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G.L.A. #4: Review

Jul 2005
Dan Slott, Paul Pelletier

Story Name:

Countdown to a miscount

Review & Comments

4 stars

G.L.A. #4 Review by (November 25, 2023)
At the time this issue was written there was already evidence that the expansion of the universe was accelerating, heading towards a Big Freeze or Big Rip rather than collapsing to a Big Crunch.

During Fantastic Four vol 3 #67-70 and FF#500 the real Dr Doom was clad in mystical armour made from the skin of his dead love Valeria, after which he was dragged to Hell (where he was in FF#507-508). He won't escape from there until FF#536-537 when he'll be back in his usual metal armour.

Dead Mockingbird is actually her dead Skrull replacement.

The GLX will return in the GLX-Mas Special.

The squirrel Deathurge will make a final app there too. As will Oblivion.

It's not the end for Leather Boy as he'll show up (with Squirrel Girl) in the Gwenpool Holiday Special: Merry Mix-Up and (without her) in an issue of Deadpool.

Batroc's Brigade will be seen next in Union Jack vol 2 #2.

Maelstrom will appear next (and last) in Guardians Of The Galaxy (2008), the 1st series for the present day team. (The earlier series starred a team from an alternate 31st Century.) He will be a part of Oblivion that tricks Phyla-Vell into serving Oblivion.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

G.L.A. #4 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue's prologue page has Squirrel Girl mourning the loss of her squirrel sidekick Monkey Joe while Flatman examines the body and describes how brutally he was killed. And MJ's ghost starts doing the editorial comments.
Doorman's doing this issue's (very partial) voiceover ...

... which starts with him in darkness on July 13th 5:27 PM - The End Of Everything. And he says he's dead.

An hour earlier he's driving Flatman and Squirrel Girl back to Great Lakes Avengers HQ. Flatman theorises that with the chronal accelerator and the atomic inverter Maelstrom stole and enough power he could end the universe by rapidly taking it through the point of maximum expansion and down to the Big Crunch. SG is enthused by the idea that *they* could save the universe.

But when they get home they see that someone's broken in. And inside they find Big Bertha sitting on Dr Doom in leather armour, which FM isn't surprised by due to recent events in Fantastic Four. But Bertha unmasks him as Gene Lorrene (Leather Boy from #1) who was apparently upset that they didn't ask him to join during their membership drive in #2, so he killed Mr Immortal (who has of course recovered and gone back to drinking) and then did unspeakable things to Monkey Joe.

Doreen Green is devastated.  Flatman asks Gene why he dressed up as DrD, and Gene explains that ever since Doom dressed like this in his latest battle with the FF it's become all the rage in the S&M community. (So it's got *nothing* to do with Doom wanting revenge for being defeated by Monkey Joe and a horde of other squirrels in SG's debut in Marvel Super-Heroes #8.)

Then Deathurge appears in the form of a squirrel (as usual all-black with skis and a white cloak) to take the soul of MJ away. Mr I is the only human who can as usual see him, and Craig Hollis grabs him and starts beating him up. The other long-time GLAers are oblivious by now to Craig's strange antics as he appears to fight no-one. DM assumes Gene is gay, but FM informs him that the S&M and gay communities may overlap but are *not* identical. DM apologises but asks if FM was offended because he himself is ... And Val Ventura confirms that he's gay, and that it's a relief to say it out loud at last.

Meanwhile Craig has the squirrel Deathurge tied up and wants to know why he's been messing up his life. D'urge tells him that he is destined to outlive everyone, even the gods. He will be the last living thing in the universe, and at the end will learn the One Great Secret (which Maelstrom seeks). All the deaths that he has witnessed so far have been preparing him for the role, and DU admits that he tampered a bit to accelerate the process because he feared someone like Maelstrom would interfere. Craig asks for the 'gift' of immortality to be taken from him, but Deathurge says he didn't give the gift it was fate who made him more than homo sapiens and homo superior (mutants). He is homo supreme.

Flatman is telling Doorman how he was inspired to come out of the closet by Living Lightning coming out to him in #2 (which is not quite what happened). Then a now-happy Mr Immortal declares that he's just found out he's homo superior (which Ventura takes as trying to upstage him). Anyway, Mr I calls "Avengers assemble" and tells them they have 36 minutes to stop Maelstrom from destroying the universe. His imaginary childhood friend has just told him that his base is in Lake Michigan. Squirrel Girl is too despondent to respond until he points out that saving the universe includes saving the squirrels. So she sends out a call to all such nearby.

With only 16 minutes to go Maelstrom's base emerges from the lake. Batroc asks for he and his mercenary Brigade to get paid, but the big bad offers them triple pay to fend off the approaching GLA in their quinjetta car. Of course he doesn't expect to have to pay up after the universe ends. Battle with the Brigade ensues while Mr I runs to confront Maelstrom, who creates a dome of proto-natural force which burns the hero's foot to the bone when he tries to step through it. A horde of squirrels engulf Machete to save Squirrel Girl from him, and make him drop his handgun which Mr I picks up. He fires at the dome but achieves nothing but shooting himself in the other foot.

Maelstrom pushes the fateful button but Craig says he can still stop him if he can get through the dome. So Doorman picks him up and leans back against the forcefield allowing Mr I to pass though him and it. But of course DeMarr Davis dies (keeping up the run of 1 team member dying each issue). Inside the dome Maelstrom ignores Mr I's gun and starts to explain his masterplan. But Hollis cuts him short by saying that Deathurge already told him. The villain is intrigued that the hero knows his old servant and suggests they talk in the remaining minutes. (We see lots of spacefaring beings and cosmic entities already being pulled towards the centre of the effect here.)

Outside the dome has become a 'white hole' sucking things like the quinjetta in. Batroc finally realises that he's going to have nowhere to spend his money. Squirrel Girl is more concerned about the squirrels who are falling in, some of whom she knows by name, and she manages to save 1 of them. As we have seen in the earlier issues Big Bertha is trying to stop a very stretched Flatman from following them.

Going back a few seconds we find Doorman in the blackness we saw at the beginning of the issue, wondering where all the other dead people are. Then a light picks out other dead GLAers (Dinah Soar, Grasshopper, Mockingbird and Monkey Joe) playing poker, and MJ's winning. DeMarr asks Bobbi Barton why Hawkeye isn't with them. She replies that she read on the Internet that he's alive and posing as the Swordsman (an in-joke ref to #2). Just then Oblivion takes Doorman away because he senses that Davis has access to the same Darkforce Dimension that Deathurge does, and offers him a job (if the universe survives).

Meanwhile Craig Hollis is still talking to Maelstrom while pointing a gun at him. The villain as usual whines that the universe deserves to die for what it's put him though, but of course the mortal wouldn't understand. Craig says it must be lonely (quoting from the 'One is the loneliest number' song he was addicted to in #2). Maelstrom is impressed by his insight. Craig points out that when the universe is gone Maelstrom will understand true loneliness and maybe that's the Great Secret, that in the end we're alone. But without others everything will be meaningless and he'll be left just with his loneliness. This appals the villain, and when Mr I says he dosen't intend to stick around for that, Maelstrom begs to know how they can escape. Craig says "Simple" and points the gun at his own head. "I'll go 1st, you can follow". He blows his own brains out. As Maelstrom is engulphed by the maelstrom he shrugs his shoulders and follows suit. And dying (or recovering) Mr I reaches out an arm to switch the machine off.

As in previous flashforwards Big Bertha has lost her grip on Flatman and we see him sucked into the white hole. The force dome collapses and recovered Mr Immortal joins the survivors. Batroc demands that *someone* should pay him but Machete and Zaran persuade him to leave with them before any real superheroes show up. Squirrel Girl comforts herself with the surviving female squirrel who she decides to name Tippy-Toe. Ashley Crawford is wracked with guilt that she wasn't strong enough to save Val. But then the 2D Ventura turns so that they can see him - naked because only his costume got sucked into the hole. The 3 original GLAers have a group hug until Squirrel Girl points out that Doorman is missing. But then DeMarr appears with Deathurge's skis and cloak. They can all see him in his new role because they're his friends. He promises to join them in the HQ, but 1st he has to take Maelstrom's soul away. But his voiceover ominously says that this is the end of the GLA.

Whatever, the 6 (including Tippy-Toe) current GLA reconvene at their HQ. The near-catastrophe seems to have been wiped from existence, or just not noticed. The Maria Stark Foundation is threatening to sue if they don't stop calling themselves Avengers. The 5 humans happen to reveal to each other that they're all mutants. Which gives Craig an idea. The last page announces the debut of the GLX, Great Lakes X-Men, dressed somewhat like Grant Morrison's New X-Men.

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, Leather Boy, Machete, Maelstrom, Mr Immortal, Oblivion, Squirrel Girl, Zaran (Maximillian Zaran).

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

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