25 of Marvel’s best spacefaring characters

17 of 26

Beta Ray Bill (Image via Marvel)

16. Beta Ray Bill

Yes, yes, we all know about Thor. He’s the beautiful, privileged son of Asgardian ruler Odin. The Asgardians are, of course, intergalactic beings and not the Norse gods of old (though they did inspire the legends as such). Thor turns out okay in the end, though the same can’t be said for his adoptive brother, Loki.

But we’re not here to talk about Thor. As impressive as his powers are, he isn’t the only one to wield Mjolnir, the mystical hammer. The first non-Thor being to be deemed worthy enough to carry Mjolnir is, in fact, an apparent monster named Beta Ray Bill.

Beta Ray Bill was designed to look like a villain. His eventual good nature was intended to be a kind of surprise engineered by creator Walt Simonson. Now, to be fair, his initial interaction with Thor wasn’t entirely friendly. Both assume that the other is an enemy and fight until the ship they are on – which is a sentient vessel called Skuttlebutt, by the way – reaches Earth.

There Thor is separated from Mjolnir for a minute and reverts to his human persona, whereupon he’s easily knocked out. Bill examines Mjolnir and inadvertently gains Thor’s powers, not to mention his sweet costume.

Turns out that Beta Ray Bill is actually a hero of his people, the Korbinites. Yeah, they all look like horse skull monsters, but Bill quickly becomes an ally to Thor and other superheroes. He even gets his own version of Mjolnir, called Stormbreaker. Sure comes in handy when Bill is going up against massive foes such as the Silver Surfer and Galactus.