Marvel Database

Due to recent developments, please be aware that the use of large language model or generative AIs in writing article content is strictly forbidden. This caveat has now been added to the Manual of Style and Blocking Policy.


Marvel Database

Quote1 You know what that felt like? Carl Creel from Bronx, standing over the God of Thunder? I couldn't explain it if I tried. Quote2
Absorbing Man[src]

Carl "Crusher" Creel aka the Absorbing Man was an American professional Heavyweight boxer turned enforcer.[11] While locked up in prison he was mutated using Asgardian magic by the trickster god Loki using a special potion. Creel obtained his ability to absorb the properties of anything he touches and used his new-found power to break free from prison and soon became a villain for hire.[1] He was later recruited into the Masters of Evil.[12]


Early Life[]

Carl Creel was raised in the Bronx, but his mother encouraged him, telling Carl to always set expectations for himself. Following the death of his mother when he was still young, Carl's father became abusive,[13] but still taught him some things about being an automotive mechanic,[14] and even bought him a pair of boxing gloves. Carl finally found the strength to fight back when he was sixteen, for which his father kicked him out of their home. From then on, Carl lived on the streets and the gym. On the streets he turned to a life of crime, namely breaking into houses and cars, while in the gym he discovered his talent for boxing.

Boxing Career[]

The ring gave Carl an opportunity to let out his anger for the death of his mother and his relationship with his father. His aggressiveness earned him the nickname of "Crusher Creel." His boxing career lead him into a fight with Battlin Jack Murdock.[2] Creel's attitude caught the attention of the local criminal element, leading him to become an enforcer for the Owl's men. Carl felt remorseful for the innocent people he hurt doing shakedowns, but felt stopping was beyond his control.[13]

Becoming Absorbing Man[]

Carl Creel (Earth-616) from Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 1 1 0002

Creel was eventually arrested, and served his first time in prison for aggravated assault and extortion.[13] Some time into his sentence, Carl was selected by Loki, the Asgardian God of Mischief, as his unwitting agent in a scheme against Thor, God of Thunder. By adding an enchanted potion composed of rare Asgardian herbs to Creel's drinking water in the prison commissary, Loki granted the brutal convict a bizarre power he hoped would enable him to defeat Thor, the power to absorb the physical properties of anything with which he came in contact. Creel used his new-found power to break free from prison and soon became engaged in battle with Thor. Due to his ability to absorb the properties of Thor's hammer and Thor himself, Creel, now called the Absorbing Man, became one of the strongest mortal foes Thor ever combated.[1]

Thor was forced to concede the fight when Creel kidnapped Jane Foster. Creel then ransacked a house and attacked the residents, at which point Thor and him had a rematch. He was defeated when Thor tricked him by hitting the ground with Mjolnir and turning it (and Creel) to Helium, causing him to float harmlessly into the atmosphere.[15] He remained in orbit for some time.[16]

He was restored and returned to Earth by Loki using Asgardian tech and battled Thor again following the knockout of an Asgardian warlock.[17] Loki transported him to Asgard where the criminal could be used in his scheme to take over Asgard.[18] But when the Absorbing Man dared to challenge Odin, lord of the Asgardians, Odin summarily dispatched him into space.[19]


Creel eventually managed to return to Earth by hitching a ride on a comet. He soon encountered the Hulk; however, and was defeated while in the process of absorbing the Hulk's power during his transformation to the human Bruce Banner.[20] The Absorbing Man then challenged Thor again and was defeated when he was tricked into turning into water.[21]

A short time later, Thor defeated him again by tricking him into absorbing the properties of a cardboard replica of Thor's hammer.[22] Serving a short prison sentence, Creel managed to escape and was contacted by They Who Wield Power, a cabal of power seekers from El Dorado, who hired him to destroy the Hulk.[23] He failed and inadvertently absorbed the properties of glass while falling.[24]

Eventually reassembling the shards of his body, the Absorbing Man decided that he was tired of fighting against and losing to superhuman champions. Seeking to flee the country, Creel foolishly took a hostage, thereby bringing the Avengers after him.[25] To escape them, he jumped into the ocean and transformed himself into water. When he finally regained his natural form, his mind was addled from his prolonged intermingling with the ocean and he was frightened of anyone with superhuman power.[26]

He hid on Easter Island but ended up fighting the Hulk. He absorbed the island itself, planning to conquer the world. But Hulk threw him to the middle of the ocean where the villain becomes an island. This fight cured him of his paranoia, however.[27]


Dazzler Vol 1 18

Returning to America, he stalked the mutant Dazzler (Alison Blaire) to acquire her light-powers to use against the Avengers.[28] He was defeated, however, by the Dazzler and the Inhuman Black Bolt.[29]

Secret Wars[]

Creel was abducted from prison by the omnipotent being known as the Beyonder to fight the so-called Secret Wars, after which he returned to Earth. During this time, Creel met the villainous Titania (Mary MacPherran), and the two developed a romantic relationship.[30]

Masters of Evil[]

Upon their return, Creel and Titania were contacted by Baron Zemo (Helmut Zemo), who was forming a new team called the Masters of Evil.[12] After several independent assignments, they were defeated by Ant-Man (Scott Lang) and the Wasp.[31] Later, now engaged, the two criminals committed various crimes together, mostly just to simply kill time. The duo would eventually run into Spider-Man, who Titania was absolutely terrified of, due to the emotional trauma of her humiliating defeat at his hands during the Secret Wars. After fleeing, Titania explained to Creel her reason for why she ran, and the whole reason she feared the wall-crawler in the first place. Shortly after, Creel and Titania went to LaGuardia airport on a mission to pick up a new member for the Masters of Evil, only to once again be confronted by Spider-man. Titania attempted again to flee, but the Absorbing Man acted as if he was injured, and in need of help, which convinced Titania to confront her fear, and fight Spider-Man. In the end, the villains win the battle by using a plane full of civilians as hostages, and forcing Spidey to surrender in return for the people's safety. Spidey, seeing no other option, ended up leaving the airport, understandably feeling miserable about his defeat.[32]

Marriage to Titania[]

After several months, Titania and Creel got married.[33] Both villains had turned away from more malicious actions, preferring to quietly keep each other company. Creel and Titania occasionally came into conflict with superheroes, such as when the Black Widow was on a vendetta to dispose of all of the Avengers' foes. Another time, Creel was duped by the villain Crossbones to keep Captain America busy while Crossbones ignited a bomb. Creel, however, claiming not to be a murderer, absorbed the properties of Captain America's Shield and saved the city from the explosion. Creel escaped to seek revenge on Crossbones.[34]

Titania's Cancer[]

When Titania was diagnosed with cancer, they kidnapped a doctor but were confronted by Thor, who convinced them to seek professional care. About this time, Thor assumed the rule of Asgard and brought it into Earth's plane of existence. He attracted a religious following while helping humanity, and Creel became one of his followers.[35]

Carl Creel (Earth-616) from Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 429 0001

Carl Creel as Lightningbolt

Drug Use[]

The Absorbing Man eventually became very highly addicted to narcotics, especially painkillers and cocaine. When he was in need of a high he demonstrates no concern for the safety of others and will work for whatever criminal can supply him with narcotics. During a period when he allied with the Owl as an enforcer[36] he found himself opposed by Spider-Man and new hero Ethan Edwards (later revealed to be a disguised Skrull). He was briefly trapped and converted into a new form of cocaine by one of the Owl's operatives when they become frustrated with his unprofessional approach,[37] with Creel's body being dispersed by industrial fans and sold off, the new drug briefly giving those who snorted him a degree of his powers, but he eventually managed to reassemble himself in a sewer and went after the Owl for revenge.[38] Spider-Man managed to defeat Creel by tricking him into running a gauntlet where he absorbed multiple objects thrown at him, culminating in Creel absorbing two different chemicals that caused him to explode.[39]

Civil War[]

The Absorbing Man later battled and was dissolved into atoms by the hero Sentry during the Civil War. The Sentry knew he would eventually reform and he was later seen at the funeral of the villain Stilt-Man not long after.[40][41] Creel and Titania later came into conflict with the She-Hulk and her Skrull partner Jazinda after they attempted to arrest Creel's cousin Hi-Lite.[42]

Cosmic Cube[]

Creel was taken by Project Pegasus to bond him with a fragment of the Cosmic Cube in order to shift reality; Loki gave Norman Osborn a chance to show up when Hank Pym and his Avengers cut the power, disabling Creel's thought scrambler; the following incident allowed Creel to become all-powerful and deal 'Reality Punches' that caused Vision to split into Iron Lad and the original Vision, also causing the Sentry and the Void to become separate entities. Loki gave Osborn a spell breaker that he used, which apparently left Creel powerless.[43]

Regain Powers[]

Creel regained his powers and stormed Avengers Tower to recover his ball and chain. He was defeated by Maria Hill, Sharon Carter, and Victoria Hand after absorbing the latter's cold.[44]

Fear Itself[]

Carl Creel (Earth-616) from Fear Itself Vol 1 3 001

Greithoth: Breaker of Wills

When Skadi freed the Serpent, he called the Hammers of the Worthy to Earth.[45] One of these hammers transformed the Absorbing Man into Greithoth, Breaker of Wills.[7]

After the final battle where Thor killed the Serpent, Absorbing Man's hammer was taken from him as well as the hammers of the other Worthy.[46] He was later seen attacking the Museum of Natural History in the search of a Moon rock, believing that would give him Moon powers, but he was defeated by Steve Rogers and the new Captain Marvel.[47]


Absorbing Man was among the villains recruited by Magneto to help fight Red Onslaught.[48] After the Scarlet Witch and Doctor Doom successfully cast an inversion spell on Red Onslaught, the spell ended up blanketing the entire island of Genosha, resulting in not only bringing Xavier's mind (a product of the Red Onslaught having stolen the late X-Men founder's brain) to the fore and reverting the Red Skull to his normal, now unconscious form - but also the inversion of the moral compass of every hero and villain on the island of Genosha.[49] As a result of this spell, many villains have started acting more heroic - with Creel being one of them, even joining the Astonishing Avengers, founded in a bid to stop the now evil X-Men from killing every human on Earth with the use of a gene bomb.[50]

The Astonishing Avengers fought the X-Men and managed to prevent the gene bomb from exploding, but were defeated.[51] The appearance of the Axis gave them a second wind to keep on fighting.[52] When a reinversion spell was cast, the Absorbing Man became evil once again.[53]

Pleasant Hill[]

After one too many times of getting caught by the Avengers and imprisoned, Absorbing Man reluctantly agreed with Titania to attempt to be released on parole in order to go legit and stop his criminal career.[54] However, before being able to change his ways, Creel was transferred to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s newest reality-warping prison named Pleasant Hill, where Creel was turned into a model citizen, and lived a normal life as an ice cream vendor named Harold.[8] While in Pleasant Hill, Creel fell in love with another inmate, Elektra Natchios, who had been turned into the Sheriff Eva.

When Baron Zemo assaulted the small town, its inhabitants recovered their original appearances and memories. Infuriated for his life having being rewritten, Absorbing Man began to wreak havoc together with fellow inmate Whirlwind. He was convinced by Elektra to spare innocent lives, and Titania and her partner Hood soon appeared to retrieve him, after having learned of his whereabouts.

Creel was deeply affected by his experience in Pleasant Hill, mainly emerging with the desire to live a normal life, noting that he had never been as happy as he was when being Harold. However, he decided to assemble any and every one of the former inmates from Pleasant Hill and get revenge on S.H.I.E.L.D. for manipulating their lives.[55] Following a schism between Titania and the Hood that broke up the Hood's Illuminati, Titania realized that she could never live a normal life again, and decided to embrace her criminal life with Absorbing Man.[56]

Space Prison[]

Following his latest capture, Creel was sent to a secret deep-space torture prison. There, he made acquaintances with fellow prisoners Metal Master, Blinky, Raava, and Black Bolt,[57] with whom he attempted to carry out an escape.[14] Even though the initial attempt failed, Black Bolt's pet Lockjaw came to his aid,[13] giving the captives the chance to try again. The Absorbing Man seemingly sacrificed himself to kill the Jailer, absorbing the essence of Black Bolt's sonic scream in order to deal the killing blow against their captor. Carl's final request to his allies before his apparent demise was for them to visit Titania and tell her he lamented that he had to leave her.[58] Unbeknownst to Carl's allies, a portion of his essence remained trapped within his ball and chain.[59]

When Black Bolt returned to Earth with Blinky, he passed on the news of Carl's apparent death to Titania. Using Blinky's telepathy, they showed her how Carl held on to his love for Mary to survive. They then held a funeral at the Parkwood Cemetery, where Carl's belongings were buried; the sports section of a newspaper, a bottle of whiskey, a picture of Titania, and his ball and chain.[60] Carl's weeks-long struggle to gather himself together paid off, and he managed to regenerate his body in the grave.[59] The Jailer had also survived his encounter with Creel, having escaped death by implanting himself in Blinky's mind. He took over her body as well, and fought Black Bolt. When Titania went to search for help, Lockjaw teleported to her and took her to Parkwood Cemetery, where she found Carl crawling out of his grave.[61] They reunited, and went to help Black Bolt fight the Jailer. Absorbing Man and Titania's assistance gave Black Bolt the final push he needed to regain his strength and kill the villain.[59]

Gamma Flight[]

Falling back into old habits, Creel was apprehended again and volunteered to participate in the U.S. Hulk Operations's Shadow Base to avoid going back to prison. He was injected with a drug based on the Hulk Plug-In that enhanced his physical attributes and allowed him to absorb gamma radiation, turning his skin red in the process. Creel was dispatched to fight the Hulk at Los Diablos Missile Base, where the original Gamma Bomb had been detonated years ago. Having soaked up most of the gamma in the Hulk's body, Creel also unintentionally absorbed the corruption of a demonic being called the One Below All who was manipulating the Hulk.[5] The One Below All used Creel's powers to absorb all of the ambient gamma radiation left from the bomb's detonation, and opened a Green Door, shunting everybody present at the scene, including members of the task force Gamma Flight, into his dominion, the Below-Place.[62]

Carl Creel (Earth-616) from Immortal Hulk Vol 1 9 001

Possessed by the One Below All

The Absorbing Man was left sobbing while stranded in the Below-Place until Gamma Flight operative Puck spurred him on to help stop the One Below's plan to emerge on Earth.[63] Absorbing a wellspring of gamma radiation, Creel transferred it to the Hulk, giving him enough power to disperse the One Below All, stopping the demon and returning everyone to Earth. In the aftermath, Puck offered Creel a position in Gamma Flight, and he accepted in exchange for bringing Titania in as well.[64] As part of Gamma Flight, the Absorbing Man and Titania became tangled in the Hulk's conflict with Shadow Base that ended in the green goliath taking control of it.[65] When the Hulk waged war against Roxxon, the company deployed a group of giant monsters to wreak havoc in Phoenix, Arizona. Gamma Flight assisted the Hulk and his allies, and Creel intervened to force the Hulk of Xemnu, who Roxxon had secretly set up as the hero of the incident.[66]

Carl Creel (Earth-616) from Immortal Hulk Vol 1 36 002
Gamma Flight came at odds with the Hulk after the Leader set him up to cause the destruction of a small town by overloading him with gamma, causing him to detonate. During their confrontation, Creel absorbed the blast's ambient gamma radiation to turn into a gamma-powered sandstorm.[67] The Hulk was ultimately taken down and held prisoner at the Alpha Flight Space Station, but he managed to escape in his human form, slipping past Gamma Flight in the process. After Alpha Flight's acting commander Henry Gyrich threatened to take action against Gamma Flight for their failure, the team walked out on him.[68] The Absorbing Man and Titania would later rejoin the rogue team to intercept a fight between the Hulk and the Avengers, and Gamma Flight helped the Hulk escape since they had come to discover the Leader was pulling the strings.[69] Once they parted ways with the Hulk and his allies, Gamma Flight went into hiding at a safe house of Titania and Creel. They resurfaced after a new gamma mutate codenamed Stockpile went on a rampage. Gamma Flight discovered a rogue government agency called Project Green Spring was experimenting with gamma on the townsfolk of Thomasville, and shut down their operations.[70]


Power Grid[79]
:Category:Power Grid/Fighting Skills/Experienced Fighter:Category:Power Grid/Energy Projection/Virtually Unlimited:Category:Power Grid/Energy Projection/None:Category:Power Grid/Durability/Virtually Indestructible:Category:Power Grid/Durability/Enhanced:Category:Power Grid/Speed/Warp:Category:Power Grid/Speed/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Strength/Incalculable:Category:Power Grid/Strength/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Intelligence/Normal


Omni-Morph Duplication: The Absorbing Man possesses the ability to bodily duplicate at will the physical properties of anything he touches or that touches him. This power extends to both animate and inanimate objects and certain forms of energy. The matter of the Absorbing Man's body magically undergoes a material and physiological change so that his body actually becomes composed of the matter or energy with which he is making contact. While he is in this altered state, he still possesses his sentience despite the fact that his brain is now composed of the same material as the rest of him. Among the more ordinary materials he has been transformed into include steel, stone, wood and glass. More unusual have been his transformations into water, fire, snow, and silk. His most powerful transformations have been into energy-states such as cosmic, nuclear, thermal, or light.[citation needed] The Absorbing Man has learned through practice to only absorb the properties of objects that he wishes to absorb. Originally, he could be tricked into absorbing the properties of objects that would render him relatively vulnerable. There appears to be no time limit to how long he can retain a given property. When he is rendered unconscious or in a coma, he retains the form which he last consciously assumed. There would also not appear to be a minimum amount of time he must retain one form before assuming another. He can even become more than one substance at once.[citation needed]

  • Properties Absorption: The Absorbing Man can also absorb specific properties relating to the form or mass of an object he touches. He can also assimilate mystic properties of objects or beings. If the object touched holds some form of energy, such as a battery or a blast furnace, Creel absorbs these properties as well. With concentration, Creel can assimilate the elements of complex machinery like aircraft and tanks. When he pushes his powers to this extent, Creel is effectively absorbing the "purpose" of the object he touches, not just its superficial properties.
    • Power Mimicry: On many occasions, Creel has mimic the powers of objects or being he's encountered. He has mimicked the strength of Thor himself, and also the power of the Odin-Force as well as the powers of the Sentry, the Cosmic Cube's reality warping powers, & even the powers of Dormammu.
    • Shapeshifting: 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. When absorbing certain objects, he can make his own weapons such as forming hammer-like fists when touching a hammer or growing to enormous size when copying items of massive power or strength themselves.
    • Superhuman Physical Prowess: His mimicry abilities have granted him varying levels of superhuman strength, speed, durability, etc.


Automatic Absorption: Ironically, his own power is also his biggest weakness. Originally, Creel had little to no control of his power and automatically absorbed any kind of matter and energy around him. As a result, there has been in numerous occasions where his adversaries had successfully tricked him into absorb random materials that makes him weaker or non-solid; on at least one occasion, he was defeated when he was tricked into absorbing two unspecified elements that triggered an explosive reaction. He eventually learned how to absorb a specific material without absorbing other materials by simple touch, and was even capable of absorbing more than one material at once.[72] However, as noticed by She-Hulk, there are limits by how much he can "ignore" matter around him and will still absorb it if there's too much of it surrounding him.[6]

Non-Solid Absorption: Though he can absorb almost all kinds of matter and energy, Creel has trouble in maintain a stable physical body if the material itself is not on solid state and will likely fuse and dissipate with the material (Ex: If he absorbs helium or other gases, he will float and decompose in atmosphere).[73]

Narcotic Absorption: Creel will automatically take on the properties of narcotics he takes, giving him an even greater high. However while in the state he is highly vulnerable as any user would be. While in a narcotic state Creel can and has been reduced to powder and sold to junkies. Those who take Creel while he is in this state will temporarily gain his powers and absorb the properties of whatever they are touching at the time, which since they don't get all of Creel's powers has proven fatal.[74]

Magic: Though he can, and has, absorbed any kind of supernatural and cosmic energy, Creel is not immune to spells and can be affected by it if the magic user is experienced enough (if anything, his absorption powers only makes the effect worse.). Indeed, Loki even managed to forge a sword that temporarily stripped him from his absorbing powers.[citation needed]

Absorption Limit: Once Creel has 'discarded' an element that he has absorbed, he cannot manifest it again without contact with that material. This was a particular problem during a confrontation with Thor where he absorbed the mystic vortex Thor was using against him and was left trapped in another dimension until he was rescued.



A ring made of Secondary Adamantium


Carl Creel (Earth-616) from Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 429 cover 001

Ball and Chain, which he was wearing at the time of his original transformation, magically also possesses the same properties of transformation as his body, providing he is in contact with it.[72]


  • Carl Creel cried the first couple of nights the first time he served a prison sentence when he was already a professional criminal. He is not ashamed to admit it.[13]
  • Creel likes cooking. He cooked for Titania when she got sick.[13]
  • CLOC assessed Creel as suffering from 'delusional paranoia'.[40]


See Also

Links and References


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Journey Into Mystery #114
  2. 2.0 2.1 Daredevil #1
  3. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #3
  4. Amazing Spider-Man #429
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Immortal Hulk #9
  6. 6.0 6.1 She-Hulk (Vol. 2) #23
  7. 7.0 7.1 Fear Itself #3
  8. 8.0 8.1 Avengers Standoff: Assault On Pleasant Hill Alpha #1
  9. Dazzler #18
  10. Hawkeye: Blind Spot #1
  11. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #1
  12. 12.0 12.1 Avengers #270
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 Black Bolt #4
  14. 14.0 14.1 Black Bolt #3
  15. Journey Into Mystery #115
  16. Thor King-Size Special #2
  17. Journey Into Mystery #120121
  18. Journey Into Mystery #122
  19. Journey Into Mystery #123
  20. Incredible Hulk #125
  21. Thor #206207
  22. Thor #235236
  23. Incredible Hulk #208209
  24. Incredible Hulk #241
  25. Avengers #183
  26. Avengers #184
  27. Incredible Hulk #261
  28. Dazzler #1719
  29. Dazzler #32
  30. Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #112
  31. Avengers #273
  32. Amazing Spider-Man #283
  33. Avengers: Unplugged #4
  34. Captain America (Vol. 3) #24
  35. Thor (Vol. 2) #55
  36. Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #13
  37. Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #16
  38. Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #17
  39. Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #18
  40. 40.0 40.1 Civil War: The Return #1
  41. Punisher War Journal (Vol. 2) #4
  42. She-Hulk (Vol. 2) #2223
  43. Mighty Avengers #33
  44. Age of Heroes #3
  45. Fear Itself #1
  46. Fear Itself #7
  47. Captain Marvel (Vol. 7) #1
  48. Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #2
  49. Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #3
  50. Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #6
  51. Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #7
  52. Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #8
  53. Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #9
  54. Illuminati #1
  55. Illuminati #6
  56. Illuminati #7
  57. Black Bolt #2
  58. Black Bolt #6
  59. 59.0 59.1 59.2 Black Bolt #12
  60. Black Bolt #9
  61. Black Bolt #11
  62. 62.0 62.1 Immortal Hulk #10
  63. Immortal Hulk #11
  64. Immortal Hulk #13
  65. Immortal Hulk #2324
  66. Immortal Hulk #3031
  67. Immortal Hulk #36
  68. Immortal Hulk #42
  69. Immortal Hulk #47
  70. Gamma Flight #15
  71. Incredible Hulk (Vol. 2) #5559
  72. 72.0 72.1 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (Vol. 2) #1
  73. Avengers #275
  74. Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #15
  75. Fear Itself #4
  76. Mighty Avengers #32
  77. Heroic Age: Villains #1
  78. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #1
  79. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z Vol 1 1