In what should be very good news for comics retailers and dedicated readers of Jonathan Hickman, Marvel has confirmed that the writer's forthcoming Avengers series -- which doesn't even launch until next month -- already has ten issues in (or at least within arm's reach of) the proverbial can, thus reducing the chance of a shipping or production delay to a very low order of probability. This is an important thing for a book that's meant to ship two new issues every month. Issue #10's artwork comes courtesy of superhero vertan Mike Deodato (Dark Avengers, Thunderbolts), whose in-progress work you can see in high resolution below.Deodato sits on an Avengers art bench that also includes Dustin Weaver, Adam Kubert and Jerome Opéna. Such a large number of pencillers is necessary given the book's aggressive publishing schedule (and, presumably, the time it takes for inaugural artist Opeña to create those very pretty pages) but it's encouraging to see that Marvel's obviously keeping an eye on aesthetic continuity by staffing Avengers with artists who all practice a very "big," tight, heavily-rendered, cinematic superhero/sci-fi style.

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Avengers #1 goes on sale December 5 in comics shops everywhere and digitally from ComiXology.