In 965 A.D., a war broke out between the Asgardians and the Frost Giants of Jotunheim. Led by their king Laufey, the Frost Giants attacked the planet Earth with the Casket of Ancient Winters, intending to turn it into a frozen wasteland, causing a new Ice Age. The Asgardian army fought against the Giants, and Odin personally fought and defeated Laufey with Gungnir, though the victory cost him his right eye.
More than one thousand years later, Odin's son Thor and his friends Loki, Sif, Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg traveled to Jotunheim to find those responsible for the unsuccessful theft attempt in Odin's treasure room. The Asgardian adventurers would have died at the hands of the angry Frost Giants if it were not for the timely arrival of Odin who used Gungnir to transport them back to Asgard.
A few days later, when Odin fell into Odinsleep, Loki took Gungnir as the new king of Asgard. When Loki helped the Frost Giants to sneak into Asgard, he used Gungnir to kill Laufey to make himself a hero in the eyes of Frigga, Odin's wife and his adoptive mother. But when Thor returned from Earth, they had a fight in which Thor defeated Loki, and Gungnir was returned to Odin.
Soon, a new threat arose. With the Bifrost Bridge destroyed, the Asgardians could not maintain peace in the universe. When Odin and Thor discovered that Loki was attacking Earth, Odin used Gungnir to channel all the dark energies to send Thor to Earth to stop and bring Loki back.
As the ruler of Asgard's main armament, Gungnir is as powerful and enduring a weapon as it is a symbolic representation of power and authority. A powerful, mystical spear, it is forged from strong Asgardian metals and carries many enchantments to magnify its power.
Gungnir is imbued with a powerful form of energy, similar to that of the Destroyer automaton. Through this Gungnir's wielders are able to project powerful, potentially continuous, energy blasts. Both Odin and Loki have been shown to fire energy blasts of consistent power, capable of taking out several enemies at once, and was powerful enough to knock Thor through the wall of an Asgardian castle. Gungnir has also been shown to channel other forms of energy as Odin has used it to channel the dark energies needed to send Thor to Earth. It was also shown to be able to open and close the Bifrost Bridge in place of Heimdall's sword during Thor's banishment. After Frigga's death, she and the other fallen Asgardian warriors, were given a grand funeral ceremony and at the end Odin slammed Gungnir on the ground, and the bodies of the dead transformed into a glittering mist that flew up into the night sky.
Among its several enchantments, Gungnir has been shown to be directly tied to the Asgardian weapon, the Destroyer. Enchanted to recognize the holder of the spear as the ruler of Asgard, and its master, whoever holds Gungnir is able to order the Destroyer, over any distance, to do their bidding; which it will unquestioningly fulfill no matter what the task. In addition, the wielder can pilot the Destroyer from across the cosmos and perceive through its senses.
- In the comics, Gungnir translates into "The Spear of the Heavens" and is constructed from Uru.
- In Old Norse, the name translates as "Swaying one"