Crime Wave

Name: Crime Wave

Classification: villains villains   group group  

Publisher(s): Marvel

First Appearance: Captain America (vol. 1) #157 (Jan. 1973): "Veni, Vidi, Vici: Viper!"

Creators: Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber, Sal Buscema, John Verpoorten

Super? (Has Super Powers/Special Abilities/Technology): Yes

Number of Appearances: 4

Enemy of: Captain America, Falcon

Type of Organization/Group: criminal

Worked for: Cowled Commander

Location: New York City, New York, USA

Note: created to prompt NYC into strengthening police force

Although typically classified as a super-villain team or group, it has been said that "Crime Wave" was more of a "movement" than a team.

Crime Wave was organized by Sgt. Brian Muldoon, a police sergeant working out of the 47th Precinct in New York City. Muldoon was a die-hard, traditionalist, law-and-order type who was dismayed at how "soft" the New York City police department had become.

In order to push New York City to strengthen its police force, Muldoon adopted the costumed identity of the "Cowled Commander" and hired 5 costumed super-villains to wreak havok and frighten the city. These villains were: Viper (Jordan Dixon), The Eel, Porcupine, Scarecrow, and Plantman. These villains attacked Captain America and Falcon specifically, and terrorized New York City generally in Captain America (vol. 1) #s 157 through 159, until Captain America and Falcon defeated them and unmasked the Cowled Commander. Muldoon, as well as the super-villains he had hired as lieutenants for his "Crime Wave" were all arrested.

What is sometimes forgotten with regards to Crime Wave is that the Cowled Commander hired other criminals (who were NOT costumed super-villains) as well. In the opening pages of this story arc (Captain America #157), three non-costumed, non-powered thugs attack Captain America, acting on the Cowled Commander's orders to stop Cap from reaching police headquarters. One of the men is a black man called "Ball 'n' Chain." The other two (a white man with long blonde hair and a Hispanic-appearing man) are never identified by name. During this encounter, the name "Crime Wave" is not used and the men themselves may have been unaware of that name. But they specifically stated that they worked for the Cowled Commander, and they were definitely part of Muldoon's "Crime Wave" operation.

Later, in the opening pages of Captain America (vol. 1) #160, after the main "Crime Wave" affair was wrapped up, Captain America and Falcon faced another group of Crime Wave criminals. This group of six criminals wore matching uniforms, but were not established super-villains and did not have super-powers. They utilized heavy artillery, including a bazooka that fired armor-piercing shells. This group stole an armored van (or used an already-stolen armored van during the commission of another crime).

In panel 3 of page 2 in Captain America #160, Captain America is battling this group of 6 criminals when he says: "...and these die-hards are the last of the Cowled Commander's Crime Wave!"

It is somewhat surprising that anybody was still operating on behalf of "Crime Wave" at this time, because this was a strictly mercenary operation and the head of the operation had been arrested and would no longer be able to pay operatives. But perhaps this group of 6 criminals had not yet heard that the boss had been arrested. Or perhaps they didn't care, and they thought they might as well go ahead and commit the robbery they had planned anyway. After all, they were a group of professional criminals. The did not really need to be working on somebody else's behalf in order to commit a crime and steal money.

The battle of these criminals against Captain America and the Falcon provides an opportunity to display Captain America's newly enhanced super-strength (something that happened two issues previous, in #158). The Falcon felt out-classed and unneeded after seeing Cap in action with such super-strength. On page 4, the Falcon tells Cap: "Well, I hope you and your new-found strength will be very happy together!"

Captain America starts to realize that something is wrong. He says: "Falcon? Wait a minute--"

Falcon interrupts him: "Not now, Cap! After watching you wipe up five guys to my one-- I am NOT in the mood!"

After defeating this final group of six Crime Wave "die-hards," the Crime Wave group (or "team" or "movement") was never seen again.

Number of group members listed below: 8

(Click links for info about character
and his/her religious practice, affiliation, etc.)
Pub. #
Ball 'n' Chain villain
  black; Crime Wave
[attacked Captain America]
Marvel 1
Cowled Commander Cowled Commander (Sgt. Brian Muldoon) supporting character villain
  Crime Wave (leader); NYPD
[Steve Rogers' superior officer in NYPD]
Marvel 11
Crime Wave villain group
  [created to prompt NYC into strengthening police force] Marvel 4
The Eel The Eel (Leopold Stryke) villain
  Crime Wave; Emissaries of Evil (Egghead)...  Marvel 30
Plantman Plantman (Samuel Smithers) villain hero
  Chain Gang; Crime Wave...  Marvel 86
Porcupine Porcupine (Alex Gentry) villain
  Batroc's Brigade; Crime Wave...  Marvel 36
Scarecrow Scarecrow (Ebenezer Laughton) villain hero
  Crime Wave; Hood's Army...  Marvel 43
Viper Viper (Jordan Dixon) villain
CBR Scale: S activist; Committee To Regain America's Principles (temporary)
Crime Wave; Secret Empire...  Marvel 10

This character is in the following 4 stories which have been indexed by this website:
Captain America

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