Who Is SHE-HULK’s Villainous Wrecking Crew?

She-Hulk episode three gives us one of the biggest (non-superhero) cameos in MCU history! That savage appearance was rad, but the hilarious episode also introduced some major Marvel Comics players. Yep, those strange men and their glowing tools are the Wrecking Crew, some of Marvel’s top-tier ground-level villains. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of them, they’re a pretty deep-cut addition to the show. But, as always, we’re here to dig into their arrival, the Wrecking Crew’s comic book history, and what they mean for She-Hulk and the MCU. 

She-Hulk and the Wrecking Crew from Marvel 3
Marvel Studios

Is the Wrecking Crew in She-Hulk From Marvel Comics?

Spoiler alert, yes! That’s why we’re here. Here’s how they make their MCU debut. As Jennifer walks home alone at night, a group of men with glowing tools accost her. The one holding the enchanted crowbar is the Wrecker, and then there’s Thunderball who drops the chained ball. The Wrecking Crew attacks Jen. They terrify her, but only for a moment. Then she remembers that she’s She-Hulk. She goes full Shulkie and sends them packing in mere moments. That was a key story moment for the creators, as director Kat Coiro told us, “ That scene is one of the foundational scenes for me because what woman hasn’t walked home in the dark and feared for their life,” Coiro shared. “And Jen has this wish fulfillment element of like, ‘Oh, if someone bothers me, I can kick their butts.'”

She-Hulk and the Wrecking Crew from Marvel 5
Marvel Studios
She-Hulk and the Wrecking Crew from Marvel 4
Marvel Studios

As the boys run away in their construction van, they mention that they were trying to get She-Hulk’s blood but didn’t manage to as her green skin is impenetrable. Apparently their “Boss” won’t be happy about it. Who could that boss be? Well, there are a few likely options, but before we dig into that let’s talk about the Wrecking Crew from Marvel Comics. 

Who Is the Wrecking Crew in Marvel Comics?

The cover for The Mighty Thor #304 shows Thor Fighting the Wrecking Crew
Marvel Comics/Keith Pollard/Josef Rubenstein

The Wrecking Crew first debuted as a team in 1974’s The Defenders #17. Created by Sal Buscema and Len Wein, the villainous crew consisted of four members: Wrecker, Thunderball, Bulldozer, and Piledriver. While She-Hulk head writer Jessica Gao told us that in the MCU the Wrecking Crew gained their powers by stealing tools from Asgardian construction workers, their comic book origin is different. In those stories, Dirk Garthwaite is a construction worker turned criminal who used a crowbar as a weapon. After being mistaken for Loki during a robbery, he had Asgardian magic bestowed on him. This happened way back in Thor #148-150 in 1967 by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, where the Wrecker first tangled with—you guessed it–the mighty Thor.

Although the Wrecker was seemingly depowered and jailed after a brief return in Thor #171, a flashback in Defenders #18 revealed the truth. Dirk broke out with the help of three other inmates. He used his enchanted crowbar to transfer a portion of the weapon’s Asgardian magic to the entire gang. The most well known among his teammates is the super intelligent Dr. Eliot Franklin, a.k.a. Thunderball,, who’s a rather reluctant addition to the menacing group. He uses a magical wrecking ball much like Thor wields Mjolnir, casting it out like a ballistic boomerang. Bulldozer, a.k.a. Henry Camp, is outfitted with a riveted metal helmet that allows him to crash and smash everything in his path. And Piledriver, a.k.a. Brian Calusky, can demolish nearly anything with his giant super-strong fists.

Who Is the Wrecking Crew’s Boss? 

Ayo of the Dora Milaje stands behind Baron Zemo on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Marvel Studios

In the comics, the Wrecker is the head honcho of the rugged villains and responsible for granting them their powers. Established in their first outing in Defenders #17-19, the Wrecker barks out commands in battle and expects the rest of the Wrecking Crew to follow. Members of the Wrecking Crew have joined up with other villainous teams over the decades, from the Masters of Evil to the Frightful Four to the Hood’s criminal army. But whenever they’re all working together, Dirk is the de facto leader. However, it seems that in the MCU, the Wrecking Crew may have someone else pulling the strings.

Seeing as the Wrecker was on the mission to get She-Hulk’s blood, we can guess that there’s a higher power in play here. If we look to the comics, that could be the Hood, or perhaps Baron Zemo. There’s also the possibility of the MCU bringing in another old Incredible Hulk villain. We’ve already seen the return of Emil Blonksy (Tim Roth), so why couldn’t we finally see the Leader return to the MCU? It would make a lot of sense for him to possibly be behind the mission to get She-Hulk’s blood, potentially as a way to understand himself and his powers. 

There are other options for who might be the leader of the Wrecking Crew in She-Hulk, including Dr. Eliot Franklin, the original Thunderbolt. We know that the character has clearly been reimagined here, so what if the classic villain had passed down the mantle? Now using his Wrecking Crew to do his ground level business? 

Is the Wrecking Crew in Secret Wars?

The logo for Avengers: The Secret Wars
Marvel Studios

With the reveal that Secret Wars will indeed be the endgame for the MCU’s Phase 6, this is a very fair question to ask. And the answer, dear readers, is yes! All four members of the original Wrecking Crew were transported by the Beyonder to Battleworld in the 1984 crossover event by Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck, Bob Layton, and more legendary Marvel creators. Although they often worked as a unit on the alien world, they fought under Doctor Doom’s villainous collective. Sadly, none of the Wrecking Crew made it into the Mattel toy line that was the impetus behind the series.

As for how the Wrecking Crew will play into the future of the MCU, we’ll just have to keep watching to find out. 

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