I’ve been super pumped for the new Great Lakes Avengers ongoing series for quite a while now and this weekend I picked up a stack of new comics and this was one of them. I’ve been a big fan of the team from way back when they were introduced in 1989 for a few reasons. First they were created by the legendary John Byrne, who’s been my favorite comic book artist since I was a kid, second The Great Lakes Avengers are from my home state of Wisconsin (a place where superhero stories rarely take place) and finally I love the pure oddity of these misfit, underdog, d-list characters. I always thought they could be a hit if they were given the proper chance and I STILL think Marvel could make an amazing movie/tv series with this team. So anyway was this debut issue worth the wait for a die hard fan like myself?
I’ve gotta be honest here, I was a bit underwhelmed with issue #1. One reason being perhaps that I recently decided to reread the Dan Slott GLA mini series from 2005, which I think was fantastic. Here we have in 2016 a bit of a more of a lighter playful take on the team rather than the dark comedy that Slott brought us. This new series is obviously trying reeeeaaallly hard to funny and personally I don’t think many of the jokes really land. It can be hard to make pure comedic gold in comic book form and I’ll say I think Slott & Byrne accomplished this more much more solidly.
The premise overall of this debut was interesting enough and I totally dig that Flatman owns the rights to The Avengers name brand. I love the whole getting the band back together plot and that the GLA have really become by default “real” Avengers. A couple things have changed over the years, for one Big Bertha, formerly the supermodel Ashley Crawford has become a plus sized model when in her regular human form (I love this change and I’m tired of every superhero being cut from the same mold) and also it appears that Squirrel Girl, at least for the moment appears to think she’s too cool to answer The Great Lakes Avengers reunion call. I’m betting & hoping that Squirrel Girl may indeed change her mind as she fits so perfectly along with this gang. I also liked the picture of the fallen GLA member Dinah Soar cleverly placed in the background of Flatman’s apartment.
I’m a bit torn too about the book’s art, it’s really well done but it’s perhaps maybe a bit too cartoony and the style of it makes me feel like I’m reading a comic book made for tweens (?), gasp….maybe I am? The look of the villains in this issue were just fucking awful, like they’d been drawn for a Strawberry Shortcake cartoon or something. Maybe this style will grow on me, but it will likely take a little getting used to. I guess I was hoping for something a bit more like Slott’s run, a bit more of a character driven tale of truly down on their luck d-list superheroes with a bit more of a dark comedy thrown in. This first issue had a lot of missed opportunities to portray that, but it’s story was so bright, moving along at such a fast pace that it left me feeling a bit empty. I also think that the ending of the issue was a bit confusing when we finally get to see why Mr. Immortal hasn’t shown up for the reunion.
I guess it doesn’t help either that it seems comic book panels appear to be getting larger and fewer. At the end of the day I guess perhaps what I’m really feeling is that maybe this series wasn’t written for me (being a big fan of the team from the 1980’s) I’m guessing Marvel is indeed targeting a whole new generation. If the book felt a bit like the Variant cover for issue #2 I think I’d be sold. Still with that all being said, I’ll be back for issue #2 to see what direction this all really goes…