While serving time in prison for aggravated assault committed while a member of an extortion racket, Carl "Crusher" Creel was selected by Loki, the Asgardian god of mischief, as his unwitting agent in a scheme against Thor (Odinson), 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 newfound 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.
After his first defeat, the Absorbing Man returned to plague Thor again, and Loki transported him to Asgard where the criminal could be used in his scheme to take over Asgard. But when the Absorbing Man dared to challenge Odin, lord of the Asgardians, Odin summarily dispatched him into space. Creel eventually managed to return to Earth by hitching a ride on a comet. He soon encountered the Hulk (Bruce Banner), however, and was defeated while in the process of absorbing the Hulk's power during his transformation to the human Bruce Banner. The Absorbing Man then challenged Thor again and was defeated when he was tricked into turning into water. A short time later, Thor defeated him again by tricking him into absorbing the properties of a cardboard replica of Thor's hammer. 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. He failed and inadvertently absorbed the properties of glass while falling.
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. 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 paranoically frightened of anyone with superhuman power. A chance battle with the Hulk cured him of his paranoia, however. Returning to America, he stalked the mutant Dazzler (Alison Blaire) to acquire her light-powers to use against the Avengers. He was defeated, however, by the Dazzler and the Inhuman Black Bolt.
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 villainess Titania (Mary MacPherran), and the two developed a romantic relationship. Upon their return, Creel and Titania were contacted by Baron Zemo (Helmut Zemo), who was forming a new team called the Masters of Evil. After several independent assignments, they were defeated by Ant-Man (Scott Lang) and the Wasp.
Creel continued to engage in various criminal activities, most often partnered with Titania, although the two often ran afoul of one superhero or another, including his arch-enemy Thor.
After several months, Titania and Creel got married. Both villains had turned away from more malicious actions, preferring to quietly keep each other's company. Creel and Titania occasionally came into conflict with superheroes, such as when the Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff), when on a vendetta to dispose of all of the Avenger's foes. Another time, Creel was duped by the villain Crossbones to keep Captain America (Steve Rogers) busy while Crossbones ignited a bomb. Creel, however, claiming not to be a murderer, absorbed the properties of Captain America's Shield to save the city from the explosion. Creel escaped to seek revenge on Crossbones.
The Absorbing Man eventually became very highly addicted to narcotics, especially pain killers 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. Once, he was tricked into transforming into cocaine and minions operating powerful industrial fans scattered his body in the room he was occupying. His body mass was then collected off of all the surfaces and placed into several plastic bags. This all was the doing of the Owl who sold this "Creel cocaine". After being used as a drug all over New York, all those who used the drug transformed into whatever they came in contact with, just like Creel. Eventually, Creel managed to reform himself, but was defeated by Spider-Man (Peter Parker) and the Avengers.
Creel's last known whereabouts and activities are unknown.
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 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.
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.
The Absorbing Man can also absorb specific properties relating to the form or mass of an object he touches. For example he can assume the height of a skyscraper or the spikes of a mace. He can also assimilate mystic properties of objects or beings. He was able to mimic the properties of Thor's Hammer and the strength of Thor himself.
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.
When he is not absorbing the properties of anything, the Absorbing Man possesses the normal human strength of a man his age, height and build who engages in intensive regular exercise. Depending on what he absorbs and how long he can remain in contact with it, his strength can increase into the Class 100 range, allowing him to lift (press) over 100 tons.
The Absorbing Man's 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.