So, in yesterday's post I mentioned that I'd be talking a bit about the whole Stormbreaker/Mjolnir thing in relation to what it means to the character of Beta-Ray Bill. As the above panel demonstrates, in taking up Mjolnir, Bill proved his worthiness to bear the weapon of the gods...something few other characters have managed. I can only think of four offhand-Erik Masterson, who became Thor for awhile, Captain America and the Thing in 616 canon, and Superman in the JLA/Avengers crossover-who've ever done it, though Jeph Loeb would like us to think "Rulk" somehow managed it.
But it's not the fact that Bill picked up Mjolnir that makes him interesting. It's that he did it effortlessly-both the Thing and Captain America struggled to even lift it, let alone use it, and Masterson was Thor for a bit, so he doesn't really count-and, as the above panel demonstrates, is perfectly willing to bear the physical and metaphorical weight of a weapon that can only be carried by the worthiest. In essence, Bill undergoes a challenge to his purity and character every time he picks up Stormbreaker, even as Thor does. But where Thor has been groomed from the get go to do it, Bill hasn't. So how does he do it? You can't fake out Mjolnir (well, you can, but only by robbing it of its essential power), and, by the same token, you can't fake out Stormbreaker (though the Skrulls gave it a good try).
Think about that. Now, think about the four characters I mentioned above, who've managed to use Mjolnir. Who had the easiest time of it? Hint, it's the one I didn't mention in the preceding paragraph.
Why? Because he was the worthiest (which only stands to reason). Bear with me, I'm going somewhere interesting.
Now, consider this...Superman is the Last of the Kryptonians (for all intents and purposes). Bill is the Last of the Korbinites (again, for all intents and purposes). Both are aliens who are completely cut off from their native societies and who adopt their new society (Earth and Asgard) whole-heartedly, while yet feeling a longing for what they've lost. Both character also find something lacking in their native societies when they are later given the chance to rejoin them, prompting them to leave. Sif states in Bill's second appearance that he possesses an almost godlike resolve and certainty in his own cause, as does Superman.
Too, both Beta-Ray Bill and Superman are invariably the moral centers of whatever comic they appear in. Thor wavers...he has rages and doubts and all the baggage a good Stan Lee/Jack Kirby creation has. Bill though, does not. He's straight Silver Age do-gooder (how else do you explain him taking Mjolnir from Thor twice?), just like Superman. He has his hiccups (as when he gave up his powers to his people), but he never wavers. Bill always does what's right, for the right reasons at the right time.
What I'm getting at, I suppose, is that Bill is one of Marvel's several equivalents (cough*Sentry, Hyperion*cough) to Superman, and probably the closest in terms of character out of all of them. A stranger in a strange land, trying to do the right thing with the near infinite powers he's been blessed with.
Also, they both wear red capes. Coincidence?