After Mr. Immortal discovered his powers after failing to killing himself, he decided to become a superhero and join a team of like-minded people. After placing a personal ad in a local newspaper, Mr. Immortal was joined by Big Bertha, Dinah Soar, Doorman and Flatman to make the Great Lakes Avengers. They also attracted the attention of a sexual deviant known only as Leather Boy who completely misunderstood the ad.
The Great Lakes Avengers were created by John Byrne and first appeared in West Coast Avengers #46.
The Great Lakes Avengers have undergone many changes in their few scattered appearances. Mostly name changes. Fluctuating between different names almost every appearance, they also been known as the Lightning Rods, Great Lakes X-Men, Great Lakes Defenders, Great Lakes Champions and mostly recently as part of the Initiative under the name Great Lakes Initiative. The team line-up has mostly remained the same with the only major addition being Squirrel Girl. Other members of note include Hawkeye, Mockingbird and honorary member Deadpool.
Major Story Arcs
After the Vision appeared on the David Letterman show to introduce his new look to the public, the team decided to call themselves the Great Lakes Avengers and act as the team's Midwest branch. Hawkeye and Mockingbird, who had only recently quit the Avengers, were curious and investigated the team and Hawkeye decided to take the young heroes under his tutelage and shape them into a real team.
The Possession of the Scarlet Witch
When the team detected an emergency summons from the real Avengers, Hawkeye led the team in a battle against the threat of That Which Endures which had already possessed Avengers' Scarlet Witch and She-Hulk in a bid to push evolution forward. As the team battled against the possessed Avengers, Mr. Immortal saved the day by destroying its Assimilator which freed everyone from its influence.
Despite Hawkeye leaving the team to rejoin the real Avengers, the Great Lakes Avengers continued to try and make a name for themselves despite the Avengers refusing to endorse them. However, when Terminus attempted to drain away all life on Earth, the Great Lakes Avengers fought against Terminus alongside the real Avengers and for the first time they were truly accepted by the real team. The Avengers still refused to endorse them.
After the Avengers and Fantastic Four seemingly perished after battling Onslaught, the Thunderbolts took their place as the premier superhero team. The Great Lakes Avengers decided to abandon the Avengers name and attempt to become the West Coast equivalent of the Thunderbolts; namely the Lightning Rods.
After several skirmishes with Deadpool, the Lightning Rods were frustrated to learn that the Thunderbolts were actually the Masters of Evil in disguise. The team decided to try and arrest the Thunderbolts but were humiliatingly defeated by them and had their costumes stolen. The Lightning Rods tried again to get even with the Thunderbolts only to be defeated once again. They eventually just gave up trying.
After the Scarlet Witch forced the Avengers to break up, the Great Lakes Avengers saw this as a great opportunity to finally become premier superheroes. After a failed battle with Maelstrom which killed Dinah Soar, the almost instant death of new member Grasshopper and the rejection of almost every superhero they invited to join the team, Mr. Immortal gave up on the Great Lakes Avengers leaving the leadership to Flatman. The team invited Squirrel Girl to join and they subsequently fought Batroc's Brigade and a vengeful Leather Boy. A depressed and suicidal Mr. Immortal confronted Maelstrom again and the two both decided to kill themselves. Although, Mr. Immortal immediately returned to life on account of his powers.
Great Lakes Schizophrenics
After the team were forced to stop calling themselves Avengers, the team decided to instead call themselves the Great Lakes X-Men in a bid to capitalise on the decimation of mutantkind. They subsequently renamed themselves the Great Lakes Defenders and Great Lakes Champions before finally renaming themselves the Great Lakes Initiative. After constant battles and alliances with Deadpool, Mr. Immortal invited the merc with a mouth to join the team as an honorary member. He came to regret this decision as all Deadpool would do was hang around their headquarters and watch porn and Maude all day long.