There are several different Avengers teams, but none more strange or powerful than the one based in the great state of Wisconsin.
There have been a lot of Avengers teams over the years. In addition to the shifting roster of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, there have been several different branches of the team to emerge in the past few decades. However, there is none more stranger – or potentially powerful – than the Great Lakes Avengers.
The Great Lakes Avengers first appeared in West Coast Avengers #45 in 1989, as a team of, well, unconventional heroes who foiled a robbery witnessed by Hawkeye and Mockingbird. The first roster included Mr. Immortal, a skilled athlete who cannot stay dead, Big Bertha, a model who gains strength by multiplying her body mass, the literally two-dimensional Flatman, the portal-generating Doorman, and the half-pterodactyl Dinah Soar. Despite being trained to assist the Avengers, the team’s connections with the prominent Marvel super-team is legally tenuous at best, leading them to several name-changes over the years (including Great Lakes X-Men, which ended with a cease-and-desist letter).
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After Dinah Soar perished in a fight with Maelstorm, the despondent GLA recruited several new members to their ranks – including future fan-favorite Squirrel Girl, a young hero capable of communicating with squirrels. In fact, the team’s first solo mini-series in 2005, written by Dan Slott, heavily featured the then-obscure Marvel heroine (though most of the team’s other new recruits were less fortunate – and comically killed off over the course of miniseries). Regardless, the book put the spotlight on Squirrel Girl – and is at least partially responsible for developing the character into the fan-favorite she is today. Squirrel Girl wasn’t the only popular character in their ranks, however, as the team crossed paths with Deadpool on several occasions and even made him a reserve member – though he was eventually kicked out for being too annoying.
The team would continue to operate under different names, including the aforementioned Great Lakes X-Men and even the Great Lakes Champions. During the Initiative storyline following Civil War, the team is actually named the official superheroes for the state of Wisconsin. While Squirrel Girl would eventually move on to pursue her own superhero career, the core team would reform as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel reboot, once again back to using the original Great Lakes Avengers moniker. Their ongoing title concluded with the team being fired by, of all people, Deadpool, who informed them they are no longer allowed to use the Avengers, though, in meta-Deadpool fashion, he acknowledges they can make another grab at the spotlight in a few years time.
Of course, Deadpool is absolutely right. The Great Lakes Avengers – or whatever name they chose next – have become an oddly endearing fixture of the Marvel Universe. It’s also worth noting that every member of the team has legit superpowers, even if they are bizarre or downright disgusting. While their personalities or powers might be quirky, each member of the core team is incredibly useful – from Mister Immortal’s unsettling resurrections to Big Bertha’s massive brute strength.
The proposed New Warriors sitcom floated by Marvel Television and ABC would have likely included several Great Lakes Avengers – including Mister Immortal and Squirrel Girl – and while it ultimately failed to make it to production, it’s only a matter of time before this group of oddball heroes appears in the MCU one way or another. Until then, it’s likely the Great Lakes team will appear in comics in some form or another, but what their next name will be is anyone’s guess.
Next: Marvel’s New Warriors: Who is Squirrel Girl?
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