Great Lakes Avengers

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Great Lakes Initiative
Cover of West Coast Avengers vol. 2, #46 (July 1989).
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance West Coast Avengers vol. 2, #46 (July 1989)
Created by John Byrne
In-story information
Base(s) GLA Headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Member(s) Mister Immortal (leader)
Big Bertha
Doorman
Flatman
Roster
See:See below

The Great Lakes Avengers (also known as The Great Lakes X-Men, The Great Lakes Champions and The Great Lakes Initiative) is a fictional superhero team that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The characters were first introduced in West Coast Avengers vol. 2, #46 (July 1989), and were created by John Byrne.

Publication history[edit]

The team first appeared in The West Coast Avengers vol. 2, #46, and then made sporadic appearances throughout the title in issues #48–49, and #64. The team also appeared in Avengers West Coast Annual #6. The GLA make an appearance in issue #309 of Avengers and in the 1990 Avengers Annual. This was followed by appearances in issues #15–17 and #25 of Thunderbolts and issues #10–11 and #61 of Deadpool.

In 2005, the GLA were featured in a four-issue mini-series titled GLA: Misassembled (written by Dan Slott) and the Marvel one-shot GLX-Mas Special (2005). This was followed in 2006 by a minor appearance in I ♥ Marvel: Masked Intentions, The Thing vol. 2, #8, and Cable and Deadpool #30. In 2007, the team was featured in Deadpool/GLI Summer Fun Spectacular. The team also makes cameo appearances in issues #19 and #25 of Avengers: The Initiative.

Team name[edit]

The team has changed its name on several occasions. The Avenger Hawkeye first protests their use of the name "Avengers",[1] and eventually the GLA are sent a cease-and-desist order by the Maria Stark Foundation.[2] The team rename themselves the Lightning Rods after fellow super-team Thunderbolts.[3] While working for S.H.I.E.L.D., Mr. Immortal suggests a name-change to S.W.O.R.D.,[4] although ultimately the team's name is changed to the Great Lakes X-Men when its members collectively realize that they are all mutants.[2]

After team member Flatman wins a superhero poker tournament, the GLA rename themselves the Great Lakes Champions.[5] Following the events of Avengers: Civil War, the team now operates as the Great Lakes Initiative in the state of Wisconsin.[6]

Fictional team biography[edit]

Craig Hollis discovers he is immortal and decides to fight crime as Mr. Immortal. But after being shot in the head by a group of thieves, he realizes that operating alone may not be feasible. After placing an advertisement for costumed adventurers in the local paper, Mr. Immortal recruits and assembles the Great Lakes Avengers, with a roster including Dinah Soar, Big Bertha, Flatman, and Doorman. Mr. Immortal does, however, refuse one candidate, Gene Lorrene, a leather fetishist called Leather Boy. Despite being advised that he has no superpowers and is therefore ineligible, Lorrene takes the rebuttal personally.[7]

The team is first seen in public by Avengers Hawkeye and Mockingbird, who watch the group as they break up a robbery attempt. Despite Hawkeye's annoyance at the team's naive insistence on acting like superheroes, and their use of the Avengers name without permission, he and Mockingbird agree to act as the team's mentors.[8] The Great Lakes Avengers assist the Avengers and West Coast Avengers from time to time, including against Terminus.[9] After an encounter with the Thunderbolts, and aiding them against the villain Graviton, the GLA clash with the mercenary Deadpool.[10][11]

After a period of inactivity, the team learns that the West Coast Avengers have been disbanded and that Hawkeye has been apparently killed.[12] The team subsequently reemerges to battle Maelstrom, who is building a doomsday device. During this encounter Dinah Soar is killed. New members Squirrel Girl (who has a pet squirrel Monkey Joe) and Grasshopper are then recruited. Although Maelstrom is defeated via Mr. Immortal's trickery, Doorman, Grasshopper, and Monkey Joe are all killed during the course of the adventure (the last of these having been murdered by Gene Lorrene, who sought revenge for being refused membership in the GLA). Mr. Immortal is also killed several times, though he always recovers. Doorman is revived soon after his death and learns that he is connected to the Darkforce Dimension, while Mr. Immortal learns that as an immortal he is considered Homo sapiens supreme. Despite defeating Maelstrom and saving the world, the Great Lakes Avengers' victory goes unnoticed. Discovering that they are all mutants, the team decides to rename themselves the Great Lakes X-Men.[13]

A series of unusual events follow: Squirrel Girl acquires a new partner, a female squirrel called Tippy-Toe; Grasshopper II dies after misjudging his armor's jumping capabilities; and Doorman becomes an "angel of death" charged with conveying the dead to the afterlife.[14] After Flatman wins a superhero poker tournament (and Marvel Girl demands that they drop the "X-Men" name), the team assumes the name Great Lakes Champions.[15]

With the beginning of Marvel: Civil War, the GLC decide to comply with the Superhuman Registration Act, in fact waiting in line to register the day the Act is announced. The team is thereafter renamed as the Great Lakes Initiative, becoming the official Fifty State Initiative-sponsored team for the State of Wisconsin.[16]

The team and Deadpool stop A.I.M. from using an "inebriation ray" that induces drunkenness in superheroes. Deadpool is granted reserve membership on the team, but is forcibly evicted from GLI headquarters after proving to be too much of an annoyance.[17] The characters also appear during the Skrull invasion of Earth, confronting a Skrull disguised as Grasshopper, with help from Gravity and Catwalk.[18]

When Norman Osborn assumes control of the Initiative, he transfers Gravity to a leadership role in the GLI, much to the superhero's dismay.[19]

After a fight with Fin Fang Foom, Squirrel Girl elects to leave the team and return to New York,[20] because she feels that the other team members (who simply stayed in their headquarters, playing cards, during the fight) have come to rely upon her too much, preventing them from reaching their full potential as heroes and as a team.[21]

During the Fear Itself storyline, the team, now having reverted to the name Great Lakes Avengers, end up fighting Asbestos Man who takes advantage of the fear and chaos that is happening.[22] Eventually, after standing around him for hours, the villain surrenders and Mr. Immortal convinces him to retire and go straight.

Members[edit]

Founders[edit]

Character Real Name Joined in Notes
Mr. Immortal Craig Hollis West Coast Avengers #46 (vol. 2, Jul. 1989) Current leader of the team.
Dinah Soar Dinah Soar Killed by Maelstrom in GLA #1.
Big Bertha Ashley Crawford Active in the GLA.
Flatman Dr. Val Ventura Active in the GLA.
Doorman DeMarr Davis Former avatar of Deathurge, current Herald of Oblivion, Active in the GLA.

Trainers[edit]

Assisted the team by training them, but it is not clear if they officially joined the team.

Character Real Name Joined in Notes
Hawkeye Clinton Francis Barton Avengers West Coast #48 (September 1989) Currently active in the Avengers.
Mockingbird Bobbi Morse-Barton Currently active in the New Avengers.

Recruits[edit]

Character Real Name Joined in Notes
Squirrel Girl Doreen Green GLA #2 (July 2005) Formerly in the GLA. Left the team because she felt that the team was relying on her, thus keeping them from reaching their own potential.
Monkey Joe Monkey Joe Joined the team along with Squirrel Girl, but was killed by Leather Boy in a fit of jealousy.
Grasshopper Doug Taggert Killed soon after joining.
Tippy Toe Tippy Toe GLA #4 Squirrel Girl's current squirrel partner. Left the team with Squirrel Girl.
Grasshopper Neil Shelton GLX-Mas Special Unknown if he had any relation to the GLA. Killed when he accidentally propelled himself into space.
Deadpool Wade Wilson Deadpool-GLI Summer Fun Spectacular #1 (September 2007) Given reserve membership with the team.
Grasshopper Jason Lang Murdered by Deadpool.
Gravity Greg Willis Avengers: The Initiative #25 Assigned to the initiative team by Norman Osborn. Has since quit.[citation needed]

False members[edit]

Character Real Name Joined in Notes
Leather Boy Gene Lorrene GLA #1 (June 2005) Applied for membership upon founding but considered ineligible for membership. Currently the arch-rival to the team.
Grasshopper Unknown Avengers: Initiative #19 (January 2009) Revealed to be a Skrull infitrator and was killed.

Other versions[edit]

JLA/Avengers[edit]

Despite their marginal status as Avengers, members of the GLA appeared in the climax of the JLA/Avengers miniseries, where they assisted in the defeat of Krona.[23]

In other media[edit]

Video games[edit]

  • The Great Lakes Champions are mentioned in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2. In the briefing following the attack on Wakanda, Captain America and Iron Man mention that the Great Lakes Champions have been absorbed into The Fold.

Reception[edit]

In August 2009, TIME listed the Great Lakes Avengers among the "Top 10 Oddest Marvel Characters".[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ West Coast Avengers vol. 2 #46 (Jul. 1989)
  2. ^ a b GLA: Missassembled #1–4 (2005)
  3. ^ Thunderbolts #15 (Jun. 1998)
  4. ^ Thunderbolts #17 (Aug. 1998)
  5. ^ The Thing vol. 2, #8 (2006)
  6. ^ Civil War: The Initiative (2007)
  7. ^ Seen in flashback in GLA: Misassembled #1–4 (2005)
  8. ^ The West Coast Avengers vol. 2 #46 (Jul. 1989)
  9. ^ Avengers Annual 1990
  10. ^ Thunderbolts #15–17 (June–August 1998) and #25 (Apr. 1999)
  11. ^ Deadpool #10–11 (November–December 1997) and #61 (2002)
  12. ^ Avengers #500–503 (2004) and Avengers Finale 2004
  13. ^ GLA: Missassembled #1–4 (2006)
  14. ^ GLX-Mas Special (2005)
  15. ^ The Thing vol. 2 #8 (2006)
  16. ^ Cable and Deadpool #30 (2006)
  17. ^ Deadpool/GLI Summer Fun Spectacular (2007)
  18. ^ Avengers: The Initiative #19 (Dec. 2008)
  19. ^ Avengers: The Initiative #25
  20. ^ I Am An Avenger #1
  21. ^ Age of Heroes #3
  22. ^ Fear Itself: The Home Front #6
  23. ^ JLA/Avengers Issue 4
  24. ^ "Top 10 Oddest Marvel Characters". Time. August 31, 2009. 

External links[edit]