Whosoever enters this thread, if they be worthy, shall possess the power of spoilers.
The GoodLove him or hate him, there's no disputing Brian Michael Bendis is capable of crafting some hilarious team banter. It's precisely what made me fall in love with his earlier stories in NEW AVENGERS and hints of that can be found throughout this issue as the Avengers are cramped in a ship with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Hawkeye and Rocket Raccoon have a few decent quips and Groot... well, "I AM GROOT!"
Aesthetically, this is a solid issue. I have no major complaints with Mark Bagley's art and there are some downright fantastic panels -- most notably when Thanos looms over Earth. The Cancerverse is also fittingly disturbing, placing a fair amount of details on the abstract and oh-so pretty creatures.
The BadThanos fans will not be pleased with this one. The Mad Titan can wield the Infinity Gauntlet, but a man made cosmic cube overwhelms him? Speaking of which, humanity managed to muster up a weapon that can pretty much mimic the cosmic cube? Wow, that sounds like a far-fetched feat even for the likes of Reed Richards or Tony Stark.
Anyway, to make matters worse, Thanos has a permanent look of shock and confusion plastered to his face once the cube is no longer his and he proceeds to suffer a humiliating defeat. I don't mean he holds his own for a bit before the good guys turn the tide. No sir, Thanos gets flat-out wrecked. I'm not exactly the biggest cosmic expert around, but even without a fake cube, Thanos is still one heck of a tough customer and has a lot of powers at his disposal. Sure, he was facing an onslaught of heroes, but I would have hugely preferred for him to put up some kind of a fight.
Apparently being "banished" isn't a big deal, seeing as the team and Elders return with no problem whatsoever. Also, The World Security Council is doing a horrific job if they need Reed Richards to tell them when an absurdly massive energy version of Thanos is standing on the planet. I'm pretty sure at least half the Earth's population spotted him upon arrival.
Minor error: a dialogue box meant for Iron Man is stemming from War Machine towards the end of the issue.
The VerdictSadly, this goes through the motions of the story without any real heart. Bendis provides a few laughs, but overall this is insanely formulaic and clearly an attempt to lure in more readers by using some familiar faces from Marvel's The Avengers and giving us a taste of the movie characters to come next year. Earth's Mightiest Heroes can do better than this and I know Bendis is capable of giving them better... it's just a shame he didn't in this case.
I can honestly only recommend this issue if you're really excited for Bendis's upcoming GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY run. In the end it's essentially a prequel to the book. It puts Thanos in the Elders' custody, explains why Iron Man wants to tag along (spoiler alert: because he really wants to) and details who the antagonists will be in the title (Brotherhood of the Badoon). Otherwise, spend the $3.99 elsewhere.