Marvel Needs To Embrace Its Comedic Side And Adapt The Best Superhero Team

By Jacob VanGundy | Published

One of the biggest complaints about the MCU online recently is its over-reliance on quip-filled comedic moments that undercut dramatic moments. With so many people taking issue with the tone, it’s obvious that there’s a tonal problem in the Marvel formula, one way to solve that would be to make straightforward dramas. The other way to solve that is for Marvel to finally lean fully into making comedies and adapt their best comedy team, The Great Lakes Avengers. 

The Great Lakes Avengers

First appearing in John Byrne’s run on West Coast Avengers the Great Lakes Avengers have been a running gag in the Marvel comics universe for decades. As a usually unofficial branch of The Avengers, they protect America’s Great Lakes region while the A-List heroes focus on the more populous coastal areas. They’re a comedic take on the idea of the superhero team, but unlike meta characters like Deadpool and She-Hulk, they aren’t in on the joke. 

The Strangest Powers In The Marvel Universe

Much of the comedy comes from the characters having powers of questionable value, for example, Mr. Immortal can’t die but has no offensive capabilities to make that matter. Doorman can become a teleportation portal, but it only teleports people to the other side of where he’s standing, and Flatman is, as his name would imply, flat. The silly powers are one avenue for humor, but the team’s desire for, and inability to achieve, recognition from the superhero community makes them into a band of loveable losers. 

An In-Universe Parody

The team is also frequently used to poke fun at broader tropes within superhero comics, something Marvel properties like Deadpool and She-Hulk have found success doing. The Great Lakes Avengers’ first miniseries played on the popularity of events like The Death of Superman by killing off a member of the team in every single issue. They also poked fun at Marvel’s tendency to connect their books to the X-Men for sales boosts by having The Great Lakes Avengers go by the GLX for a time. 

Marvel Proved It Can Do Comedy

sci-fi movie

The Guardians of the Galaxy movies show that the MCU is capable of leaning into the comedic tone of their characters and making proper comedy-superhero hybrid films. While The Great Lakes Avengers would require pushing a little further into pure comedy territory, it wouldn’t feel at odds with the more comedic films of the MCU. A straightforward comedy would also be a refreshing change of pace for the franchise as it’s something they haven’t tried with their films yet, only dabbling with it in their TV offerings. 

Mr. Immortal Is In The MCU

The Great Lakes Avengers would also require minimal extra set-up, which would make it easier to slip them into the universe than the X-Men or Fantastic Four. After all, the leader of the team, Mr. Immortal, was already introduced in She-Hulk, making it easy to center him as he assembles the team, perhaps in a redemption arc. It would also be the perfect way for Marvel to introduce the immensely popular and unutilized Squirrel Girl into the MCU, as she was a long-time member of the team. 

Room For Drama And Comedy

Comedy has clearly been a part of the MCU’s formula from the start, with Robert Downey Jr bringing plenty of jokes to Iron Man. It would seem odd and out of place for Marvel to abandon the comedic thread of their universe; instead, they should consolidate it, letting more dramatic movies be pure dramas while leaning into comedy for other projects. The Great Lakes Avengers are the perfect team to become the face of Marvel’s comedic side, letting them poke fun at themselves and superheroes without losing any heart or overwhelming the audience with even more hyper meta fourth wall-breaking characters.