Welcome to Wham! Bam! Thank You, Ma’am!, Geeks OUT’s monthly recap that focuses on the trials and tribulations of a different Marvel Universe SFC (Strong Female Character) every thirty days. With Doreen Green (a.k.a. Squirrel Girl) going from d-list to unbeatable, her former teammates on the Great Lakes Avengers had since disbanded and faded into obscurity (even moreso)... until now. The GLA (not to be confused with Gay & Lesbian Alliance... yes, I'm looking at you, Living Lightning) is back and they're more determined than ever to fail at being the premier superhero team. Returning alonside default team leader, Flatman, is the ever-so-fabulous, Big Bertha!
Ashley Crawford discovered her mutant abilities to shift and manipulate her body's adipose tissue at a young age. With this power, she was able to sculpt the ideal supermodel physique and soon became one of the most recognizable fashion models... at least in Milwaukee.
However, all the glamour and couture that comes with being in the fashion industry proved inefficient to satisfy Ashley's desire to live life to the fullest. Answering a classified in the local newspaper calling for "men and women of action" would change her life's direction immensely. The ad was placed by Mister Immortal, a mutant with the ability to resurrect himself, in the hopes of assembling a superhero team to protect the Great Lakes Region. Taking her powers in the opposite direction allowed Ashley to increase her girth and bulk by adding hundreds of pounds to her mass and granting her incredible strength, durability, and the ability to vault towering structures in a solitary spring.
The money she earned from modeling was gladly used to fund this new offshoot team of Avengers. She also provided the team's initial base of operations (her penthouse) and means of transportation (her private jet). Together, with her team, she would battle such top-tier villains as Leather Boy and Asbestos Man. She would even have to deal with Evil Living Christmas Trees and Giant Robot Snowmen during the holidays. In the midst of the Skrull invasion, she and the GLA were instrumental in taking out their newest teammate, the deadly Grasshopper, who was actually a Skrull agent. Not one to shy away from rescue missions, Big Bertha was also part of the mission that sought to rescue Dionysus from the clutches of A.I.M. after he drunkenly fell from Olympus.
A short time later, Deadpool was recruited as a reserves member for the GLA and he soon proved impossible to evict after the team had had their fill of him. Bertha agreed to go out on a date with the Merc in exchange for him leaving their headquarters. Much to Wade's disappointment, Bertha arrives to the date in Ashley Crawford form and it is soon revealed that Wade is only physically attracted to her larger form. She slaps him down by explaining that he is no different than the thirsty men that fawn over her slimmer body and care not for Ashley the person.
Most recently, Bertha legally changed her name from Ashley to Bertha in an attempt to mainstream her brand. She reunited with her former teammates, Flatman and Doorman after being told that the GLA has been reinstated as a permanent team in the Avengers lineup. They trio head to Detroit where their new base (a rundown factory owned by Tony Stark) eagerly awaits them to continue their well-meaning heroic antics.
SFC Moment of the Month: This month, fans (or just me) of the cancelled-too-soon Fearless Defenders were treated to a wonderful surprise courtesy of writer Cullen Bunn in the pages of his book Deadpool and the Mercs For Money.
The puppet-master behind Wade's recent kidnappings-for-cash had been revealed as the villainess Caroline Le Fay (along with her hired muscle, Scorpia and Titania). When last we saw these three women together, they were battling Valkyrie and co. for the fate of the world (and the return of Caroline's mother, Morgan Le Fay). It's nice to see that Caroline's modus operandi has not changed much #universalgenocide.
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For further "Great Lakes Avengers" reading, check out "Don't You Forget About Me: An Ode to Flatman".