Then came Avengers Assemble #7.
This issue was custom built for the good folks here at YouAreComic.
First up it's got Thanos. Let me tell you folks, if you put Thanos in your book - I'm buying it. I don't care who else is in it - I don't care what the hell it's about. It could be about some sweaty, vine-swinging long-haired freak in a loin-cloth and his pet kitty cat. Stick Ol' Purple Puss in it somewhere and you've got yourself a sale. Ask Mark Waid - he'll tell you!
Avengers Assemble #7 goes one better though. It not only has Thanos. It has Thanos toting a cosmic cube! I love cosmic cubes. Provided they're not wielded by the Red 'Let's recreate yet another wacky version of Nazi Germany!!' Skull or turning into the mullet-sporting Beyonder those things are awesome.
Much like this scene which occurs exactly one page into this issue:
Why Thanos, is that a cosmic cube in your pocket or are you just pleased to see us?
The Stranger, the Elders of the Universe and the In-Betweener - oh my! I don't think we've seen a cosmic congregation quite as awesome as this since Jim Starlin was bending our minds with his various Infinity whosits and whatsits.
In true Thanos meets the cosmic heavy-weights tradition a split second after they arrived he's disintegrating their omnipotent asses with some cosmic cubey goodness. That's just good freaking comic-booking folks! Drink it in.
While you're drinking it in I'll point to another reason why Avenger Assemble #7 does the biz. Well actually it's six reasons...or to be more precise four reasons, a raccoon and a giant tree.
That's right people, this issue has a guest appearance by the Guardians of the Galaxy! I mean of course the new version of GotG - the motley crew led by Peter 'Starlord' Quill/ Y'know those guys who are soon to be brought to life on the silver screen through the medium of Vin Diesel on stilts!
I don't know what it is about these guys but every time they show up it's awesome. It doesn't matter what book or what creative team we're talking about -when Pete and the boys...and girl..and raccoon...and tree show up it's a blast. It's like the team dynamic originally set-up between these guys by Abnett & Lanning was so good that now they're bullet-proof. To creative team changes, to status quo changes, you name it - these guys remain awesome no matter what.
Check it out:
The characterisation and the interplay between these guys is always pitch perfect. When they put in an appearance it never fails to bring a smile to my face. Y'know what I mean? No? Seriously?
It can't just be me can it?
How can you not love the earnest, humble and somewhat makeshift leadership of Starlord? The sword-swinging, thigh-flashing, high-kicking acrobatics of the deadliest woman in the universe Gamora. The stabby-stabby, punchy-punchy, shouty-shouty of Drax the Destroyer and the license-retaining antics of Bug (from the frickin' Micronauts for pete's sake)?
C'mon you soul-less robots there's a laser-gun packing, smack-talking alien raccoon for cyring out loud! What's with you people?
Fine, if all that doesn't convince you, behold Groot:
Ah Groot. Everyone loves Groot. There's not even a question. A giant, walking, anthropomorphic tree, salvaged from the classic monster tales from back in Marvel's pre-spandex days? His best bud is the aforementioned bad-ass alien raccoon? He can only say 'I Am Groot'. What's not to love?
Ah, that's better, glad we're back on the same page. No-one can resist the allure of Groot.
Sadly in this issue Groot remains a sapling throughout. However in the next issue all the Groot fans in the audience are rewarded mightily for our patience:
He Is Groot.
So, there you have it. Avengers Assemble #7 - a tour de-force in comic-bookery. It's proof positive even a blatant, money-hungry corporate merchandising ploy can still be awesome if it's got a giant fighting tree and his raccoon buddy!
Oh I should mention - this issue also has some Avengers in it.