Absorbing Man

Absorbing Man
The Absorbing Man
The Absorbing Man (background) on the cover of Thor #376 (Feb. 1987).
Art by Walt Simonson.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Journey into Mystery #114 (March 1965)
Created by Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
In-story information
Alter ego Carl "Crusher" Creel
Team affiliations Masters of Evil
They Who Wield Power
Legion Accursed
Partnerships Titania
Notable aliases Rocky Davis, Lightningbolt, Greithoth: Breaker of Wills
Abilities Ability to mimic any form of matter or energy with physical contact

The Absorbing Man (Carl "Crusher" Creel) is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appears in Journey into Mystery #114 (Mar. 1965) and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, the Absorbing Man has featured in over four decades of Marvel continuity and other Marvel-endorsed products such as animated television series, video games, and merchandise such as trading cards.


Fictional character biography

Carl "Crusher" Creel was a boxer and jailed criminal who becomes the Absorbing Man when he drinks a liquid which the Asgardian god Loki laced with rare Asgardian ingredients. Discovering that he could absorb the properties of anything he touched, Creel escaped prison by absorbing metal from the guards' bullets and went on to battle Thor. Although he is only mortal, Creel's fantastic abilities make him a match for Thor, who is later forced to end the battle due to Loki kidnapping Jane Foster. Creel breaks into a house and attacks the occupants, but Thor soon battles him again, and eventually tricks Creel into transforming into helium by using his hammer's powers to transform the ground, which makes Creel drift harmlessly into the atmosphere.[1][2]

A short time later, Loki retrieves Creel from space using Asgardian technology after he has knocked out an Asgardian warlock and sends him to battle Thor. After he is nearly beaten due to Thor's fighting skill, Loki transports him to Asgard and reveals to him how he had obtained his "absorbing" powers. After being humbled by Loki, Creel agrees to act as his agent, and is directed to take the city. The Absorbing Man defeats the Asgardian legions without too much trouble and eventually confronts Odin himself. Creel absorbs Odin's attacks and then the properties of Asgard itself, hoping to rule the Universe, and towers over Odin as Loki arrives to gloat. Thor is ordered by Odin not to keep attacking. Loki and Creel are then beaten by trickery: once given Odin's Rod of Rulership the two quarrel over it, the Absorbing Man trying to absorb the rod, and the two find they cannot let go. Odin then advises them that his power lies not in a mere object, but deep within himself. The pair are then banished to space.[3]

The Absorbing Man eventually returns on a comet and battles the Hulk. Bruce Banner had been sent to divert the comet, as it was feared it was radioactive, but the Absorbing Man leapt aboard and began absorbing the Hulk's strength. He tried to bury the Hulk under a mountain, but when the Hulk turned back, the Absorbing Man was unable to support the great weight and was buried.[volume & issue needed] But he goes on to battle many other heroes, such as the Avengers,[4] Daredevil,[5] Dazzler,[6] the Hulk,[7] and Spider-Man.[8] Creel is one of the villains who participates in the Secret Wars, and also develops a relationship with the superstrong villainess Titania.[9]

The pair also join the reformed fourth version of the Masters of Evil.[10] Creel has several more battles with Thor[11] (and the Eric Masterson Thor)[12] and a skirmish with cosmic hero Quasar.[13] Creel is later incarcerated in New York's experimental "Ant-Hill" prison, where all prisoners are reduced in size via Hank Pym's "Pym particles". An escape attempt is thwarted by She-Hulk.[14]

The Absorbing Man later battles and is apparently killed by the hero Sentry during the events of Civil War.[15] Creel, however, later appears at the funeral of the villain Stilt-Man.[16]

Creel and Titania later come into conflict with the heroine She-Hulk and her Skrull partner Jazinda after they attempt to arrest Creel's cousin Rockwell "Hi-Lite" Davis.[17]

During the events of Dark Reign, Creel joins a new version of the Lethal Legion led by the Grim Reaper.[18] After a defeat, Creel escapes prison and absorbs a shard of the artifact the Cosmic Cube.[19]

The Absorbing Man suffers a setback when villain Norman Osborn uses an enchanted sword - provided by Loki - to remove his absorbing powers completely.[20]

Creel is also revealed to be the father of the hero Stonewall.[21]

In the Heroic Age, Creel is revealed to have somehow regained his powers. He storms Avengers Tower to recover his ball and chain. He is defeated by Avengers' coordinators Maria Hill, Sharon Carter, and Victoria Hand after absorbing the latter's cold.[22] Creel is sedated while the Avengers Academy escorts him to his prison. He manages to control his wrecking ball telekinetically, and then uses it to break himself free. He fights the Avengers Academy and at first, he starts to win. Hank Pym, (one of the teachers for Avengers Academy), joins the fight. As the fight progresses, Creel begins to make cruel taunts to Hank, saying what a bad Avenger he is and how he always breaks under the pressure of handling too much responsibility. This provokes Hank to grab Creel and make them both larger, outgrowing each dimension at a time, which almost drives Creel insane. So he decides to surrender before going any further. Creel then begs Pym not to take him back to prison, because the prison guards constantly keep him sedated, so he can't absorb any material to escape. He hates being trapped in his own body in that type of manner. Pym showing him compassion, decided to build him a specially made prison cell that would prevent him from ever escaping, so he wouldn't need to be drugged anymore.[volume & issue needed]

"Fear Itself"

During the 2011 "Fear Itself" storyline, Creel and Titania encounter two of the divine hammers that contain the essences of the Worthy, generals to Odin's brother and adversary, the Serpent. Coming into contact with the hammers, Titania and Creel were transformed into Sirkn: Breaker of Men,[23] and Greithoth, Breaker of Wills, respectively.[24] and went on a rampage depicted in a number of "Fear Itself' tie-in books, most prominently Avengers Academy #15 - 19 and Iron Man 2.0 #5 - 6, as well as that storyline's core miniseries.

Powers and abilities

Courtesy of a magical potion, Crusher Creel has the ability to duplicate the properties of anything he touches - gas, liquid, solid, or even energy sources. This transformation also extends to the clothing and ball and chain that Creel was wearing when the potion took effect (for example, if Creel touches the metal titanium, his body, clothing, and ball and chain would take on the appearance and properties of titanium). If the object is large (e.g., a building), Creel can absorb sufficient mass to attain the same height. Creel also retains his intellect and capacity for speech and full physical movement (although the character's first attempt at absorbing water cost Creel his sanity when he drifted apart)[25] and can reform if his body is damaged in any way while in altered form, which he discovered when Wolverine cut his arm off during the Secret Wars and he held it in place as he deactivated his powers.[26]

Creel's overall power increases in direct proportion to the strength of the material absorbed. There appears to be no limit to what Creel can absorb, as he has absorbed the properties of bronze;[27] cocaine;[28] Odin's Cosmic Bolt and later cyclonic storm;[29] diamond;[30] glass;[31] light;[6] rock, silk, soil;[32] spikes;[33] steel;[34] Thor's uru hammer Mjolnir;[35] water;[25] and even the properties of Asgard itself.[29]

Creel is now also capable of combining previously absorbed abilities.[36]

Other versions

Age of Apocalypse

In the Age of Apocalypse reality, Absorbing Man (alongside Diablo) works as a prison camp warden in Mexico.[volume & issue needed]

Earth X

In the limited series Earth X, set in the alternate universe Earth-9997, Creel is also capable of absorbing knowledge, and eventually able to remember everything previously absorbed and to display any of these properties at will.[37]

House of M

Absorbing Man is seen as a member of the Hood's Masters of Evil.[38]

Marvel Zombies

Creel, as a zombie, works for the zombie Kingpin. He battles the interloper Machine Man while in stone form. He is tricked into absorbing the weak physicality of the zombie Karnak and Machine Man swiftly destroys his head.[39]

Old Man Logan

An elderly Hawkeye reveals to Logan that Creel, along with Magneto, was responsible for defeating Thor.[40]

In other media


  • Absorbing Man appears in the Thor segment of 1966's The Marvel Super Heroes.
  • 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 (who possesses the power to turn other into love slaves), both of who come into conflict with Banner, Joe Fixit/Grey Hulk, and She-Hulk. However unlike Allure's other henchmen, Crusher Creel is genuinely in love with Allure, regardless of her powers. After Bruce Banner removes Allure's powers, Creel reveals he still loves her despite the loss of her powers and her previous admission that she was only using him. His confession of love apparently moves the powerless Allure (She-Hulk is brought to tear by the romantic nature scene). Both Crusher and Allure are arrested.
  • Absorbing Man appears in The Avengers: United They Stand episode "Command Decision" voiced by Oliver Becker.
  • 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 absorbing 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.


  • Absorbing Man also appears in an early script of the 2003 feature film Hulk.[41] 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.[42][43]

Video games

  • 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.


  1. ^ Journey Into Mystery #114-115 (March - April 1965)
  2. ^ DeFalco, Tom (2006). The Marvel Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-7566-2358-6. 
  3. ^ Journey Into Mystery #121-123 (Oct. - Dec. 1965)
  4. ^ Avengers #183-184 (May - June 1979)
  5. ^ Daredevil #360 (Jan. 1997)
  6. ^ a b Dazzler #18 (Aug. 1982)
  7. ^ Hulk #208-209 (Feb. - March 1977), #347-348 (Sep. - Oct. 1988), #457 (Oct. 1997), Hulk Annual #18 (1992)
  8. ^ Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #13 - 18 (June - Nov. 2005)
  9. ^ Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #1 - 12 (May 1984 - April 1985)
  10. ^ Avengers #270, 273 + 275 (Aug. + Nov. 1986 + Jan. 1987)
  11. ^ Thor #375 - 376 (Jan - Feb. 1987); vol. 2, #14 (Aug. 1999)
  12. ^ Thor #446 (April 1992)
  13. ^ Quasar #5 (Dec. 1989)
  14. ^ She-Hulk #10 (Feb. 2005)
  15. ^ Civil War: The Return #1 (Jan. 2007)
  16. ^ Punisher War Journal vol. 2, #4 (April 2007)
  17. ^ She-Hulk vol. 2, #22 - 23 (Nov. - Dec. 2007)
  18. ^ Lethal Legion #1 - 3 (Aug. - Oct. 2009)
  19. ^ Mighty Avengers #32 (Dec. 2009)
  20. ^ Mighty Avengers #33 (Jan. 2010)
  21. ^ Secret Warriors #12 (Jan. 2010)
  22. ^ Age of Heroes #3
  23. ^ Matt Fraction (w), Stuart Immonen (p), Wade von Grawbadger (i). "The Worthy" Fear Itself 2 (July 2011), Marvel Comics
  24. ^ Christos Gage (w), Tom Raney (p), Scott Hanna and Andrew Hennessy (i). "No Unwounded Soldiers" Avengers Academy 15 (August 2011), Marvel Comics
  25. ^ a b Avengers #184 (July 1979)
  26. ^ Secret Wars #7 November 1984
  27. ^ Journey into Mystery #114 (April 1965)
  28. ^ Marvel Knights Spider-Man #16 (Sep. 2005)
  29. ^ a b Journey Into Mystery #123 (Dec. 1965)
  30. ^ Daredevil #360 (July 1997)
  31. ^ Journey Into Mystery #121 (Oct. 1965)
  32. ^ Journey Into Mystery #115 (April 1965)
  33. ^ Journey Into Mystery #122 (Nov. 1965)
  34. ^ Journey Into Mystery #114 (March 1965)
  35. ^ Thor #376 (Feb. 1987)
  36. ^ She-Hulk vol. 2, #23 (Dec. 2007)
  37. ^ Earth X #0-12 (March 1999 - April 2000)
  38. ^ House of M: Masters of Evil #1
  39. ^ Marvel Zombies 3 #3 (2009)
  40. ^ Wolverine #67
  41. ^ Dayna Van Buskirk. "Feature Article: The Lost "Hulk" - David Hayter's Draft". UGO. http://screenwriting.ugo.com/film/incrediblehulkbyhayter.php. Retrieved 2007-12-03. [dead link]
  42. ^ Daniel James Wood. "Elements of Classical Mythology in Ang Lee's Hulk". The Film Journal. http://www.thefilmjournal.com/issue7/hulk.html. Retrieved 2010-08-30. 
  43. ^ Bill Warren (August 1, 2007). "Hulk". AVRev. http://www.avrev.com/hd-dvd-movie-disc-reviews/action-adventure/hulk.html. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 

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