|First appearance||(As group) The Defenders #17 (November 1974)|
|Created by||Len Wein|
The Wrecking Crew is a team of four supervillains—the Wrecker, Bulldozer, Piledriver and Thunderball—appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. While not featured on the cover, the Wrecking Crew's first appearance is in The Defenders #17 (Nov 1974).
The Wrecking Crew appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe / Disney+ series She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022).
The Wrecking Crew are formed when Dirk Garthwaite—the Wrecker—is approached by Dr. Eliot Franklin in prison and asked to retrieve a gamma bomb Franklin had designed, with the intent of ransoming New York for millions of dollars. The Wrecker had formerly been a violent criminal who demolished crime scenes with his crowbar, but gained his power when he was mistaken for Loki and given mystical powers by Karnilla the Norn Queen. Garthwaite manages to retrieve his enchanted crowbar. During a lightning storm, Wrecker tells Franklin and fellow prisoners Henry Camp and Brian Calusky to grip the weapon simultaneously. A lightning bolt then strikes the crowbar, increases the Wrecker's power and transforms him and the other three men into the Wrecking Crew. Franklin became Thunderball, Camp became Bulldozer, and Caluski became Piledriver. They promptly escape from prison and, in the course of searching for the gamma bomb, are defeated by the Defenders and Luke Cage.
Over the years the Wrecking Crew have followed a very familiar cycle—escape from prison, fight (and subsequently lose to) superheroes, and be returned to prison. The Wrecking Crew have battled the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Captain America, Iron Fist, the Runaways, Spider-Man, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Doctor Strange, Daredevil, Alpha Flight, the She-Hulk and the X-Men, but their main foe is Thor. When the Wrecking Crew first battle Thor, they are confident that it will be a quick victory. Thor, however, infuriated by the fact that one of the Wrecker's offensives has killed an innocent bystander, defeats them all in moments and critically injures the Wrecker. Thunderball escapes and, several weeks later, recovers the Wrecker's crowbar, going on to form his own gang before being defeated by Spider-Man. The Wrecking Crew is later chosen by the being known as the Beyonder to participate in the Secret Wars against a team of select superheroes. The Wrecking Crew's most notorious act was to participate in the near-fatal beating of the hero Hercules during a siege of Avengers Mansion by the fourth incarnation of Masters of Evil led by Baron Helmut Zemo. With Thor's assistance, Hercules eventually confronts the Wrecking Crew and defeats them, restoring his confidence in himself. The Wrecking Crew were briefly joined by Piledriver's son Excavator who helped them in their fight against the Runaways. The Wrecking Crew was imprisoned in the Raft when Electro freed the inmates in the New Avengers.
During the Civil War crossover event, the Wrecking Crew is forced to join the Thunderbolts Army or face additional jail time. The Wrecking Crew later escape to Canada to avoid the Superhuman Registration Act. The Wrecking Crew's most despicable act was murdering nearly everyone inside a Canadian bar all because of an "annoying" cell phone ringtone. They then join forces with the mythical Great Beasts and battle the superhero team Omega Flight. After being defeated by Omega Flight, they are imprisoned in a jail in Manitoba, but manage to escape and return to the United States, where they are recruited to join the Hood's crime syndicate. The Wrecking Crew were later hired by Jigsaw to kill the Punisher during Jigsaw's revenge plot against him. However, before the Wrecker can deliver the final blow, he is defeated by the Rhino, who owed the Punisher a favor after he spared the Rhino's life. During the "Secret Invasion" storyline, the Wrecking Crew are among the many supervillains who rejoined the Hood's crime syndicate and attacked an invading Skrull force.
At the time when Bulldozer died of an unknown cause, his daughter Marci became the second Bulldozer. During the Avengers: Standoff! storyline, Wrecker, Piledriver, and a somehow-revived Bulldozer appear as inmates of Pleasant Hill, a gated community established by S.H.I.E.L.D. During the "Search for Tony Stark" story arc, the Wrecking Crew rejoin the Hood's gang as they attack Castle Doom. The Wrecking Crew later joined Baron Zemo's third incarnation of the Masters of Evil. The Hydra Supreme version of Captain America persuaded Zemo to have the Masters of Evil be part of Hydra's Army of Evil by the time of Hydra's takeover of the United States. The Wrecking Crew were hired by Mayor Wilson Fisk to demolish P.S. 20. As Thunderball was unavailable, they gained Demolisher as a substitute member. The Wrecking Crew were defeated by Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. During the "Devil's Reign" storyline, the Wrecking Crew were shown as inmates of the Myrmidon. When 8-Ball offered to sit with them, they turn him down.
In Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness, Thunderball is seen fighting Daredevil, whom he defeats with the help of Ash Williams (who mistakenly believed Daredevil to be the villain). Later, Thunderball is attempting to fight off several zombies, including infected versions of the Wrecker, Bulldozer and Piledriver. The Punisher comes upon the scene and shoots Thunderball dead, then directs his attention to the zombies. The remaining members of the Wrecking Crew are subsequently among the zombies who attack and infect the Punisher.
The Ultimate Wrecking Crew initially appear in Ultimate Spider-Man as a clean-up crew for super-human battles, as employees of Damage Control. They then briefly appear in Ultimate Hulk Annual fighting Zarda after gaining the costumes, weapons and powers of their mainstream counterparts and seizing the Flatiron Building. It is unknown how or why they acquired their costumes, weapons and powers, as well as the change in their behavior.
The Wrecking Crew have a brief appearance in the last issue of JLA/Avengers as a part of Krona's army, being single-handedly taken down by Wonder Woman.