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G.L.A. #3: Review

Jun 2005
Dan Slott, Paul Pelletier

Story Name:

Mistaken identity crisis

Review & Comments

4 stars

G.L.A. #3 Review by (November 25, 2023)
I don't know whether the title is a play on the Identity Crisis event that ran through the Spider-Man titles in early 1998. Or more likely and very recent, DC's bigger Identity Crisis event in 2004.

Mockingbird 'died' in West Coast Avengers #100, but it will turn out she had been replaced by a Skrull in #91.
Hawkeye died in the Avengers Disassembled event but will be recreated at the end of the House Of M event.

Last issue Monkey Joe predicted the death of a GLA member this issue and just hoped it wouldn't be Squirrel Girl. Well at least he got that wish. And remember his death counts because the team agreed that he was a genuine member.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

G.L.A. #3 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Big Bertha joins Squirrel Girl and Monkey Joe in the prologue page to complain about the depiction and treatment of women in comics.
She also does this issue's (partial) voiceover.

Once again the issue opens with a glimpse of the End Of Everything scheduled for 5:30 in the afternoon, July 13th. As well as Flatman being sucked into a white hole and letting go of Bertha so she wouldn't go too we see Batroc, Machete and Zaran being attacked by SG and her squirrels. Then BB grabs hold of FM's elastic 2D head and digs her feet in. (We *don't* see Mr Immortal about to blow his own brains out.)

It turns out that the main part of the issue's story starts early on the same day. Bertha stops a truck from flattening a bunch of young kids on a school crossing, then sneaks into the studio where she's expected as super-model Ashley Crawford. We then learn how she gets rid of all the excess fat she generated (somehow) to be BB - she vomits it all up (mostly) into a toilet. After her photoshoot she gets pressurised again by her agent to take higher-paying jobs in bigger cities. And she hears her colleagues laughing at a TV report on the Great Lakes Avengers, specifically Doorman (last issue) in New York desperately trying to persuade Captain Ultra to join the team. And how the only person they got to say yes was Squirrel Girl.

Someone who looks something like Dr Doom sees the report too and angrily smashes a photo of SG.

Doorman and Flatman return from NY with Squirrel Girl and her squirrel sidekick Monkey Joe and show them the GLA HQ. Doorman adds a picture of Grasshopper to the array of fallen members on the wall. (He joined last issue but was killed immediately. The other fallen are Dinah Soar (#1) and old mentors Hawkeye and Mockingbird). FM wants to introduce Squirrel Girl to their other (living) female member, but Doorman says Bertha left a message saying she's thinking of quitting.

Then she meets the team captain Mr Immortal who's drunk, wearing his dead girlfriend Dinah Soar's costume with a giant pair of scissors through his chest. (The scissors are a team 'trophy', a memento of when they opened a Mall.) Then he falls flat on his face, pushing the scissors further through and dying. SG is aghast but Flatman assures her that Mr I always gets better.

Deathurge looks at Craig Hollis through the window and chides him for 'calling' him again. He should know by now that D'urge can't take him, and he'll soon understand why. Then he skis off through the air and down to the underwater lair of Maelstrom. He invisibly passes Batroc and Machete playing Fish. (1 of the little jokes peppering this series is French Batroc asking Machete if he has any Jacques.) He locates their boss who he used to work for when Maelstrom like him was a servant of Oblivion. Oblivion has sent him to tell Maelstrom not to do what he's planning.

The big bad's response is to tell us the plan and his recent history. He says he's a seeker of knowledge about the motion of the universe and the destiny of his ancestors the Inhumans, the Eternals and mankind. (Actually he's an Inhuman/Deviant crossbreed.) He's says that recently that quest spread his consciousness across all reality. (A somewhat biased retelling of Avengers #250 where 1 of his schemes was thwarted when the Avengers overloaded the machine feeding him energy so that he expanded and thinned out uncontrollably.) (In this state he got involved in Quasar #19-25.) But eventually his minions shrank him back to Earthly life (Fantastic Four Unlimited #10) but his shrinking continued 'beyond the infinitesimal'. He claims he was transmuted into proto-natural force, the fabric of creation (but somehow he got back to his normal state). That whole journey has shown him the purpose of the universe, it is a machine to 'unlock the 1 great secret' at the end. And he is now creating a device to cause that to happen now.

Deathurge warns him that this would cause the end of everything, including his master Oblivion. Maelstrom doesn't care. Deathurge admits that he can't stop him, but someone else will.

Deputy leader Flatman runs the GLA in Mr I's depressed/drunken/dead state. He suggests they try to understand Maelstrom's plan by learning about the machinery that he (#1 when Dinah died) and Batroc's Brigade (#2 when Grasshopper died) stole (the bracketed comments are courtesy of Doorman). FM proposes the he and Doorman go do that leaving newbie Squirrel Girl on monitor duty. SG says she wants a superhero's task and Monkey Joe can do monitor duty. Doorman objects but she replies that MJ once defeated Dr Doom (an only slightly biased reference to their debut in Marvel Super-Heroes #8 where a hoard of squirrels did it). (1 of the squirrel's 'editorial' comments says that it was the real thing, not a Doombot.) SG insists that they agree that Monkey Joe is a full member of the team, and the other 2 go along with it to shut her up. But as they leave we see the Dr Doom figure lurking in the bushes.

Back at the finished photo-shoot Ashley overhears comments about her model-slim body. She muses that they don't know about her Big Bertha id, and how her super-control of her fat enables her to create the Ashley-form as well as the Bertha-body. She also admits to herself that the GLA haven't exactly saved the world but they've done good things. Her model earnings fund the team. And she remembers how they once saved Christmas for a suburb of Muskego by defeating Dr Tannenbaum's Giant Robot Snowman (whose head is their other trophy which she knocked off with 1 punch).

As the fateful End Of Everything day wears on the 3 currently active human GLAers go to the University Of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where Doorman shows Doreen Green where Dinah died while Flatman learns that the machine Maelstrom stole was a chronal accelerator which can speed up or slow down time (but not reverse it of course). After they leave we see that the head scientist is glowing with pride that Reed Richards came to him for help, until someone tells him it was only Flatman.

Then at the Roxxon Energy Corporation FM is stalled by the receptionist while DM apologises to SG about going on about the deaths of Dinah and Grasshopper (the last of which he feels responsible for), but he doesn't want any more members to die. She offers him a nut from 1 of her nutsacks (cue hilarity). But FM grabs DM and forces him to become a door to let him pass through into the boss's office. He demands to know what the Brigade stole from their New York plant, but the boss tells him he could have just looked it up online.

We see Monkey Joe doing exactly that and learning that it is an atomic inverter when he hears a noise in the building. The Dr Doom figure, who wears what looks like leather armour held together with straps, finds Mr Immortal alive but still drunk and kills him again by breaking his neck. Then he grabs the squirrel who he calls by name and angrily kills him.

A happy Ashley Crawford drives her flash sportscar the GLA HQ. She's decided that the GLA is where she wants to be and resolves to be there more often. When she gets there she finds signs of the break-in and the dead body of Monkey Joe.

We end with another glimpse of the imminent End Of Everything as Flatman slips from Big Bertha's grasp into the white hole. And MJ's final editorial comment is nothing because he's dead.

Paul Pelletier
Rick Magyar
Wil Quintana
Paul Pelletier (Cover Penciler)
Rick Magyar (Cover Inker)
Wil Quintana (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Dave Lanphear.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Batroc the Leaper
Batroc the Leaper

(Georges Batroc)

Plus: Big Bertha, Deathurge, Doorman, Flatman, Great Lakes Avengers, Machete, Maelstrom, Mr Immortal, Squirrel Girl, Zaran (Maximillian Zaran).

> G.L.A.: Book info and issue index

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