Real Name: Roger Norvell
Identity/Class: Demigod (Asgardian);
citizen of United States of America and Asgard (see comments)
Occupation: Thunder God;
former news camera man for an unspecified TV network
Group Membership: Norse Gods, Warriors of Asgard, Warriors of Valhalla
Affiliations: Balder, Beta Ray Bill, Odin, Sif, Thor
Odinson, Warriors Three (Fandral, Hogun, Volstagg);
formerly Joey Burnett, Harris Hobbs, Lorelei, Seth
Enemies: Dr. Donald Blake, Lenny Boffo, Joey Burnett, Harris Hobbs,
Johnny the Gent (John Dennis Nash), Onslaught, Seth, Seth's men in black,
formerly Betty Banner, Cassiopeia, Hector, Hulk (Bruce Banner), Sif, Thor Odinson, Warriors Three
Known Relatives: Odin (adopted father);
extended family via Odin
Aliases: Red, God of Thunder, Redbeard, Thor, Thunderer;
(temporary / one-off nicknames) Thunder God: the Next Generation (his own nickname when he resumed the power);
"Villain of Valhalla", "New Thor" (both pejorative nicknames given to him by the Asgardians when he first usurped Thor's power)
Base of Operations: Asgard;
formerly New Jersey;
formerly Upper West Side, NYC
First Appearance: (As Norvell) Thor I#273 (July 1978);
(as Thor) Thor I#276 (October 1978)
Powers/Abilities: Red possesses powers identical to Thor, notably superhuman strength (lifting over 100 tons) and durability; initially he needed both Thor’s belt of strength, Megingjord, and iron gloves, Jarn Griepr, to access this power, but stopped requiring them when Odin resurrected him. Using his Uru hammer, Crusher (Mjolnir - see comments), he can control the weather, fly, teleport himself and others between dimensions, spin it to block projectiles, and fire bolts of energy (usually, but not always, lightning). He can mentally summon the hammer to his hand, even across vast distances or transdimensionally.
Height: (Red) 6'2"; (Thor) 6'6"
Weight: (Red) 170 lbs.; (Thor) 640 lbs.
History: (Thor I#273 - BTS) - News anchorman Harris Hobbs, who had once before visited Asgard, asked Thor to let him take a camera crew to Asgard, knowing that if he didn't his career was over. Thor refused, but Loki was listening, and desiring someone to make a record of the upcoming Ragnarok offered to help Hobbs.
(Thor I#273) - Hobbs and his crew, cameraman "Red" Norvell and soundman Joey Burnett, hid inside a partially hollowed out component of the computer F.A.U.S.T.; it having recently been defeated by Thor and Iron Man (Tony Stark), Thor had promised his ally he would dispose of the computer "the one place in the universe where it will be completely safe." Masked by Loki's magic from the senses of both Thor and Heimdall, the mortal trio were transported within their "Trojan computer" to Asgard. Investigating the computer, Volstagg accidentally opened the compartment containing the mortals, who spilled out in front of Thor and his friends. While Hobbs tried to calm an unimpressed Thor, Red prepared his mini-camera. Then Loki materialized, explaining his part in bringing the humans to Asgard, and announcing that Ragnarok was upon them!
(Thor I#274) - Red filmed Loki as he boasted Ragnarok was
coming, then asked Hobbs what he had gotten them all into. Hobbs swiftly
explained what he knew of Asgardian legend pertaining to Ragnarok, then deciding
there was nothing they could do but observe, told Red to keep filming. Loki,
struck down by Mjolnir, was less than impressed when he realized Red had
caught his humiliation on tape, but Red continued taping undaunted by threats,
stating he smelled an Emmy in the making. Odin's arrival ended the shenanigans,
but the All-Father was angered to see mortals in Asgard. The newsmen watched
as Odin explained his recent discoveries pertaining to the coming doom, and
then witnessed the arrival of Asgard's goddesses, fetched by the lady Sif.
Red asked Hobbs if Odin's wife Frigga was Thor's mother, but didn't hear
the answer, as he caught sight of Sif and was instantly smitten. Red tried
to approach Sif as she conversed with Balder, but was swiftly rebuffed.
Red complained to his fellow newsmen about getting the cold shoulder, but Hobbs told him to keep filming while he could, aware they might be sent home at any moment. Prophecy stated Balder's death would herald the beginning of Ragnarok; with Thor, Sif and Odin deep in council, Loki took advantage of their distraction to manipulate Balder into challenging the other assembled gods to test his invulnerability by throwing missiles at him. Remembering the lore he had researched, a panicked Hobbs realized what Loki was plotting, but could not convince Balder to change his mind. Forlorn, Hobbs informed Red and Joey they were all doomed, as the gods were carrying out a destiny written long ago, but then he reasoned that Thor, having more of a human side to him, might listen. Hobbs raced to warn the thunder god, leaving Red to film the gods firing and throwing projectiles at Balder. Joey spotted Loki give the blind god Hoder a bow with an arrow of mistletoe, the one thing Balder was not immune to, and the mortals witnessed as it pierced Balder's chest, killing him.
(Thor I#275) - The mortals watched the gods mourn Balder and
threaten Loki, then witnessed Odin send Hermod the Swift off to ask Hela
to see if Balder could be resurrected and Ragnarok averted. Hobbs informed
them of how legend stated Hermod's trip would fail; though he would find
out how Balder could be restored, the task required would not be completed.
Hobbs was unsure if the legends would prove accurate, but Red was more concerned
to find out if the destruction of Asgard would also mean the end of the
Earth. Hobbs admitted he didn't know, and Red bemoaned they were filming
the greatest TV spectacular of all time while unsure there would be a network
left to air it.
The group filmed Hobbs explaining the situation next to Balder's funeral bed, the tail end of which Sif caught. When Sif asked Red if Hobbs knew their future, Red replied that Hobbs liked to think he did, but expressed his own doubts: "I just point the camera." Then Red tried to hit on Sif, suggesting she ditched Thor for him. Sif responded angrily, and Red handled the rejection equally poorly, feeling he had no chance of competing with Thor's godly might, despite Sif insisting it was not for his strength alone that she loved Thor.
Scoffing at this answer, Red stormed off in anger to get some air, but once he was alone Loki approached and offered to level the playing field by giving Red power equal to Thor's. Unwilling to give up on obtaining Sif, Red accepted. Loki transported Red to Jotunheim, ordering the gathered trolls and dwarves to leave the mortal unmolested, stating that Red was a friend of his. Even as he said this Thor arrived, seeking to capture his renegade step-brother. Red taped the ensuing battle, capturing Thor winning, both against Loki and Jotunheim's watching hordes, but only after being forced to summon his belt of strength to counter spells Loki weaved to weaken him. The thunder god took both Red and the unconscious Loki back to Asgard, and handed Red his belt of strength for safekeeping, not noticing Red staring at the belt in contemplation.
(Thor I#276) - Red visited the manacled Loki, who convinced him
to try the belt on. However Red attempted to do so immediately, before Loki
could finish his instructions, thus giving himself a severe electrical shock.
Loki explained the proper ritual that Red had to follow if he wished to gain
power like Thor's: the belt must be donned in the temple attached to Thor's
palace, Bilskirnir, along with a pair of iron gloves which were also kept
there, and then Red would have to bathe in the fire of Geirrodur, the troll
who forged Thor's mystic hammer.
Doubtful of this last instruction, Red nevertheless
departed for the temple. He soon located the gloves, but hesitated to remove
them from the fire they lay within, until Loki's astral form promised him
he would come to no harm, and reminded him of his burning desire for Sif.
Convinced he could not live without her, Red summoned up his courage and was about to enter the flames when Joey, sent by Hobbs to find the errant cameraman, raced in. The young soundman tried to stop his friend, but Red had lost it, punching his friend to the ground before leaping into the fire. Joey watched in horror, believing his friend had immolated himself, but Red emerged from the fire transformed.
He returned to Odin's throne room garbed in
Asgardian-style clothing, announcing his arrival by smashing through the
wall and interrupting Loki's trial, before proclaiming to the shocked assemblage
that he was the real Thor, God of Thunder. As Hobbs watched in shock at his
changed cameraman, Red easily smashed down the first Asgardians to challenge
him. Loki demanded Red free him from his bonds, as was their bargain, but
Red rightly pointed out they had made no such deal, and stated that he no
longer needed Loki now he had the power.
Angered at Red's continued claim on his name, Thor moved in; Sif asked Odin to intervene, but he stated that he could not, claiming all his power was needed to maintain the Odinshield being used to keep Balder from fully dying (thus holding off Ragnarok).
When Thor tried to smite Red with Mjolnir, Red
instinctively caught it by the handle; the iron gloves allowed Red to overcome
the enchantment preventing the unworthy from wielding it, and he wrested
the weapon from the shocked Thor's hands, then struck the stunned god down.
Still unable to comprehend how Red could be a match for him, even with the
belt and gloves, Thor engaged Red in battle.
Red tried to make Thor back
down, stating he was no murderer, but though Red maintained the upper hand,
Thor refused to yield, so Red decided that he had no choice; if he did not
kill Thor, then sooner or later the original thunder god would kill him.
Releasing some of the energy he felt surging within him through the hammer, Red blasted Thor with fire from Mjolnir, and when the Asgardian warriors moved in to assist the downed Thor, Red threw a wall of mystic fire up to keep them out.
turned to finish Thor off, summoning up the energy to blast him once again,
but Joey, who had finally run all the way back from Thor's temple, raced
in through a doorway not blocked by the fire. Trying to reason with his friend,
he leapt between Red and Thor, but Red was unable to stop the energy bolt,
which struck and killed Joey.
As Hobbs raced to the corpse, shouting in shock over Red's murderous actions, Red seemed to come back to his senses somewhat. He offered Sif a compromise; if she left with him, he would spare Thor. At first Sif was defiant, but Red pointed out he could defeat all the warriors present, and upped the ante, telling her that if she did not accompany him, he would destroy the Odinshield and trigger Ragnarok. As Sif yielded, Red mused that it was odd; with his beard and red hair, he resembled images of the mythological Thor more than the true Thor did. Then he flew off with Sif in his arms.
(Thor I#277) - The pair landed in Alfheim, and Sif begged
Red to return her home, stating Asgard needed all its champions. When the
Ljo's-Alfar (Bright Elves) approached to welcome them in peace to their land,
Red angrily smashed the welcome party with Mjolnir, telling them he was Thor
and that anywhere he chose to stay was his. Sif watched in
horror, concluding that Red had been driven mad by the powered he had gained.
When Red again wondered aloud how he had gained Thor's powers, Sif told him
that Odin, fearful Thor's adventures on Midgard might one day mean he was
not available when his power might be needed to defend Asgard, had placed
Thor's essence in the Fires of Geirrodur, the gloves and belt, ready to empower
another should it ever be needed, and included a spell enabling whoever put
on the essence to wield Mjolnir.
Red decided to sleep on this information, and Sif used the opportunity to try and remove the belt of strength, but Red was awoken as she tried to do so by the Gjallarhorn of Heimdall, heralding the trolls attacking the Rainbow Bridge, the first battle of Ragnarok.
I#278) - Red managed to summon an image showing Thor, armed with a
sword, leading the defense of Asgard. As Sif again berated him for usurping
Thor's power, Red asked how she could hate him so, when he loved her. She
replied that she pitied him, thinking him a fool for believing all she had
loved about Thor was his power, and that she could be won by him gaining
the same might. Red asked again why she didn't take up with him, considering
her true love was doomed, but Sif responded that merely asking so base a
question meant he knew the answer.
Red admitted he had been fooling himself, driven mad by the love he had felt from the moment he laid eyes on her, but Sif responded by asking if his lust was good enough reason to condemn Asgard to death, and if that was the legacy he wanted to leave his own realm, should it even survive. Red did not respond, and stood pondering her words. Realizing he would never win Sif's love, and determined to make up for the harm he had caused, Red took Sif in his arms and flew them back to Asgard.
As battle raged in Asgard, Thor faced the Midgard
Serpent, which prophecy stated would slay him. Both he and the Warriors Three
were struck down, but Red arrived in the nick of time. Explaining to the
Asgardians as he landed that he had finally accepted that Sif's love was
non-transferable, he had figured he might as well play hero to make up for
the harm he had caused.
Leaving Sif to care for Thor, Red rushed at the Serpent, shouting back that he couldn't bring Joey back to life, but maybe he could do his part in saving Asgard, and with this he began attacking the Serpent. He pounded relentlessly at it, but its massive writhing body was causing untold damage to Asgard. Hearing Thor tell Sif that Red had the strength but not the skill to use the hammer to its fullest potential, Red yelled his agreement, then clung on to the back of the beast's head and hurled Mjolnir back to its rightful owner; Thor raced to assist Red, aware that without the hammer the mortal had no chance of prevailing against the enormous worm, but was only in time to witness the wounded Serpent flee into the depths, with Red still clinging to it. Thor was about to pursue, refusing to let Red die if there was any chance of saving him, but suddenly all the combatants found themselves transported to a plain some distance from Asgard. As everyone paused fighting in their confusion, the Serpent resurfaced without Red, which Thor realized meant the human had to be dead.
Fighting valiantly, Thor finally defeated the
Serpent and retrieved Red's body, carrying him back to Asgard; en route the
camera-man's corpse reverting to its mortal form en route.
Thor placed Red
next to Joey's body, and Hobbs wept over the corpses of his friends while
Odin explained that knowing Loki and Hela were trying to trigger Ragnarok
by fulfilling the prophecies which presaged it, he had deliberately made
then happen in a way which would not trigger the world-end, effectively
nullifying them. Among those prophecies was the death of "Thor"; angered
that his father's deceptions had caused the deaths of two mortals, Thor berated
him, and was banished to Earth.
Hobbs, the thunder god, and Red and Joey's corpses returned to Manhattan, and Thor left Hobbs to see to his dead friends' funerals.
(Thor I#478 (fb) - BTS) - Having died a warrior's death in Asgard, Red's spirit was transported to Valhalla, where he joined others of the valiant dead in "joyous, unceasing combat" each day, in a realm he had not believed in when he lived.
(Thor I#350-352, 354/Avengers I#249 - BTS) - Odin summoned the fallen warriors of Valhalla, presumably including Red, to join the rest of Asgard's warriors in fighting Surtur's armies on Earth.
I#478 (fb)) - Odin was saddened at Red's death, knowing he had deliberately
set in motion the events which birthed a second Thor fated to be slain so
that the first might live. When Thor again became estranged from Asgard,
and with the threat of Ragnarok again looming, Odin felt it essential to
have a Thor among the warriors of Asgard, a role demanded by prophecy which
even the likes of Beta Ray Bill or Thunderstrike, who both had part of Thor's
power, could not fulfill.
So Odin traveled to Valhalla, where he informed a initially reluctant Red that he had been punished enough for his misdeeds, and had redeemed himself with his noble death. Informing Red that Thor was dead to him, Odin handed Red the belt and gloves again; donning them, Red regained his former powers. Since Thor still held Mjolnir, Odin gave Red a new Uru hammer forged specifically for him, and the pair returned to Asgard.
(Thor I#477) - Odin called a meeting of the realm's greatest warriors, and proclaimed Red as Thor again.
(Incredible Hulk II#422 (fb) - BTS) - Red, Fandral, Volstagg and Hogun went out hunting together.
(Incredible Hulk II#421) - While in the forest Red stumbled across the Hulk (then in his intelligent and verbose "Professor" phase) threatening what appeared to be a teenage boy. Unaware the boy was in fact the immortal and perpetual teenager Agamemnon (a.k.a. Vali Halfling), former leader of the Pantheon and a ruthless and selfish Machiavellian schemer, whom the Hulk had pursued unwittingly into Asgard, Red confronted them both, and ordered the Hulk to unhand the lad or face the wrath of Thor.
(Incredible Hulk II#422) - As Red confronted the Hulk, the green goliath insisted the he couldn't be Thor, since he knew the actual god of thunder. Imposing himself between the Hulk and Agamemnon, Red told him he could believe that if it would give him comfort in his last few minutes and yelled at the "boy" to run. As Red swung back his hammer in preparation to strike, the Hulk calmly stood his ground, daring him to use it, confident that the pretender's "croquet mallet" would break against him. Seconds later, the Hulk was sent flying hundreds of feet, crashing to ground near his compatriots Hector and Cassiopeia and wife Betty Banner.
Red leapt after his opponent, but the irritated
Hulk caught his next hammer-strike mid-swing and shoved it back to the hilt
rammed into Red's gut, winding him, then swiftly backhanded him across the
face. As he did this, he again derided Red as a fake Thor, pointing out that
if he was the real deal then the Hulk wouldn't be able to hold up his
hammer...but falling backwards, Red let go of the weapon, which immediately
slammed to the ground, crushing Hulk's fingers beneath it and breaking them.
With the Hulk temporarily pinned, a peeved Red repaid Hulk's last blow with
one of his own, but before he could strike again he was blasted from behind
Summoning his hammer to his hand, Red blasted Cassiopeia with lightning, then leapt towards her, angrily shouting threats that switched speech styles mid-sentence between faux Asgardian and Earth vernacular. His hand freed, the Hulk again caught Red's hammer mid-blow, telling him to get his speech patterns straight, and the pair grappled for a few seconds while exchanging insults. Then Red paused, because Betty Banner had moved right next to him while he was distracted, now held a small machine gun next to his ear, and was pointing out that even if he were invulnerable, the bullets could travel down his ear canal and into his brain (see comments). Betty too then paused, as Red's newly arrived ally Fandral held his sword to her throat, before Fandral in turn halted as Hector wrapping his energy mace around the Asgardian's throat, and then it was Hector's turn to stop as Fandral's friend Hogun tapped his mace gently against Hector's cranium.
The standoff halted the battle long enough for the adversaries to begin to talk and agree to a full cessation of hostilities. As night fell, they gathered around a campfire, where Red told tall tales of catching the Midgard Serpent while out fishing (see comments). On the other side of the fire, the Hulk asked Fandral what the deal was with the fake Thor, but Fandral, mindful of Odin's proclamation, insisted he saw no impostor, though his face slipped for a second, betraying that he didn't mean what he had just said. Hogun proved equally unwilling to break the party line, but luckily Volstagg's late arrival at the camp provided a break in the tensions. Red promised that come the morning he and his friends would help the Hulk's group find Agamemnon, but added ominously that his story best match theirs. The Hulk calmly told Red not to threaten him, but Red glowered and told him it wasn't a threat but a warning. Hearing the comments that they were looking for a boy, Volstagg revealed that he had spotted one earlier in the day heading towards the castle of the Frost Giant Siingard.
The next morning the group visited Siingard's castle, where Siingard and Agamemnon greeted them defiantly from high on the battlements. Seeing that the Hulk had been telling the truth, Red swore that he, as Thor, would bring the entire castle crashing down, but Siingard scoffed at this, disparaging "Thor" and blowing a horn to summon the Hoarfen, the gigantic and monstrous hybrid offspring of the Fenris Wolf and a Frost Giantess. In the seconds before it arrived, Hector, able to fly, swooped down and snatched Agamemnon, then dropped him into the Hulk's waiting arms...just before the Hoarfen swallowed them both whole.
(Incredible Hulk II#423) - As Hoarfen turned its attention to the rest of the group, even attacking Siingard and his giants, Red confronted the wolf and blasted it with lightning, but it swiftly recovered. Joining the battle, the other warriors attacked, tiny fleas compared to the giant lupine. The wolf boastfully stated that since the legends of Ragnarok failed to mention it, this meant it would survive even that, the end of all that existed, but Red retorted that to him the lack of mention proved that should the end ever come, Hoarfen would already be "road kill," and he struck the wolf between the eyes with his hammer. This too failed to stop the beast, and both heroes and the surviving giants continued to hack away at it to little avail, until the Hulk, newly resurrected from Hela's realm, forced his way out of Hoarfen's gullet, breaking the wolf's jaw in the process, and finally forcing it to retreat.
Glancing around at the dead Frost Giants littering the battlefield, crushed by the Hoarfen, Siingard blamed Thor (no longer in quotes) for the carnage; Red responded that wasn't exactly how he saw it, but promised to discuss it after he sent the mortals home. Swirling his hammer around his head, he transported the Hulk's party back to Midgard, wishing the "brave warriors" a good voyage. The moment they were gone, Siingard turned in Red and the Warrior Three's direction and cried out that it was time for vengeance; Red responded in kind...
(Incredible Hulk II#423 - BTS) - ...and battle presumably recommenced. Since Red and the Warriors Three were later seen alive and well in Asgard, things presumably went their way.
(Thor I#478) - Thor returned to angrily confront his father
over lies Odin had told regarding Don Blake, but Odin demanded he return
to Midgard. When Thor refused, Odin called for "Thor," and to Thor's shock
Red Norvell arrived in response. Overcoming his surprise at the resurrection,
Thor angrily disclaimed Red as an impostor, but Red responded tgat there had
been two J.P. Morgans and two Lon Chaneys. Thor derided Red's attempts to
speak in an Asgardian style, pointing out how his speech lurched from a parody
of nobility to crudeness from one moment to the next, but Red retorted that
while he might not have a hang on "Asgard-speak" yet, at least was in Asgard
when it needed a Thor, and that unlike Thor he was willing to live for Asgard
"this time around," and if necessary die for it
Odin ordered Thor to leave, but he refused and reached out angrily towards his father, so Red knocked him down. Thor informed Red he did not wish to fight someone who had saved his both life and Asgard, but that he would not be kept from Odin; Red returned the warning, telling Thor he took his new role very seriously. The pair began to duel, exchanging blows and simultaneously throwing their hammers, only to learn the weapons were evenly matched, striking one another and flying off into the sky. Reduced to fisticuffs, the battle between the two caused Asgard's ground to quake, and nearly deafened distant Heimdall. The deadlock continued even after they reclaimed their hammers, until Odin called a halt to their fight before they destroyed the entire realm.
(Thor I#479) - Red reacted angrily when Thor accused his father of lying to him about the existence of his former mortal identity, Don Blake, offering to restart their battle, but Odin told him to stand down. The gathered assemblage listened as Odin explained how he had originally bound his son to a mortal to stave off a prophecy of his death, then asked Thor once more to forsake Midgard and reclaim his role as defender of Asgard. Thor refused, citing people on Earth who needed him, and Odin sadly declared there could be but one Thor on Asgard, "and that is the once-mortal who has stepped forward to pick up the fallen hammer of responsibility." Red, alongside Beta Ray Bill, would defend Asgard when Ragnarok began. Thor informed Red he had both his name and his respect, "for who dares not honor the man who goes bravely and willingly to meet his end?", declared that both Earth and Asgard now had their own Thor, then departed.
(Thor I#480) - Red assisted Beta Ray Bill, Sif and Balder in defeating troll spies hiding in the mountains near Asgard. Afterwards, Red asked Sif if they could go somewhere to talk privately, and the pair flew off together.
(Thor I#482 (fb) - BTS) - Red informed Sif that he accepted he was merely the stand-in Odin had lined up for Ragnarok because his real son had abandoned Asgard.
(Thor I#482) - Encountering Sif a day or so later, after she had magically watched Thor depart Earth for outer space, Red asked her again to call him Thor like the rest of the Asgardians now did, but she again refused. Taking her hand, he flew them both outside the city to talk undisturbed, but they inadvertently landed upon a camouflaged dragon, which rose up and attacked them. Together the warriors subdued it, and Sif informed Red that watching him in battle had made her realize any feelings she had begun to think she might have for him, or formerly had for Eric Masterson (Thunderstrike), were because they both partook in the essence of the man she truly loved, Thor, and that when he returned to Earth, she would defy Odin and seek him out. Red accepted this, saying he had never really expected anything else, and offered to aid her, hoping to prove that if he could not be her lover, he could at least be her friend.
(Thor I#483) - Learning Thor had returned to Asgard to confront Loki, Red flew Sif to Loki's home, and witnessed Thor battling his step-brother. Afterwards Red reluctantly watched as Sif accompanied Thor back to Earth, noting he was now stuck with the job of informing Odin that Sif had left.
(Thor I#494 - BTS) - Some time later the Egyptian Death god Seth directed a human minion in an attempt to destroy Yggdrasil, the Asgardian World-Tree. Odin took advantage of this action to try and prevent Ragnarok from occurring, by making Yggdrasil believe the end of days had already occurred, casting the Asgardians to Earth into mortal forms, unaware of their former godly lives.
(Thor I#501 (fb) - BTS) - Red woke up in the ocean, his powers gone, though his memories remained (presumably because of his mortal origins). He swam to shore, and tried to call his hammer to him, but got no response. Finding it difficult to cope with being mortal again, he moved to New Jersey, living out of a trailer and scraping a living over the subsequent year as a freelance cameraman for various cable stations, gaining a police record along the way for drunken brawling. Not wanting to be seen as a failure, Red decided to not approach Thor to ask for help; after a while, he began to wonder if his memories of Asgard were just a dream. He began to see Sabrina, estranged wife of small time gangster "Johnny the Gent." Norvell also borrowed money from Lenny Boffo, and used video equipment stolen from one of his employers to film a porn video.
(Thor I#501 (fb)) - When Red failed to pay Boffo back on time, he sent round two thugs to the trailer park to beat Red up. Stung by their calling him a loser, he refused to stay down, compounding his beating. The thugs fled when they mistook Breena arriving in her car for the police; however as Sabrina comforted the injured Red, she let slip about being married. Red's shock at this revelation rapidly escalated when seconds later Johnny and two of his men arrived on their bikes, armed with automatic weaponry. Johnny kicked Red in the face, but an arriving helicopter prompted him to depart before he had time to administer further injuries. The helicopter was from the studio, delivering a court order to seize back their stolen equipment and ban Red from ever entering the studio again. After they had left, Red and Sabrina entered his trailer, where Sabrina began to dump him, as he wasn't capable of defending her from her husband. At that moment, during the worst day of Red's life, Thor was in Asgard, reclaiming his own recently lost powers; simultaneously a bolt of lightning struck Red, restoring his abilities too. Instinctively Red summoned his hammer to him, though its speedy transit from the ocean knocked Red through the side of his trailer.
(Thor I#501) - A day later Thor, hunting for the lost Asgardians, tracked Red down, and found him garbed in his Thor gear. Thor explained about the gods vanishing, and enlisted Red in his quest to find them.
(Thor I#502) - Their search was interrupted by Onslaught's assault on New York. Red and Thor were amongst those driven out of New York into Jersey, and the two thunder gods planned their next move together. Odin, in a moment of partial lucidity, explained to them how he had arrived on Earth in his present state. Moments later Red witnessed a multitude of frogs come to say their farewells to Thor, though Red was skeptical that his friend could converse with the amphibians; when he tried, the frogs suddenly bounded away en masse, startling him and causing him to fall over.
Jane Foster arrived, having been told where Thor was by Captain America, and planning to lend her nursing skills to tend to the injured. Red slipped away quietly to provide them some privacy, but soon returned with a car crash victim requiring urgent medical attention. While Thor and Jane tried to save the man's life, Red tried to console the man's young daughter; when she asked him if he was Thor too, Red told her "Nah. He's the real goods. I'm his best friend." After Thor saved the man's life, Red admitted he was proud to know the thunder god. Their conversation was interrupted by the arrival of Hela, who informed Thor he was going to die the next day, and offered to make him her mate and Prince of the Dead if he instead left with her that night; Thor declined. As the pair settled down for the night, Red asked Thor what he would change if he had his life to live over again, knowing now what would happen the next day. Thor told him "Not a thing", and Red replied "Good."
(Journey into Mystery I#503) A few weeks after Thor apparently
died battling Onslaught, Red and Odin were in a tavern, with
Red toasting his rebirth as a god, when Odin sensed the death of Hal Daws
(the amnesiac Hoder). After Red dealt with a drunk and belligerent biker,
the pair returned to Red's trailer, where a trio of armed men in black attacked
them. Unprepared for Red having his godly powers, the trio soon fled, and
the next morning Odin gave Red a list of names which had come to him in his
sleep, people he believed might be the missing Asgardians.
Red immediately departed to locate them, leaving Odin unprotected back at his trailer. His first port of call was State University, Plattsburg, New York, and Professor Barry Landers (Balder), who refused to believe his outlandish tale; Red left him his card, just in case. Red next visited SWAT Officer Erika Velez, shortly after she had repelled an attack by the men in black; because of her recent run-in, she was more amenable to believing him. Together they approached businessman Tso Zhung (Loki), arriving in time to save his life from the men in black. They returned to Red's trailer to find Odin absent; before they could look for him, Landers arrived, having narrowly survived an attempt on his life. As Red tried to convince the three they were all really Asgardian gods, the men in black returned, one of them now armored in what resembled an old Iron Man suit. Red was shocked when his hammer broke striking his foe's own mace, then his opponent blasted Red with an energy beam, felling him. The attackers departed, wanting to let Red's new allies live for a while with the awareness of their helplessness eating away at their courage. Red died in Velez's arms, leaving the three powerless and amnesiac gods to figure out what to do next.
(Journey into Mystery I#508 (fb) - BTS) - Seth claimed Red's soul, taking it to his realm. Enthralling him, he enhanced Red's bitterness and anger at dying, directing his rage at the lost gods he had been helping at the time of his demise.
(Journey into Mystery I#508) - Some time later, having gathered more members and discovered artifacts which restored some of their powers but not their memories, the lost gods and their allies Amora the Enchantress and Ulik traveled to the realm of Seth, seeking to rescue the kidnapped Odin. Whilst battling Seth's troops, they were shocked to be confronted by Red, who informed them they were in the realm of death, that he now served Seth, and that he blamed them for betraying him and letting him die. Ulik and Red exchanged blows, with the troll discovering to his cost that Red was the equal of Thor. As Red was about to strike a potentially fatal blow, the battle was interrupted by the arrival of a pair of Ice Giants. Red turned on them, refusing to let the newcomers be the ones to harm the lost gods.
(Journey into Mystery I#509) - Red soon defeated the Ice Giants, and caught up with his targets, who had used the distraction to make for Seth's stronghold. While he battled Ulik, the similarly Seth-enthralled Lorelei battled her sister Amora. The other lost gods joined the battle, but proved no match for Red and Lorelei. Though Tyrone Hammer (Hogun the Grim) and Ulik both managed to get solid hits in, the end was not in doubt, and the lost gods were soon captured and transported in chains to Seth.
(Journey into Mystery I#510) - Seth ordered Red to execute the prisoners, but left the method to Red; he and Lorelei chose slow torture, and Red took particular delight in trying to break Erika (Sif) by holding her head underwater for extended periods. Red also destroyed the mystic weapons the group had been using. Eventually Erika seemed to drown; Red admitted to Lorelei he had expected to feel something at Erika's demise since he had once had feelings for her, but instead he felt empty, revenge proving less satisfying than he thought it would. He and Lorelei then left the captive gods unattended, unaware Erika had merely being playing possum with the covert assistance of the recently repowered Loki.
(Journey into Mystery I#511) - On a parapet, Red struggled to come to terms with his current situation, telling Lorelei that he and Odin used to be friends, and that he hated being used against his former teammates.
(Journey into Mystery I#512) - Red discovered the prisoners had broken loose, and tried to recapture them, but was unable to prevent their magical escape to Earth. He reported this to Seth, who berated him for not simply slaying the lost gods as he had been ordered when they were originally captured. Seth angrily sent Red to Earth with a new mission; to restore the Asgardians' true forms by striking his hammer upon a plateau known as Thor's Hammer, located in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, an action Odin had originally planned for Thor to do after he defeated Seth, but which had been disrupted when Onslaught slew Thor. If their forms were restored before Seth was defeated, then the Asgardians would all die when Seth destroyed Yggdrasil. Arriving at the plateau, Red encountered Ulik and the mortal incarnations of the Warriors Three, but they were unable to prevent him from carrying out his mission, and the Asgardians regained their immortal forms.
(Journey into Mystery I#513) - The moment he completed his mission, Red was freed from Seth's control and restored to life again. Red admonished himself for being unable to resist Seth's will, and asked his former friends to slay him, but Ulik convinced him that he should make amends by helping them fight Seth instead. They returned to Asgard, where they found an enlarged Seth had already defeated many of their fellows, Odin included. Nonetheless, they threw themselves into the fray; Seth easily overpowered them all, but the combined assault had given Odin the time he needed to recover his strength. Back at full power, Odin easily vanquished the Egyptian god, and Red joined with the other gods in celebrating their foe's defeat and the restoration of Asgard. However, mere moments later, the extraterrestrial Dark Gods launched a sneak attack, devastating Asgard.
(All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe#8) - Red was presumably freed when Thor later defeated the Dark Gods (see comments).
SECRET WARS III HAPPENED
(Thor VI#11 (fb) - BTS) - Dr. Donald Blake slew Red Norvell and absorbed any remaning Odinpower from him.
(Thor VI#11) - His corpse ended up at the morgue where Dr. Jane Foster worked. It was shown to her and was shocked, immediately suspecting that the recently returned Dr. Donald Blake had something to do with Norvell's death.
Comments: Created by Roy Thomas, John Buscema and Tom Palmer.
As well as the above stories, Red appeared in flashbacks in Thor I#283 and #394 that recapped his origin and first death.
When Red was first transformed, he next appeared wearing Asgardian garb. Its unclear whether the flames changed his clothes too, or whether he emerged empowered, presumably with clothes burned off by the fire or ripped by expanded muscles, and then raided Thor's wardrobe. Since in Thor I#478 Red's clothes change magically when he resumes the power of Thor, it seems likely that the change was magical the first time round, too.
Red apparently carried a beard trimmer somewhere about his person during his trip to Asgard. As the top left headshot shows, he's got a fairly hefty beard and full sideburns up until Thor I#274; compare that to the much trimmer goatee and no sideburns from the image directly below it, which is from the end of Thor I#275. I guess after spotting Sif he thought it was time to improve the personal grooming. But it's worse than changing between issues - he changes over the course of Thor I#275' sixth page! See the adjacent trio of panels - the first is the second to last panel on p5, the middle is from the first panel of p6, and the one to the right is from the sixth and final panel of p6! The intervening panels are just Harris Hobbs taking perhaps two minutes to explain what the legends say will come from Hermod's mission to save Balder's life, a total of around 100 words of dialogue, during which it seems Red is standing off-panel busy shaving off his sideburns while still managing to balance that not inconsiderable camera on one shoulder!
Harris Hobbs and Joey Burnett are listed as enemies because that was how things were left off with them when Joey and then later Red died. Joey and Red were never antagonistic to one another, but Joey did die opposing what Red was doing, albeit because he was trying to help Red see what he was doing was wrong. I doubt if Red now met Harris or if Joey was resurrected and reunited with Red that any of them would still be on opposing sides, but since respective deaths meant things ended on a bad basis, that's where they remain in regards to being friends vs. enemies for now.
In Thor I#477, when Odin unveils Red as the new Thor, we don't actually see Red (other than one foot hidden in shadow) because Odin has him hide behind a curtain until the All-Father literally unveils him (at which point the reader cuts to a reaction shot of Asgard's gathered warriors, so we still don't see Red, maintaining the suspense until the next issue). When Red returned, he initially tried to speak like an Asgardian, in keeping with his new loyalties, though he kept slipping back in American colloquialisms.
The forces of Valhalla issued out for one of the semi-regular mini-Ragnaroks which Asgard periodically went through, back during the Simonson run on the title. As such, it's likely Red Norvell was somewhere among them, and thus BTS in several issues around that time.
Red finally got his own Uru hammer in Thor I#478; it can be told apart from Thor's Mjolnir because unlike that it initially had crossed leather straps on the head, while the handle had only a leather loop at the bottom and leather round the connecting point between the head and handle, unlike Thor's Mjolnir, which has leather wrapped down the entire length of the hilt. Later it lost the crossed head straps but gained a little spike; I guess Red like's accessorizing. Considering in Thor I#277 Odin had stated he could not reproduce Mjolnir's enchantments (which was why the person given Thor's essence was also empowered to wield the hammer), Odin soon went back on that statement, creating several hammers in quick succession (seems Uru hammers are like buses, none for millennia and then three come along at once - Beta Ray Bill's, Thunderstrike's and Red's). For those who think size matters, its worth noting that Red's hammer had a longer, thinner shaft, and a bigger head (ooh-er, nudge nudge, wink wink...say no more--Snood). At the time Odin made Red's hammer, the All-Father was annoyed with Thor and insisted Asgardians call Red "Thor"; per a discussion with Roy Thomas at the time when Red Norvell's handbook entry was being written, this also carried over to Red initially calling his hammer Mjolnir, then Crusher, the English translation of Mjolnir.
In Incredible Hulk I#422 Red tells a tale of catching the Midgard Serpent while out fishing, and pulling it to the shore. While it is conceivably possible such an encounter did happen in the brief period since he'd been resurrected by Odin, given how his previous encounter with the Serpent ended, it seems unlikely this tale is true. It's more likely to be a tale from the real Thor's youth that Red co-opted as part of his attempt to seem more Asgardian, just like his flawed attempts to adopt Asgardian speech patterns. Give the man his due, he might be a flawed actor, but he was a full-on method thespian.
Since Odin resurrected Red, I presume he's considered a full citizen of Asgard; since he never relinquished his U.S. citizenship that we know of, he's presumably a joint citizen of both.
Red isn't visible during the Onslaught saga, but in Thor I#502, set during Onslaught's attack, Thor's narrative notes Red has stayed with him, and both Thor and Red have inexplicably and very noticeably changed outfits. Presumably Red is BTS during the overall Onslaught storyline (though not specific issues), perhaps protecting the vulnerable and amnesiac Odin while Thor assists the Avengers in directly battling Onslaught. Though Red doesn't personally encounter Onslaught (that we know of, anyway), I've still included the villain amongst Red's enemies.
Thor I#502 is confusing and the events within all over the place, a victim of Thor being involved in Onslaught. All of a sudden Red and Thor are in completely different costumes from the previous issue, and as far as I can tell, Red didn't turn up in any other Onslaught issues to explain the costume change (please correct me if I'm wrong). However, for all it disjointedness, it is significant in that Red finally admits to someone that he isn't Thor - up to this point, he'd still laid claim to the name. The next issue, with a new creative team, Red seemingly contradicts that, with him appearing to celebrate Thor's demise by toasting himself as the Once and Future Thunder God and referring to Thor as a wash-out. Since that doesn't fit too well with a Red who had come to respect Thor, I'm putting it down to Red carousing because (1) celebrating a warrior's death in battle is what Red believes is the Norse way, and (2) because if he let himself acknowledge the loss he feels, he'd find it hard to handle. This last is supported by a couple of instances where Red does get sadder and more introspective when he mentions what Odin has lost recently.
While I'm mentioning Journey Into Mystery#503, it's noteworthy that Red never wears the outfit with the goofy hat depicted on that issue's cover anywhere but on that cover. As such, I'm including that image here in the comments for completeness, but not in the history.
In JiM#513, Seth claimed that the only reason Red had regained his heroic personality was because Seth had deliberately freed Red, as otherwise Seth wouldn't be able to enjoy Red's humiliation at being used; however Seth might have been lying to cover his own mistake, and Red's freedom might be down to the same spell which restored the Asgardians.
At the end of JiM#513, Asgard was attacked by
a shadowy foe, later revealed to be the Dark Gods. Odin and many others were
taken captive, and eventually freed by the real Thor. It's unknown if Red
died in the attack, was taken prisoner and later killed while in captivity,
or was captured and subsequently freed by Thor at the same time as the rest
of Asgard's citizens. And if the last is the case, then where he went afterwards
is also unclear; since he wasn't seen in any subsequent issues; he may well
have returned to Earth, feeling unneeded if the real Thor was about. Did
he take part in the most recent, apparently last ("honest-to-gosh, there
won't be another one, promise") Ragnarok, which claimed virtually everyone
else associated with Asgard? Maybe, though again, he was unseen if he did.
Perhaps, like Beta Ray Bill, he offered his services and was sent home by
Thor, having already died enough times for the realm. There are a lot of
questions remaining about what happened to Red following the Dark Gods' attack,
and, I hope, further stories to be told about him.
If you shot a person of enhanced durability in the ear, it might
rupture their eardrum (tympanic membrane), which might well be
incapacitating (painful and/or inducing vertigo)...however, the next
step would be the middle ear (tympanic bulla), which is an air-filled
bony cavity. The eighth cranial nerve does indeed travel from the brain
to the middle ear, but it's not a straight shot, and it's too small for
a bullet to pass without shattering bone.
But, it's quite possible that it's an "in-story error," as Betty may have known, but gambled on Red not knowing...or maybe Betty didn't know either?
Profile by Loki. Mini-Update by Markus Raymond (death by Blake).
Red Norvell, a.k.a. Thor, is connected to but shouldn't be confused with
images: (without ads)
Journey Into Mystery#508, p26, pan3 (main)
Thor I#274, p11, pan 6 (headshot)
Thor I#274 cover (Red records the death of Balder)
Thor I#276, p9, pan 4 (Red in first Thor outfit)
Thor I#276, p3, pan 3 (Red holding Megingjord)
Thor I#276, p7, pan 4 (Red seeking to claim Jarn Griepr)
Thor I#276, p11, pan 1-3 (Red claims Mjolnir)
Thor I#276, p15, pan 5 (killing Joey)
Thor I#278, p10, pan 6 (Red returns Mjolnir, sacrificing his life to save Asgard)
Thor I#278, p14, pan 1-3 (Red reverts to his mortal form after death)
Thor I#478, p12, pan3 (Red is given his own hammer)
Incredible Hulk II#421, p22 (post-resurrection Red trying to look intimidating)
Incredible Hulk II#423, p8, pan1 (Red really did like posing dramatically at this stage in his career)
Thor I#502, p16, pan1 (Post-Onslaught outfit)
Thor I#275, p5, pan4/p6, pan1 & 6 (the amazing vanishing sideburns)
Journey Into Mystery#503 cover (never worn outfit)
Thor I#274-277 (August - November 1978) - Roy Thomas (writer, editor), John Buscema and Tom Palmer ("illustrators")
Thor I#278 (December 1978) - Roy Thomas (writer, editor), John Buscema and Chic Stone (illustrators)
Thor I#477 (August 1994) - Roy Thomas (writer), Stewart Johnson (pencils), Don Hudson (inker), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#421-422 (September-October 1994) - Peter David (writer), Gary Franks (pencils), Cam Smith (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#423 (November 1994) - Peter David (writer), Gary Franks (pencils), Joe Rubenstein and Fred Fredericks (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Thor I#478-480 (September-November 1994) - Roy Thomas (writer), M.C.Wyman (pencils), Mike DeCarlo (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Thor I#482 (January 1995) - Roy Thomas (writer), Keith Pollard (art), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Thor I#483 (February 1995) - Roy Thomas (writer), M.C.Wyman (pencils), Mike DeCarlo (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Thor I#501 (August 1996) - William Messner-Loebs (writer), Mike Deodato Jr (art), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Thor I#502 (September 1996) - William Messner-Loebs (writer), Mike Deodato Jr (pencils), Deodoto Studios (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Journey into Mystery I#503 (November 1996) - Tom DeFalco (writer), Deodato Studios with Carlos Mota (pencils), Deodato Studios and Rene Micheletti (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Journey into Mystery I#508-509 (April-May 1997) - Tom DeFalco (writer), Deodato Studios (art), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Journey into Mystery I#510-511 (June-August 1997) - Tom DeFalco (writer), Deodato Studios (art), Joe Andreani (editor)
Journey into Mystery I#512-513 (September-October 1997) - Tom DeFalco (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Joe Andreani (editor)
Thor VI#11 (March, 2021) - Donny Cates (writer), Nic Klein (artist), Wil Moss (editor)
First Posted: 02/27/2019
Last updated: 03/06/2023
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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