Thunderball (Eliot Franklin) is a Marvel Comics supervillain and a frequent enemy of Thor and a somewhat reluctant (albeit utterly sadistic) ally of the Wrecker and the Wrecking Crew. The character was created by Len Wein and Sal Buscema and first appeared in Defenders #17 (November 1974).
One night during a thunderstorm, Garthwaite broke out of prison, along with his cellmates Henry Camp, Brian Philip Calusky, and Dr. Eliot Franklin. He recovered his magical crowbar and held it aloft, all four men placing their hands upon it. Lightning struck the crowbar, not only reactivating the enchantment but empowering the other three men as well. The four felons dubbed themselves the Wrecking Crew; Camp became Bulldozer, Calusky became Piledriver, and Franklin became Thunderball. Soon after, Thunderball took an ordinary wrecking ball for an offensive weapon which was energized by The Wrecker's crowbar, making it almost indestructible.
Thunderball then convinced his allies that they should capture the gamma bomb he had created and use it to ransom New York. They began to tear apart buildings owned by Richmond Enterprises to find the bomb, attracting the attention of the Defenders, including Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond himself). The Crew was defeated by the Defenders and dispersed to different prisons. The Crew were broken out and used by a group of villains during the Acts of Vengeance. Thunderball was sent to help a group of villains defeat the Fantastic Four. They were all defeated.
The relationship between The Wrecker and Thunderball has always been somewhat strained at times. Dr. Franklin believes that he's superior to The Wrecker because he's smarter than him, thus causing him to be resentful that the source and total reliance of his power lies with The Wrecker. Thunderball has attempted to usurp The Wrecker's power many times, only to be eventually thwarted. Once, The Wrecker easily crushed Thunderball's hand after he tried to steal his crowbar. Strangely, The Wrecker has always taken Thunderball back, because he considers Thunderball and the rest of The Wrecking Crew as the only family he truly has. On one occasion, Thunderball succeeded in stealing the crowbar and added it to his own powers as Thunderball, but he was defeated by Spider-Man.
As a member of The Wrecking Crew, Thunderball has faced many of Marvel's superheroes, including Thor, Iron Man, The Avengers, and The Hulk. In the past, The Wrecking Crew almost beat The Olympian Demi-God Hercules and She-Hulk within an inch of their lives. They have also been part of other "Super Villain" organizations, such as The Masters of Evil and part of Doctor Doom and his evil alliance in The Secret Wars, but they always stayed together as a team. Thunderball has occasionally operated on his own, working as a scientist for criminal organizations such as the Secret Empire, creating many of the weapons systems that would be used to turn Jeff Wilde, son of the original Midnight Man, into the cyborg warrior known as Midnight. In a battle between the Empire and Spider-Man, Moon Knight and their allies, Thunderball was one of the few Empire operatives to survive the destruction of the organization's base, and surrendered to the assembled heroes soon after.
Thunderball cares about at least one person. During a massive supervillain breakout at the prison called the Vault, the Wrecking Crew meets up with a team from Damage Control. Thunderball did not want to see John Porter, the head of the team, hurt. They trick the others into thinking John has superpowers (really, Thunderball hitting the Crew when the lights are out) and the Damage Control team manages to escape.
They once conquered an entire planet together, Polemachus, which was the home of sometime Avenger ally/adversary, Arkon. They overthrew Arkon and his consort, Thundra, and ruled Polemachus with the help of Arkon's former Grand Vizier, who betrayed them. This was after they briefly lost their Asgardian powers (When Loki took the power originally meant for him from The Wrecker.) and obtained their powers from a totally different energy source. Part of that energy source was Monica Rambeau herself, also known as the Avenger Pulsar (at the time, her codename was Photon).
During a battle in London, Thunderball tries to kill a wounded Captain America. Kelsey Leigh saves him using the shield but dies due to the shock of the impacts. Kelsey later returns as a new Captain Britain and seemingly kills Thunderball but he survives.
Thunderball and the rest of the Crew are forced into governmental service under the Thunderbolts program.
The Wrecking Crew with Thunderball have since been spotted in Canada fighting the newly created Omega Flight.
The Hood has hired him as part of his criminal organization to take advantage of the split in the superhero community caused by the Superhuman Registration Act. He helps them fight the New Avengers but is taken down by Dr. Strange. He was later seen with the Hood watching the Skrull invasion on television.
As well, Thunderball is highly intelligent. He is a scientific genius in the field of engineering and physics, specializing in gamma radiation, and is of the few super-humanly strong villians with a Ph.D.