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|First appearance||West Coast Avengers (Vol. 2) #46 (July 1989)|
|Created by||John Byrne|
|Alter ego||Craig Hollis|
|Team affiliations||Great Lakes Avengers|
|Abilities||Highly skilled acrobat and athlete
Immortality via resurrection
Mr. Immortal (Craig Hollis) is a fictional mutant superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by John Byrne, he is the leader of the Great Lakes Avengers and first appeared in the pages of the West Coast Avengers in 1989.
Fictional character biography
Mr. Immortal is the leader and founder of the Great Lakes Avengers, a regional offshoot of the Avengers made up of heroes with abilities far less powerful and consequential than their better-known peers. Their base of operations is Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which appears to be their shared birthplace.
Mr. Immortal possesses the superhuman ability of immortality. Before her death, his teammate and sometimes lover Dinah Soar was the only one able to calm his fits of rage after being revived. This unique ability has always given him the courage to try reckless life-endangering stunts and he is quite ready to sacrifice himself for the rest of the team. It has also left him in frequent states of depression by having to watch his loved ones die around him. He discovered his ability after attempting suicide several times. He is quoted as saying, "All you're threatening me with is death. And dying's what I do best!"
His immortality is something he has had to cope with since the start of his life, as the cosmic entity Deathurge regularly appeared to him. Deathurge first appeared before Craig shortly after his birth and the untimely death of his mother. His mother made Deathurge promise that he would look after Craig, and he has done so ever since in his own unique way. Craig would dub Deathurge, "D'urge", and the two became the best of friends. His father believed Deathurge to be an imaginary friend, but Deathurge was quite real, and constantly urging Craig to endanger his life by, for example, playing in traffic. Each attempt at the boy's first death was averted and Craig wrote it off as: "Just playin' with D'urge, daddy." On Craig's 8th birthday, Deathurge had once again goaded Craig into a daring stunt, first setting his house on fire, and then telling Craig to hide under the house, while it was burning down. Craig was ultimately saved by the firemen, but he was forced to see Deathurge take his father to the afterlife. Deathurge stopped visiting Craig afterwards, and Craig was moved into a new home. His new father, a Mr. O'Doughan, was an abusive man, but Craig persevered, in large part thanks to the daughter the O'Doughans already had, a girl named Terri. She became his first real friend, and this would ultimately develop into love. The couple moved out and Craig had to work long and hard, but he kept going until the day Terri committed suicide, leaving only a suicide note on the table. Once more Deathurge appeared, revealing that he was in fact real. Grief-stricken, Craig begged Deathurge to take him as well as Terri, but Deathurge refused and departed again. Craig wanted to kill himself as well, and his first suicide attempt was jumping off a building, only to find he had survived. Every successive suicide attempt (from dynamite to drowning) failed as well and, to his surprise, Craig found out he could not die.
Mr. Immortal and the GLA
Seeing the amazing potential of having superpowers, Craig found his calling and decided that he would become a superhero. He then took the identity of Mr. Immortal. On his first outing as a superhero, trying to foil a bank robbery, Craig was shot and left for dead. He decided it might be best to form a team, so his abilities could actually be useful.
Response to the ad he then placed could be called relatively successful, as the Great Lakes Avengers were formed, with its founding members Mr. Immortal, Flatman, Doorman, Big Bertha, Dinah Soar and Leather Boy. They would come into contact with Hawkeye and Mockingbird, who later agreed to become their mentors. They helped Hawkeye and the West Coast Avengers against "That Which Endures." They also assisted Mockingbird in a holding action against Terminus. After aiding the Thunderbolts against the villain Graviton, the team clashed with the mercenary Deadpool. When not fighting crime, they mostly spent their time playing cards.
Over that time, Craig would develop a loving relationship with Dinah Soar, as he was also the only one who could understand her language. It turned out that Craig and Dinah were soul-mates and he was her ageless-love, as she herself also possessed a degree of immortality. Craig was close to calling the GLA quits, when the real Avengers were disassembled and Craig happily rejoiced that they were now the real Avengers. In their following outing against Maelstrom, Dinah Soar was killed and Deathurge appeared to take her away to the afterlife, truly terminating their former "friendship". Mr. Immortal would meet Deathurge again at Dinah Soar's funeral, where Deathurge expressed his regret, showing that he had truly come to love Craig as something of a son. Craig himself was enraged at Deathurge, having taken away all that Craig had ever cared about, so he attacked Deathurge, but received only a sound thrashing. Craig then fell into a deep depression, repeatedly getting drunk and killing himself inside headquarters while wearing a Dinah Soar "costume", with the others watching. He was later killed by Leather Boy, who infiltrated the team's headquarters disguised as Doctor Doom then killed Monkey Joe, Squirrel Girl's sidekick.
Craig was able to return the favor when Deathurge appeared to take away Monkey Joe to the afterlife in the form of a squirrel, leaving him in a vulnerable state. It was then that Deathurge revealed to Craig what his destiny was: to outlive everyone as the one true immortal, and then learn the grand secret that will reveal itself at the end of things. Craig wasn't an average Homo s. superior mutant, but rather Homo s. supreme: a being that has evolved past death itself. Therefore, he was the ultimate human. Deathurge, by taking away some of his loved ones, tried to prepare Craig so that he could truly live to that destiny, and the villain Maelstrom was at the point that he could very well take that purpose away, ending the universe entirely and prematurely, usurping Craig's destiny for himself. Learning his role as Homo s. supreme in the grand scheme of things gave Mr. Immortal a new incentive to live, and he set out to stop Maelstrom and save the universe. The GLA stormed Maelstrom's base, and it was ultimately Mr. Immortal who was able to save the universe, but at the cost of his friend Doorman (although Doorman would be instantly resurrected as Deathurge's replacement). Coming close to Maelstrom, Mr. Immortal was able to play on his feelings: that ultimately Maelstrom would be the one left alone and that was the grand secret of things. Horrified by the thought, Maelstrom wanted a way out and Mr. Immortal offered him one: suicide. Not knowing that Mr. Immortal would be able to come back from the injury, Maelstrom killed himself like Craig had done and Craig was able to push the button that stopped the machine Maelstrom had created to achieve universal destruction. The GLA saved everybody, but gained no recognition and were even forced to drop the Avengers name. After discovering that they were all mutants, the team decided to change their name to the Great Lakes X-Men, complete with new costumes.
During the GLX-Mas Special, the team confronted Dr. Tannenbaum, who had released an army of living Christmas trees on the citizens of Wisconsin. Later, Mr. Immortal saves Squirrel Girl's new sidekick, Tippy Toe, from Deathurge who was trying to kill her, as part of a test given to him by Oblivion, in order to regain his job.
Great Lakes Champions
The team was invited to the annual superheroes poker tournament. In the end, Flatman won the tournament with a straight-flush, beating the Thing's four fours. Since Flatman was the champion of the tournament and because they were discouraged from using the names X-Men and Defenders by the members of those teams, the team was inspired to rename themselves the Great Lakes Champions, despite protests from former Champions of Los Angeles member Hercules.
Civil War/The Initiative
All of the Great Lakes Champions have registered with the United States government as required by the Superhuman Registration Act, as revealed when Deadpool mistakenly attempted to apprehend them for violating the Act, only to be defeated and informed that they had already registered.
Mr. Immortal and his teammates became the Initiative group in charge of Wisconsin, calling themselves the Great Lakes Initiative. They were given a rescue mission to save Dionysus after he fell from Mount Olympus and was captured by A.I.M., who planned to use his powers to cause mental instability on all the superheroes they consider a threat. During the task, Deadpool ambushes Mr. Immortal and Flatman. Flatman recruited him as a reserve member of the team but the mercenary eventually overstayed his welcome. Deadpool refuses to leave the GLI's home, injuring those who try to kick him out. Mr. Immortal helps kick Deadpool out by simply living far into the future. There he encounters a time traveling Squirrel Girl and convinces her she needs to return to the past and evict Deadpool. Squirrel Girl goes back and does exactly that.
During the Secret Invasion storyline, the team confronted a Skrull disguised as Grasshopper, with help from Gravity and Catwalk. While Mr. Immortal was shocked at the discovery, Big Bertha thought it was ridiculously obvious. They later appeared to welcome Gravity as leader of the team, after he was transferred to Wisconsin by Norman Osborn.
During the Fear Itself storyline, the team confronts Asbestos Man, who takes advantage of the fear and chaos that is happening. None of the group actually wish to touch the man due to the toxicity of his suit. Mr. Immortal talks him into giving up in return for being remembered by the others.
Powers and abilities
Mr. Immortal's power is true immortality, which means that he cannot be permanently killed by any means. Once he reaches the point of death, he regenerates from any and all injuries, often returning to life almost immediately. When non-fatally injured, he heals at a normal human rate. However, those injuries will rapidly heal the next time he dies. This ability seems to be subconscious, since he has tried to commit suicide on numerous occasions only to walk away unscathed afterwards. He has recovered from being shot, suffocated, stabbed, drowned, crushed, starved, dehydrated, exploded, poisoned, decapitated, irradiated, and incinerated. Upon reviving, he is often extremely enraged due to the pain of death. Before her death, Dinah Soar's voice could bring him out of this state. His body will never rot or age. While most mutants' powers manifest at adolescence, this ability did not become apparent until he attempted suicide. He regained consciousness minutes after, only to find that he was fully healed and still alive. Deathurge once explained to him that he is a mutant, but not Homo sapiens superior, the traditional kind of mutant who has simply taken the next step in evolution, but rather he is the final step in human evolution. A man who has evolved past death itself, and is therefore Homo sapiens supreme. He also explained that he will be around until the end of the universe, and the one to whom its final secret will be revealed.
As seen during certain fights (such as in West Coast Avengers #46 and Great Lakes Avengers #4), Mr. Immortal appears to be highly acrobatic and athletic in addition to his mutant power.
- West Coast Avengers #49
- G.L.A. #1
- Seen in flashback in GLA: Misassembled #1–4 (2005)
- West Coast Avengers #46
- West Coast Avengers #48-49
- Avengers Annual #19
- Thunderbolts #15–17 (June–August 1998) and #25 (Apr. 1999)
- Deadpool #10–11 (November–December 1997) and #61 (2002)
- Avengers #500–503 (2004) and Avengers Finale 2004
- G.L.A. #2
- G.L.A. #3
- G.L.A. #4
- GLX-Mas Special #1
- Thing vol. 2 #8 (2006)
- Cable & Deadpool #30
- Avengers: The Initiative #1 Character Map
- Deadpool/GLI Summer Fun Spectacular
- Avengers: The Initiative #19 (Dec. 2008)
- Avengers: The Initiative #25
- Fear Itself: The Home Front #6