Dr. Eliot Franklin was a brilliant physicist whose greatest claim to fame was inventing a miniature gamma-ray bomb, something that Dr. Robert Bruce Banner (better known as The Hulk) was unable to do at that time. Dr. Franklin was often called "the Black Bruce Banner" because of his genius level intellect and his scientific knowledge in the field of gamma radiation. To fund his research, Dr. Franklin would often commit robberies, which eventually landed him in prison. It was there that he met up and became cellmates with Dirk Garthwaite, also known as The Wrecker.
The Wrecking Crew
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.
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 family.
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 Demigod 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's evil alliance in the first Secret Wars, but they always stayed together as a team. They once conquered an entire planet together, Polemachus, which was the home of sometime Avenger ally/adversary, Arkon. The trio 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). Despite his chafing under The Wrecker's leadership, Thunderball, along with the rest of The Wrecking Crew remained a persistent and enduring super-villain team in The Marvel Universe.
The group showed up in Los Angeles to fill the power vacuum left by the Pride alongside Excavator, Piledriver's son, but were interrupted and defeated by the Runaways, the Pride's children. After this defeat, they were sent to the Raft, an island prison.
The Hood's Criminal Army
When Electro attacked the facility to initiate a breakout, the Wrecking Crew escaped. The Wrecker separated from them and got captured, but the group reunited as members of Hood's criminal army. They were defeated many times by the New Avengers.
During the Siege, he rebelled against his teammate's attitude, stating that looting Asgard was blasphemy. He was knocked out by the Wrecking Crew before they were eventually defeated by the Young Avengers.
The Death of Wolverine
Sometime later, Thunderball left the Wrecking Crew, needing a change, and was approached by the Hood to become part of his new Illuminati. The Hood claimed that if they, and other villains, worked together, that they would be unstoppable and would "live like kings." On their first mission, Thunderball and the others went to Club Fenris to locate a Doctor Karver who was working on an artificial bifrost bridge for Roxxon which the group planned to use to travel to Asgardia. While there, however, Black Ant violated the club's one rule of not killing when he murdered the doctor, prompting the Fenris twins to announce to the rest of their super-villain clientele a ten million dollar bounty on the Hood and his associates. The group managed to get away when Titania threw Thunderball through the roof of the building, creating an escape route. The Hood next suggested that his Illuminati prepare for an assault on the Roxxon facility housing Karver's bifrost bridge, but first gave the dejected group a day to think it over after doubts surfacing within the Hood's "team." Franklin went to Manhattan where he spent the day with his girlfriend, Sally, who wasn't aware that he was still committing criminal acts as Thunderball. Ultimately, he decided to join the Hood in his assault on Roxxon, stating that he was looking for a mix of respect and an ego boost.
After the group's mission to Asgardia failed, due to the betrayal of the Mad Thinker, narrowly escaping the wrath of a horde of angry Asgardians, Thunderball reconsidered his membership in the Illuminati. He decided that his idea of a "better life" was different than many of the others in the group, and he decided to go home to Sally, telling her that he was going to look for a new job.
Thunderball possesses various superhuman physical attributes as a result of the Wrecker sharing his powers with him:
- Superhuman Strength: While the Wrecker shares his powers with Thunderball and the other members of the Wrecking Crew, Thunderball is superhumanly strong and can lift approximately 10 tons.
- Superhuman Stamina: While empowered, Thunderball's musculature generates less fatigue toxins during physical activity than the musculature of an ordinary human. He can exert himself at peak capacity for several hours before fatigue begins to impair him.
- Superhuman Durability: While empowered, the tissues of Thunderball's body are much harder and more resistant to injury than that of an ordinary human. He can withstand high amounts of concussive force and is capable of withstanding a .45 caliber bullet without it penetrating his skin.
Thunderball possesses a genius level intellect and is a gifted strategist and physicist, specifically in the field of Gamma Radiation. He is also a formidable hand to hand combatant. He utilizes street-fighting techniques that enable him to make full use of his strength.
- Thunderball's Ball and Chain: Thunderball possesses a highly durable wrecking ball, altered due to exposure to the Wrecker's power. The ball is attached to a four foot long chain and is capable of projecting electrical energy bolts. The wrecking ball, when thrown, can change its direction in midair and is capable of returning to Thunderball in a similar fashion as Wrecker's crowbar and Thor's hammer.
- 192 appearance(s) of Eliot Franklin (Thunderball) (Earth-616)
- 7 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Eliot Franklin (Thunderball) (Earth-616)
- 14 minor appearance(s) of Eliot Franklin (Thunderball) (Earth-616)
- 4 mention(s) of Eliot Franklin (Thunderball) (Earth-616)
- 1 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Eliot Franklin (Thunderball) (Earth-616)
- 70 image(s) of Eliot Franklin (Thunderball) (Earth-616)
- 3 quotation(s) by or about Eliot Franklin (Thunderball) (Earth-616)
- 1 victim(s) killed by Eliot Franklin (Thunderball) (Earth-616)
- 1 item(s) used/owned by Eliot Franklin (Thunderball) (Earth-616)