The Neglected Nemeses: The Wrecking Crew


You kids up for a bit of destruction? At the request of Mr. Tittie Nashville, I’ll be highlighting a group of super villains that have posed a threat to not only the Avengers, but to Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Fist, Hercules and of course their number one foe- Thor. This will actually mark the first time I’ve presented a Thor villain, as well as an entire group of them, so sit back and get ready for some mass destruction.

The Wrecking Crew first came on the scene in 1974 in “Defenders.” The team consists of Wrecker (Dirk Garthwaite), Thunderball  (Dr. Eliot Franklin),  Bulldozer(Henry Camp) and Piledriver  (Brian Philip Calusky). The group was formed when Dr. Franklin approaches Garthwaite to retrieve a Gamma bomb that he had designed and was planning to hold New York ransom for millions of dollars. Formally a violent criminal who is known for devastating crime scenes with his crow bar, Garthwaite gained his power when he was mistaken as Loki and given godly powers by the Norn Queen. While in prison, a lightening storm arrives and the Wrecker tells Franklin, and their fellow prisoners, Henry Camp and Brian Calusky, to grab onto his crowbar. When the lightening strikes, the jolt transforms the foursome into the Wrecking Crew. Naturally, they quickly escape and go on the search for the previously mentioned Gamma bomb. The team is stopped by the Defenders and Luke Cage however.

In order to salvage their reputation after this event, the group vowed to publicly defeat Thor. Instead, they encountered Iron Fist and his girlfriend Mist Knight. In order to keep them from harming Misty, Iron Fist granted them access to the Avengers Mansion, where they confronted Captain America. Cap, along with Iron Fist battled the Crew and were able to take them down and return them to prison. Using the power in his crow bar, the Wrecker was able to coerce one of the guards to release he and his three friends. Once freed, they had their first opportunity to confront Thor. Of course, Thor bested them, with only Thunderball escaping. Wrecker, Piledriver and Bulldozer were sent back to prison, while Thunderball continued work on his own, even taking on Iron Man. Dr. Franklin was able to retrieve the Wrecker’s crow bar and used it against Spider-Man, but was ultimately beaten and taken to prison to join his group.

Having been freed by the Beyonder, the Wrecking Crew was transported to Battle World, where they joined Doctor Doom’s army of super villains used to defeat the heroes there. The team proved to be an essential part of Doom’s team, but when Doom gained the Beyonder’s powers, they abandoned him and returned to Earth to join Baron Zemo’s Masters of Evil. The Crew discovered some rather useful information on Hercules regarding the hero’s trouble with alcohol. The foursome, along with Goliath and Mister Hyde, then put a beat-down on Hercules that put the hero in a coma. This is considered to be one of the Wrecking Crew’s most dastardly deeds. Once Thor discovered what they had done, the Asgardian sought revenge and defeated the Crew again. In doing so, Thor placed all of the Crew’s powers back into the Wrecker’s crow bar.

The Wrecking Crew has not always been teddy bears and posies, however, as there have been a few instances where dissension rose in the ranks. After the Wrecker had freed the team from prison once again, Thunderball began to work on the Gamma bomb once again, but found himself longing for the powers that Wrecker’s crow bar had previously given him. The Doctor eventually turned on the Wrecker, wanting all the power for himself. The Crew was confronted by both Spider-Man and Spider-Woman, the self-destructing team fell rather easily. Following that, the team participated in the “Acts of Vengeance”, where Thunderball took on the Fantastic Four, the Wrecker battled Iron Man, and the entire Crew fought Damage Control, who was secretly being aided by Thunderball. The Wrecker grew tired of Franklin’s attempts to over-throw him and sought to confront the now powerless Thunderball. Wrecker found the Thing instead, who quickly put the Wrecker down. Aside from that, the Crew was imprisoned in The Vault for a spell. There, Venom staged a breakout, but Thunderball opposed the unstable symbiote and created his own smaller group to take on the Avengers who were trying to lock down the prison. Thunderball eventually sided with e heroic team to help stop the main breach in the Vault.

The two were forced to work together again, but the trust they once had was never again present. Shortly after the Vault incident, the team was approached by Hercules. The hero took on the team which gave him back the confidence taken from him when they nearly beat him to death and helped him overcome his fear of combat due to that event.

During a battle with NYPD’s Code: Blue, Loki decided to take the power that was originally meant for him and took on the power of the Wrecker and his crow bar. While the Crew was fighting Thor and Ghost Rider, Loki has the Enchantress and Ulik put a stop to each member of the Wrecking Crew until only the Wrecker stood. Loki then tortured Wrecker until finally casting him into another dimension. Once the Wrecker returned to Earth, he reunited with the Wrecking Crew. Soon after, the Crew’s powers began to fade because of the separating links between Earth and Asgard, which were caused by Odin’s attempt at evading Ragnorak.

Obviously, the Wrecking Crew could serve as the rogue(s) for several characters, especially the Avengers. But it seems as thought Marvel is keeping the Avengers to face the larger threats and rightfully so. As I mentioned earlier, Thor is the man that this group tends to face the most and i think that the Crew could potentially serve as a serious threat to the Asgardian. My thought on this is to keep the story more based on Earth rather than Midgard. The first film in the series gave us shots of both worlds, and it looks as if the sequel will take place in the other realms. How about we keep a third film on Midgard and have this fearsome foursome serve as the main baddie for Thor? Just imagine the battle sequences that would ensue with this team of destructive characters! It’d be like the final battle in The Incredible Hulk times four! I’m down for that!

Now, it’s bad enough trying to track down an actor for just one character, so an entire team proved to be a bit of a challenge but I think I’ve put together a good group of actors that would do the roles some justice. First up is the Wrecker, the supposed leader of the group. For him, I’ve chose Kevin Durand. Durand is a great character actor that relishes in playing the bad guy. Most folks know him from roles like the Blob in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and more recently in I Am Number Four. Moving on to Thunderball, the man who causes a bit of dissension in the group due to jealousy, I’ve chosen Terry Crews. The football star turned actor is most known for his work in the Expendables series, as well as numerous TV series and films. He typically plays the brute, so it’d be interesting to make him the “smart one” of the Wrecking Crew. For Bulldozer, I look to one of Crews’s Expendables co-stars in Randy Couture. The former MMA fighter would offer up a great take on the character, as he could not only provide a great match in how the character looks, be he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty for a role. Finally, for Piledriver, I’ve selected Armie Hammer, the star of the upcoming Lone Ranger and the acclaimed Social Network. The actor not only has great skill, but he’ has a perfect look for the character. Granted, he’d have to bulk up a bit for the role, but other than that, he’s a great fit.


Ecksmanfan (Josh Johnson/GeekBoy) is a contributor here at Comic Book Therapy, helping readers to control the geek within. Josh is the owner and editor of GeekBoyMovieNews, your go-to  website for all things related to geek movies, plus a little bit more. If you have suggestions for the next installment of The Neglected Nemeses, be sure to mention it in the comments below! You can view past installments of The Neglected Nemeses by CLICKING HERE.



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