The Great Lakes Avengers #1 Review

Written by: Zac Gorman

Art by: Will Robson

Published by: Marvel

Recently, it feels like a lot of mainstream Marvel books are becoming more comedic in focus.. Characters like Ant-Man, Squirrel Girl and Howard the Duck are now breakout stars with books focusing on a levity in tone and off the wall humor, particularly the later two. It made me question whether or not we truly needed a new Great Lakes Avengers series, as I felt it’d just blend in to the whole direction Marvel are heading in, rather than be the zany breath of air it should be. Unfortunately, it seems like the former may be true, as while Great Lakes Avengers offers some solid chuckles and fun characters, it doesn’t do much to set itself apart from a crowded pack.

The plot manages to line itself up cleverly with the goings on of the greater Marvel Universe while still remaining absolutely standalone and accessible. Through some legal loopholes and shakeups caused by recent events, former GLA member Flatman ends up the sole owner of the Avengers trademark. Desperate to win it back at any cost, the Avengers lawyers strike a deal with the desperate scientist by making the GLA an official branch of the Avengers. Thrilled, Flatman puts is all into getting the band back together and getting them their first assignments.

The first issue is a pretty solid, if by the numbers plot. The early scenes are possibly the funniest due to the ludicrous scenario and how much of a loser they make out Flatman to be. There’s plenty of good lines and chuckles to be had as the desperate attempts to get the team going, but unfortunately it just doesn’t seem to want to reach much further than a comedic “getting the band back together” story. There’s certainly a lot of fun to be had from the characters whose powers are inventive as they are lame, but again its doesn’t elevate itself above other comedy comics of its type. There could’ve been some fun meta commentary on the nature of constant relaunches or on mainstream publishers repeatedly looking for obscurer characters to publish, but the plot remains largely by the numbers, with most of the fun likely being nostalgia for long time fans.

The art from Will Robson is largely appealing with its exaggerated and cartoony features, however sometimes the facial expressions can seem a little too exaggerated. The two lawyers are the start for example feel like they should be playing the “straight men” role, which could be pretty hilarious given how OTT Flatman is, but they constantly have super exaggerated expressions that try way too hard to make them seem funny to the point of obnoxiousness. It’s like when a comedian tries to pull funny faces to make their joke seem more humorous, but just ends up being offputting and taking the wind out of the joke’s sails. Aside from this though, Robson seems like the perfect fit for the GLA’s style, getting the character designs absolutely spot on and keeping the issue engaging despite the little action. To make a series of conversations seem interesting is a good feat, and Robson does the job well.

Overall, GLA feels like a book that’ll be fun for fans, and certainly has its moments, but for me doesn’t do too much to set itself apart from the rest of the Marvel landscape. The cast seem fun, and I’d be willing to stick around to see more of their interactions, but for the most part there’s not really much to separate it from other comedy focused marvel books. If you have an affinity with this team then by all means check it out, it’s likely exactly what you want, but otherwise I’d approach this one with caution unless you’re a real comedy junkie.