With all the titles in Marvel’s over-saturated Avengers lineup, Avengers Assemble sticks out as the most egregious example, primarily because its entire focus is to be the Avengers title that cashes in on the movie.  To anybody that does not spend all their time combing through the movies with a fine-tooth comb for the differences between an adaptation and its source material, this logic would and should be baffling because if you wanted an Avengers title to cash in on the movie, presumably that title would be… The Avengers.  I mean, if Amazing Spider-Man can work in a Lizard story arc for the purposes of tying into the reboot, surely Brian Bendis, Mark Bagley, and crew could have saved considerable natural resources by just putting their arc into the main title.  Or New Avengers, since Bendis is writing that, too.  That said, the question becomes “who is this title for?”

Guardians of the GalaxyOn a surface level, it’s got the people from the movie, and the presumed sequel villain Thanos is the guy they have to punch for this story arc, and Bendis has even thrown in possible-maybe film stars the Guardians of the Galaxy into the loop in order to promote Marvel’s real revenue stream, so Marvel is trying to say it’s for the movie fans that are curious about the comics.  Okay, sure, that’s fine, but why spend an entire (four dollar) issue having the characters sit around chatting and then go off to (presumably) fight the bad guy at the very end?  Yes, Joss Whedon’s zippy dialogue helped endear the movie to theater-goers world wide, but the main reason people wanted to see that movie was to see these guys blow stuff up real good, which they did.  The sole bit of action this issue is an eight page prologue/flashback sequence involving the Guardians that doesn’t have any stakes, tension, or anything worth mentioning at all beside Star Lord and Rocket Raccoon shooting a couple surrendering aliens in the face, because that’s soooo badass, right?  It doesn’t help that Mark Bagley and Danny Miki’s art is wildly inconsistent, and often fuzzy and indistinct:  at one point, Guardian member Gamora’s hand looks like a pixel from an old Nintendo game, while the Hulk will go from being barely taller than Captain America one scene to being about eleven feet tall the next, or the Hulk and Drax suddenly appearing next to Thor and Gamora when in the previous panel they were nowhere near them.  There’s a mildly amusing bit where Marvel’s now-pro-torture Captain America threatens to squash a general with the Hulk, and another where 90′s-spine Black Widow makes out with Jeremy Renner-Hawkeye.  Neither moment has enough weight to carry an all-talk issue that has a non-cliffhanger.  So, it’s not for the movie fans, and since this Hulk is not like the red one that currently is in the main Avengers title or the green one that Jason Aaron is writing in the about-to-be-cancelled-and-probably-rebooted-again Incredible Hulk, it certainly isn’t for the comic fan that’s even vaguely concerned with continuity.

Black Widow and Hawkeye

It might be a bit obvious to say this title really only exists for Marvel’s bean-counters, but it’s the only answer that fits why this title would be put out.  It also explains why they would put Bendis, a writer spread so thin in general and with the Avengers particularly that he hasn’t been writing plots so much as blueprints for years (he is an architect, after all), and why the half-hearted artwork the normally-reliable Bagley and Miki have allowed themselves to put out would be considered acceptable.  It’s the same reason why we’re getting the glorified job swap program that is Marvel NOW!:  because someone with the balance sheets said it needed to be done.