Long ago, the alien race of beings called the Celestials conducted genetic experiments on humanity of the planet Earth. The gods that looked after the Earth knew that with the Celestials eventual return, there would be a judgment that would seal the planet’s fate. If humanity was deemed unworthy of life, by the unknown standards of this mysterious race, Earth would be destroyed. The Destroyer was created, by the command of Odin, as a weapon to use against the mighty Celestials. The task was taken on by the finest craftsmen of Asgard, and once finished Odin, Zeus, and all other leading Earth gods transferred a portion of their power into the construct which gave it superhuman strength and energy manipulating powers. Odin then had the Destroyer sealed within a temple within a plateau hoping it would be out of reach of any would use its tremendous powers for evil until the purpose it was designed for could be implemented.
For many years the Destroyer remained lifeless until a vengeful Loki destroyed the plateau to reveal the temple inside. Loki then led a hunter, Buck Franklin, to the Destroyer in order to use the hunter’s life essence to animate the weapon and send it against his hated half-brother Thor. Since the Destroyer is not a living entity, it is not affected by Odin’s magic that anyone unworthy can’t use it as with Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, and it can absorb the life essence of anyone. The Destroyer is not a suit of armor that can be physically worn or disassembled. A life force must be projected into the armor in order to animate it which leaves the possessor’s body in a catatonic state. The Destroyer is linked to the body of the individual inside which is why the person does not die due to lack of life force, but if the person’s essence is put back inside its body by a powerful spell directed at the person, the Destroyer will become inanimate once again. By the same token, if the person’s body is killed, the life force will leave the Destroyer and revert it back to its lifeless state. Normally, a person has to be close to the Destroyer and a willing participant to have their life essence transferred into it, but a person’s essence can also be transferred if that person is not mentally guarded for such a transfer. Odin or Loki, however, can make the transferals over great distances due to their proficiency with magic. Also, the Destroyer was given its own intelligence but has been programmed to destroy, so when a life essence is absorbed into the armor, the Destroyer normally takes over and the person inside has no choice but to go along with its programming unless the will of the person is the same as the will of the Destroyer. In Buck Franklin’s case, Franklin and the Destroyer both wanted to destroy Thor, so Franklin’s consciousness acted as one with the Destroyer’s.
Thor and the Destroyer battled within the temple, but Thor emerged victorious when he used Franklin’s body as a shield and tricked the Destroyer into transferring the life force of Franklin back into his body. Thor then rescued Franklin, and destroyed the temple in order to bury the Destroyer under it. This result was not satisfying to the God of mischief, and sometime later, Loki transferred his own consciousness in to the Destroyer while in exile. This time Loki used the power of the Destroyer to go to Asgard and attack Odin. Odin located Loki’s body and forced his life force out of the Destroyer and back where it belonged and into a state of unconsciousness. Again Loki had a plot to use the Destroyer but this time he had Karnilla, the Norn Queen on his side and they used the life force of the goddess, Sif to animate it, and some time after that an accident allowed the essence of Professor Clement Holmes to enter the Destroyer.
Thor finally gave the Destroyer to Galactus to act as his herald, but Loki eventually stole it back to use against Thor in another sinister plot by first using Balder and then Thor, himself, to animate the armor. However, while Thor’s essence animated the Destroyer he was able to gain control of the Destroyer through tremendous will power. Odin has also projected himself into the armor and has taken control but without any struggle making him, Thor and Loki the only individuals that were able to suppress the Destroyer’s consciousness.
Eventually, the Celestials returned to Earth again ready to pass judgment, and that is when Odin thought the time had come for the Celestials to do battle with the Destroyer. Odin transferred all of the Asgardians (except Thor’s) life essences into himself and then into the armor causing it to grow to a tremendous size. Wielding the Odinsword and invading the South American base of the Celestials, the Destroyer could not do much damage to those gathered there despite its overwhelming power.
The Celestials fired bolts of energy at the Destroyer and melted it into slag just as Arishem, who was the leader of the Celestials on Earth, melted the Odinsword down to nothing. The Celestials were then presented, by Gaea, with twelve humans that possessed incredible powers as an offering to illustrate the potential of humanity. These Young Gods were taken by the Celestials to be trained in the use of their powers, and the Earth was spared. The life forces of the Asgardians were left to drift away, and it not for Thor and the other Earth gods, Odin and the other gods would not have been revived.
Later, Loki sent the Destroyer’s melted form to a place where the Frost Giants would find it and tricked one of them into stepping on it. On impact, the Destroyer was immediately reverted to its normal form and began to attack the giants until it noticed the remains of Thor. Thor was badly beaten and left in a horrible state after a battle with Jormungand, the Midgard serpent, but Thor could not die because of a curse placed on him by Hela, the death goddess. The Destroyer thought that since Thor’s body could not be killed his life force would be the perfect essence to animate it because none could threaten the body of Thor. However, upon taking in the life force of Thor, Thor suppressed the consciousness of the Destroyer and took control of the armor and invaded the realm of Hela. Thor then pretended that the Detsroyer was taking over and he threatened to kill Hela until she restored Thor’s body and lifted her curse from him. Thor then returned to his body, his ruse successful, and trapped the Destroyer armor in a crystal in Hel where it could not be used for evil.
After Thor had returned from another dimension with other absent heroes after the battle with Onslaught, the Dark Gods had taken control of Asgard and the Destroyer was set loose once more. Thor and the Destroyer fought, and Thor was nearly killed when the Destroyer unleashed the power of his disintegrator beam. Thor was sent to Hel, but was restored by the mysterious Marnot when he combined Thor’s life force with that of paramedic, Jake Olsen. Thor was returned to Earth just in time to save the lives of the Avengers who had renewed the battle with the Destroyer after Thor’s apparent passing. Thor banished the Destroyer to a remote place, but would soon seek it out again in order to form a partnership that would set them, and others, against the Dark Gods for the liberation Asgard. After Thor and his allies were victorious, Odin transferred the life essence inside the Destroyer back to its rightful owner leaving him with no memory of the incident.
Soon after that, Loki brought the Destroyer back to Earth, animating it with the soul of Tarene the cosmic being known as the Designate, who would later take on the identity of Thor Girl out of admiration of Thor. In the end, the Destroyer was defeated and Tarene was restored, but Thor was severely wounded. Dr. Jane Foster could heal Jake Olsen's wounds but remained unable to treat Thor's. Odin brought Thor to Asgard and physically separated Thor from his alter ego to allow Thor to heal and to allow Jake Olsen to return to his life on Earth.
The Destroyer had not been animated since that time, and because of the destruction of Asgard due to the events of Ragnarok its whereabouts were unknown until recently. The Destroyer returned during Thor's quest to liberate his people from the human shells they now inhabited. Loki used the Destroyer to trick Thor into releasing those Asgardians that were considered evil by forcing the construct to kidnap the human hosts and present an immediate danger to them. Thor defeated the Destroyer by releasing the soul who gave the construct life, the soul of Balder, the Brave. When Balder excepted Doom's invitation to relocate Asgard in Latveria, Dr. Doom had a chance to study the original armor and from this he created his own version. Even though the Destroyer was made by Odin himself, Doom in his arrogance, sought to make improvements to the original design. After the Asgardians made Latveria their home, Doom began experimenting on them, using their life energies to power his version of the Destroyer. When Balder discovered what was happening to his people, he attacked Doom along with Thor and to their horror they soon faced Dr. Doom and his version of the Destroyer. Unlike the original Destroyer which cannot be worn physically, Dr. Doom's version allowed him to physically wear the armor and he engaged Thor directly. Because Doom's version required Asgardian life forces to power it, Balder was able to severed that power source and Thor was able to smash it to pieces. Doom escaped with the help of Loki, but this version of the Destroyer armor was no more. The original has not been seen since.