The comic title of the nanosecond, Great Lakes Avengers spotlights the adventures of Mystery Men-style second banana heroes in the Marvel Universe. The first issue receives its own review here, though the rest of the four-issue mini-series will be reviewed collectively, once all have been released.
SQUIRREL GIRL: Monkey Joe and I were doing a P.S.A. for the kids, warning’em about replicable acts ‘n’ stuff.
GRASSHOPPER: Kids? What kids? Only people reading comics these days are overweight men in their thirties with poor hygiene. And still living with their parents. Heck, if most of’em did some a’ the dangerous crap in this comic, it’d probably do the human gene pool a favor. That is,if any of ‘em had a chance of reproducing sexually.
MONKEY JOE: Hey, fanboys! Don’t take that lying down! Write an angry letter to Marvel today!
Title: Great Lakes Avengers: GLA Misassembled
Artists: Paul Pelletier, Rick Magyar, Wil Quintana.
After multiple suicide attempts end with his timely restoration to full health, Craig Hollis realizes that he has superpowers, and becomes the hero, Mr. Immortal. Since returning a few moments after you get shot doesn’t go a long way towards stopping crimes, he puts out a personal ad and attracts an assembly of third-rate heroes who become…. The Great Lakes Avengers.
They play cards a lot and have a Volkswagon Jetta (the Quin-Jetta) as their super-mobile. Their achievements include stopping one minor supervillain and presiding over a mall opening. But then, trouble with the original Avengers gives the fledglings hope that they can rise to the occasion and become real heroes.
The Avengers ask their Great Lakes counterparts to sit out of a battle so they won’t get hurt.
I don’t know how appropriate it is to poke fun at Mr. Immortality’s Frank Grimes-like childhood. Suicide, death, and being dumped by your girlfriend…. Sure. They can be fodder for dark humour. But child abuse? That seemed low, even for this comic.
Originality: 2/6 We’ve had loser superheroes before; DC, for example, features the Inferior Five. In concept and execution, this comic very much recalls Mystery Men. Individual members are also derivative. GLA member Grasshopper resembles DC’s Ambush Bug. Mr. Immortality’s powers actually belonged to “Immorto,” a member of the Wandering Heroes (later the Wanderers), allies of the Silver Age Legion of Superheroes. Flatman, though visually a parody of Mr. Fantastic, recalls the Thin Man– not Nick Charles, but a 1940s super-doer now owned by Marvel. (For that matter, Squirrel Girl resembles the Blue Squirrel from an unproduced screenplay– but we can probably call that one a coincidence).
Artwork: 4/6 The artwork complements the mildly dark tone of the story.
Story: 4/6. The first of four issues, this prologue doesn’t lose sight of its purpose. The writing recalls Steve Gerber’s work for Marvel in the late 70s.
Characterization: 3/6 Thus far, only Mr. Immortality gets developed at all, though Grasshopper and Squirrel Girl look promising.
Emotional response: 4/6. This may not be classic reading, but comic fans will find it funny– provided they don’t take themselves too seriously.
In total, Great Lakes Avengers #1 receives a score of 26/42.
The Great Lakes Avengers first appeared in 1989, in West Coast Avengers, and have made a dozen or so appearances in the Marvel Universe since then. This mini-series represents their first appearance in their own title.