Bendis really does some things well. This issue sets up his new villain-team of Avengers, featuring most of the old Thunderbolts taking on new costumes, with a few other folks added in. One smooth move Bendis makes is how quickly he integrates Daken and Captain Marvel into the team. It doesn't make a lot of sense that they'd join, so the issue gets kind of breezed by. The Thunderbolts get a lot of attention too, and they all are pretty much in character from their run in Ellis' Thunderbolts. Ms. Marvel and Maria Hill get taken down a peg, but they are both set up to be nice antagonists to Osbourne, so I like it. The Ghost guest stars for a short bit where Osbourne gets his hands on Starks other suits of armor. I can't believe Stark would let that happen, but maybe something will come of it further down the road. This issue is all team-building and characterization. Since the team is built through talking, Bendis gets to hit his stride. His Ares is still great, and I love how he has no reservations about working with questionable people, the man was a villain, of course he doesn't care! I also dug the way he's already coming on to Moonstone/Ms. Marvel.
Mike Deodato is the perfect choice for the book, since he drew these characters when they were Thunderbolts. The story kind of moves along seamlessly from what we've seen for the last couple of years. His Osbourne is still Tommy Lee Jones, his Moonstone is still hot, etc. He's the right guy for this job. That said, it is unacceptable to charge 3.99 for a monthly comic, so I will pick up the eventual trade.