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The Absorbing Man
The Absorbing Man battles Thor in Thor #376 (Feb. 1987). Art by Walt Simonson.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Journey into Mystery #114 (Mar. 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
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.


Publication history

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 and went on to battle Thor. Although he is only mortal, Creel's fantastic abilities make him a match for Thor, who eventually tricks Creel into transforming into helium, which drifts harmlessly into the atmosphere.[1]

A short time later, Loki retrieves Creel from space and reveals to him how he had obtained his "absorbing" powers. After being humbled by Loki, Creel agrees to act as his agent and attacks Thor on Earth once more. The battle is deadlocked until Loki transports Creel back to Asgard and directs him to take the city. The Absorbing Man defeats the Asgardian legions and eventually confronts Odin himself. Creel absorbs Odin's attacks and then the properties of Asgard itself, and towers over Odin as Loki arrives to gloat. Loki and Creel are then beaten by trickery: once given Odin's Rod of Rulership the two quarrel over it and 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.[2]

The Absorbing Man eventually returns and goes on to battle many other heroes, such as the Avengers,[3] Daredevil,[4] Dazzler,[5] the Hulk,[6] and Spider-Man.[7] Creel is one of the villains who participates in the Secret Wars, and also develops a relationship with the villainess Titania.[8]

The pair also join the reformed fourth version of the Masters of Evil.[9] Creel has several more battles with Thor[10] (and the Eric Masterson Thor)[11] and a skirmish with cosmic hero Quasar.[12] 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.[13]

The Absorbing Man later battles and is apparently killed by the hero Sentry during the events of Civil War.[14] Creel, however, later appears at the funeral of the villain Stilt-Man.[15]

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.[16]

During the Dark Reign storyline the character joins a new version of the Lethal Legion - led by the Grim Reaper - in a three issue self-titled limited series.[17] He later escapes Prison and manages to absorb a piece of the Cosmic Cube.

Powers and abilities

Crusher Creel has the magical power 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 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[18 ]) and can reform if his body is damaged in any way whilst in altered form.

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;[19] cocaine;[20] Odin's Cosmic Bolt and later cyclonic storm;[21 ] diamond;[22 ] glass;[23] light;[5] rock, silk and soil;[24] spikes;[25] steel;[26] Thor's Uru hammer Mjolnir;[27] water;[18 ] and even the properties of Asgard itself.[21 ]

In the second volume of the title She-Hulk Creel demonstrates that he can now combine abilities.[28]

Other versions

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.[29]

In the House of M reality, Absorbing Man was a member of Hood's Masters of Evil[30]

In other media

The Absorbing Man features in the animated television series The Incredible Hulk (1996) voiced by Jim Cummings and The Avengers: United They Stand (1999 - 2000).

The Absorbing Man also appears in an early script of the 2003 feature film Hulk.[31]

The character also appears in 1994 Hulk video game (1994) and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (2009).


  1. ^ Journey Into Mystery #114-115 (March - April 1965)
  2. ^ Journey Into Mystery #121-123 (Oct. - Dec. 1965)
  3. ^ Avengers #183-184 (May - June 1979)
  4. ^ Daredevil #360 (Jan. 1997)
  5. ^ a b Dazzler #18 (Aug. 1982)
  6. ^ Hulk #208-209 (Feb. - March 1977), #347-348 (Sep. - Oct. 1988), #457 (Oct. 1997), Hulk Annual #18 (1992)
  7. ^ Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #13 - 18 (June - Nov. 2005)
  8. ^ Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #1 - 12 (May 1984 - April 1985)
  9. ^ Avengers #270, 273 + 275 (Aug. + Nov. 1986 + Jan. 1987)
  10. ^ Thor #375 - 376 (Jan - Feb. 1987); vol. 2, #14 (Aug. 1999)
  11. ^ Thor #446 (April 1992)
  12. ^ Quasar #5 (Dec. 1989)
  13. ^ She-Hulk #10 (Feb. 2005)
  14. ^ Civil War: The Return #1 (Jan. 2007)
  15. ^ Punisher War Journal vol. 2, #4 (April 2007)
  16. ^ She-Hulk vol. 2, #22 - 23 (Nov. - Dec. 2007)
  17. ^ Lethal Legion #1 - 3 (Aug. - Oct. 2009)
  18. ^ a b Avengers #184 (July 1979)
  19. ^ Journey into Mystery #114 (April 1965)
  20. ^ Marvel Knights Spider-Man #16 (Sep. 2005)
  21. ^ a b Journey Into Mystery #123 (Dec. 1965)
  22. ^ Daredevil #360 (July 1997)
  23. ^ Journey Into Mystery #121 (Oct. 1965)
  24. ^ Journey Into Mystery #115 (April 1965)
  25. ^ Journey Into Mystery #122 (Nov. 1965)
  26. ^ Journey Into Mystery #114 (March 1965)
  27. ^ Thor #376 (Feb. 1987)
  28. ^ She-Hulk vol. 2, #23 (Dec. 2007)
  29. ^ Earth X #0-12 (March 1999 - April 2000)
  30. ^ House of M: Masters of Evil #1
  31. ^ Dayna Van Buskirk. "Feature Article: The Lost "Hulk" - David Hayter's Draft". UGO. Retrieved 2007-12-03.  

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