Roger “Red” Norvell was part of a documentary crew which Loki smuggled into Asgard, realm of the Norse gods. Smitten by the goddess Sif, Red made advances but was rebuffed. Red handled the rejection poorly, convinced he could not compete with Sif’s lover Thor. Loki offered Red power equal to Thor, and Red accepted, neither realizing they were fulfilling Odin’s plan. Some time before, Odin had placed a copy of Thor’s essence in Thor’s Iron Gloves, Belt of Strength, and the Fires of Geirrodur, so that he could empower another were Asgard threatened in Thor’s absence. More recently, Odin had learned Loki and Hela were trying to trigger the cataclysmic event Ragnarok, which according to prophecy would cause Thor’s death fighting the Midgard Serpent; Odin plotted creating another Thor to die in his son’s place. Red donned the belt and gloves and entered the fire, emerging transformed into Thor’s equal but mad with power. Red challenged and defeated the true Thor, and when Thor refused to yield, Red fired a lethal energy bolt. Joey, the documentary’s sound engineer, leapt between them, and was killed. Partially regaining his senses, Red told Sif he would spare Thor if she left with him. They traveled to Alfheim, where the kidnapped Sif gradually talked Red back to sanity. Realizing he would never win her, Red returned to Asgard to make amends, taking Thor’s place battling the Serpent and dying; Red’s spirit went to Valhalla.
When Odin and Thor became estranged, Odin restored Red’s powers, gave him his own Uru hammer, and resurrected him. Red became Asgard’s protector, battling both the Hulk and the giant wolf Hoarfen. When Thor returned to confront Odin, the two Thors came to blows, but Thor later gave Red his blessing, recognizing his bravery and acknowledging that both Asgard and Midgard needed Thor protecting them. Though Red’s feelings for Sif remained, he accepted she would never love him, and they became friends.
To fool Ragnarok and prevent the Egyptian death god Seth from destroying them, Odin exiled the Asgardian gods to Earth in mortal form, unaware of their true identities. Red retained his memories, but lost his powers; however, when Thor regained his powers, so did Red. They reunited to find the missing Asgardians, but before they could, Thor seemingly died battling Onslaught. Red tracked down three lost gods before Seth’s minions killed him. This time Red went to Seth’s domain, falling under his power. When the Lost Gods traveled there, Red captured them, but they escaped and returned to Earth. Seth meanwhile learned how to restore the Asgardians’ identities, and that if he destroyed the world tree Yggdrasil afterwards, all the Asgardians would die. Seth send Red to carry out the first part, but when Red restored the Asgardians, he also resurrected himself, breaking Seth’s hold. He hastily returned to Asgard and helped stop Seth. Seconds after Odin vanquished Seth, the extraterrestrial Dark Gods launched a sneak attack, capturing the Asgardians. Presumably freed when Thor later defeated the Dark Gods, Red’s fate in light of the recent, final Ragnarok is unknown.