Times Thor Had His Hammer Destroyed

There are only three things you need to know about Thor's mighty hammer: it's named Mjolnir, only the worthy can lift it, and it can smash just about anything. But what happens when the smasher becomes the smashee? 

Despite its exalted status as the ultimate mystical weapon of the Marvel Universe, Thor's hammer has been broken more than a few times. Fortunately, Odin provides a pretty sweet hammer warranty program and Thor always manages to get a new one, but just how many times has Mjolnir been obliterated? Here's a look.

Destroyed by The Destroyer

Thor made his first appearance in 1962's Journey into Mystery #83, and he only managed to keep his hammer in one piece until 1965. The mighty Mjolnir experienced its first big break when it was sliced in two by the Destroyer, a magical living armor infused with the power of multiple gods during the events of Journey into Mystery #118.

In "To Kill a Thunder God," Loki's machinations cause the Destroyer to be set free from an ancient temple on Earth, which is more or less the storage unit of the Gods, where it tangles with Thor. When the Destroyer picks up Thor's un-pick-up-able hammer, you know things are going down.

When Thor reclaims his hammer after losing it in battle, the Destroyer shoots a bolt of "limitless force" from its fingertips and slices the hammer in two. Thor continues the fight by using the powers of Loki's magic stones, but it's clear that the Destroyer is capable of using "every force in the universe" (mostly because it screams exactly that). Odin eventually intervenes and saves Thor's blonde bacon, but Thor still has a busted hammer to think about. Obviously, the next step is to swing on through Pittsburgh and fix it in one of their many 1960s blast furnaces. Forget about forging Mjolnir in the heart of a dying star; the real heat is in Pennsylvania.

Atomized by Molecule Man

When your mom names you "Owen," there's a pretty good chance you'll have to turn to villainy just to survive high school. Such is the case with Owen Reece, a.k.a. Molecule Man, arguably Marvel's most under-appreciated villain. Capable of rearranging matter in any way he can imagine, his powers are nearly limitless. Seriously, the guy hasn't even been given a proper action figure, but we have one of Death's Head II? Where's the love?

For all of his power, Molecule Man is very dumb. When he appears in Avengers #215, he decides to dress up like a shrimpy Galactus after chatting with the Silver Surfer and developing a man-crush on the Big G. He also decides to eat the Earth, just for fun. He builds a domed palace in New Jersey (again, the guy is very dumb), and when it's breached by the Avengers, he vaporizes their weapons with a thought; Cap's shield, Iron Man's armor, and Thor's hammer are all casualties. After a two-issue battle, the villain has a change of heart, thanks to a punch in the nose and a serious talk with Tigra. He reconstructs their gadgets and anti-climactically agrees to therapy to deal with his unending nerd rage. He can re-assemble a magical hammer at the atomic level, but he still can't figure out how to make Oreos.

Against the Celestials

The '80s were pretty rough for most comic characters, and Thor was no exception. In 1988's Thor #388, the Norse hero had to face the Celestials, Marvel's race of supremely powerful, universe-shaping gods. Exitar the Exterminator, a 2000-foot tall Celestial, decided to pull some Galactus-level cleansing nonsense on the planet of Pangoria, and Thor tried to stop him by flying up to his head and smacking the heck out of it with his hammer. After cracking the god's helmet, he was transported to a psychedelic dreamscape inside Exitar's mind. Fighting through the Celestial's body, Thor eventually reached the creature's core, wrapped his magic belt around his magic hammer—and blasted it so hard that Mjolnir exploded.

The Celestials' plan succeeded nonetheless, and Pangoria was blanketed by their cleansing energy. They also proved there were no hard feelings by restoring Mjolnir to full functionality. Turned out the Celestials were only there for a little light ethnic cleansing, and all the "pure" people were safe all along—meaning that while they fixed Thor's hammer, they're still pretty much kind of terrible.

Perrikus problems

If the '80s were rough for Thor, it isn't like the '90s were any easier. In 1999's Thor (v.2) #10, he faced Perrikus, kind of a goth, bizarro version of Odin. A "Dark God" of infinite energy, he's very capable of physically beating Thor to a pulp, but when his Dark Gods took over Asgard, Thor wasn't going down without a fight. When he whipped his hammer at Perrikus, the villain had no problem simply slicing it down with his scythe, which is presumably made of unlimited energy.

Thor got smacked around for a little while, even reverting back to his non-godly human form, before he just kinda put the hammer back together with his bare hands. That's it. The comic explanation is that the hammer responds to its true master's touch and mystically repairs itself, but that really would have come in handy all those other times Mjolnir was busted.

More Loki, more problems

The new millennium just made things even worse for Thor's poor, beleaguered hammer, which by this point had undergone more repairs than your average Datsun.

In Thor (v.2) #80, Loki discovered the forge where Mjolnir was made and used it to create a few hammers of his own. While they were less powerful than the real deal, there were also more of them, and he handed some of them out his son Fenris, Ulik the troll, and the giant Hyrm. When the three hammer-holders clashed with Thor, their weapons all collided, and the impact was enough to crack Mjolnir. Even though his hammer was visibly busted up, Thor still continued to use it without any real problems, so its dramatic destruction basically amounted to cosmetic damage. And while Thor could have re-forged the hammer himself, he brought it to the evil Surtur to reconstruct, promising him a clear path to come and destroy Asgard in return... mostly because a vision quest and a ghost kid told him to.

Thor vs. Bor

In Thor #600 (2009), Loki was once again responsible for the destruction of Mjolnir—but this time, he achieved new levels of jerkness by making it very, very personal.

In the story, the god of mischief sent his own exiled grandfather, Bor, to Earth, afflicting him with a spell that caused him to see skeletal demons everywhere. Bor, being the father of Odin and also Thor's dear ol' grandpappy, was extremely powerful—heck, he was once the Lord of Asgard. Unfortunately, because Norse god royalty doesn't seem to be that close and doesn't have access to Ancestry.com, Thor and Bor had never met, and they didn't realize they were related when they had their massive New York City smackdown. Thor ended up killing Bor, but his hammer shattered in the process.

This, of course,  is exactly what Loki wanted. According to Asgard law, Thor had murdered royalty, and was cast out of Asgard forever. Without his home, his hammer, or his Asgardian allies, Thor visited Doctor Strange, who was able to cast a magic spell that repaired Mjolnir, but tied Thor's life force to the hammer—meaning that the next time it was broken, that'd be it for him. The hammer lived to bash again, every swing a threat to Thor's existence.