"Avengers Assemble" #8 is less about the Avengers as a team and more about their place in the grander Marvel Universe. Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley's final issue before the title gets refreshed in the creative carousel of Marvel NOW! brings in the Fantastic Four, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Elders of the Universe, Thanos, S.H.I.E.L.D. and more than a few Avengers that didn't appear in this past summer's blockbuster film.
Bendis doesn't balance the panel time for any of these characters, choosing to let the narrative select the lead actors in this drama. What Bendis does do, however, is give those characters plenty of room to put their powers and personalities on display. Chief among those is Iron Man, who Bendis plays quite nicely in the tone of Robert Downey Jr.'s interpretation of the character. Fans of the Guardians are also given a chance to pump their fists in the air as Bendis grows his familiarity with that cast.
The art across "Avengers Assemble" #8 is inconsistent, with Hulk and Drax appearing to be long-lost twins at times, with the same holding true for the red-headed Black Widow and the green-skinned Gamora. Mark Bagley delivers stunning drawings of Thanos as the mad god powers up from the Cosmic Cube, with spectacular coloring from Paul Mounts. Mounts, inker Danny Miki and Bagley collaborate nicely, with the colorist able to find places to exhibit his prowess. When news of an extinction-level alert comes to the President from Reed Richards, Mounts busts out brick-red for the surroundings.
"Avengers Assemble" #8 is an exciting read, action-packed with great little character bits, but delivering an inordinately quick resolution for a story that has carried on for eight issues. At that length, the story becomes an event of sorts. Bendis acknowledges that with a big-time fight in the latter half of this issue, but it all happens so quickly I find myself wondering why it didn't happen sooner. Bendis is now off to "Guardians of the Galaxy," and given what I've seen here, I think it will definitely be entertaining. Before leaving this title, though, the writer was kind enough to drop a final scene on readers that is the comic book equivalent of the post-credits pieces from the films. Just a quick scene to sharpen our interest as his time on the book concludes.