerful villains in the Marvel Universe. Luckily enough, power is not a decisive factor for determining one’s worthiness for lifting Mjolnir, but we’re still going to tell you a bit about Thanos’ powers.
Thanos is, undoubtedly, extremely powerful. He is an Eternal and has proven himself more powerful than most characters in the Marvel Universe, even without external enhancements such as the Infinity Stones.
He is immortal, has superhuman strength, speed and durability, he is practically invulnerable, can teleport and regenerate, he can manipulate matter, use telepathic abilities, manipulate energy and even fly; he also has superhuman intelligence.
Let us still how the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z (2010) quantifies Thanos’ powers and abilities:
|Score for Thanos|
So, if we’re just looking at sheer power, Thanos is undoubtedly able to lift Thor’s Hammer, the Mjolnir. But, as we’ve said on multiple occasions in this article, sheer power is not enough to determine one’s worthiness. That is why we are going to answer the question directly in the last section of this article, but not until we explain the worthiness factor related to Mjolnir.
Mjolnir and the Worthiness Enchantment
Mjolnir is the name of Thor’s enchanted hammer in both real-life Norse mythology, as well as the Marvel comic book universe. It is a magical hammer crafted by the Dwarves on Odin’s request and made from the rare Asgardian metal called Uru. Odin put additional enchantments on the Hammer to make it powerful and indestructible, but also special in terms of its carrier. The latter refers to the Worthiness Enchantment.
The Worthiness Enchantment is a powerful enchantment put on Mjolnir by Odin, that prevents anyone who is deemed unworthy of even picking up the hammer, yet alone use its powers. Regardless of their physical strength, an unworthy person will not be able to move the hammer from its place. The only exception to this rule is when the hammer floats in the vacuum of space – you can pick it up, but it remains unusable.
To wield and use Mjolnir, a person must be worthy, as prescribed by Odin. Even Thor, to whom the hammer was initially given, has to prove his worth, or he won’t be able to lift Mjolnir, which goes to show how much magic Odin put into the hammer. Odin is the only one who can change this rule and can give others the power to use it; Thor cannot change the magic, but if he is worthy, he can give that power to someone else.
Worthiness is not something that is explicitly defined, but it is assumed that one must have a good and noble heart, a strong will and the determination to what is necessary (even kill, perhaps) to save those he must protect. Sheer power is not an important factor, as well as each of the criteria individually – they must all be present for a person to be considered worthy. This is why some superheroes are not able to lift it, mostly because they lack the determination to do anything that is necessary to save the day.
Can Thanos lift Mjolnir?
We have finally reached the main question of today’s article – can Thanos lift Thor’s Hammer? Well, this is certainly a complex and interesting issue, but the answer we have found out is much simpler than the question.
Based on the qualities necessary to be considered worthy, Thanos would hardly be able to lift Mjolnir and – so far – he has not done it in any comic book narrative. He does not have a noble heart, and although he has the necessary determination to do what is needed, he would certainly not do it to protect the people around him, which is why he would be considered unworthy, despite all of his powers. But there is a catch and we are going to tell you what it is!
Namely, the recent Thor #6 by Donnie Cates shows Thor having a dreadful vision of the future, where he would be defeated by none other than Thanos, leading an army of Marvel zombies. Galactus had an identical vision of being defeated by Thor just before it happened, so we have no reason to doubt this vision at this moment. So, what’s so special about this vision anyway?
Well, not only is Thanos leading an army of zombies and will kill Thor, but he is also wielding Mjolnir, and not just the ordinary one, but one additionally empowered by the Infinity Stones. Imagine Mjolnir’s power combined with the Infinity Stones and you’ll probably understand why Thor was so shocked by this revelation. How that happened was not revealed and we have yet to see whether the vision is even going to come true (and when), but just imagining Thanos wielding Mjolnir is a terrifying image that we’d certainly want to not see, rather than see. So, this is the only occasion when Thanos lifted Mjolnir, but whether it is going to happen or not, we just have to wait and see.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!