Professor Chen developed the Thermal Man to be an industrial super-worker in China, but his prototype was seized by the Chinese military, who programmed it to destroy America, and sent it to American shores. Their aim was to test the capabilities of the Thermal Man design, as well as American defenses against such a weapon.
Arriving in New York, he began wreaking havoc. Odin dispatched Balder and the Warriors Three to combat it, and when they were defeated, he summoned Thor from deep space. Thor arrived to find most of New York evacuated, and some areas of the city on fire. Watching as the Thermal Man destroyed an American Army brigade, Thor attacked with a regrouped Balder and Warriors Three by his side, buy all five were easily defeated.
The Chinese military sent the Americans an experimental implosion bomb, to use in destroying the Thermal Man as a peace offering, to avoid an outright war with America over this incident. They also had become concerned about the massive destruction the Thermal Man was causing, worried he might turn against them, but the implosion bomb only succeeded in stunning the Thermal Man.
Thor left to help as Dr. Blake, and Balder and the Warriors Three were badly defeated and injured by the revived Thermal Man, who continued his rampage. Karnilla, who was watching, whisked her love Balder and the Warriors Three to Asgard. Thor heard of the new rampage, and confronted the Thermal Man again, but rather than use physical force, he created a massive typhoon in New York harbor, and succeeded in creating a tidal wave to wash Thermal Man out to sea, to be frozen in the Arctic, his atomic pile run down in the cold.
Years later, a Chinese test of a neutron bomb in the Arctic revived the Thermal Man. It destroyed the Chinese camp after they radioed a description to Beijing. It began the long trek to America. Members of the Central Committee in the Chinese government realized the Thermal Man was loose again, and they summoned Professor Chen from prison. They feared that America would blame China for his release and rampage. Chen was ordered to find a way to stop the Thermal Man, and created a device which could reprogram it by remote control. Later, Thor saw fires break out in New York City, and found the Thermal Man responsible. Odin summoned Thor to fight an invasion of Frost Giants, but Thor ignored this to help Midgard. Thor was thrown through several buildings, thermal blasted, and tossed around until the American military showed up. Using a particle beam, they stunned the Thermal Man long enough to erect a plasma cage around it. The Thermal Man quickly broke free of his plasma cage, and Thor attacked him again, and was beaten back repeatedly. Professor Chen arrived, and using his control device, he managed to get the Thermal Man to pause in his rampage for a whole second-- to incinerate Professor Chen. Thor, desperate for a solution, decided to kill two birds with one stone, and summoned a dimensional gateway to send the Thermal Man to Jotunheim, where he started melting all the Frost Giants he saw, to the cheers of Asgard.
A band of Frost Giants, hunted by the Thermal Man after seeing him kill many of their brethren, went to their shaman, Sludge. They begged him to contact Ymir, the only one who could defeat the Thermal Man. Sludge's spell was intercepted by Loki, who appeared before him. Sludge explained their predicament, and Loki agreed to help out for a price to be named later. Using magic probably developed to take over the Destroyer armor, Loki seized control of the Thermal Man, mystically overriding its programming. Loki raised up an army of Frost Giants, and led an attack to the very gates of Asgard itself with the Thermal Man. Odin summoned a council of war, ensuing a great battle. The Thermal Man defeated Balder and the Warriors Three. Thor summoned his armor, and was able to withstand a few blasts of the Thermal Man, but couldn't stop or even slow him. He noticed that the robot spoke more, and figured out that Loki was in control. Thor developed a plan, and used his hammer to absorb the thermal blasts, and then redirected them out in one burst. He managed to crack the Thermal Man's shell, and with repeated hammer hits, opened a wide enough hole to rip out the atomic pile powering it. Apart from its cooling units, the pile quickly went critical. The Giants had seen Loki defeated, and fled in a mystic portal back to Jotunheim. Thor hurled the device after them, and incinerated all of them, and much of the Jotunheim countryside in a thermonuclear blast. Loki swore revenge, as a crisis was averted.
Eventually, the Frost Giants cast the Thermal Man out of Asgard, and into a New Jersey landfill. The Thermal Man was appropriated by Redfield Electronics, who saw in it the potential for a powerful new weapon. Redfield were able to create a tape of everything the Thermal Man's sensors had seen. Jim Redfield had his company rebuild the Thermal Man, installing an experimental engine, so he could resell it to the Pentagon and keep his company afloat. Paul Conklin, who was chief engineer on the project, objected to testing it even on a limited basis. But test it they did, and the Thermal Man was now able to absorb energy, and quickly regained full power, broke his restraints, and once again, started killing scientists and destroyed the lab. Paul Conklin called his wife, Police Captain Shelley Conklin, and asked her to send in her Code: Blue unit to halt the Thermal Man. She frantically agreed and ordered Code Blue to the scene, despite having been disbanded by the city. Code: Blue attacked with artillery rocket shells, but they had no effect. They tried freezing it with liquid nitrogen, but as it no longer had an atomic pile, this failed. Thunderstrike arrived, but was only able to momentarily stalemate the Thermal Man, who continued his rampage around the building. Code: Blue received a present from Stark Industries -- monomolecular adamantium wire -- which they handled with special gloves. While one end was tied down, Thunderstrike took the other end and sliced the Thermal Man at the knees, then decapitated the robot, like a ginsu knife through hot butter. The Thermal Man was finally laid to rest. Documents discovered on the premises revealed that Paul Redfield had secretly programmed the Thermal Man to run wild so he could collect the insurance on his business. 
A Thermal Man reappeared years later as part of a group of Soviet Super-Soldiers who had been put into cryogenic sleep in the 1960's. The group was to be woken up in the event of a nuclear attack on American soil to act as a "clean up crew." After an explosion set off by the Infernal Man off the California coast woke them up, this Thermal Man and his fellow Super-Soldiers fought, and were defeated by, the Order. Considering the fact that the Thermal Man had been active after the period of time this one would have been put on ice, it seems likely that this actually a separate robot from the one that fought Balder, Thor, and Thunderstrike.
The Thermal Man was powered by an atomic pile, which made him nearly invincible to any attack. His eyes and hands unleashed a Thermal Blast capable of melting any earthly material into slag, up to and including bedrock and tanks. He was also strong enough to toss Thor around and durable enough to survive direct hits from Mjolnir, and even an implosion bomb designed specifically to destroy him. He also had sophisticated sensor arrays designed to find the weaknesses in materials. He could not be reprogrammed, despite numerous attempts to do so. When later revived by Redfield Electronics, he no longer had an atomic pile engine and was somewhat less powerful, but could absorb energy directed at him.
His processes shut down when exposed to environments of extreme cold. He had a very one track mind when it came to destroying America. He had a very small vocabulary. He was vulnerable to very powerful sorcerous attacks. His reflexes were also sub-par.
- 10 Appearances of Thermal Man (Earth-616)
- Minor Appearances of Thermal Man (Earth-616)
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- 5 Images featuring Thermal Man (Earth-616)
- Quotations by or about Thermal Man (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Thermal Man (Earth-616)
- Thermal Man on Marvunapp
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