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Dr Ventura was a mutant who could stretch his body to great lengths. As Flatman, he acted as the deputy leader of the Great Lakes Avengers, an unauthorized division of the regular Avengers superhero group that watched over the Wisconsin area. While his powers may not have been impressive, his mind was, with the exception of occasionally forgetting which name the team was going by.
Called the "2D Avenger," his primary role included long-ranged rescues and helping the team solve crimes with his extensive knowledge of fashion which he was reported to have "studied in college." He was able to identify a women's shoes and describe them in detail, while later rescuing a man and referring to him as "sailor," leading his team to question his sexuality.
Though Flatman referred to himself as Dr. Val Ventura, his doctoral background was highly questionable. He was unable to present a degree to prove his education and when asked by Doorman what he was a doctor of, Flatman replied that he was a doctor of "stuff." When told by a fellow doctor (who had confused him for Mr. Fantastic) that time moved in only a single direction Flatman seemed shocked and even had to ask which direction that was. Though Flatman often seemed to act intelligent, he never actually proved any sort of superior intellect.
Most recently, Flatman and his fellow GLA members took on Maelstrom who was trying to destroy the world. When Dinah Soar was killed, GLA leader Mr. Immortal went crazy and Flatman stepped up as deputy leader. Deciding that the team needed some new members, he and Doorman went to New York city where they drafted Squirrel Girl and Grasshopper, the latter of who quickly passed away on their first mission. Refusing to let the deaths of Dinah Soar and Grasshopper get him down, Flatman continued to try and persuade the team to further research Maelstrom's plans for world destruction. However, it was not until Mr. I regained his sanity that the team rallied together and defeated Maelstrom. Flatman was seemingly sucked into a vortex during the final battle but it turned out that he barely escaped and was merely standing at an angle so that his flat body could not be seen because his clothes had been sucked off.
Great Lakes Champions
With the GLA facing a newer, stronger resolve than ever, they returned back to their headquarters only for Flatman to find that Tony Stark had sent a cease and desist notice ordering them to stop using the Avengers name. They changed their name to the Great Lakes X-Men and on their first mission under that name Flatman helped them to save Christmas in Muskego from the evil Dr. Tannenbaum (a Christmas hating villain whose robot snowman they had defeated before) and his killer Christmas trees.
The team was invited to the annual Superheroes Poker Tournament after Squirrel Girl helped the Thing (the host of the game) in defeating the Hulk villain, Bi-Beast. In the end, Flatman won the Tournament with a straight-flush, beating The Thing's four fours. After being discouraged from using "Great Lakes X-Men," and then "Great Lakes Defenders," by members of those teams present at the Tournament, Flatman becoming the "champion" of the Tournament inspired the team to rename themselves the Great Lakes Champions, despite protests from former Champions of Los Angeles member Hercules.
All of the Great Lakes Champions registered with the United States government as required by the Super-human Registration Act, as discovered by the mercenary Deadpool who mistakenly attempted to apprehend them for violating the Act, only to be defeated by the GLC and informed that they had already registered.
Great Lakes Initiative
Flatman and his teammates became the initiative group in charge of Wisconsin, now calling themselves the Great Lakes Initiative. They were given a rescue mission to save Dionysus after he fell from Mount Olympus. During the task, Flatman and Mr. Immortal were ambushed by Deadpool. Flatman was able to persuade Deadpool into becoming an honorary member of the Great Lakes Initiative, and he aided them on their mission. Afterwards, however, Deadpool overstayed his welcome, and Flatman felt obligated to get the "Merc with a Mouth" to pay for all the items he charged to the GLI account. After confronting Deadpool, the two battled, and Flatman revealed his new fighting style -- Origami-Fu. Transforming into various origami styles, such as a crane, a monkey, a tiger, and a frog. Deadpool then convinced him to turn into a boat and defeated him by stapling him together, using him in his bath. The group eventually had Squirrel Girl kick Deadpool out of their headquarters.
The GLA in Detroit
Several years later, as a consequence of major shake-ups in Stark Holdings, the ownership of the trademark for the Avengers name was transferred to the only other entity who had also applied for the trademark, Flat Man. Connie Ferrari, the legal representative of the Avengers, attempted to negotiate with him to buy the name back, and Flat Man managed to get her to reinstate the Great Lake Avengers as a permanent and official addition to the Avengers.
After an attempt to get the band together, which resulted only in Big Bertha and Doorman joining Flat Man, the Great Lakes Avengers moved to Detroit, where the Avengers had set them up a headquarters in a factory owned by Stark Holdings.
Stretching: enables him to stretch his body to great lengths.
- Flat Body: allows to slide his body into cracks and crevices.
- Rubber-like skin: prevents injury from many kinds of attack.
- Flatman bears striking similarities to Mister Fantastic; both are doctors who have alliterative names (Reed Richards, Val Ventura) and have stretching powers.
- Flatman made a brief cameo in the 2006 Fantastic Four TV series episode "The Cure." In the episode, Ben Grimm's "condition" had been cured, and the team was holding auditions for possible replacements (including Captain Ultra and Squirrel Girl). Flatman's audition consisted of his demonstrating his powers and stating, "See, I can stretch, too!" before his immediate dismissal by Reed Richards.
- When Hawkeye first met Flatman, he asked if he had a "sidekick" named Ribbon, a reference to Batman and Robin, as well as a possible reference to an old joke involving the combination of said duo and a Steamroller.
- The one-shot GLX-Mas Special features a Flatman 'action figure' on its last page, with 'infinite' points of articulation; it is of course a paper doll. It features three phrases that can be provided by the user (speech balloons), one of which is 'I'm not Mr. Fantastic!'.
- 34 Appearances of Val Ventura (Earth-616)
- Media Val Ventura (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 41 Images featuring Val Ventura (Earth-616)
- 4 Quotations by or about Val Ventura (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Val Ventura (Earth-616)
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