Carl Creel was a boxer using the ring name "Rocky Davis" in honor of his cousin, Rockwell Davis, whom he had sworn to protect. He became a heavyweight title contender before losing a key match to Battlin' Jack Murdock, and later became an extortionist who served time for assault. While in prison, Creel drank a potion that was made by Loki, which imbued him with the powers of matter absorption to battle Loki's enemies, Thor and Odin. Absorbing Man's first battle with Thor was heavily in favor of Absorbing Man. Mainly because if Thor were to touch Absorbing Man with his hammer, Mjolnir, Absorbing Man would be practically unstoppable. Thor, realizing that he could possibly lose the battle, took actions to outwit Absorbing Man, and banished him to space in the form of a gas.
Carl Crusher Creel was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in Journey into Mystery issue 114 (1965).
Major Story Arcs
Return to Earth
Creel was trapped in space, having absorbed a gas-like potion, causing him to have turned into gas too. It seemed that Creel was lost foever. However, it was then that Bruce Banner, piloting a comet, crashed through the gas, allowing Absorbing Man to materialize on the comet. Banner was not aware of the nature of the Absorbing Man's power, and soon Creel was more powerful than the Hulk. Getting a whiff of Absorbing Man's power, the Hulk transformed back into Bruce Banner, and Creel absorbed Banner's 'human' lack of powers. Absorbing Man turned into rock, but soon shattered as a boulder collided with him. Not long after, Creel had an encounter with a mysterious man (who later turned out to be Loki) who augmented Creel's Ball and Chain so that he could throw it and fly like Thor's hammer. Creel would have a few more encounters with both Thor and Hulk during these years.
Leaving the Country
Fed-up with fighting super heroes Creel decided to leave the country, but he made a mistake and took a hostage. After a brief encounter with Clint Barton (Hawkeye), Barton decides to call his former teammates the Avengers for help. Creel is furious and starts fighting the team of Superheroes, eventually turning himself into a burning hot peace of steel. After a long battle, Creel escaped the Avengers by turning himself into water while in the ocean.
Creel soon broke into an installation that processed Adamantium with the intent to taking a small piece with him. The Avengers were notified of the break-in and Captain America ordered Quasar to intercept Creel before he got too far. Quasar caught up to Absorbing Man shortly thereafter, and during the brief struggle Creel outmaneuvered the young Avenger and managed to grab hold of the Quantum-bands. Finding himself growing fifty feet tall, he took on the appearance of the bejeweled unearthly metal of the bands. He blasted Quasar and flew toward Manhattan with the intent of taking on the whole Avengers. Quasar, realizing the devastation Creel could cause, overloaded the cosmically powered Absorbing Man. He exploded in a flash of light that was seen miles away, although we was able to reform himself later to take on Thor. After many encounters with Absorbing Man, many superheroes can now easily dispatch of him, using his dull intellect to their advantage.
During the first secret war staged by the Beyonder, Creel got his arm cut off by Wolverine but managed to reattach it as he turned back into flesh. Creel also met a super-villain, Mary "Skeeter" MacPherran, the second Titania. Together they served in Baron Zemo's Masters of Evil when that team took over the Avengers Mansion. Creel and MacPherran became partners in crime, and eventually got married. Creel and MacPherran have since divorced and Creel has resumed his criminal career. The two have an off- again and on- again relationship.
Beginning of the End
Creel would partner with Crossbones and both were defeated by Captain America. The Absorbing Man had many battles; from rematches with the Hulk, to attacking the Avengers. During one of these encounters, he took on the form of water in order to escape by letting the ocean take him away. This particular event drove him to insanity, as his sense of self was never completely recovered. He washed up on an island, and found the Hulk (after a different enemy), and tried to capture him. His grip on reality so loose, he tried to absorb an island. This misfired, and for a while he sat as an island, before retaking shape and making his way back to America. Creel defeated the Hulk, but he was tricked into possessing a corpse, and ultimately, his body rotted to death.
Crusher and Mary
Absorbing Man tended to and took care of Titania after she was released from the hospital despite having been diagnosed with cancer. Mary was very ill, and their close bond had Crusher very distraught but determined to help make her feel better and to get better. He was looking after her in his small New York hideaway and stealing as much medicine as he could to take away her pain and alleviate her cancer symptoms. It was a sad scene as he lacked proper furniture and Mary had to contend with an old mattress. Despite this and her physical frailty Titania was grateful for Crushers help, but feared that it wasn't enough and that she would soon pass on. She started to cough up blood. An angry and upset Crusher vowed that he would get her the help and medical attention she needed. Storming the nearest Hospital, Crusher confronted receptionist Hannah Fairmont and demanded a doctor, who tried to explain that the doctors didn't do house calls. She explained that the patient must be brought in not realizing the situation in its entirety yet, but before she could ask more questions, Creel shook off his long coat and announced himself as the Absorbing Man. Looking for the nearest doctor around, Creel grabbed Jane Foster and seriously wounded Keith Kincaid in the process. Crusher carried Jane to Mary demanding that she use her medical expertise to fix her. Although Jane was sympathetic to the situation, she could not simply heal Titania magically as she required medical equipment. Crusher left his hideout to retrieve medical supplies and equipment but he was immediately confronted by Thor, who was tracking Jane Fosters pager. The two brawled but unintentionally damaged the nearby housing sheltering Foster and Titania. Putting a pause their battle they rushed to their aid, Thor and Creel discovered that Titania had saved Dr. Foster but had collapsed. Thor made sure that Titania received medical care and Creel surrendered to the authorities with the safe knowledge that Mary would get treatment.
The Come Back
He was imprisoned at Pym Experimental Penitentiary/"Ant-Hill" prison and revolted along with other villains, but was stopped by She-Hulk. During the Super-Hero Civil War, Creel was apparently killed by the Avenger known as Sentry. Later Creel would be one of many villains to attend Stilt-Man's funeral. Creel and Titania would have a run-in with She-Hulk and her Skrull partner Jazinda. She-Hulk and her partner was trying to arrest Creel's cousin Rockwell "Hi-Lite" Davis. During the Dark Reign story arc, Creel joins the Lethal Legion led by the Grim Reaper. He evidently manages to escape prison, and absorbs a fragment of the cosmic cube. This puts him up against two Avenger teams, the Dark Avengers and the Mighty Avengers. It has been revealed that Creel is the father of Stonewall from the Secret Avengers team. The outcome from this still waits to be written.
Absorbing Man would receive some upgrades from the Broker who was actually the former CEO of Damage Control, Walter Declun. Absorbing Man would be part of the Broker's army which included other villains like Mandroid, Carolyn Trainer, Hydro-Man and Porcupine. Absorbing Man and his fellow teammates would come into conflict with Shuri, Namor and members of the Fantastic Four when they invaded the Broker's island deep inside the South Pacific. Absorbing Man appears to be wearing a belt and two straps around his chest that have various metals attached to them. Creel transforms his entire body to adamantium and slugs it out with the Thing. A zombie-fied Creel, along with Armadillo and El Aguila enter our world and are hungry for Deadpool and A.I.M. agents. Creel storms the Avengers Tower to get his wrecking ball back, but is stopped by Maria Hill, Sharon Carter, and Victoria Hand. The Avengers Academy is escorting Creel to another facility, but he manages to escape and throws down with Hank Pym who now calls himself Giant-Man. This throw-down leads to both of them popping-up in front of cosmic entities.
Creel was eventually freed by Titania and the two headed to Africa working over several workers in a blood diamond mine. It was there that one of the hammers sent by the Serpent to claim the Worthy landed. Creel was unable to absorb the properties of the hammer but Titania was able to lift the hammer and was transformed into Skirn, Breaker of Men. Skirn told Creel they had to head north to find his hammer. They soon found themselves in China where Creel's hammer is waiting for him but so are James Rhodes, The Immortal Weapons and Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, who wants to challenge the Absorbing Man for the power of the Worthy. However, Skirn knocks him away allowing Creel to become Greithoth, Breaker of Wills.
To shave time off his newest prison sentence, Creel joined an anti-Hulk task force. He faced off against Hulk and tried to siphon off his gamma energy. This opened him up to the One Below All, who had been manipulating Hulk. One Below All easily defeated Creel and opened the Green Door to the Below Place.
Creel absorbed the gamma radiation and redirected it to a weakened Hulk, allowing Hulk to close the portal. Impressed, Puck offered Creel a permanent spot on his new Gamma Flight team. As a member, Creel would go up against Gen. Fortean and Xemnu, both of whom had their sights on the Hulk.
When Hulk caused a gamma explosion and killed a number of people, Gamma Flight was forced to take him on. Creel ended up absorbing enough gamma to become a giant gamma storm giant. He distracted Hulk long enough for Puck to get a shot off, incapacitating Hulk. However, a fed up Creel quit the team after Joe Fixit broke a window on the Alpha Flight Space Station with a gun that was regularly kept on the station.
After disobeying Henry Gyrich, the current head of Alpha Flight, Creel's team needed his help staying off the radar now that they were fugitives. When a gamma mutate, Stockpile, is attacked by local police, Puck convinces the team to head into the field and protect her. There, they are attacked by Skaar, who has been re-powered by an old Gen. Fortean project that was no being run by a resurrected Abomination.
Outmatched, the team needed to retreat, but McGowan's teleporter failed. So, Creel absorbed the properties of the teleporter to rescue them. He doesn't have full control of its power though and accidentally sends his team into a gamma version of the astral plane. They were able to track Abomination's location this way.
Abomination was using Doc Samson's old cathexis ray to create gamma zombies and werewolves out of his own skin grafts. The team was able to fight through the gamma mutates and get access to the ray gun to fix them. When the ray is destroyed before they were done curing people, Creel absorbed the properties of the device and successfully fixed Rick Jones and Del Frye.
The Absorbing Man can alter the molecular structure of his body, his clothes, and his wrecking ball to mimic the properties of any material he touches. This process also gives him enhanced strength, endurance, and in most cases, resistance to injury. If the object touched holds some form of energy, such as a battery or a blast furnace, Creel absorbs these properties as well. The Absorbing Man can also absorb/duplicate the powers, strength, and durability of those within a certain distance, without the need for contact, as demonstrated in fights against Thor and the Hulk. He also has limited shape-changing abilities when absorbing certain objects, such as forming hammer-like fists when touching a hammer or growing to enormous size when copying items of massive power or strength. More recently, Creel has developed the ability to control the mind of another person, even over vast distances. He was shown to be able to "re-grow" his arm when it fell off (in his rocky form) by re-attaching it, then changing back to human form. Some of the substances he has absorbed are; Thor’s Uru hammer Mjolnir, Odin’s cosmic bolt, Hulk’s (gray) strength, Captain America’s shield, the Thing’s skin, titanium, bronze, Dazzler’s light, iron, diamond, helium, water, earth, granite, bricks, Ultron's metallic armor, the Sentry's energy, cinder-blocks and Quasar’s quantum bands. If his body is broken into pieces while in a non-human state he can mentally reassemble himself.
In the "Age of Apocalypse", the Absorbing Man aligned himself with Apocalypse, and served as a warden in Apocalypse's prison camps in the Aztec ruins of Central America alongside Diablo, where was held Robert Kelly. Creel fought against Magneto and managed to injure him with a metal club, yet Rogue killed Crusher by absorbing his powers.
In "Earth-Thor: The Reigning", the Absorbing Man came to be one of Thor's strongest believers. He started a religion worshiping Asgardians and healed Titania of her cancer. Absorbing Man fought against several mutants who tried to ruin Thor’s image.
When the Beyonder and Galactus fought each other and killed themselves, the heroes were stuck in Battleworld. In this world the Absorbing Man and Titania had a kid, Chokeold, who was just as bad as her parents.
The Absorbing Man got into a battle with the super computer Ultron. During the fight, Creel absorbed Ultron's intelligence, and realized the full potential of his ability. Gaining control that he never knew he had and the ability to "store" types of forms in his memory for later use. Rampaging through Washington D.C. he was countered by the Avengers who attempted to stop him. During the battle, Absorbing Man killed all the members except for the Vision. Enraged, Vision infected Creel with a computer virus, and in order to expel it from his body, Creel attempted to shrink his size and turn into stone. Once he had done so, the Vision smashed Creel into bits and distributed the pieces among various heroes who were loners. Some years later, a group called the Tong of Creel was formed by the Red Ronin (secretly Dr. Strange's assistant Wong, who was manipulated by Mephisto) were gathered together to retake the parts of Creel and reassemble the parts so that Creel could live again. Eventually they had succeeded, and all the parts were reassembled in New York City. Enraged over his treatment over the years, Creel then literally absorbed ALL of Manhattan. When the local heroes tried to stop him, nothing would work, however the Vision tried to stop him by making him intangible. With Creel intangible, he was also incapable of being useful to save the world from destruction from it's re-polarization after the Celestial Embryo in the planets core was destroyed by Galactus three years prior. After the Vision was convinced to let Creel become tangible again, Loki convinced Creel to be a hero and turn into Vibranium and save the Earth. When Creel did so, Iron Maiden used her powers to distribute the Vibranium evenly and save the planet. While Creel sacrificed his life to save the Earth, Manhattan maintained the general shape of Creel's body, standing ever on as a monument to Creel's moment of heroics that day.
In the House of M reality, Absorbing Man is seen working in The Hood's version of the Masters of Evil and appears to be in a stable relationship with Titania and the two are married. He plays quite a large role in the team and, along with the likes of Mr. Hyde and the Wrecking Crew, is the brawn of the group. After Nitro is framed for killing a group of innocents, the authorities make the group a major target and the Red Guard is sent to take out the team. Creel is one of those who stands by his allies and is eventually killed by a group of telepaths. He is an inspiration for Titania to continue fighting for non-mutants.
Earth-? (Millennial Visions)
When Hawkeye asked Ringmaster to use his hypnotic abilities to turn villains into heroes, he and Hawkeye created the new Thunderbolts. However, Ringmaster use his abilities to make Titania love him. The Absorbing Man immediately protested and Ringmaster hypnotized him. Hawkeye wondered how long it would be before Ringmaster took over the group; but it was too late, Hawkeye had been hypnotized to believe that. While the Absorbing Man was battling crime he touched a property that disrupted the hypnotism and he struck back at Ringmaster who was unable to hypnotize him and instead, sent the entire Thunderbolts; composed of Scorpion, Stilt-Man, Taskmaster, Whirlwind, Wizard, Batroc the Leaper, Fixer, Jolt, Moonstone, Hawkeye and Clown. While the Absorbing Man battled most them, he knew he'd never get to Titania this way and proceeded to kill most of them. Except Hawkeye and Clown who, it turned out, were not under the Ringmaster's hypnotism. The Avengers arrived and Iron Man told Hawkeye he made a villain into a mass murderer and the Absorbing Man was sent to jail, while Hawkeye mourned his mistake.
Old Man Logan-Verse
Absorbing Man is seen in the illusion cast by Mysterio, however, on a map in what would be approximately Georgia, there is an area marked Creel gang, this could quite possibly be similar to that of either the Ghost Rider's gang or the Hulk family/community where Absorbing Man has establish himself and some others to maintain control over some section of territory within the President's quarter.
The Marvel Super Heroes
Absorbing Man appears in the Thor segment of 1966's The Marvel Super Heroes.
The Incredible Hulk
Absorbing Man appears in The Incredible Hulk episode "They Call Me Mr. Fixit" voiced by Jim Cummings. This version is an enforcer to Miss Allure.
The Avengers: United They Stand
Absorbing Man appears in The Avengers: United They Stand episode "Command Decision" voiced by Oliver Becker.
The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
Absorbing Man appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode "Hulk vs the World" voiced by Rick D. Wasserman. In this version, his powers are the result of gamma radiation exposure, and they are far more versatile; After absrobing the right material, he can morph his hands into hammers, and even mould his entire body into a wall-like structure. After ecaping from The Cube (one of the four supervillain prisons on the show), he attacked Bruce Banner, turning him into the Hulk so they could battle. Hulk and Absorbing Man's battle continues in the desert. When Absorbing Man ends up absorbing a rock, Hulk manages to smash him into pieces. Absorbing Man is shown in one piece as he is taken back to the Cube. He later appears in the first proper episode "The Breakout" Pt. 1 fighting the Hulk along side the Abomination after the breakout at The Cube. In "Gamma World" Pt. 2, he was unleashed by Leader to absorb the properties of Mjolnir and joined Abomination into attacking Thor until Hawkeye and Hulk arrived. Thor continued his fight with Absorbing Man and managed to turn the tide on Absorbing Man since Thor can control Mjolnir thus defeating Absorbing Man. The next day, Absorbing Man and Leader were taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody alongside the other Gamma-based supervillains.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Carl "Crusher Creel" appears in Season 2 portrayed by Brian Patrick Wade of Teen Wolf and The Big Bang Theory fame. The MCU version of the character is not referred to by the "Absorbing Man" code name, and the source of his powers remains unrevealed. Nicknamed the Crusher, who used his secret abilities to pummel his opponents into submission. At some point, Creel moved on to murder, and was targeted for assassination by S.H.I.E.L.D., only to be rescued by double agent John Garrett and recruited by HYDRA. As part of HYDRA, Creel is tasked with recovering a rare alien obelisk from a U.S. military instillation, where he comes into conflict with a S.H.I.E.L.D. team sent by Phil Coulson. In the ensuing chaos, Creel kills Agents Isabelle Hartley and Idaho before managing to retrieve the obelisk. He is later subdued after the agents use a special device that leaves him inert, with the body turned over to the U.S. military for safekeeping.
Creel is repeatedly mentioned in the episode "Cut Man", which takes place many years before the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes he appeared in. In the show, Roscoe Sweeney sets up a fight between Jack Murdock and Creel, who at the time is still a professional boxer. Sweeney fixes the fight and orders Jack to lose, but he instead chooses to defeat Creel in order to maintain the respect of his son, Matt.
Absorbing Man appears in the episode "The Skaar Whisperer," voiced by Jonathan Adams. This same version of the character appeared in Ultimate Spider-Man and Avengers Assemble, with Adams reprising his role both times.
Absorbing Man appeared in an early script of the 2003 feature film Hulk. Although the name Absorbing Man isn't used in the film, some reviewers have suggested that his powers were combined into the character of Dr. David Banner, who gains the powers to absorb and assimilate matter after exposing himself to gamma rays.
- Absorbing Man appears in The Incredible Hulk video game.
- Absorbing Man appears in the PSP, PS2, and Wii version of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2. He ends up injected with the control nanites when the heroes infiltrate Prison 42 thus causing him to fall under the control of The Fold. He was voiced by David Hope.
- Absorbing Man appears in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by John DiMaggio.
- Absorbing Man appears as a an enemy in Marvel Avengers Alliance.
- Absorbing Man appears as a playable character in Marvel Future Fight. He is a combat type who reflects damage and increases the physical defense of his allies. He also shares team bonuses with several people, most notably Titania, The Hulk, Carnage, Enchantress, Thor, and the Mighty Thor.
- ToyBiz released an Absorbing Man figure for the Incredible Hulk animated series.
- ToyBiz released an Absorbing Man figure for the Hulk Classics line. It was later released as part of a two-pack with Spider-Man for the Spider-Man Classics line.
- Absorbing Man was featured in the HeroClix figure game.
- Bowen Designs produced an Absorbing Man bust.
- Absorbing Man was featured in The Classic Marvel Figurine Collection from Eaglemoss Publications. He was also present in The Marvel Chess Collection from the same company.
- Hasbro released an Absorbing Man figure for the Marvel Universe line.
- Hasbro released an Absorbing Man figure for the Marvel Legends Fin Fang Foom Build-a-Figure wave.
- Hasbro later released an Absorbing Man Build-a-Figure for the Marvel Legends line.