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Marvel Villains At Large: THE ABSORBING MAN

Let’s have some fun!  Starting this week, we’ll be showcasing a different villain or nefarious organization from within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The criteria for their inclusion is only that they still be alive or in operation (in the cases of groups).  So while the deceased likes of Iron Monger (Jeff Bridges) and Malekith the Accursed (Christopher Eccleston) are ineligible, Hydra absolutely counts.

Today’s villain of choice is…


Real name: Carl Creel
Other Aliases: Crusher Creel
Affiliations: Hydra, A.T.C.U. (Advanced Threat Containment Unit)
Skills: Former boxer, ability to mimic any form of matter or energy via physical contact
Appearances:Agents of SHIELD” (3 episodes to date), “Daredevil” (referenced)

As you may or may not be aware, famed Thor and Hulk foe The Absorbing Man is actually alive and well within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The supervillain carries the ability to replicate the properties of any physical form he touches (metal, rubber, rock, etc.) and distribute those properties to his entire body, both to repel attacks and often use these forms to assault others.  At times, this ability can make him virtually indestructible.  He may not yet have tangled with either of his regular heroic adversaries just yet, but Carl “Crusher” Creel already has a deadly reputation in the MCU.

Creel (played by Brian Patrick Wade) first appeared in the second season premiere of ABC’s “Agents of SHIELD“, titled “Shadows”.  Working for Hydra handler Sunil Bakshi (Simon Kassianides) and under orders from Daniel Whitehall (Reed Diamond), he is tasked with retrieving a mysterious alien object from SHIELD custody.  In his efforts to gain information on the whereabouts of the alien obelisk, he murders former SHIELD agent Roger Browning (Matthew Glave) and attempts to abduct the family of Brigadier General Glenn Talbot (Adrian Pasdar).  Agent Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) team manages to thwart the latter incident.


Unfortunately, when Coulson’s team enters the U.S. military base where the obelisk is actually located, Creel is in tow.  The ensuing battle leaves SHIELD operatives Isabelle Hartley (Lucy Lawless) and Idaho (Wilmer Calderon) dead and Hydra in possession of the obelisk.  Creel returns in the very next episode, “Heavy is the Hand”, where Creel is ultimately subdued and captured by Coulson’s team.  The obelisk manages to slip through the fingers once more, but is also stolen away from Hydra, instead being delivered to Calvin Zabo (Kyle MacLachlan).  But that is a tale for another day.  Creel is ultimately turned over to Talbot as a gift.

Creel is next referred to, although never actually shown, in Netflix’s “Daredevil“*.  His name comes up a few times in the second episode of the first season, “Cut Man”, where he is the subject of “Battlin” Jack Murdock’s (John Patrick Hayden) final boxing match.  In the flashback sequences within the episode, it is revealed that Jack is set by Roscoe Sweeney (Kevin Nagle) to take the fall in a match against younger boxer Crusher Creel in exchange for a big payday.  Of course, Jack decides at the last minute to bet big on himself and takes Creel down, leaving a big payday behind in a bank account for his young son Matt.  The celebration is short, however, as Sweeney kills Jack for cheating him.


Creel next rears his absorbing noggin in the twelfth episode of the current season of “Agents of SHIELD“, “The Inside Man”.  After a short, but violent altercation with SHIELD agents Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) and Lincoln “Sparkplug” Campbell (Luke Mitchell), he is now revealed to be ATCU head Glenn Talbot’s personal bodyguard,.  It seems that Creel had been brainwashed by Hydra to be one of their personal assassins and he has since been deprogrammed by the U.S. military.

Coulson’s team is none too happy about working alongside a man who has previously killed multiple of their own, but their differences are set aside and they later work in tandem to pull Coulson and Talbot out of a tight spot.  It is also revealed that Creel is not an Inhuman (a human with traces of alien DNA), but instead a rare Terrigenesis experiment that proved successful in giving a human superpowers.  Will Creel turn heel again in the future?  Only time will tell…


* – Further putting to bed the idea that there are no connections between the ABC and Netflix shows.

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