The Wrecking Crew was formed when the criminal Dirk Garthwaite, the Wrecker, was approached by Dr. Elliot Franklin, with the task of retrieving a gamma bomb Dr. Franklin had designed, with the intent of ransoming New York for millions of dollars.
Garthwaite managed to retrieve his enchanted crowbar, and during a lightning storm, he told Dr. Franklin and two of his fellow prisoners, Henry Camp and Brian Calusky, to grip the crowbar simultaneously. A lightning bolt struck the bar, thus transferring the enchantments of Garthwaite's crowbar to all three of the others and transforming the group into the Wrecking Crew. Dr. Franklin was transformed into the Thunderball; Camp was transformed into the Bulldozer; and Calusky was transformed into the Piledriver.
They promptly escaped from prison, but in the course of their search for Dr. Franklin's gamma bomb, they were defeated by the Defenders and Luke Cage.
The Wrecking Crew was created by Leonard "Len" Wein and designed by Salvatore "Sal" Buscema, the latter of whom was the brother of John Buscema, in November 1974. They first appeared in Defenders vol.1 #17
Over the years, the Wrecking Crew had a very familiar cycle--escape from prison, fight enemies, be defeated, then get thrown back into jail. The Crew were known to have fought Captain America, Iron Fist, Namor, Spider-Man, the Thing, and their greatest enemy, Thor.
In their first encounter with Thor, they were sure of victory, possessing Asgardian enhancements as they did. But he defeated them then, as well as every time they came into conflict. At one point, after killing an innocent bystander, the Wrecker sustained an injury that Thor had inflicted upon him. As a result of this, the Thunderball took the Wrecker's crowbar and was made the "captain" of the Wrecking Crew, as whom he served for a short time before the short-handed Crew lost to Spider-Man.
Major Story Arcs
The Wrecking Crew was chosen by the Beyonder to face off against a group of heroes during his Secret Wars. The Wrecking Crew's most despicable act was when they nearly killed Hercules during an attack on the Avengers Mansion which the Masters Of Evil led. With Thor's assistance, Hercules eventually confronted and defeated the Wrecking Crew, restoring confidence in himself.
During the Civil War incident, the Wrecking Crew was forced to join another team, the Thunderbolts, or face additional time being added to their prison sentences. This was ironic since most of the Thunderbolts were reformed villains, but the Wrecking Crew members all remained unreformed criminals.
During the initiative, the Wrecker and his Wrecking Crew were hired by Jigsaw to kill Frank Castle, the Punisher, as he was being transferred to the Raft by G. W. Bridge. They were promised $50.000.000 to kill the Punisher. Eventually, with the help of the Rhino, whom Clarke sent, the Punisher defeated them; in the course of this, he used the Wrecker's crowbar in order to finish off the Thunderball.
All the Wrecking Crew's members, except the Excavator, later joined the Hood's Gang. They fought against the Skrulls, during the Secret Invasion, and the New Avengers in the Dark Reign story arcs.
Earth-58163 House of M
The Wrecking Crew was a part of The Hood's gang. In their liberation of Santo Rico, the Piledriver and the Bulldozer were killed by Madison Jeffries and Lionel Jeffries, but the liberation succeeded nonetheless. When they found out that the Red Guard had been sent to eliminate them, the Thunderball fled because of his son back home, but the Wrecker stayed behind, and he was beaten to death by Sasquatch and Sebastian Shaw.
The Wrecking Crew appears in several episodes of the series most notably in "Thor the Mighty," where they are manipulated by Loki in the guise of The Leader to attack a dock containing a shipment of gamma-radiated weapons before being stopped by Thor. It is revealed that Loki hired the Wrecking Crew as a diversion so that the Frost Giants could invade Asgard without Thor intervening on Odin's behalf.
The Crew later reappears in the two-part episode "Gamma World," this time working for the real Leader, who uses gamma radiation to increase their powers, allowing them to defeat both Thor and Doc Samson. They are once again defeated by the Avengers and are then taken away by S.H.I.E.L.D before Leader initiates the second gamma wave. They apparently escape after Hulk, Hawkeye and Thor defeat Leader in "Gamma World Part II."
Disney XD series
Members of the Wrecking Crew appear in Avengers Assemble, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and Ultimate Spider-Man.
- The Wrecking Crew members are bosses in the Asgard level of Marvel Ultimate Alliance. All four villains attack the heroes at once.
- The Wrecking Crew members appear as bosses in the Facebook game Marvel Avengers Alliance.
- Members of the Wrecking Crew were featured in Eaglemoss' line of lead Marvel figurines.
- Members of the Wrecking Crew appeared in the Marvel Universe line from Hasbro.
- Members of the Wrecking Crew appeared in the HeroClix figure game.
- Members of the Wrecking Crew appeared in the Marvel Legends line from Hasbro.
- The members of the Wrecking Crew received a set of busts from Bowen Designs.