Marvel released today the latest theatrical poster for The Avengers, the new Joss Whedon film based on the classic comic book superhero team. The image features all of Earth's mightiest heroes -- Iron Man, the Hulk, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Captain America, Black Widow, Nick Fury and Thor -- in distinctive poses that express each of their particular idioms. However, it would seem that they were too busy posing to notice a sizable object falling out of the sky and crashing into a civilian office building behind them. Tsk.

A new trailer is meant to surface tomorrow that explains the carnage, but you may behold the complete poster image after the cut.

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.

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