WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Black Bolt #12
With Agents of SHIELD. turning Carl 'Crusher' Creel into a reluctant hero, Marvel Comics have done the same, making the Absorbing Man into a good guy in Marvel's Black Bolt. The Inhumans have been through a lot in recent years, with NuHumans popping up all over the comics and the characters playing a larger role on TV. But after the failure of Inhumans, the future of the Royal Family in the MCU is unclear. In fact, Marvel is teasing the death of the Inhumans in the comics as well.
For now, however, some big things have been happening for the Kree-human hybrids. New depths have been added to their mythology while the Royal Family has had things shaken up just as the NuHumans take a larger role in the comics. Black Bolt ins particular has been given one of Marvel's best stories in years thanks to Saladin Ahmed and the surrealistic art of Christian Ward.
The 12-issue Black Bolt limited series has analyzed the prison-industrial complex and the thorny question of criminality all while redeeming the former king of the Inhumans for all his past sins. But alongside the journey of Blackagar Boltagon, we've also seen the transformation of the Absorbing Man.
Black Bolt #12 finally wraps up the prison storyline of the book and provides some reconciliation for Black Bolt and Medusa. At the same time, it continues Absorbing Man's slow turn into a bit of a hero. After sacrificing his life for his new friends, Black Bolt is able to convince Crusher's wife Titania to help him fight both Lash and the evil Jailer.
And since this is a comic, we even see Absorbing Man come back to life by rebuilding himself from some particles in his signature ball and chain. Once returned to life, he absorbs some alien energy and helps save Black Bolt and their friend Blinky, before the book ends with the promise of a reformed Crusher—and new a friend for the king.
The events of the MCU haven't been exactly the same, but when we first met Absorbing Man on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. he was an outright villain. We slowly learned, however, that he was under the influence of Hydra and had more layers to him. From there, he began working with Talbot and showed that if anything, he was a gun for hire. And though he's now paired with Hale and Hydra once again, there's clearly conflict in him—and possibly some ties to Captain America.
Marvel has made their comics mirror their movies and TV shows in a number of ways, including introducing most of the characters from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. onto the page. With Black Bolt, Ahmed not only examines the intricacies of what makes a criminal, but also helps bring Absorbing Man more in line with who we've seen in the MCU.
There's no telling if this new leaf will stick or even if Absorbing Man will feature this prominently in another comic anytime soon, but it's clear both Marvel Comics and TV have some sort of plans for Crusher.
Black Bolt #12 is available now from Marvel and comic book retailers.