A group of villains published by Marvel Comics
. The Wrecking Crew
first appeared as a group in Defenders #17
If you are searching for incredible destructive power with little purpose, you would be hard pressed to do better than the quartet known as the Wrecking Crew. These four criminals have faced in their group or individual exploits the likes of the Avengers, Defenders, Spider-Man, Thor and other heroes over the years, but usually they serve as the muscle for someone else's plans like Baron Zemo when they worked with the Masters of Evil or the Doomsday Man.
The origin of the group begins with one of their number, the cirminal known as the Wrecker. Born Dirk Garthwaite, this large muscular man soon found that he could use his superior strength to force others into doing what he wanted. Eventually his bullying, brash attitude lost him every legitimate way of making money, so Garthwaite dressed himself in a simple costume and armed himself with a crowbar, adopting the name the Wrecker and began to pursue a life of crime.
Garthwaite probably would have lived the rest of his days as a two bit crook, if not for the day that he broke into a hotel room looking for money to steal. Unbeknownst to him, Garthwaite had broken into a hotel room currently occupied by the Norse god Loki who had been stripped of his powers by his father Odin and banished to Earth. While Garthwaite searched the room, he donned Loki's helmet. Suddenly, Karnilla, the Queen of the Norns, appeared and mistaking Garthwaite for Loki, bestowed upon him incredible mystic power that boosted Garthwaite's strength, making him truly like his adopted name, a wrecker. (The Wrecker's origin first appeared in Tales to Astonish #63 in 1965)
Garthwaite clashed a number of times over the years with Loki's half-brother Thor until such time as the Norn queen's power was drawn out of the Wrecker by Thor. Thor used his control of lightning to draw the power back into the crowbar, effectively depowering the Wrecker. While in jail, Garthwaite met three other inmates, a ex-scientist named Dr. Eliot Franklin, a farmhand named Philip Calusky, and an ex-army sargeant named Henry Camp. The quartet plotted and eventually broke out of jail and recovered the crowbar. While all four were holding the mystically enhanced crowbar, a bolt of lightning struck the crowbar transferring a portion of Karnilla's power to each of the four men. The four men decided to use their new found powers by committing crimes together chosing to take identities based upon construction equipment like some kind of Norn magic powered version of the Village People with a Tonka Truck obsession. Garthwaite once again adopted his identity as the Wrecker, Camp became Bulldozer (who prefers to use his superior strength to charge his opponents), Calusky became Piledriver who prefers to use his super-human strength to punch, and Franklin adopted a steel wrecking ball as a weapon and took the name Thunderball.
The four fought the likes of the Defenders and were part of the Marvel 12 issue crossover called the Secret Wars. They followed Baron Zemo during the take-over of the Avengers mansion and aided in beating Hercules to the point of putting him into a coma.Of late, the four have been involved in an attempt to capture the former Ms. Marvel for the villain known as the Doomsday Man.