The Wrecking Crew has plagued Marvel for much of its history. Their leader, the Wrecker, first popped up in Thor #148 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. He was granted powers and a magic crowbar by Karnilla the Norn Queen. He would go on to fight Thor a few times before meeting the three men who would become Thunderball, Piledriver, and Bulldozer in prison. The three touched the Wrecker’s crowbar and were struck by lightning, receiving immense strength and durability. It was then they became the Wrecking Crew.
Since then, the Wrecking Crew has gone on to battle the Hulk, the Avengers, the Defenders, the X-Men, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Omega Flight, and virtually every other Marvel hero under the sun. Here’s why they’re easily the most underrated crew of villains in the Marvel roster.
10 They’re Classic Heavies
The greatness of the Wrecking Crew starts with its simplicity. Like many of the classic Spider-Man villains, the Wrecking Crew’s motivation is pretty straightforward. They want money, they want power, and they want the easy life. They are classic knee-breakers who need little reason to be brought into a comic story. They’re also immensely powerful and can be a threat to even the likes of Hulk and Thor. When a Marvel comic needs a solid threat, the Wrecking Crew is one of the first they call upon. You can bring them virtually into anything.
9 They Were There For Secret Wars
The Wrecking Crew were among the villains brought to Battleworld during Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck’s original Secret Wars story. They, along with Absorbing Man and Titania, were ideal footsoldiers for the likes of Doctor Doom, Kang the Conqueror, and Doc-Ock. They were easily-led muscle that could crash into a column of heroes and leave them off-balance. They were perfect villains for this story too, as they are often quite petty and can hold a grudge. They see heroes, then they want to beat on heroes.
8 They Were There For Siege
Another titanic Marvel event, Siege brought Norman Osborn’s H.A.M.M.E.R, his Dark Avengers, his Thunderbolts, and the Hood’s massive gang of rogues crashing down on the then-Earth-based kingdom of Asgard. The Wrecking Crew were a central part of bringing the legendary city to its knees and were all-too-happy to reap the spoils of war.
In a memorable moment from the Siege: Young Avengers one-shot, Thunderball wonders if the Wrecking Crew should be smashing up Asgard since it’s where their powers originate. The other three accuse him of being weak and proceed to beat on him while Speed of the Young Avengers watches.
7 They Invaded The Avengers Mansion
When Ultron’s Masters of Evil launched their surprise attack on the Avengers Mansion, the Wrecking Crew were there to join in on the rampage. They tore through the home, almost killed Jarvis, and put the mighty Hercules into a coma. They were there to help enact one of the Avengers’ darkest hours, and they helped make sure that it was a devastating blow for the team, even if the Avengers still won in the end.
6 They Helped Inaugurate The New Avengers
When Electro broke open the Raft, the Wrecking Crew had just been put inside. They were a part of the massive prison riot and escape that ensued, which led to the formation of the New Avengers team. The Wrecking Crew were there to battle Captain America, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, and Daredevil on that day unlike any other. The Wrecker was nabbed by the heroes, but the other three members managed to escape the island.
5 They Helped Inaugurate The Thunderbolts
When the Thunderbolts struck onto the scene, one of the first threats they took on was the Wrecking Crew. The quartet of bad guys was intent on destroying the Statue of Liberty (no joke), and the Thunderbolts responded and put a stop to them. This fight helped give the Thunderbolts validity with the public, which is exactly what Citizen V, aka Baron Helmut Zemo, wanted for his disguised Masters of Evil team.
4 The Wrecker Is Great On His Own
Dirk Garthwaite, aka the Wrecker, is a pretty spectacular villain on his own. As stated above, he appeared before the other three, and he took on Thor alone. He’s ambitious, ill-mannered, and easily enraged. Despite being the de facto leader, he isn’t all that bright either. He’s a classic strong, dumb, bad guy. Plus, the powers he received from Karnilla were actually stolen from Loki. The Trickster God had made a pact with Karnilla to receive a power transference through a helmet, and the Wrecker stole that helmet while Karnilla was bestowing that power.
3 Thunderball Is Actually A Pretty Complex Character
Thunderball, aka Dr. Eliot Franklin, was actually a physicist before he was sent to prison. He had created a miniature gamma bomb of his own, but he would commit robberies to fund his research. That’s what led to him being arrested and becoming Thunderball on that fateful day. However, of the four members of the Wrecking Crew, Franklin is the only one who has often expressed the wish to leave the life of a common crook.
He had that pang of conscience during Siege mentioned above, and he later left the team to join with the Hood and Mad Thinker’s Illuminati team when he needed a change of pace. He’s often clashed with the Wrecker because, well, Eliot Franklin is far smarter. Eventually, he was offered a way out of the life thanks to Black Panther and Wakanda offering him amnesty so long as he aids in their own research and flies straight. It seems unlikely that this will stick, but who knows?
2 Loyal To The Hood
When the Hood put together his army of villains to repeatedly plague the Avengers and New York City, the Wrecking Crew would often lead the charge. The four of them stuck with the Hood for quite some time, participating in the deadly Siege on Asgard, helping Chemistro actually subdue the New Avengers, and joining up with the Hood again when he went after Doctor Doom, then the Infamous (yet reformed) Iron Man.
1 They Really Have Fought Pretty Much Everyone
On top of everything else, the Wrecking Crew really has fought everyone. They are the quintessential Marvel supervillain team because they’ve stuck together longer than any other team, they’ve taken on the Avengers, the New Avengers, the Defenders, Omega Flight, Fantastic Four, Iron Fist and Misty Knight, the armies of Asgard, the Hulk, the Thunderbolts, the Young Avengers, Doctor Doom, the X-Men, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Code: Blue, Thunderstrike, Damage Control, Excalibur, the Punisher, the Runaways, and probably other heroes and teams that aren’t listed here. They’re strong, they’re mean, they just want some easy cash, and they are one of Marvel’s best supervillain teams.
The Wrecking Crew might just be Marvel's most underrated team of supervillains, and we've got ten solid reasons why.