First Appearance as Carl Crusher Creel in Journey into Mystery #114
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.
Bruce Banner was piloting a comet, which 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.
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. After a long battle, Creel escaped by turning himself into water while in the ocean. Then later, Creel would have an encounter with Dazzler and Black Bolt. Please see reference to Secret War. Creel and Titania would both join the Masters of Evil in a plot to destroy the Avengers led by Baron Zemo in Avengers Under Siege story arc.
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.
Major Story Arcs
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, 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 Titiana 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 Titantia 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.
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. 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- Absorbing Man also appears 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.
- 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.