Quote: I never read anything about him bailing, and I don't think that he had a problem with the storyline. Certainly not with working with Bendis.
Hitch didn't bail, but he did say some negative things about the story and Bendis in general. For Bendis, he commented that there wasn't much of an interaction between the two and Hitch's contributions were non-existent. He also commented that Bendis's story was too conversation heavy as opposed to action oriented. It seems that this storyline and his abanonded Ultimate Captain America project is what lead to him leaving Marvel. He states that he's not bitter though, and I can imagine he is willing to go back to Marvel. (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=42680
As for the story itself, I think it fails for alot of reasons. It's not connected to the main Marvel Universe, so fan's just aren't going to care as much about it. And while Marvel tries to maintain the hope that's is happening intune with the rest of the MU, it just doesn't feel that way. Comic fans have become cynical about change, so we know that these alternate/future storylines aren't going to last.
These stories also need a central character that the book can follow, at least for the first few issues. In Flashpoint you had the Flash. In House of M you had Wolverine. This story jumped around with the main characters from Hawkeye, Black Widow, Luke Cage, and now Wolverine.
And if you are going to do this type of alternate story, you have to include interesting takes on characters. Thomas Wayne Batman. Dictator Magneto. The only character that's different is Wolverine who has a new costume.
Fans also just weren't craving an event comic at this time. We just had AvX, and we know we got Infinity coming up. Structually, this comic should have been the last one for Bendis on the Avengers. It's already dragging out too long, and is one of the best examples of Bendis dragging out a storyline. This needed to be done like Siege, four to six issues, in and out.
Well, you are right about the cynicism where change is concerned. Mighty God King once wrote a bit on his blog about Civil War and all the changes that came from it, and the fact that just about every one was reversed. Steve Rogers came back from the dead and became Captain America again, Iron Man got four years of his memory wiped and his status quo was returned to a pre-CW point. The Act was repealed, and I think the only long running consequence was Bill Foster dying. Most sickening aspect for me? Avengers Prime, where Stark, Rogers and Thor all kissed and made up. It is, hands down, one of the worst comics I ever read. I'm glad I checked it out of the library and did not spend money on that crap.
Hitch was the wrong guy for this series. I remember the first work I saw him do was Storm Watch (I think that was him on Ellis' Storm Watch) and The Authority. The man is best used by illustrating huge blockbuster like action pieces.