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John Byrne (Writer / Penciler), Mike Machlan (Inker), Bill Oakley (Letterer), Paul Becton (Colorist), Howard Mackie (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor-in-Chief)
A new super team comprised of Mr Immortal, Big Bertha, Flatman, Dinah Soar and Doorman, dubbed the Great Lakes Avengers, debuts in Milwaukee and foils a bank heist. The media attention makes it’s way to the West Coast, where Hawkeye has been residing in a motel since he quit the West Coast Avengers. He listens to the reports about this so-called new Avengers team, when his day gets worse - Mockingbird has finally found him. They argue, but Mockingbird isn’t going anywhere, pointing out that they have both had issues lately, but they need to talk about it, she also points out how upset she was when Hawkeye wouldn’t help her through the Phantom Rider incident. Eventually, they take a flight to Milwaukee, where the Great Lakes Avengers have heard a report of something going on at the Germania Building. Upon investigating though, the team is confronted by two people who Mr Immortal believes are just dressed as Hawkeye and Mockingbird. Of course they are the real Hawkeye and Mockingbird, but Mr Immortal doesn’t think so, and after arguing with them, he flips backwards, and falls of the rooftop of the building. Mockingbird is concerned and thinks of the Phantom Rider, she leaps down to the ground, genuinely concerned, which Flatman detects. Flatman then reveals that Mr Immortal isn’t dead, as he is immortal, and will wake up later. Shortly, Hawkeye, Mockingbird and the Great Lakes Avengers return to the home of Big Bertha - who is really supermodel Ashley Crawford - and Hawkeye learns that the GLA appear to be serious, though he and Mockingbird aren’t too happy about the Avengers name being used - until Hawkeye decides to take the GLA under his wing. In the meantime, USAgent has a hearty breakfast cooked by the new cook, only to witness a crazed Tigra chase a mouse through the kitchen. USAgent stops her, but the cook reveals that Tigra does this often, which is why she never did anything about the mice, as she thought it was Tigra’s job. USAgent is disgusted by the idea of Tigra eating live mice and decides that something must be done about it, while the Scarlet Witch receives a special delivery letter from the Absolom College of Robotics, who offer to use their advanced technologies to help repair the Vision….
‘Hi there!’ grins a curly-haired man as he swings down upside down above a group of bank robbers. ‘Hope you don’t mind my dropping in on you like this. But it seems like them people ya’ll got trussed up like Christmas turkeys might be getting a tad uncomfortable along about now!’ he adds. ‘Who the -??’ asks one of the robbers wearing a Milwaukee Brewers jacket asks as he looks at the red-and-blue clad man. ’Don’t worry about who he is! Blast him!’ another of the robbers exclaims as they all unleash fire upon the mysterious costumed man, who dodges the bullets, exclaiming ’Not bad, guys - but not quite good enough!’.
The curly-haired man leaps onto the bank-telar bench and kicks one of the robbers in the face, boasting that this is not some flat-footed copper they are dealing with her, and punches another of the criminals, boasting ‘I’m a genuine super hero!’ One of the robbers tells his colleague to blast to the left, so when their for leaps to the right, he can shoot him. ‘You got it!’ the other robber replies, and the men carry out their plan, shooting their opponent when he moves in the other direction, the curly-haired man falls to the floor.
‘Careful, he may be faking!’ one of the criminals points out, though his colleague doesn’t think so, as he blew out half of his chest. Suddenly, one of the other robbers asks ‘What’s that funny noise?’, when out of nowhere some sort of thin blue and black giant rubber-band-like thing drops down and wraps around two of the hostages, pulling them to safety. Two of the robbers are concerned about no longer having the hostages, but another criminal exclaims ‘Never mind them, look out!’ as he rushes away from the wall where an enormous woman has just burst through and begins chasing him.
‘They’re coming at us from every direction!’ another of the robbers exclaims, when suddenly the shape of a man appears in the wall - then a dinosaur-like-woman flies through it, startling the robbers. ‘Don’t stand around gaping! Blast ‘em! Blast ‘em all!’ the man wearing the Brewers jacket shouts as he fires at the pink dinosaur-like-woman who easily evades the bullets, then darts around the room at super speeds, confusing the robber. Another of the criminals fires at the massive woman, lodging six bullets in her flab. She just looks at the bullets, then forces them out, pelleting the robber with them.
Another of the criminals finds himself at the mercy of the black-and-blue large rubber band, becoming tangled, while one of his allies exclaims that they are popping out of the woodwork. ‘Who are these geeks? Milwaukee don’t have no super heroes!’ he adds, when suddenly, the supposedly dead curly-haired hero taps him on the shoulder from behind, ‘Guess again!’ he exclaims, before taking hold of the robber and announcing ‘Ya’ll are gonna be seeing a lot of us from now on! Ya’ll are gonna be seeing us in your nightmares!’.
‘What? No! You’re dead! The robber cries, ‘Wrong-o, creep!’ the curly-haired hero replies, punching the criminal in the face, exclaiming that he is “right as rain”. The hero forces the robber to the ground, ‘Bu the time I get done with you…you’ll probably never be anything like right. Not never again!’ he exclaims as he is about to stand down hard on the robber, when suddenly the rubber-band-like thing grabs him, ‘Boss! Stop!’ comes a plea, as the stretchy hero’s face is revealed, he pulls the curly-haired man over to the obese woman, addressing her as Big Bertha, he remarks that he cannot get him to simmer down.
Big Bertha addresses the stretchy-man as Flatman and tells him to take it easy, before turning to the dinosaur-like-woman and calling her Dinah, points out that they need her touch here. The strange woman goes over to the curly-haired man and speaks to him in a language that no one else can understand. Big Bertha smiles and remarks that it works every time, though she wishes she knew what it is Dinah does. Flatman replies that he thinks it is some kind of hypersonic, but that he doesn’t know if it really matters, so long as it calms their teammate down.
Their fifth teammate enters, clad in all black, save for white areas around his eyes, he asks if they are done in here, as there is a small army of cops and reporters outside all clamouring to know what it going on. The curly-haired man leads the way out of the bank, telling his teammates that this is it, this is where they really show the world what they are made of. Reporter Peggy Allen is reporting live from the scene of the crime, kept behind a barrier of police officers with a large crowd, she announces that a man has exited the building and appears to be the leader of this team of super heroes. Peggy gets the curly-haired man’s attention and asks if he would tell them who they are. He grins, and replies that he would be happy to: ‘Ya’ll can call us…the Great Lakes Avengers!’….
Meanwhile…at a motel somewhere, ‘WHAT?’ shouts Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye as he steps out of the bathroom, wrapping a towel around his waist and rushing to watch the television, where Peggy Allen repeats the announcement of the brand new super hero team which has burst onto the scene, successfully ending a tense hostage situation. Clint sits down on the bed, ‘”The Great Lakes Avengers”? What the heck is this? Some kind of joke?’ he thinks to himself, before wondering if the rest of the West Coast Avengers know anything about this and reaching for the telephone, only to stop himself in his tracks, ‘What do I care?’ he asks, reminding himself that he quit the team when the government stuck the USAgent on the team.
Suddenly, there is an urgent knock at the motel room door. ‘Okay, okay! I’m coming! I’m coming! Keep your shirt on!’ Clint exclaims, holding on to his towel to keep it from slipping down, he opens the door - ‘YOU!’ he shouts upon seeing who it is - Barbara “Bobbi” Morse-Barton a.k.a. Mockingbird, his estranged wife. ‘Hi, Clint, I…’ Bobbi begins, until Clint turns his back and storms back inside his room, ‘Oh, great! Fine! Wonderful! My day is now officially ruined!’ he shouts.
Barbara follows Hawkeye inside, asking him not to be like that and pointing out that it has taken her almost three weeks to find him since he stormed out of the mansion. Bobbi declares that they need to talk, as their marriage is at stake. ‘Oh, is it?’ Clint retorts, declaring that he thought that was taken care of, ‘Or didn’t we already decide we were getting a divorce?’ he asks. ‘Yes…’ Bobbi replies, before admitting that their previous attempts at reconciliation have been pretty abortive, she points out that they were both going through some pretty trying times.
‘Now that things have calmed down…’ Bobbi begins, until Clint starts waving his fist in the air, and shouting ‘You mean now that I’ve been kicked off the team I founded I’m all of a sudden a pitiful soul so you’ve gone all maternal and decided to come back to the roost and take care of me! Well, thanks, but no thanks, Bobbi!’. Frowning, Bobbi tells Hawkeye that he is not being fair, ‘Although I guess that’s nothing new, is it?’ she remarks. ‘And just what is that supposed to mean?’ Clint asks. Taking her jacket off and putting it on the bed, Barbara replies ‘It means you have all the sensitivity of a brick!’ and exclaims that she got mixed up with the Phantom Rider because he drugged her, used her, ‘And when you found out, did you react like a husband whose wife had been assaulted? NO!’ Bobbi exclaims.
Mockingbird closes the motel room door and reminds Clint that he went off on some stupid macho kick, and admits that she was hurt enough to pay him back with his own coin. Barbara tells Clint that, when she needed him - perhaps more than ever - he was too busy stroking his wounded male ego to notice. ‘Something that could have bound us even closer together drove us apart’ Mockingbird points out, before informing Clint that the damage is done, but that she is here not to see if it can be undone. ‘Because, Heaven help me, in spite of everything…I still love you!’.
Meanwhile, at the West Coast Avengers Palos Verdes Compound, in the kitchen, John Walker a.k.a. the USAgent is having his breakfast, and the cook, Mrs Heyges, exclaims that it does her heart good to see a man put away such a big breakfast. Scrambling some eggs in a frying pan, she informs the handsome Walker that she has only been cook here at the Compound for a month, but that it seems like most of the other Avengers don’t want anything more than a slice of toast and orange juice. ‘A man has to keep his strength up’ USAgent replies, adding that, of course, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
USAgent tells Mrs Heyges that she is almost a good a cook as his mother, to which the old woman smiles and remarks that she knows that must be quite a compliment, adding that she doesn’t really get much of a chance to cook for the others. USAgent replies that is unfortunate and wonders if one of the disciplines he should introduce around here is a proper meal schedule. Walker begins to quote his mother, when suddenly, a mouse runs through the kitchen. Mrs Heyges is startled, and drops the eggs she is scrambling, ‘That will mean…’ she begins, when suddenly, ‘TIGRA!’ Walker shouts as his feline teammate leaps past him, claws outstretched, Greer Grant Nelson pounces, just missing the mouse.
Mrs Heyges screams as the mouse rushes past her, while Walker wonders what the matter with Tigra is, realizing that this is the first time she has shown her face around here since he arrived, USAgent remarks that Tigra is acting like she has overdosed on catnip. Walker gets up and grabs Tigra by her hair, which causes her to spin around and scramble, trying to escape, Walker holds her tightly, ‘Stop it!’ he shouts before slapping her across the face. Walker lets her go, causing Tigra to scowl, then slink off, despite John calling out to her.
Walker turns to Mrs Heyges and remarks that she spoke as if this wasn’t the first time that Tigra had come bursting through the kitchen like this. ‘No, sir, it isn’t’ the old woman replies, revealing that this was the fourth time since she arrived here, and opening the pantry, motions to a bag that has been split open, explaining that Tigra comes down after the mice that get into the pantry. Mrs Heyges adds that this is the main reason she didn’t do anything about the mice like setting traps, but understands from USAgent’s reaction to Tigra, that she may have erred in her decision not to.
‘Tigra has been taking care of the problem for me. I sort of assumed that it was part of her…ah…job’. Mrs Heyges explains. ‘That’s…disgusting!’ Walker exclaims, declaring that, whatever Tigra’s physical attributes, she is a human being and therefore should not be eating raw mice! ‘Something has to be done about this!’ Walker decides.
Meanwhile, ‘Tell me again why I’m doing this?’ Hawkeye asks, seated next to Mockingbird on an aircraft. Bobbi turns to Clint and tells him to call it a kind of therapy, reminding him that he has been feeling sorry for himself since he quit the Avengers. ‘I didn’t quit. I was fired!’ Hawkeye replies, slumped back in his chair. Bobbi tells him to have it his way, but that either way, he is still out of the team. Barbara adds that, when Clint heard about the so-called “Great Lakes Avengers”, his first instinct was to check them out, ‘At least that’s what you told me last night’ Bobbi reminds Clint, adding ‘So, okay…we come to Milwaukee, and we check them out!’.
‘AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!’ cries the curly-haired hero, Mr Immortal, flanked by his teammates in the Great Lakes Avengers. The member clad in all black, Doorman, motions to their target, the Germania Building, while Mr Immortal motions to the sky, exclaiming that the mysterious lights he heard about on the Police all-points-bulletin are still there. Mr Immortal turns to Dinah Soar and asks her to check the upper levels. The strange woman complies, flying straight up to her destination.
Mr Immortal declares that they need to get inside without damaging the building, and turns to Doorman, who exclaims that he is way ahead of him. Doorman stands in front of the building, and tells Flatman to go ahead when he is ready. ‘Ready as I’ll ever be!’ Flatman replies, before passing through Doorman, and entering the building, while he extends his body and begins searching the building, Flatman thinks to himself that is so weird, as every time he passes through Doorman it seems like there is an instant where he is in a whole different place, as if he is not here on Earth anymore. ‘Oh well, got to concentrate on the job’ Flatman tells himself as he searches for a key or something to open the doors and let everyone in.
Up on the rooftop, Dinah Soar is suddenly entangled in a wire which someone standing the shadows fires at her. The lights continue to flash, she struggles in the wire, before taking hold of her whistle, and blowing it hard. Down below, Mr Immortal hears the whistle and exclaims that Dinah is in trouble. Big Bertha suggests that they get up there, and puts Mr Immortal on her back while she begins running. As she does, she remarks that Doorman may be able to float, but Dinah is the only one who can fly, and without Flatman to stretch up there, it is up to her to get Mr Immortal to the rooftop - and she does by taking a small jump, which gives her enough bounce to get up to the rooftop.
Big Bertha takes hold of the edge of the rooftop, where a strangely familiar figure stands in the shadows, ‘What in the name of?’ he wonders as the massive woman props Mr Immortal up onto the roof, ‘Look! There is someone up there!’ Bertha declares. Mr Immortal replies that he can see him, and tells Bertha to get clear while he takes care of the clown. ‘”Clown”?’ the stranger asks. ‘Takes spunk to wear a suit like that and call somebody else a clown, pal!’ the mysterious stranger exclaims.
Suddenly, Bertha flings herself off the rood, telling Mr Immortal to take care, ‘We don’t know what he can do!’ she points out while she plummets at high velocity to the ground, landing, she destroys some of the ground below, though she isn’t injured, just laughs with glee. Mr Immortal begins darting around the stranger, ‘Okay, wise guy, I don’t know what your game is…but you’re way out of your league, now that the Avengers are here!’ Mr Immortal exclaims.
Suddenly, ‘Avengers?’ asks the stranger as he steps out of the shadows - it’s Hawkeye! Clint remarks that the fake all-points-bulletin and his flare arrow lightshow have worked. ‘Now listen up, pally’ Clint begins, but a shocked Mr Immortal exclaims ‘You’re dressed as Hawkeye!’. Clint doesn’t look too amused, ‘”Dressed as Hawkeye”? I am Hawkeye!’ he exclaims, explaining that he is here to find out what these so called “Avengers” think they are up to. ‘In case you didn’t know, buster, the Avengers’ name isn’t up for grabs by an old Tom, Dick and Harriet!’ Clint adds.
Hawkeye begins to tells Mr Immortal something else, only for Mr Immortal to shout ‘Liar!’ and kick Hawkeye in the face, ‘You think you can defeat the Avengers by pretending to be Hawkeye?’ he asks, remarking that the real Hawkeye would have easily blocked his attack. ‘Not necessarily, hoppy’ Mockingbird exclaims as she uses her staff to push herself forward and kick Mr Immortal in the face, remarking that Hawkeye’s skills with his bow have got him used to dealing with foes at a long distance. ‘On the other hand, I can sling a boot with the best of them!’.
Mr Immortal falls to the ground, and Mockingbird stands over him, warning him that if he really wants a fight, she can rearrange his features for him. ‘A woman…! Dressed as Mockingbird!’ Mr Immortal exclaims. Bobbi helps Clint up while asking ‘What is it with you and this “dressed as” business?’ she asks, declaring that Hawkeye is Hawkeye and she is Mockingbird. Mr Immortal replies that if they want to pull of that charade, then they should pay more attention to the newspapers, and calls Mockingbird “legs”, declaring that Hawkeye and Mockingbird have split up and she has quit the Avengers.
‘So if you think those cheap imitation costumes are gonna fool anyone…you’re wrong. Dead wrong!’ Mr Immortal exclaims, as he flips backwards - only to fall from the rooftop. ‘NO!’ screams Mockingbird as she races over to the edge of the rooftop, and looking down, sees Mr Immortal’s body on the ground below. ‘He didn’t have a line…a net…no one to catch him!’ Bobbi exclaims. ‘He’s fallen to his death - just like the Phantom Rider!’ Mockingbird leaps off the rooftop also, swinging down from the window ledges to help her reach the bottom safely, Bobbi kneels over Mr Immortal’s body, ‘He never had a chance! Why did he do it? Why? Why? Why? Even if he believed us to be super-villains…why kill himself?’ Mockingbird asks.
‘You…really care, don’t you?’ comes a voice from behind Bobbi, who turns around quickly, to see Flatman standing behind her. He introduces himself as the deputy leader of the GLA, ‘Flatman? I don’t believe it! You got a partner called “Ribbon”?’ Hawkeye asks as he arrives down on the ground. Bobbi tells Clint that this is no time for his stupid jokes, as there is a man dead here. However, Flatman informs Mockingbird that there isn’t. ‘Mister Immortal…he can’t die!’ Flatman reveals. Bobbi throws her hands in the air, ‘Okay! Enough is too much! We need to sit down and talk. Do you “Avengers” have a headquarters?’ she asks. Flatman replies that they don’t have one like the West Coast Compound or East Coast Mansion, ‘Mostly we just meet at Big Bertha’s place’.
Shortly, at Big Bertha’s place, the GLA, Hawkeye and Mockingbird are in the living area, with Mr Immortal lying on a couch, Hawkeye looks around and remarks that this is a nice place, asking how Big Bertha put together the dough for a place like this. Suddenly, ‘Very simple, Hawkeye…I earned it!’ a voice replies, and Hawkeye turns, to see a very slender and attractive woman standing at the top of the staircase. ‘You’re Big Bertha? What the heck happened to the rest of you?’ Hawkeye asks. Mockingbird realizes that she recognizes the woman, who has been on millions of Vogue covers.
The woman smiles and confirms Bobbi’s statement, revealing that she is Ashley Crawford, ‘Not too long ago, I was the highest paid mannequin in the country!’ Hawkeye asks how she goes from being a professional clothes horse to playing super hero. Ashley frowns and replies that she doesn’t think of it as “playing”, none of them do. ‘We’re just as serious about this as you are!’ she declares. ‘Well in his case, that’s not too serious at all’ Bobbi mutters, before asking how they all got together, and why in Milwaukee - not to mention why the “Great Lakes Avengers”.
Flatman explains that the name was Mr Immortal’s idea, as he wanted to maintain the costal theme with the East Coast and West Coast teams, ‘And since there’s no North Coast…’. Doorman remarks that he doesn’t think that is what Mockingbird means, and asks her if she wants to know where they get off calling themselves Avengers. Mockingbird replies that is kind of why they are here. ‘The Avengers name isn’t quite like a fast food franchise. We’re…well fussy about who uses it’.
‘You said it, Mockie!’ Clint exclaims, before smirking and announcing that he is beginning to think that this Midwest team isn’t such a bad idea after all. ‘Your powers are kinda funky, and your code names stink…but with the proper management - my management - this could be a heck of a team!’.
Meanwhile, back at the Palos Verdes Compound, Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch has just got out of the swimming pool and is drying her hair, when Carlos approaches her, announcing that a special delivery letter was just brought to the Compound and it is for her. Wanda is surprised, and takes the letter from Carlos, thanking him, before asking him if he has seen her husband this morning. Carlos replies that he hasn’t, and informs Wanda that the last time he saw the Vision was two das ago, before the Vision appeared on television.
Wanda thanks Carlos again, before looking at the envelope and wondering who would send a special delivery letter to the Scarlet Witch. Wanda notes that there is no return address, but that it has a Texas postmark. She opens the letter which has the address of the Absolom College of Robotics in Saunders, Texas on it.
Dear Ms MaximoffIt was with great distress that we heard of the recent tribulations suffered by yourself and your husband.Our robotics staff has for several years now been working on a series of projects whose end result is a series of computers whose level of artificial intelligence very nearly approximates that of your husband’s.If there is any way we can be of assistance free of charge in the restoration of the Vision to his full original capacity, please contact us at (214) 555-0202, ext. 29.We hope we can be of service to you at this, your time of great need.Yours truly,Jeremiah RandomDean of Robotics.
‘Oh!’ is all the Scarlet Witch can utter….
Scarlet Witch, Tigra, USAgent (all West Coast Avengers)Hawkeye & Mockingbird (both former West Coast Avengers)
Big Bertha, Dinah Soar, Doorman, Flatman, Mr. Immortal (all Great Lakes Avengers)
Carlos (Avengers Compound Butler)Mrs. Heyges (Avengers Compound Cook)
Peggy Allen (reporter)Bank robbersPatrons and workers at the bankPolice officersCrowd
This issue marks the first appearance of the GLA a.k.a. the Great Lakes Avengers, comprising of Big Bertha, Dinah Soar, Doorman, Flatman and Mr. Immortal. In the early days, the GLA were pretty much seen as a joke, and appeared in only a few issues of the Avengers West Coast series. Years later, they showed up as the Lightning Rods (cashing in on the Thunderbolts name), and later try out the names Great Lakes Defenders, Great Lakes Champions, Great Lakes X-Men, and finally settle on Great Lakes Initiative. While Hawkeye and Mockingbird took them under their wing, the team was not really officially sanctioned. Later additions to the team include Squirrel Girl and Grasshopper, and Leather Boy was retro-actively added as a member. While comic fans now view the Great Lakes Avengers in some sort of cult following, particularly Squirrel Girl, other characters in the Marvel Universe see them as nothing more than a joke.
USAgent joined the West Coast Avengers in West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #44. Hawkeye quit the team in West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #45.
The Phantom Rider fell to his death in West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #31.
The Vision appeared on television in Avengers Spotlight #23.
The Vision was destroyed and rebuilt essentially as a new individual over the course of West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #42-45.
Beginning next issue, the title of the series changes to Avengers West Coast. This was done to bring all three Avenger’s titles closer together. Originally, the editors wanted to change the name of West Coast Avengers to "New Avengers", but fans did not like this idea [as seen in the letter pages of West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #32]. Solo Avengers became Avengers Spotlight with issue #21.