Carl "Crusher" Creel is an enhanced individual with the ability to absorb the properties of anything he touches. Originally a boxer, Creel appeared on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s radar and had been deemed too dangerous, so John Garrett was sent to kill him. Garrett, who was secretly working for HYDRA, faked Creel's death and recruited him into HYDRA. Creel worked for Daniel Whitehall and was ordered to steal the Obelisk, but Creel was stopped by Phil Coulson's team and handed over to Glenn Talbot for custody. Having recovered from the effects of the Obelisk, Creel then underwent months of treatment to be rid of HYDRA's brainwashing. When Glenn Talbot was made the head of the ATCU, he commissioned Creel as his bodyguard during the meeting to discuss the Inhumans and the threat they posed. Although S.H.I.E.L.D. had initial doubts about trusting Creel, he soon proved himself to be trustworthy.
Fighting Battlin' Jack
- "Creel goes down! He's not getting up; it's over!"
- ―Fight Announcer
Carl Creel was a boxer who used the moniker "Crusher" in his bouts. During this time, he fought "Battlin' Jack Murdock" and lost, despite the fact the fight had been fixed by Roscoe Sweeney in Creel's favor. As punishment for failing to throw the fight, Murdock was murdered shortly afterwards. Sometime in the many years following, during his boxing career, Creel was the subject of an experiment. He attained the ability to absorb any element and turn his skin into that same material, gaining a high victory status by using his talent to hide steel-skinned fists under his boxing gloves when he fought.
Recruitment by HYDRA
Daniel Whitehall's Assassin
When S.H.I.E.L.D. learned of his dangerous powers, he became an Index candidate and S.H.I.E.L.D. sent John Garrett to terminate him. Garrett, an undercover HYDRA agent, chose instead to fake Creel's death and recruit him to HYDRA as a brainwashed assassin. Creel was soon recruited by Daniel Whitehall as his assassin, obeying any order given to him by Whitehall or Sunil Bakshi, although he remained indifferent to HYDRA's goals for world domination.
Hunting the Obelisk
- "I'm happy to comply."
- ―Carl Creel
Under Daniel Whitehall's orders, Creel interrupted an undercover operation where S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents Idaho, Lance Hunter, and Isabelle Hartley were attempting to procure from Roger Browning information on where a level ten 0-8-4 was being held. Creel sneaked up behind Browning and snapped his neck and stealing the file. When the agents fired upon him, he absorbed the bullets and escaped after jumping from a window twenty-five feet high before he could be captured by S.H.I.E.L.D.
Returning to his hideout, Creel gave the information about the 0-8-4 to his HYDRA employer, Sunil Bakshi, although he failed to give the HYDRA salute of "Hail HYDRA". Bakshi told him that his employer Daniel Whitehall was pleased with the update and rewarded Creel by giving him a sample of the extremely rare diamond musgravite, which HYDRA had searched and found specifically for him to absorb. Creel took the diamonds and watched closely as his hand transformed, enjoying the sensation that his power gave him.
Arrest and Escape
- "Secure that bastard!"
- ―Glenn Talbot
Under the orders of Daniel Whitehall, Creel was ordered to attack and capture Brigadier General Glenn Talbot to learn the location of the Obelisk, which was currently in the possession of the United States Armed Forces in the wake of the HYDRA Uprising. Creel sneaked up behind Talbot, who was out with his wife and son, but Talbot had been warned about the upcoming attack by S.H.I.E.L.D. and defended himself against Creel, spinning around just in time and hitting his attacker in the face. Although Creel initially began to gain the upper hand in the fight, Talbot was assisted by Melinda May who kicked Creel away from the General.
With no orders from his HYDRA employers to keep May alive, Creel grabbed a brass ball and chain and attempted to kill the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, while also transforming his own arm into brass at the same time to maximize his strength. With General Talbot now safely away from danger, May stood her ground against the Absorbing Man, who swung the ball and attempted to strike her with it, but May used her S.H.I.E.L.D. training to dodge Creel's blows. Using her speed May was able to avoid all of Creel's attacks until she gained an opening and kicked Creel in the chest, knocking him back but not yet defeating him due to the Absorbing Man's impressive strength.
Before Creel could continue fighting Agent May, he was thwarted and subdued by the combined might of May and Skye, who shot him with a Taser Projectile Launcher which electrocuted him before several members of the United States Armed Forces working under the orders of General Talbot quickly arrested Creel while May made her escape from the scene. Creel however showed no resistance to being arrested and instead transformed his arm back from brass and raised his hands in surrender while General Talbot was taken away to his car to be taken to safety away from the Absorbing Man.
Believing him to have been defeated during the brief battle with S.H.I.E.L.D., Creel was arrested by Talbot's soldiers and taken into military custody to the Government Storage Warehouse with armed Sergeants Logan and Smith watching over his glass cell with seemingly no exit. However, knowing that this was all part of HYDRA and Daniel Whitehall's overall plan to obtain the Obelisk which was being stored in the same Warehouse, Creel remained calm and prepared for the next stage of the plan, his escape.
Creel easily escaped his cell by ensuring that his guards were facing away from him before turning into glass, becoming invisible to the human eye, and tricking them. When the guards attempted to locate Creel by exploring the cell, he killed them both before searching the Warehouse. When Creel encountered a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, arriving to search the facility for the Obelisk as well, Creel hid by turning into the concrete wall and followed the agents as they searched the many crates for the cargo.
Stealing the Obelisk
- "That thing really messed me up... I turned to rubber when I touched it, thought that it would protect me but it infected me too."
"We're well aware of your condition, but believe me when I say that Mr. Whitehall wouldn't have selected you for this job if you weren't capable of completing it."
- ―Carl Creel and Sunil Bakshi
Following the team of agents through the large warehouse's many hallways, Creel encountered Isabelle Hartley, who had successfully recovered the Obelisk. Hartley spotted Creel and attempted to kill him with a knife, but he was able to turn his skin into steel and deflect the blade. When she attempted to use the Obelisk to defend herself, it instantly began to engulf her hand. Seeing the effects of the Obelisk and Lance Hunter appearing caused Creel to flee.
When Hunter and Idaho attempted to get Hartley medical attention while Glenn Talbot's soldiers began advancing on the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, Creel managed to get out of the facility ahead of the team. As Hunter and Idaho sped towards the hospital, Creel managed to get in front of their speeding car, turn into concrete and cause their S.H.I.E.L.D. SUV to crash, killing Hartley and Idaho, he then turned his hand into rubber and retrieved the Obelisk and calmly walked away, unaware that Hunter had survived the crash.
Despite attempting not to allow his skin to touch the surface of the Obelisk, Creel was affected by the Obelisk's power and felt his skin absorbing its deadly effects. At a restaurant, Creel waited for Sunil Bakshi to meet him and take the Obelisk off him. When the waitress attempted to clear his table while he waited, Creel accidentally touched her arm, causing her body to turn to stone within minutes due to the Obelisk's power in Creel's skin. Creel then ran away before S.H.I.E.L.D. could arrive and capture him again.
Back in his hideout, Creel attempted to absorb items that could help remove the effects with little success. He was then contacted by Sunil Bakshi, who wanted Creel to give him the Obelisk and promised that HYDRA would help him with his problem. When approached by Raina, who offered a Carbyne ring that would allow him to absorb its power in exchange for the 0-8-4, he refused her offer, telling her to stay away or his HYDRA employers would harm her. He ran off, taking the ring with him.
Captured by S.H.I.E.L.D.
- "I'm not gonna sugar coat it pal, this is really gonna hurt."
- ―Carl Creel to Lance Hunter
Creel finally met with Sunil Bakshi, where Creel informed him that he was struggling to control the deadly powers of the Obelisk. Bakshi was able to help Creel overcome the effects of the Obelisk when he used the trigger phrase from the brainwashing method used on him, which helped Creel relax and concentrate on his arm, allowing him to safely absorb the effects of the Obelisk. Creel informed Bakshi that he was happy to comply to HYDRA's wishes and he prepared to hand over the Obelisk to him.
However, the meeting with interrupted when Creel came under fire by Lance Hunter, who was attempting to avenge the deaths of his friends Isabelle Hartley and Idaho. Hunter fired a single shot at Creel's head, but Creel was able to turn his skin to steel and deflect the bullet, Creel then chased after Hunter as he attempted to flee inside a nearby building for safety. Creel caught up with his would be assassin and hit him with his steel fist before managing to trap Hunter in a corner, and prepared to kill Hunter using the Obelisk's power in his hand, promising him that it would be a painful death.
However before Creel could kill Lance Hunter, he was stopped by Phil Coulson who stabbed him in the back with the modified Overkill Device which made him unable to control his absorbing powers, allowing the 0-8-4 to take over his body and turn him into stone, seemingly permanently. Creel was then taken in by Coulson and placed in a Cryostasis Chamber for the protection of others. He was turned over to Brigadier General Glenn Talbot as a peace offering from Coulson in exchange for breathing room for the activities of the new S.H.I.E.L.D. while they fought against HYDRA.
Glenn Talbot's Bodyguard
Showdown with Lincoln Campbell
- "Do you know how you got your powers?"
"Something went wrong?"
"Something went right!"
- ―Jemma Simmons and Carl Creel
During his time in prison, Creel was returned to his normal human form from being frozen in stone. This time away from HYDRA also allowed Creel to finally break free of Daniel Whitehall's control over him, giving back his control over his own mind and making him regret his past actions. General Glenn Talbot saw this change in him and after months of training, recruited Creel as his personal bodyguard.
As General Talbot saw his wife Carla leave the airport, he met Phil Coulson. In the middle of their conversation, Creel, who was sitting on a bench watching over Talbot, rose up and began to follow the pair to ensure their safety. Lincoln Campbell, who was there to look for anything suspicious, found Creel following the two into a parking lot. Right when Creel walked in to the lot, Coulson, who believed Creel was still a HYDRA assassin, pushed and locked Talbot inside a S.H.I.E.L.D. SUV as Melinda May ordered Campbell to attack.
Before he could reveal his true intentions, Creel was knocked down by Campbell with a blast of electricity. In order to protect himself, Creel grabbed hold of a car tire and transformed his body into rubber, making him immune to Campbell's electrical abilities. After throwing Campbell into a garage door, Creel walked towards Coulson, who shot him multiple times in the head. Campbell quickly recovered from the attack and once again challenged Creel to finish the fight, distracting him from Coulson.
As Creel went to attack the stunned Campbell again, Melinda May ambushed Creel and whacked him in the head with a metal pipe, tricking him into transforming him body into metal. Now metallic, Campbell electrocuted Creel, knocking him to the ground and slowly killing him by overheating him. However Campbell was quickly ordered to stop by Coulson and May. After Glenn Talbot was freed from his car, he rushed over and informed Coulson that Creel was his bodyguard, picking him up and standing by his side.
Creel was taken to the Playground where he was placed in a Containment Module while the S.H.I.E.L.D. team attempted to analyze and protect themselves from his powers. Creel was visited by Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons, the latter of which questioned him about exactly how he obtained his powers. Creel revealed that he gained his powers from an experiment but gave only short answers when Simmons asked him about what it felt to touch an Obelisk and how he survived the experience.
Despite strong objections from almost all of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents at the Playground, a deal was made between Coulson and General Talbot that Creel would be allowed to join them on their mission, acting as Talbot's personal bodyguard. This mainly angered Lance Hunter who still held a deep distrust for Creel after he killed Isabelle Hartley and Idaho while still under Daniel Whitehall's control. However once on Zephyr One, Creel put on his headphones and listened to music, ignoring Hunter's scrutiny.
Infiltrating the Taiwan Symposium
Creel drove the S.H.I.E.L.D. team through Taiwan in a van to the mansion where the symposium was being held while General Glenn Talbot and Phil Coulson entered as the invited guests and searched for the mole out of the other delegates. Meanwhile the small S.H.I.E.L.D. team used fingerprint scans from Phil Coulson's Prosthetic Hand to break into the room, leaving Creel in the van with specific orders not to leave his post as his was still under suspicion.
However Creel ignored these orders and followed the ones given to him by General Talbot, to track down Talbot's son George, who was being held hostage by HYDRA to blackmail the General. However Lance Hunter spotted Creel leaving his post and assumed that he was attempting to escape, he therefore left his post and began tracking down Creel. Eventually Hunter found George Talbot in a van, trapped in Suspension Gel; in order to stop him giving the team the wrong impression that he was still working for HYDRA and jeopardizing the mission, Creel knocked him out, although he ensured that he was not badly injured.
Having discovered that General Talbot and Director Coulson had been captured by Gideon Malick's soldiers and were being prepared for execution, Creel ran to their aid. Using a pillar, he made his body completely into marble before attacking the two guards and helping Talbot and Coulson escape. Creel explained how he had been forced to hurt Hunter and had found George Talbot, although he was still being held by HYDRA. Before Creel could break off their handcuffs, another guard attacked, forcing Talbot and Coulson to run while Creel defended them and eventually defeating the guard.
As Creel made his way through the mansion to regroup with his allies, he found Hunter and Bobbi Morse still engaged in a gun fight with the HYDRA guards who were defending Malick, leading to Creel saving Hunter's life in the process when he was almost ambushed. Despite this Hunter remained adamant that they were not even, due to Creel having previously killed his friends while under the control of Daniel Whitehall previously. As this happened, Talbot and Coulson rushed into the room and Creel immediately freed them from their handcuffs with his bare hands when Talbot ordered him to.
As Creel looked on awaiting his next orders, the furious General Talbot questioned one of the guards about his son's whereabouts and when the man refused to answer, Talbot hit him so hard he knocked him out with a single solid punch to the jaw. While Hunter and Morse were sent to Russia to hunt down and capture Malick under Coulson's, the rest escaped once Melinda May had located George Talbot and they returned to Zephyr One where Talbot ensured his son was safe from harm. With their relationship with S.H.I.E.L.D. having improved, Creel and Talbot then returned to work at the ATCU with Creel continuing his new bodyguard role.
Brought up on the streets, Carl Creel spent much of his youth as a petty criminal, using his strength to forge a career as a boxer under the supervision of Roscoe Sweeney, who would ensure that he won his fights by bribing his opponents, including Jack Murdock, into throwing the fight in order to earn money from the bets. However when Creel developed super powers, he was found by John Garrett and Daniel Whitehall who forced him to undergo the Faustus brainwashing, turning a small time crook into a murderer for HYDRA.
However once freed from his brainwashing, Creel used his powers for good while aiding Glenn Talbot in his fight against Gideon Malick. Talbot gained such a strong faith in Creel that he fought to keep Creel close by despite Phil Coulson's reluctance due to Creel having murdered some of his S.H.I.E.L.D. agents while under HYDRA's control. Creel proved himself to be both loyal and a formidable ally as he rescued George Talbot during the mission, although Lance Hunter refused to forgive him for his previous crimes.
A man of few words, Creel prefers to let his fighting skills do the talking. He did not brag while overpowering Isabelle Hartley or Lincoln Campbell; he simply continued with his mission to obtain the Obelisk, only once warning Lance Hunter that his death would likely be painful. When Raina attempted to buy the Obelisk from Creel, she was warned to stay away as Creel noted that Daniel Whitehall would likely kill her as a result, showing Creel's unwillingness to cause harm to those who do not need to die in his view.
Powers and Abilities
- "He can turn any body part into any material."
- Elemental Mimicry: Carl Creel is able to duplicate at will the physical properties of anything he touches or that touches him. Certain items, such as flawless diamonds, are enjoyable for Creel to absorb, causing a euphoric effect in him. He usually uses his powers to increase his strength and durability, but he also uses them sometimes to blend into his surroundings or to isolate himself from harmful effects, such as electricity.
|Steel||Creel turned his fists into steel during his boxing matches, in order to ensure that he easily won to become a famous boxer. He also tried to absorb the properties of the steel from a lighter to counteract the effects of the Obelisk he unconsciously absorbed, but he was unable to keep the absorption. During his confrontation against Lincoln Campbell, he was tricked by Melinda May into transforming into steel, to allow Campbell's powers to submit him.|
|Lead||Creel transformed his body upon contact into the lead from the bullets that Isabelle Hartley, Lance Hunter and Idaho shot at him while he retrieved Roger Browning's file about the Obelisk.|
|Musgravite||Creel received a rare musgravite as payment for his services to HYDRA, as Daniel Whitehall knew that his structure would give Creel pleasure when he absorbed its properties.|
|Wood||Following a successful assignment, Creel stayed in the truck he used as hideout, where he stored a collection of materials in order to absorb their properties.|
|Brass||Being attacked by Melinda May during his attempt to capture Glenn Talbot, Creel took a piece from a guard rail to use it as a ball-and-chain weapon, absorbing the properties of the metal into his arm to increase his strength.|
|Bulletproof glass||Creel absorbed the properties of the reinforced glass from the walls of his cell in the Government Storage Warehouse, becoming both durable and transparent, and leading the privates tasked with guarding the cell to believe he had escaped.|
|Concrete||Creel absorbed the properties of the concrete from the walls of the warehouse to conceal himself and ambush Isabelle Hartley, using this material to protect himself against Hartley's stabs.|
|Asphalt||Creel transformed himself into asphalt to make the vehicle where Hartley, Hunter and Idaho had escaped suffer an accident and retrieve the Obelisk that Hartley had touched.|
|Rubber||Creel absorbed the properties of the rubber from S.H.I.E.L.D. vehicle's wheels to isolate himself from the Obelisk as he took it from Hartley's amputated arm. He also absorbed the properties of a wheel to isolate himself from Lincoln Campbell's attack.|
|Obelisk||Creel unintentionally absorbed the properties of the Obelisk as he touched it, killing whoever touched his arm with the same petrification effects that the original device had. Thanks to Sunil Bakshi, Creel managed to control this material, using it as a weapon.|
|Clay||Creel also tried to absorb the properties of clay to counteract the effects of the Obelisk, thinking it would be an insulating material, but the absorption failed too.|
|Cloth||Creel finally tried to absorb the properties of a piece of cloth to counteract the effects of the Obelisk, but as the two previous absorption, it was futile.|
|Carbyne||Raina tried to persuade Creel into giving him the Obelisk by offering him a ring made of carbyne, describing it as an allotrope of carbon found in stardust, three times harder than diamond and with the ability of storing energy. Creel took the ring from Raina, and later absorbed its properties to shield himself from a direct shot to his head made by Lance Hunter and to attack him as Hunter tried to run.|
|Polytectic Adaptive Material||Creel was held in a containment module and absorbed the properties of the module's polytectic adaptive materials.|
|Marble||Creel absorbed the properties of marble during the symposium on Inhumans in Taiwan to rescue Glenn Talbot from a group of HYDRA operatives, in order to become impervious to their bullets.|
- Petrification: After absorbing the effects of the Obelisk, Creel gained the ability to turn people to stone. Originally, he had no control over this ability, but, after compliance to Sunil Bakshi's words, Creel gained control to the point of desiring to use it against Lance Hunter.
This section needs a rewrite
- Combatant: Though Creel was a boxer, he never learned to fight without using his powers to give him an advantage. When he heard a gunshot, he instinctively transformed into a bulletproof material. During his struggles with Melinda May, and later Lance Hunter, Creel sought materials to duplicate, instead of fighting equally.
|Appearances for Carl Creel|
In chronological order:
- In the comics, Carl Creel received his powers from Loki so he could challenge Thor, and he was carrying a ball-and-chain weapon that received the same duplication powers as he did. The ball-and-chain ripped from the guard rail that Creel uses in Washington, D.C. is an homage to this weapon.
- Carl Creel closely resembled Groot when he absorbed a piece of wood.
- The petrification power of Creel is similar to that of the Grey Gargoyle.
- Creel is one of only three humans to survive physical contact with Diviner metal, and, due to his powers, the only one who did not require amputation of the affected limb. The others are Isabelle Hartley, whose death he caused after she ceased to be in danger of petrifaction, and Phil Coulson.
Behind the Scenes
- Jeph Loeb, the head of television production for Marvel Studios, was the first to put Creel in a boxing match against Jack Murdock in the comic, Daredevil: Yellow.