Greetings from the Odinson,
Everyone has their favorite villains, from A-list evil-doers like Lex Luthor and Doctor Doom to street level crooks like Bullseye and the Riddler. The Odinson could never resist an issue that features a hero battling Deathstroke, Absorbing Man, Juggernaut, Deadshot, or Galactus. This brings me to a quartet of strong men who I simply can’t get enough of – The Wrecking Crew.
The Wrecking Crew are the everyman super villains. They are Blue Collar bad guys that do a day of dishonest work for dishonest pay. They gladly get their hands dirty so White Collar bad guys like the Wizard and Mandarin don’t have to. The Wrecking Crew are professional henchmen who specialize in demolition, robbery, and good ole fashion arm-breaking. They are the muscle.
Their leader, Dirk Garthwaite was the son of a construction worker who was an abusive father. Years later, small time hood Dirk was imbued with Asgardian magic and became the powerhouse known as the Wrecker. After being defeated by Thor, while in jail, Dirk befriended Dr. Eliot Franklin, Brian Philip Calusky, and Henry Camp. Using his crowbar, the magical conduit for his power, he divided his divine might evenly among the four of them. Armed with a wrecking ball, Eliot took to calling himself Thunderball. Calusky and Camp became Piledriver and Bulldozer respectfully. These beefy bad guys have gone on to make a career of becoming a thorn in the side of the Thunder God and his allies the Avengers.
These aren’t just one dimensional strong guys. Each one of them has an agenda. There is in-fighting, there is friendship, and there is betrayal among them. Thunderball is a scientist whose knowledge in Gamma radiation is rivaled only by guys like Otto Octavius and Bruce Banner. All of them have super human strength on par with the strongest heroes.
The Odinson’s Top 10 Wrecking Crew Tales
10 – Thor #304 – Nothing too special about this issue except that it’s a good ole fashioned super hero/villain slugfest as the Mighty Thor takes on the Wrecking Crew in a no-holds-barred tussle.
9 – Lionheart of Avalon – In this five-part storyline, not only are we introduced to the new Captain Britain, but the Avengers do the one thing they never should. They underestimate the Wrecking Crew. It’s a big mistake that may cost them dearly.
8 – Amazing Spider-Man #248 – Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man has his hands full when he takes on the powerhouse brains of the Crew – Thunderball!
6 – Spectacular Spider-Man #125-126 – Spider-Man teams up with Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), the Spider-Woman who emerged from the first Secret Wars and later joined Freedom Force and Force Works, to take on the Wrecking Crew. Even though the two arachnid heroes are over matched they still find a way to triumph.
5 – Hulk: Let Battle Begin – In this bone-breaking tale, the Crew take a shot at the title as they challenge the undisputed strongest one there is – the Incredible Hulk!
4 – Iron Fist #11-12 – In this kung fu classic, the immortal power of the Iron Fist is put to the test by the Asgardian might of the Wrecking Crew.
3 – Thor #148-149 – First appearance of the Wrecker. Empowered with Asgardian magic by Karnilla the Norn Queen, small time hood Dirk Garthwaite becomes the powerhouse known as the Wrecker. Can even the Mighty Thor standalone against his evil half-brother Loki and this new menace?
2 – Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars – In the Grand Daddy of Big Events, the Wrecking Crew stand out in a tale that includes all of Marvel’s heavyweights. They provide the villain army with enough beefy muscle to take on the Marvel U’s mightiest heroes.
1 – Avengers: Under Siege – In this harrowing tale, the Wrecking Crew, as members of Baron Zemo’s ultimate Masters of Evil, actually pull off the impossible. They defeat the Avengers and take over Avengers Mansion. Using diabolical planning, the Masters of Evil separate Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, capture Captain America and the Black Knight, trap Captain Marvel (Photon) in the Dark Dimension, mercilessly beat Jarvis to within an inch of his life, and beat the mighty Hercules into a coma. This is easily a Top 5 Avengers story of All-Time and the repercussions of this tale can be felt for months to come, especially when the gods seek revenge in Assault on Olympus. A few years later, a few members of this incarnation of the masters of Evil resurface masquerading as the super team known as the Thunderbolts.
Next to Doctor Doom and Mephisto, the Wrecking Crew have probably racked up more victories over heroes in the Marvel U than other so called super villains. They may have made names for themselves as musclebound henchmen and brawlers, but make no mistake, the Wrecking Crew is not a group of villains to be underestimated. In the pages of Green Lantern, DC Comics tried to recreate the magic of the Wrecking Crew with their own version called The Demolition Team. However, nothing beats the original.
The Wrecking Crew are, hands down, the Odinson’s favorite Blue Collar bad guys.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell