Art by Dexter Soy
Former boxer (he actually fought Battlin’ Jack Murdock in the ring) who later turned to crime, Carl “Crusher” Creel was selected by none other than Loki, God of Mischief, as a soldier against his brother Thor. He used a potion composed of Asgardian herbs to give Crusher the ability to manifest the qualities of whatever material he touches. Through this Crusher, armed with the ball and chain from prison, became the Absorbing Man!
He promptly broke out of prison and was soon faced down by the God of Thunder himself. Wit was not one of Crusher’s strong points, and he was tricked into turning into a gaseous form during the fight. Loki restored him, and this led to Creel being brought to Asgard where he attempted to challenge Odin himself. This was a short fight that ended with the Absorbing Man being launched to space.
He was able to return to Earth once more and promptly did battle with the Incredible Hulk. He lost this battle as well, and he fought Thor again short after and lost due to absorbing the properties of a cardboard replica of Mjolnir. He was then recruited by a group called Those Who Wield Power in an effort to bring down the Hulk. He was turned to glass and dropped off a cliff.
After this, Creel attempted to flee the country to lessen his run-ins with super heroes. He took a hostage to accomplish this goal, and this brought in the Avengers. He fled through the ocean by turning himself into water. He ended up on Easter Island, absorbing the island and attempting to conquer the world. He was beaten by the Hulk yet again.
After once again being defeated by Dazzler and Black Bolt, Absorbing Man was brought to Battleworld by the Beyonder to fight a number of Earth’s heroes in his Secret Wars. There, he met Titania, an acolyte of Doctor Doom given super strength and invincibility. The two became lovers, and the relationship lasted even after they returned to Earth.
They were recruited by Baron Helmut Zemo for his new incarnation of the Masters of Evil. After being defeated, the two became engaged and fought Spider-Man. Titania had developed a phobia of Spider-Man after her defeat at his hands during the Beyonder’s Secret Wars. Absorbing Man was able to help Titania overcome this fear, and the two of them were able to defeat him at LaGuardia by holding a plane full of people hostage.
Titania and Absorbing Man soon married. His run-ins with heroes continued, and he was used as a distraction by Crossbones to fight Captain America while Rumlow attempted to bomb New York. Creel was infuriated by this, as he never considered himself a murderer. He absorbed the properties of Cap’s shield and suppressed the explosion
He was almost killed by the Sentry when the unhinged hero evaporated Creel and dispersed him into the atmosphere.
Crusher became addicted to cocaine, and he was manipulated by the Owl to become his enforcer in exchange for the drug. He was fought again by Spider-Man, and he was arrested.
During Norman Osborn’s Dark Reign, Creel was used by Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S to meld with a Cosmic Cube fragment. This gave him nigh-omnipotence. Only through Loki’s aid was Osborn able to stop Absorbing Man, and he was separated from the Cube fragment.
When Sin, Daughter of the Red Skull, brought the Asgardian God of Fear to Earth, Absorbing Man was given one of the Hammers of the Worthy. He became Greirath, Breaker of Wills. He did battle with Giant Man and his Avengers Academy. After the Serpent God of Fear was defeated, he lost the hammer and reverted to his original form.
Crusher was among those recruited by Magneto to fight the Red Skull when he became Onslaught. He along with the rest of the team battled Schmidt, and the battle was won by the heroes through the mystical prowess of Scarlet Witch and Doctor Doom.
A riff developed between Titania and Crusher when she tried to go straight. This was ineffective due to her past, and she joined up with the Hood’s Illuminati. Crusher was arrested and brought to Pleasant Hill. After the inmates were set free, he escaped the prison after causing some havoc with Whirlwind. Afterwards, he recruited some of the escaped inmates to take revenge on S.H.I.E.L.D. He was able to reunite with Titania after she left the Hood’s Illuminati. The two are criminal and romantic partners once again.
It’s kind of hard to explain why I like Absorbing Man. In short, he is a classic, thuggish, and dumb villain. I can kind of go for that sometimes, and Carl Crusher Creel is an example of that type of villain that I like. His regard for human life is an interesting and surprising detail about Creel that definitely adds to his appeal. He was awesome to read about in Secret Wars, and his powers represent the cool and weird creativity that make comic books what they are.
He’s a big dumb thug out for his own good, and this is what puts Absorbing Man at the #10 slot of my Top 10 Favorite Marvel Villains.