Before becoming a superhuman, Carl "Crusher" Creel had a history of violence. As a young man, he became a boxer using the ring name of "Rocky Davis" in honor of his cousin, Rockwell Davis, whom he had sworn to protect. His fighting skills served him well in the ring, and he became a heavyweight title contender before losing a key match to Battlin' Jack Murdock. The young Creel turned to a life of crime, committing numerous offenses until finally landing in prison for aggravated assault. The Norse god Loki, trying to create a pawn for use against his half-brother Thor, slipped a magical potion into Creel's drink that gave him the ability to absorb the properties of anything he or his ball and chain touched. Immediately breaking out of prison, Creel soon encountered Thor. Creel reveled in his new power as he pushed the god of thunder to his limits in a grueling fight. The two fought almost to a standstill until Thor transmuted the elements that Creel was absorbing into helium. Now composed of helium, Creel was unable to control his gaseous form, and dissipated into the air.
As part of a plot to defeat Thor and usurp Odin's throne, Loki soon used his magic to restore Creel and set him against Thor once again. Thor and the Absorbing Man pitched a fierce battle across downtown Manhattan, with Thor slowly but surely gaining the advantage through his superior fighting skill. Before his pawn could be defeated, Loki transported Absorbing Man to Asgard, and together the two assaulted Odin's palace, making their way to the throne room where Absorbing Man absorbed even Odin's powers; Odin briefly feigned defeat before banishing both Loki and the Absorbing Man into the depths of space.
During his exile in space, Creel happened upn a comet, used his powers to become one with it, and steered it toward Earth. Bruce Banner, the alter ego of the monstrous Hulk, piloted a rocket and successfully diverted the comet, unaware he had picked up a deadly passenger in the process. Banner was soon forced to become the Hulk when Creel attacked. The savage Hulk failed to understand the nature of his foe's powers and was soon at the villain's mercy as Creel absorbed the Hulk's strength; however, the Absorbing Man was defeated when he continued to absorb the Hulk's power during his transformation into Bruce Banner while holding a large boulder above his head. Robbed of the strength to support the boulder, Creel decided to absorb the properties of the rock, but he literally crumbled beneath the boulder's weight.
Reconstituting himself, the Absorbing Man tested his might against Thor again, absorbing Thor's hammer and beating the Thunder God unconscious. Thor subsequently turned Creel's powers against him when he tricked the Absorbing Man into using his power on a rubber duplicate hammer. Once Creel had become composed of rubber, Thor placed the helpless villain in a simple cardboard box, and deposited him in jail. Eventually breaking free of his prison, Creel was contacted by the mysterious They Who Wield Power and offered a chance to kill the Hulk. He readily accepted and tested his might against the Hulk a second time. Again the Absorbing Man's amazing power was ultimately his undoing; when Creel was thrown from a building, he reached out to absorb the properties of the building's steel, but instead grabbed glass and was shattered on the ground. After this defeat, Creel, tired of his battles with super heroes, decided to leave the country and kidnapped a woman named Sandy Herkowitz for company; however, the Avengers opposed him until he absorbed the properties of ocean water to escape. Creel found it difficult to control this form and washed out to sea, the experience of having his body and mind dispersed leaving him mentally unbalanced.
He eventually washed up on Easter Island, still insane and paranoid from his discorporation. By chance, the Hulk arrived there, too, reverting into Bruce Banner. The paranoid Creel sensed Banner was one of "them" - beings he barely remembered but who had opposed him in the past. Creel took Banner and held him captive until he transformed into the Hulk. Seeking to overpower the Hulk, the Absorbing Man soon tried to absorb the entire island, but was punched into the air by the Hulk in mid-transformation. The shock of the disruption of his absorption process made Creel lose what little grip on reality he had left, and he floated there in the water, becoming an island himself. After he recovered his senses, he returned to America only to be defeated by the Dazzler (Alison Blaire) and Black Bolt.
The cosmic Beyonder abducted Absorbing Man and many other Earth villains to fight in his "Secret Wars," taking them to his artificial planet Battleworld and pitting them against many Earth heroes. During this conflict, Creel first met his future wife, the newly-empowered Titania (Mary "Skeeter" MacPherran). The two began a romantic relationship on Battleworld, and after returning to Earth they joined Baron (Helmut) Zemo's Masters of Evil. The villainous team took over Avengers Mansion, brutalizing many heroes and nearly destroying the Avengers. After the Masters of Evil beat the Avenger Hercules into a coma, Absorbing Man and Titania were sent to the hospital where the hero was being treated to finish the job. The Wasp and Ant-Man (Scott Lang) defeated the criminal couple and handed them into police custody. The Avengers then rallied their forces and defeated the Masters of Evil.
Following the dissolution of the Masters of Evil, Loki used the Absorbing Man as a pawn once again and sent him against Thor, who was weakened due to a curse from the death goddess Hela. In his weakened state, the thunder god's bones were brittle, easily broken, and unable to heal. Loki led Absorbing Man to mistakenly believe that Thor had killed Titania, and the enraged Creel soon had the weakened Thor at his mercy until the hero used his hammer to teleport Creel to another dimension. Eventually returning to Earth, the Absorbing Man fought with the Hulk in Las Vegas during the latter's stint as enforce "Mr. Fixit." Creel had been hired to take out Fixit due to the threat he posed to his employer's competitors. Their struggle eventually took them to the Hoover Dam where Creel absorbed the properties of the dam's electricity, but he was tricked into swinging his ball and chain into some water while in his electric state. To avoid several electrical shock, Absorbing Man immediately absorbed the properties of concrete, and the Hulk quickly shattered him.
After recovering, Creel fought the super hero Quasar (Wendell Vaughn) and was defeated when the hero overloaded Creel with more energy than he was capable of absorbing. Soon after, Creel had a run in with Eric Masterson, who was temporarily substituting for Thor. During this battle, Creel was reunited with his girlfriend Titania, and the couple left after making an uneasy truce with Masterson. Absorbing Man and Titania went on to join a new incarnation of the Masters of Evil, led by Dr. Octopus. The team proved short-lived as they were promptly defeated by the 31st century Guardians of the Galaxy.
The Absorbing Man was later among the menaces who received a bogus invitation to - and attended - the wedding of Hulk's friends Rick and Marlo Jones. Perhaps tiring of his repeated defeats, the Absorbing Man then appeared to be trying to life a crime-free life, made difficult by his girlfriend Titania's reluctance to go straight. The two had confrontations with Masterson in his new Thunderstrike guise, some friendly, some not. The two did manage to develop at least a mutual respect, as Absorbing Man later went to Thunderstrike's grave to pay his last respects to the hero. Soon thereafter, Creel finally married his longtime girlfriend Titania before a gathering of super-villains, including his best man, Dirk Garthwaite (Wrecker). The Avengers briefly crashed the gathering, but when they realized the nature of the occasion they departed, and they wedding concluded in peace.
Unfortunately, Absorbing Man soon returned to his criminal ways, possibly because the police would always assume he was in the process of committing a crime even when he was doing something as innocent as buying his wife a present. He was contacted by the mysterious New World Order to stop the Hulk, who had been empowered even further by Apocalypse as the horseman known as "War." Creel fought "War," but quickly found he was no match for his foe's expanded powers and was defeated with unprecedented ease.
When a New York newspaper, the Daily Bugle, offered a million dollars to anyone who could bring in Spider-Man, Absorbing Man wanted the money; but he realized that he and Titania could never collect any rewards, being wanted by the police themselves. To work their way around that technicality, the two adopted fake heroic identities as Lightningbolt and Thunder Girl, and attacked Spider-Man and his ally Daredevil in hopes of claiming the reward. Before long, the two villains were recognized, and Absorbing Man surrendered after Titania was injured during the fight. The villainous couple continued their series of misadventures when they tried to hold up a fancy restaurant only to be defeated by She-Hulk and Luke Cage, who were dining there. Soon after, Absorbing Man took Titania to a jewelry store to buy her an anniversary present, and the store owner called the police upon seeing them, leading to a brief altercation with Iron Man and Thor.
Absorbing Man's life took a turn for the worse when Titania contracted cancer; he was powerless to help her because they lacked money for medical care, and would be arrested if they went to a hospital. Absorbing Man kidnapped Dr. Jane Foster, planning to force her to treat Titania's cancer. Thor came to Dr. Foster's rescue, and the ensuing battle completely demolished the apartment building in which Absorbing Man and Titania were living. Creel ultimately surrendered in return for Thor's agreeing to arrange Titania's treatment by professionals. Titania was eventually cured, and when Thor later became ruler of Asgard and moved his kingdom to Earth to begin righting all of humanity's wrongs, Creel became a faithful follower of his former nemesis; Creel supported Thor, grateful for the assistance he had given to Titania in her hour of need.
Around the same time a warp disturbed the time-space continuum, allowing Creel to be in two distinct places at the same time. While one copy of Creel was declaring his loyalty to Thor, another Creel was incarcerated in a power-nullifying prison. After prolonged isolation, this Creel developed the ability to control people's minds. Using this ability, he took a hostage and forced the Hulk to free his body from its prison. The Hulk did so and then fought this Absorbing Man. This time Creel had much greater control of his powers and defeated the Hulk; however, the Absorbing Man ultimately lost when he was tricked into taking over a corpse's mind and his own real body decayed as a result. Soon after, the disturbance in the time stream healed and both Creels were made one again.
While Crusher wanted out of the villainous life, his wife slowly became more obsessed with seeking vengeance on her enemies, especially She-Hulk; she focused solely on training and began ignoring Creel until he finally left her. Under unrevealed circumstances, Creel was incarcerated at the Big House, aka Pym Experimental Penitentiary No. 1, where super-criminals were shrunk down to miniature size and monitored by full-sized guards. While imprisoned, Creel participated in a massive jailbreak masterminded by the Mad Thinker, but Absorbing Man and his fellow escapees were quickly defeated and returned to prison by the She-Hulk.
After many months of being incarcerated and sedated, Creel grew dependent on the illegal drugs the guards were slipping into his food. He absorbed the properties of steel and escaped from his prison. After a run-in with Spider-Man, Creel accepted an offer from the criminal called the Owl: Creel would kill several people for him if the Owl would supply drugs to feed his addiction. On his mission, Creel clashed with Spider-Man and new hero Virtue (Ethan Edwards, actually a super-Skrull). After a battle with the heroes, Creel ingested some of his addictive drugs, relaxed and fell asleep, having changed his form into the drug. The Owl's men turned fans on him, scattering the drug all over the wall, and Owl packaged Creel's scattered body to sell the drug to the public. Those getting high on Creel's drug form started developing brief absorbing powers, and the Owl pulled in significant profits from the sales. As the addicts sloughed off sweat and waste materials, Creel's substance slowly re-gathered in the sewer, allowing him to reconstitute himself. He furiously planned his revenge and went after the Owl, but was ultimately defeated by Spider-Man and Virtue.
Later, during the super-hero Civil War, Absorbing Man engaged in a deadly battle with Sentry (Bob Reynolds). With every blow the Absorbing Man absorbed more power from Sentry as their battle raged across the city. Sentry defeated Creel when he forced the villain to absorb more energy than he was able to contain, and Creel dissipated, his ball and chain falling to the Earth below. Absorbing Man was later seen once again fighting Spider-Man before reuniting with his cousin Rockwell, now the super-villain Hi-Lite, in Minnesota, where they and Titania fought She-Hulk.
Creel has a son (Jerry Sledge), born as a result of Creel raping Jerry's unidentified mother years ago. Creel later killed her, but while trying to prevent this, Sledge gained some of Creel's powers, later becoming covert super-agent Stonewall. In modern times, fearing for civilians like his mother and sister, Creel joined the Lethal Legion and opposed Norman Osborn's reign over US superhumans, but was captured. Creel later tapped Cosmic Cube fragments to become a reality-altering giant, battling Osborn's forces and an Avengers faction, but Osborn defeated Creel with Loki's secret mystical aid. Later, corrupt arms dealer Walter Declun had Creel's powers enhanced so he could assume the properties of certain substances at will; he battled the Fantastic Four, Black Panther (Shuri) and others for Declun. Creel was later hired by the Mutant Response Division (MRD) to lure X-Factor Investigations' mutant detectives into a deadly trap by posing as a client, but XI thwarted the plot. A drunken Creel's assault on Stark Tower was thwarted by Avengers associates Sharon Carter, Victoria Hand and Maria Hill. He later copied Giant-Man (Henry Pym)'s size-changing powers, growing beyond reality into the cosmic abstract beings' realm. Traumatized, Creel surrendered to Giant-Man after returning to normal. Creel and Titania were later among the Worthy, super-beings possessed and mystically augmented by enchanted Asgardian hammers that transformed them into the Asgardian fear god Serpent's servants. As Greithoth, Breaker of Wills and Skirn, Breaker of Men, respectively, Creel and Titania terrorized the planet and fought the Avengers.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
PowersThe Absorbing Man can absorb the properties of anything with which he or his ball and chain come into contact. This power extends to living things, inanimate objects and forms of energy; he is not limited to one property of an item but can become changed into many different substances - when absorbing a city building his form can simultaneously include wood, cement, glass, metal, and even flesh. When he absorbs the properties of materials, his body and his ball and chain become composed of the material he is absorbing. In addition, he can absorb specific properties relating to the form and/or mass of the object he is absorbing, such as absorbing the height of a building, or the spikes of a mace. The Absorbing Man initially found it difficult to control his form when he transformed into liquid materials, on occasion becoming mentally unhinged and delusional, although this became less of a problem with practice. If his body is broken into pieces while he is in an altered state, the Absorbing Man can reassemble himself. As his powers are magical in nature, his body can function irregardless of what material it is composed. Ordinary materials he has been transformed into include steel, stone, wood, diamond and glass; more unusual materials have included lightning, water, fire, snow, smoke, helium, light, cosmic energies and silk. His most powerful transformations have been into energy-states such as cosmic, nuclear, thermal or light. He has transformed into Adamantium, uru (from Thor's hammer) and the unique metal of Captain America's shield. He has also absorbed the strength and powers of individual beings, including the Sentry, Hulk, Odin and others. Though he does not inherently possess superhuman strength or energy powers, he can gain virtually unlimited power depending on the properties of the material he has adapted.
AbilitiesAside from his superhuman powers, Absorbing Man is also adept at boxing, street fighting techniques and burglary strategies. For a brief period of time, the Absorbing Man developed the ability to take over people's minds, even across vast distances.
There are unrevealed limits to the amount of power the Absorbing Man can quickly absorb, as he has on occasion met defeat by rapidly absorbing excessive amounts of energy or absorbing energies that disrupted the powers he already held.
- 64 Appearances of Carl Creel (Earth-616)
- 12 Images featuring Carl Creel (Earth-616)
- 6 Quotations by or about Carl Creel (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Carl Creel (Earth-616)
- Fan-Art Gallery: Carl Creel (Earth-616)