You know, they get a lot of crap for being jokes.
But in their very first appearance, the Great Lakes Avengers are nobody to mess with:
Sure, it's not the same thing as taking on Kang or the Masters Of Evil...but these guys are hardly the Inferior Five. Hell, they're probably more effective than the Champions ever were (not to mention various incarnations of the Defenders)!
Somewhere along the line, the Great Lakes Avengers became a punch line. Because they were from the Midwest and not the coasts? Because of Squirrel Girl? Who can say.
From West Coast Avengers #46 (1989)