Avengers character posters released--but are they really new?

Marvel Studios released six character posters today for May 4's release of The Avengers, timed to coincide with tickets going on sale for midnight releases around the country.

As many fans noticed right away, though, the posters are new in that they haven't hung anywhere before--but not necessarily that they haven't been seen. Leaving aside the return of Captain America's mask and the addition of Cobie Smulders as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill, virtually every image seen on these character posters is just cropped out of the group shot released two weeks ago. The only exceptions are Captain America (previously shown without a mask and just kind of standing there) and Thor (who is now looking downward instead of at the camera).

Each character poster also features two characters, allowing the character in the background to (generally) get a little variation in positioning and giving lesser-known characters like Hawkeye, Black Widow and Maria Hill a familiar face to stand next to in their spotlight.

Check out the posters below, and feel free to chime in here or on Facebook to tell us what you think--better or worse than the group shot that inspired a lot of fan criticism two weeks ago?

[gallery link="file" columns="2" orderby="title"]