Towards the end of World War II in 1945, HYDRA General Werner Reinhardt attempted to escape capture with his prized possession, a mysterious Obelisk which killed almost anyone who came into contact with it. However before Reinhardt could escape, he was discovered by Peggy Carter and the Howling Commandos who arrested Reinhardt and locked the Obelisk away, code-naming it an 0-8-4. The Obelisk was kept by the Strategic Scientific Reserve and later S.H.I.E.L.D. for protection.
In 2014, S.H.I.E.L.D. had fallen during the HYDRA Uprising and the Obelisk had been moved into a Government Storage Warehouse. One of the agents named Roger Browning who had been tasked with safe-guarding the Obelisk while it was still at S.H.I.E.L.D. began selling top secret information to the highest bidders. Browning met with Isabelle Hartley, Lance Hunter and Idaho to sell the information about the Obelisk; however during the meeting, they were attacked by Carl Creel who killed Browning before escaping.
As Glenn Talbot was enjoying a walk in Washington, D.C. with his wife and son, he was bumped into by Antoine Triplett, who planted a phone in his pocket. Phil Coulson then called this phone, leaving Talbot worried as the General instructed his wife to leave with his son. Coulson warned Talbot of an imminent danger, but Talbot refused to listen to him and destroyed the phone.
Talbot then called his own security to have reinforcements sent to him, unaware that Carl Creel was approaching him from behind before Melinda May alerted him. Talbot engaged in a fist fight against Creel, but was knocked on the ground, causing May to intervene and attack Creel as well while the military arrived and aimed at him. In order to protect himself, Creel took apart a chain with a metal sphere, absorbing its properties in the process.
Wielding his chain and ball like a weapon, Creel attacked May, but she dodged the assaults and kicked him in the chest, allowing Skye to fire incapacitating at Creel, blocking him and enabling May to escape. As Creel was arrested, both Lance Hunter and Isabelle Hartley, disguised as soldiers, brought Talbot back to his car, where May was waiting for him with a gun.
- "Your people just took a man they have no idea how to contain to the one place he wants to be. Now I need your help to stop him."
"I'll make you a deal. You let me out of here, and I promise not to kill you. But there is no way on God's green Earth I am ever gonna help you."
"Well... you might."
- ―Phil Coulson and Glenn Talbot[src]
Glenn Talbot was taken aboard the Bus, and was strapped to a chair in the containment cell so that he could be interrogated by Phil Coulson. Coulson explained that the military had locked up Absorbing Man inside the Government Storage Warehouse, which was an ill-conceived plan since that was precisely the place Creel wanted to enter in order to steal something for HYDRA. Coulson offered that S.H.I.E.L.D. and the military should cooperate to deal with Creel, but Talbot rejected the proposition, causing him to be abandoned in his car.
Meanwhile, as S.H.I.E.L.D. feared and despite Talbot trying to increase surveillance on Creel, unaware that his call had been intercepted by Billy Koenig, Creel was able to escape from his plexiglass cell and later attempted to steal the Obelisk.