Wow. Brian Bendis has been hyping Jim Cheung's artwork in the Avengers 2009 Free Comic Book Day issue, and he wasn't over-exaggerating. Cheung's artwork is a tour de-force. He's one of my favorite Avengers artists and he's really knocked himself out drawing this story that features both the New and Dark Avengers, with Thor making a guest appearance.
The story by Bendis is extremely new reader friendly, narrated by Spider-Man, who introduces all the characters and explains why there are two Wolverines and the whole Dark Avengers concept. It's a done-in-one issue story where the two teams must band together to fight Ymir, the Frost Giant. I think it's a bit difficult to give all the characters a chance to shine in this story. Spider-Man, Wolverine, Ares, and Osborne's Iron Patriot get the most attention.
Two things really standout here visually: the new costumes for both Captain America and Thor are truly bad-ass. Unfortunately, Thor's appearance is very brief and Captain America is kind of hovering in the background. It's cool to have Bucky as Cap, but we haven't seen him take a strong leadership position as Steve Rogers did.
This Avengers issue is one of the finest comics ever produced for Free Comic Book Day. I'd happily pay $3.99 for it, and I look forward to seeing it collected in a hardcover collection. Nuff said.