Picture it: The most dangerous foe the Earth has EVER faced has its sight's set on Earth.
The Avengers respond by sending out an "initial strike team into space to face the onslaught."
Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Shang-Chi, Spider-Woman, Thor, Hulk, Captain Ms. Marvel, and Manifold answer the call.
Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Shang-Chi? Marvel, are you freaking kidding me? Might as well throw in the Hulk, too, as he looks absolutely ridiculous in the space armor as does Spider-Woman, who somehow doesn't need her breasts and stomach covered (lol). The only character that makes sense is Thor, who isn't even really featured in the issue except for asking Captain America for help, as Cap pilots some sort of Avengers space-fighter cruiser.
Being that it's Kelly Sue DeConnick, the issue has a flavor of the female mindset in that it's told from the perspective of Spider-Woman, with hints of her sleeping with Hawkeye as well as some caddy competition with Captain Ms. Marvel. And it's a poor attempt in that.
Basically, the issue is this squad of Avengers going out into space to meet The Builders with some other alien species in the mix. Cap and crew are buzzing around firing their laser blasters here and there. Hulk and Spider-Woman go out into space for some recon (wearing pitiful-looking spacesuits) where an explosion and collision causes Spider-Woman to become deserted. Jessica goes on to lament about how life basically sucks etc. when a Skrull is there to save her! Now that wasn't such a bad hook, as the cover does bring forth memories of Secret Invasion. The final page sees Hawkeye and Captain Ms. Marvel in another space-fighter seemingly deserted as well, but none of The Avengers are worried, even though we must assume no contact has been made and communications are down. It's the middle of space, a pair of Avengers are missing, and no search party is sent out. Yeah, that sounds about right.
Regarding the art, I had to take a second look at the credits as I couldn't believe this was from Barry Kitson. Not sure what happened with this issue, but it definitely wasn't Kitson's best work. I see Kitson is credited on inks as well, so all the blame can't be place on a poor inking job alone. I think the last Kitson art I can recall reviewing was Greg Pak's Incredible Huk, which was breathtaking, as was Kitson's issues of Fantastic Four with Jonathan Hickman.
This Infinity tie-in isn't much better than Thunderbolts #14; it reads as a dumb-down version of Marvel Cosmic for Avengers fans.
We're really expected to believe the characters used in this book are the Avengers' initial strike teak against the universe's most deadliest foes ever?
As with Thunderbolts #14, Avengers Assemble #18 can be skipped in its entirety as related to an Infinity tie-in.
If you are new to the Marvel Cosmic stuff, I strongly suggest you get ahold of Keith Giffen's Annihilation and Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's subsequent Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy series because there is just no comparison.