Paramount Pictures has released new photos from the set of The Avengers, the forthcoming Joss Whedon film uniting all the disparate heroes of Marvel Studios' so-called Cinematic Universe. The new images offer our most detailed look yet at the insides of Jack Kirby's iconic S.H.I.E.L.D. Hellicarrier as well as new characteristically pensive images of Earth's Mightiest Heroes including Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner and Chris Hemsworth's Thor. There are also some pictures of Hawkeye.

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The Avengers is much anticipated by superhero comics fans as well as the wide audience that the charming Marvel Studios productions have cultivated. However, some industry professionals like Golem's Mighty Swing cartoonist James Sturm have called for a boycott in protest of Marvel and its parent company Disney's treatment of the late Jack Kirby -- the legendary cartoonist who created many of the Avengers characters (and a great deal of others owned by the company) and his heirs, who recently lost a court battle to reclaim rights to the characters.

Directed by Joss Whedon, The Avengers is a first for nerd cinema in that it assembles the main players from a series of several Marvel films that began with 2008's Iron Man and continued with The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. Known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, all of these films were mostly pretty good to even great, performed very well in their own rights, and served collectively as a prelude to The Avengers. The film opens May 4.

[Via Comic Book Movie]