Friday, October 16, 2015

While A Universe Trembles!

OR: "Be Careful What You Wish For..."

As we've recently seen, the ruthless Crusher Creel has held a long-standing vendetta against Thor, the God of Thunder; yet the same can be said for Thor's evil, mischievous step-brother, Loki, who supplied Creel with his power as the Absorbing Man to challenge the Thunder God in order to advance his own agenda against his half-brother and the throne of Asgard. Eventually, however, the time arrived when Loki would call in Creel's debt to him--and Creel would find himself facing a challenge on another level entirely.

Creel's sudden shift in venue would come at the time he faces Thor in a fierce battle in New York--eventually finding himself on the losing side of the fight, as Thor pummels his foe while depriving Creel of the opportunity to strike back. In Asgard, meanwhile, Loki determines that the time is right to make his bid to seize power from his regal father--and, realizing that Creel will not prevail against Thor, he retrieves his cat's-paw in order to use him against Odin.

This is Creel's first meeting with Loki, not yet realizing that it was Loki who gave him his power--and as Loki imperiously attempts to assert his will, he finds that Creel has his own ideas on who's in charge. Loki, in response, feels that Creel needs educating on exactly who is the god here, and who is the lowly mortal.

As with generally any story featuring the Absorbing Man, it's often necessary to put aside elements of the writer's plot which don't really add up. For one thing, Creel's punishment here is another example of the Absorbing Man apparently not being able to control his transformations based on what he's exposed to--which, practically speaking, would make him extremely vulnerable to whatever environment he tried to live in. Also, we've seen in a prior encounter with Thor that he can transform himself to living fire with absolutely no harm to himself--why would extreme cold be any different? Nor would he hesitate to absorb the properties of ice if he was using such a form to attack someone.

There's also the questionable judgment of Loki to consider here--i.e., if Loki can humble Creel with ease, does he expect Creel to present a challenge to Odin, who's punished and banished Loki so often that he can probably do it blindfolded? As the dramatic battle unfolds, the answer remains to be seen--but to use an Earth expression, we can certainly assume that when Creel and Odin confront each other, "oh, it's on, now"!

In order to increase his chances of executing a successful coup, Loki has waiting until the bulk of Asgard's warriors have departed from the realm before unleashing the Absorbing Man. Those who remain, while fighting valiantly, find it difficult to match either Creel's strength, or his ability to shift to one deadly form after another. Eventually, the Absorbing Man breaks through their ranks, to find his primary target standing defiantly before him.

Meanwhile, hot on Creel's trail arrives Thor (along with intrepid reporter Harris Hobbs), who knows precisely who and what Odin now faces.

Clearly neither of these two combatants plan to give the other quarter--and each believes that they'll be the one left standing when this challenge has ended. As for Thor, he's held at bay by the forces being unleashed here--and though he pleads to be the one to take on Creel, he's held back by Odin as well, who seems to be biding his time.

Finally, Loki formally reveals his hand in all of this--and while Odin professes shock and indignation, his next response is more shocking still. In a word, Odin--caves!?

Can it be? Loki--the new ruler of Asgard? Maybe for all of a few seconds, because there's dissension in the ranks--and he goes by the name of Crusher Creel, who isn't about to do the grovelling that Loki demands. Rather, Creel has other aspirations, starting with claiming the coveted power scepter for himself and issuing a few commands of his own. Both of these men have forgotten the one who yet maintains the true commanding presence in this chamber--none other than Odin, who takes advantage of the bickering between Loki and Creel and uses his scepter to seal the fate of both.

In other words, if Odin says you're going to pay a thousandfold for your insolence, you'd do well to take him at his word and back off--while you can.

(This absorbing post featured events from Journey Into Mystery #s 122-123.)


Anonymous said...

By the horned helm of Heimdal! Any mortal that doth dare call the All-father "whiskers", "whitey", and "gramps" doth surely be cruisin' for one cosmic bruisin'! I have spoken!

Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying The Absorbing Man posts. Believe it or not, in a future storyline Crusher absorbed an ordinary man's powers and inadvertently cured the man's cancer. The effect and extent of his abilities certainly seem to vary to meet the circumstances of the story. Perhaps he'd like to come round and absorb my grandma's piles.


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