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Great Lakes Avengers: Being Big Bertha

In GREAT LAKES AVENGERS #6—due out March 15—Big Bertha steps out on her own to face Dr. Nod and the Bod Squad, a group of villains who want to use her to sell weight loss supplements.

With this issue serving up a rare Big Bertha solo tale, we spoke with writer Zac Gorman about the character and her role on the team.

Marvel.com: Zac, how do you view Big Bertha’s role within the Great Lakes Avengers?

Zac Gorman: I think Big Bertha is probably the actual best choice for the leader of the Great Lakes Avengers. She’s the most capable and confident member of the team.

Marvel.com: Usually when we see Big Bertha, it’s within the context of the bigger team, but it sounds like in issue #6 you get to shine a spotlight on her. What can we expect from her, in terms of this solo outing?

Zac Gorman: Bertha has been a little one-dimensional in the past, but that always seemed like a shame to me. She’s the only member of the team with a real job outside of fighting crime and saving the world; she’s also a model. In our book, she’s a plus-sized model. She’s sort of merged her hero persona with her civilian one. She even changed her name. She’s found a balance that works for her. I think that’s cool.

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about Dr. Nod and the Bod Squad? What makes them the perfect enemies for Big Bertha to face?

Zac Gorman: Dr. Nod and the Bod Squad are sort of your modern snake oil salesman turned up to 11. In a sense they’re sort of a funhouse mirror version of Bertha. They’re really meant to illustrate the dark side of this body-obsessed, diet supplement industry that would have you risk your health to conform to a certain body type.

Marvel.com: Finally, like you said, Big Bertha’s always seemed like the GLA member who had the most going for her outside of the team, in terms of her modeling career. What do you think keeps her from leaving to pursue it?

Zac Gorman: The Bertha in our story has taken a path that feels more true to herself in becoming a plus-sized model, but there are challenges associated with that that she didn’t face before. Her decision cost her some of the clients that she had before, but it also gained some new ones. In a way, I think her decision to take her career in a new direction also involved some starting over. Sometimes that’s just the price you pay for doing what you really want.

Join Big Bertha’s adventures next week in GREAT LAKES AVENGERS #5, and then on March 15 with GREAT LAKES AVENGERS #6!

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Mighty Captain Marvel: Fighting Through

Carol Danvers has gone through a lot lately.

CIVIL WAR II definitely took an emotional toll, and now she faces the betrayal of Steve Rogers in SECRET EMPIRE. MIGHTY CAPTAIN MARVEL writer Margaret Stohl filled us in on Captain Marvel’s headspace, and where she finds herself psychologically and emotionally these days.

Marvel.com: Carol found herself in a pretty dark place at the end of CIVIL WAR II. And now SECRET EMPIRE follows right on its heels. It must feel very draining for Carol psychologically and emotionally. Does watching things play out with Steve erode her faith in some of the things she has believed in even more?

Margaret Stohl: Watching Steve Rogers betray everything that Captain America has always stood for is a crushing blow, not just for Carol but for everyone. On the other hand, she’s also an experienced military leader, and she knows better than anyone that the loss of Captain America only makes the role of Captain Marvel that much more important. She steps up when others step down, and she always has. So no, Steve’s betrayal doesn’t erode her faith, it makes her all the more resolved to defend it—because if she doesn’t, who will?

Marvel.com: Steve left Carol and her team outside the planetary shield surrounding the Earth to face wave after wave of the Chitauri army. What kind of state of mind will she have when she gets back?

Margaret Stohl: Carol has her combat brain on now, which means she only has three things on her mind: how to keep her team alive, how to get them back to Earth, and then how to save it. Her first goal is her team’s survival, particularly the three young cadets—Glory, Dante and A’Di—who were caught outside the shield with her during their training at Alpha Flight. That is priority one. Part of what makes Carol such an effective soldier and leader is her ability to compartmentalize when she has to. Making decisions in the moment is tough, but when a leader doesn’t lead, the people fighting for her die.

Mighty Captain Marvel #6 cover by Elizabeth Torque

Marvel.com: Currently, Carol leads Alpha Flight and plays a major role in the Ultimates. So professionally, she seems to really have things together. But personally, she’s facing more challenges.

Margaret Stohl: Absolutely. Carol’s first arc in 2017 was all about her personal journey back from the events of CIVIL WAR II. This arc is much more of a combat adventure, though even the fact that there are teens on Alpha Flight just shows how much her relationship with the Kree child, Bean, from the past few issues, has impacted her. In general though, I think Carol’s emotions are on hold until she gets through the catastrophe of SECRET EMPIRE. If she ever makes it home, Carol Danvers will have to work to process what has happened—not just to her but to her planet.

Marvel.com: Carol had a falling out with Ms. Marvel during CIVIL WAR II, and America is distancing herself from the Ultimates to go to college. How does it affect Carol to see her protégés walking away?

Margaret Stohl: Carol is a lifer in her fight for what’s right. Like many other heroes, she’s seen plenty of teammates come and go, and while that wears on her, she knows it comes with the gig. That said, I’m not sure she’s ever recovered from the end of her friendship with Kamala Khan. Since Kamala moved on in her life, Carol has taken the time to foster a Kree child and train three Alpha Cadets. I think she deeply feels the loss of Kamala, and is still trying to figure it out.

Marvel.com: I would imagine the fall of Maria Hill has had a pretty significant impact on Carol, as well. The two have had their differences, but have often found themselves in similar situations, and frequently worked together. Does it make Carol feel like maybe the same thing could happen to her? Like she could be forced out of the organizations she cares about?

Margaret Stohl: Women in positions of power are always aware of the fates of their female contemporaries, but at the moment, Carol really is caught up in just getting her butt back to Earth. I don’t know how much time she’s spent thinking about it. She’s much more worried about Wendy, who is trapped somewhere on Earth and away from the rest of the A.F. team.

MIGHTY CAPTAIN MARVEL continues to battle through Secret Empire as depicted in issue #5 on May 31 and issue #6 on June 28, both written by Margaret Stohl with art by Ramon Rosanas and Michele Bandini respectively.