Thor just explained a key detail of what makes someone worthy to wield Mjolnir that makes sense of Captain America’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’ triumph.
Warning: contains spoilers for Thor #15!Marvel’s Thor comic just had the God of Thunder explain a core aspect of what it means to be worthy of lifting Mjolnir, explaining why Captain America was able to wield the enchanted hammer against Thanos in the climactic final battle of Avengers: Endgame. Having struggled to control the hammer outside of battle over the course of his new series, Thor leaves his new throne as All-Father of Asgard to visit Steve Rogers, confiding his suspicions about why the hammer has become so unwieldy.
Thor’s hammer famously confers his godly powers on whosoever holds it, but that prerequisite is trickier than it first appears. The wielder of Mjolnir must be “worthy” – a condition never fully defined in the comics, having initially been set in place by Odin’s magic but later mutating such that the hammer functionally has standards of its own. Heroes like Beta Ray Bill and Jane Foster have proven you don’t have to be human, or even possess enhanced powers, to qualify, while Thor lost his ability to lift the hammer after becoming convinced that humanity doesn’t need its gods, robbing him of his divine purpose. But the most famous wielder of the hammer other than Thor was Chris Evans’ Captain America, who finally lifted the hammer against Thanos in Avengers: Endgame.
Thor Explains How His Hammer Judges Worthiness
Now, in Thor #15 – from Donny Cates and Michelle Bandini – the God of Thunder explains a key aspect of being worthy of Mjolnir which makes sense of Captain America wielding it in the MCU. Thor explains that Mjolnir is resisting his control because it is intended for a warrior and he has become the King of Asgard. Yes, he’s still engaging in battle, but that’s no longer his focus, and it turns out that’s something Mjolnir requires. Thor reveals that Mjolnir’s rejection is because he is “no longer the tip of Asgard’s spear,” saying it’s for someone who is on “the front lines of any given threat to the worlds entangled in the roots and branches of the world tree.”
This revelation sheds new light on what it takes to be worthy. Rather than simply being a righteous warrior for good, wielders need to be on the front lines of huge threats to the Ten Realms. While Captain America shifted Mjolnir slightly in Age of Ultron, he was not yet the “tip of the spear” for this kind of conflict, while facing Thanos crossed this line and elevated him to full worthiness. It turns out that Mjolnir is not simply looking for a warrior, no matter how righteous, but rather the first warrior into the fray. As the last man standing against Thanos – and the one who leads the charge once reinforcement arrive – the MCU’s Steve Rogers rightfully fits the bill.
Other Time When Captain America Has Lifted Thor’s Hammer
Thor’s explanation for his hammer’s worthiness makes plenty of sense considering past moments where Rogers has lifted the iconic hammer in the comics. While Cap first lifted it in 1988’s Thor #390, one of his biggest moments with Mjolnir was during the Fear Itself event where Rogers was indeed in the middle of the fray in a Norse warzone. Likewise, Thor’s reveal helps explain why Evil Captain America was still able to wield the hammer during 2017’s Secret Empire as an agent of Hydra. He was still leading on the front lines, with righteousness having nothing to do with it.
There have been plenty of fan theories about why Steve Rogers is worthy to wield Mjolnir against Thanos in the MCU but can’t lift it in Age of Ultron, ranging from the idea that he had not yet unburdened himself as to the truth of Tony Stark’s parents’ murder to the idea that he was worthy earlier in the MCU but chose not to embarrass Thor. But while there are several conditions to lifting the hammer (individuals also need to be heroic and, as Thor has proved, accept their own worthiness) this explanation from the comics makes sense of Captain America‘s journey to wielding Mjolnir in Avengers: Endgame in a satisfying way.
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