Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #178: The Great Lakes Avengers

At one point in time, Marvel published a pair of Avengers titles.  The main title was set in New York City, and a second team, the West Coast Avengers, was out in California.  However, there’s a lot of land between the oceans, and for that, Marvel did eventually put out a team to cover the interior of the country, namely the Great Lakes Avengers.

Oh, and they’re often not taken all that seriously when the team does appear.

Who are the Great Lakes Avengers?  First appearing in West Coast Avengers #46, they were a team that protected Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  While they weren’t called upon to help out often, they were somehow out there on call as needed with West Coast Avengers Hawkeye and Mockingbird acting as mentors.

So, who was on the team?  The initial team was made up of Mr. Immortal, a man who couldn’t stay dead and upon death would revive in perfect health but otherwise healed at a normal human rate; Big Bertha, a model who could increase her mass and strength who acted as the team’s pilot and who could shrink back down by purging in a manner that is no way, shape, or form controversial at all; Dinah Soar, a reptilian humanoid from the Savage Land with some sonic powers and flight abilities; Flatman, a stretchy, two-dimensional person; and Doorman, a fellow who may be an avatar to death but otherwise could use his body as a portal through solid objects.

That was the initial line-up, and while there have been moments where they’ve been taken seriously, such as a time when the team took on the original Thunderbolts team and held their own, they’ve often been played for laughs as a somewhat incompetent team of heroes that keep on trying, often losing members along the way.

Plus, there was Leather Boy. He didn’t last long as a member of the team since he had no powers.

It should be worth noting that during a somewhat recent revival the GLA, as they are sometimes called, did temporarily pick up some bigger name Marvel characters in the form of Squirrel Girl and, believe it or not, Deadpool.   They also tend to rename the team from time to time to keep up with trends, like when they all found out they were mutants and tried to become the Great Lakes X-Men.

In more recent years, particularly after the death of Dinah Soar, the team did pick up a few more members in the form of the Grasshopper, who’s actually been more than one person all of whom have died, and Good Boy, a female werewolf.  If anything, the book had a high casualty rate which was probably meant to add to add pathos to Mr. Immortal who, you know, couldn’t stay dead unlike the others.

The more comedic side team isn’t an new thing, and I would argue the Avengers’ version of it isn’t even the best of those teams.  They pop up here and there, and even help out in bigger stories. as needed.  But since there isn’t a West Coast team anymore, there isn’t really a need for a Great Lakes team either.

Then again, maybe Milwaukee needs heroes too.

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