They promised us more characters from the comics in Season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and it looks they’re keeping their word. In the previous days, we’ve seen pictures on set of Brian Patrick Wade with a grayish arm, and many believed he would have portrayed a Kree or some other alien: wrong! Wade will be none other than the Absorbing Man, one of the toughest villains in the Marvel Universe, a guy who’ll undoubtedly give some headache to the reborn S.H.I.E.L.D., and to director Phil Coulson in particular. The character already appeared in Hulk, a little bit different than usual: portrayed by Nick Nolte, his secret identity was the one of Bruce Banner‘s father David, who became the Absorbing Man after trying to replicate the incident that gave his son his powers. In the comics, the Absorbing Man and the Hulk have surely a link, but not a family one. Let’s see together.
Born and raised in New York City, Carl Creel wasn’t exactly the smartest guy around, but he had quite a talent in beating people. He was close friends with his cousin, Rockwell “Rocky” Davis, a short guy he swore to protect. Eventually, Creel became a boxer, putting his natural skills to the best use; he adopted the stage name Rocky Davis in honor of his cousin, and won a match after the other, becoming one of the favorites in the race to the heavy weight championship. Unfortunately, on his way Carl “Rocky Davis” Creel met “Battling” Jack Murdock, an old but tough boxer, who had quite a motivation to win: he had to regain the respect of his son, Matt (the future hero Daredevil). The match was almost an even, but at the end Creel got floored, and Murdock won the game. That one was a key match for Creel’s boxing career, and from that moment his previous sponsors refused to have anything to do with him. With no job and no money, Creel found another way to put his muscles at use, and became an extortionist for the organised crime, becoming known as “Crusher” Creel, a mean and unstoppable thug. Eventually, police caught him, and sentenced him to a long time to be spent in prison, charged with aggravated assault. Under normal circumstances, this would have been just the beginning of an ever-repeating life for Creel, but somebody else decided differently: while searching for an unaware (and possibly dumb) puppet in his personal crusade against Thor and Odin, the mischievous god Loki selected Crusher Creel as the perfect candidate, and concocted a special magic potion to grant him superhuman abilities. Mixed to the water he was drinking, the potion gave Creel the ability to absorb the physical properties of anything he touched, a power that would have made him one of the most powerful mortals walking on Midgard. Thanks to his newfound abilities, Creel easily escaped from prison, and started wreaking havoc in the streets of New York. Now calling himself the Absorbing Man, Creel was virtually invincible.
It was only about time before a hero came and tried to stop him, and that hero happened to be Thor himself, thanks to Loki’s schemes. The God of Thunder battled the new enemy, but was soon overpowered, since Creel could absorb his strength and durability by touching him, and he could also become a being made of unbreakable Uru metal by entering in contact with Thor’s magical hammer Mjolnir. Absorbing Man soon found himself inebriated with his new powers, and savagely beat one of Earth‘s mightiest heroes; he was however unable to put the god down for good, and he ultimately resolved to threaten the life of Jane Foster, a woman Thor clearly cared for, in order to stop the fight and go away. On his way, Creel decided to make up some money the old way, and attacked a house to rob it: Thor reached him once again, and a new battle ensued. This time, the God of Thunder was prepared, and tricked Absorbing Man into absorbing the properties of gas helium: the only thing Creel could do was floating helplessly to the atmosphere, unable to react. It was thanks to Loki’s intervention that Creel was saved from an eternity in space, and sent directly to Asgard, where he successfully challenged many warriors. When he dared to fight Odin himself, however, the Absorbing Man was hopelessly outclassed, and the lord of Asgard sent him to space once again in a blink. This time, Creel came back on his own using a comet, and once on Earth he challenged Hulk for the first time, almost managing to absorb his limitless strength, but being defeated when the Green Goliath became weak Bruce Banner once again. After many battles with as many heroes, Creel met, during the Secret War organised by the cosmic Beyonder, the powerful villainess Mary MacPherran, aka Titania. The two of them developed a romantic relation, and eventually got married. Now a deadly couple, the two kept challenging the heroes, with or without the other Masters of Evil.
Carl “Crusher” Creel is not exactly what you’d call a genius, quite the opposite: brutal and dull, he acts on pure instinct, usually falling into rage and losing what little control he has on himself. The only person that seems to be able to make the best of him emerge is his wife Titania (even if their quarrels usually destroy half a city). As the Absorbing Man, he is one of the most dangerous people in the world, labeled an Omega Level Threat: his power is called Omni-Morph Duplication, and allows him to absorb the physical properties of anything (or anyone) he touches, becoming a man of steel, rock, concrete or even energy and gas if he touches them. At the beginning, the power was unconscious, and Creel often got tricked into absorbing something that weakened him: now he has learnt how to control it to a certain extent, becoming even more dangerous. Able to increase his strength, durability and size, the Absorbing Man proved to be a lethal threat also for nearly-invincible Thor and Hulk, a violent juggernaut armed with ball and chain nearly impossible to stop.