Avengers and Co. Seek to Enter the Phoenix Force

On Dec. 30, 2020, writer Jason Aaron (Star Wars) and artist Javier Garron (Marvel 616: Amazing Artisans on Disney +) kick-started “Enter the Phoenix pt.1‘” in Avengers #40. Several of Earth’s mightiest heroes and some of its greatest villains are drawn to the Phoenix, with one materializing as the embodiment of its power. Since the beginning, the host of the Phoenix Force has been decided by fate. This time a new host is judged worthy, in “Enter the Phoenix.”

Jean Grey and the Phoenix have been one and the same for decades (see Dark Phoenix, 2019). They have since gone their separate ways since the comic book series Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey. The Phoenix has returned to Earth during the Age of Konshu arc in Avengers #3637. In that time, the Phoenix temporarily chose Moon Knight, aka Marc Spector, for a host. Now the Phoenix is searching for a more permanent host, someone who is more suitable to wield its power.

Enter the Phoenix

The Phoenix constructed its new nest near Avengers Mountain. Although the Phoenix hasn’t reached out directly itself, the Black Panther ingeniously thought to link himself to the deceased Celestial as a way of communicating with the Phoenix. T’Challa is interested in knowing why the Phoenix returned to Earth. The answer came from an unexpected source: King Namor the Sub-mariner.

X-Men, a Phoenix, and a Namor

In Avengers vs. X-Men (2012), each side struggled for control of the Phoenix Force as it approached Earth in the shape of a flaming falcon. Namor, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus, and Magik were among the Phoenix Five, a group of X-Men possessed by the Phoenix. Namor summoned the Phoenix back to Earth with intentions to marry the cosmic entity. How would that work? The powers of the Dark Phoenix corrupted Cyclops, the longtime leader of the X-Men. Namor’s interest in seeing the Phoenix again is telling as he is the only one of the Phoenix Five who had any ideas of doing so. Even its longtime host, Jean Grey, has kept her distance from the Phoenix’s power. Luckily for all, Wolverine stepped in to halt Namor’s intention. Namor has been riding the fine line of friend and foe since the 60s.

At one time, Namor was a member of the X-Men with Wolverine. Going back to the Fantastic Four’s first issues (1961), Namor was there, causing havoc. Now Namor has the Defenders of the Deep to back him up in his conflict with Wolverine and the Avengers. Like Godzilla being awoken by an earthquake, the battle woke the great Phoenix, who rose from its fiery nest and consumed the Avengers and Defenders like a giant sun, taking several key combatants with it.

America’s Doom

Within the grasp of the Phoenix, Captain America found himself in a fierce battle with Doctor Doom, both empowered by aspects of their captor. Cap and Doom’s fight harkens back to Secret Wars #12 (1985), when the fate of Battleworld and its citizens was determined by the same two archenemies. Doom stole the Beyonder’s god-like powers in that arc but could not control them and lost to Cap regardless. The Beyonders are a near-omnipotent race that originated from a dimension outside the Omniverse. Adding to this, Doom’s next failure in 2015’s Secret Wars. Doom should have realized that perhaps he wasn’t meant to be all-powerful. Bad guys never learn.

Eventually, Doom’s viciousness allowed him to overwhelm Cap, but the Phoenix intervened and would not allow Doom to kill Steve Rogers. Doom learned that conquering the Phoenix revealed that perhaps it would be more beneficial to team-up with the Phoenix and burn the galaxy together. The Phoenix, however, has no desire to burn the universe, nor does the Phoenix want anything to do with Doctor Doom, and thus Doom was freed from the Phoenix’s grasp.

This leaves Cap, Namor, Black Panther, and Wolverine as a possible host for the Phoenix. However, the Phoenix doesn’t want to limit potential hosts and therefore has cast a wider net to include Shang-Chi, the Black Knight, Man-Thing, Shanna the She-Devil & Zabu, Jane Foster (returning to the screen in Thor Love & Thunder in 2022), Nighthawk, Luke Cage, Howard the Duck, and Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur (watch Marvel 616: Amazing Artisans for Natacha Bustos’ stunning art on Moon Girl).

Who’s Left?

The second issue of Avengers Enter the Phoenix (Avengers #41) came out last week (Jan. 20), and what’s cool for me as a casual Marvel fan who’s still learning all of the backstories and characters is seeing such a wide variety of superheroes together. In Enter the Phoenix 41, the Phoenix has each hero fighting a villain or even other heroes. For example, there’s Black Panther facing Man-Thing, She-Hulk and Namor, Luke Cage and American Eagle, Shanna the She-Devil battling Devil Dinosaur sans Moon Girl (I mean she’s only 9), Jane Foster takes a swing at Orb, Hyperion can’t deal with Shang-Chi’s meditation. Lastly, Red Widow makes quick work of Howard the Duck, Black Panther is back facing Nighthawk, and Maya Lopez (aka Echo) has all she can handle with Namor. I mean, Woah!

Avengers Enter the Phoenix is shaping up to be a game-changer. In fact, there are a few concurrent storylines that are building towards an epic climax. I.E., Empyre, X of Swords and, (if you’ve been watching WandaVision), S.W.O.R.D. Something’s coming. Be ready. Avengers #42 is coming in February, and Marvel says, “All will be transformed. Not all will survive.”

A Little About Me

My name is Eric Onkenhout, and Star Wars is my jam and has been since I was 6 or 7. I consider myself a Marvel and Game of Thrones apprentice (my other two big fandoms), and know some about each but not like Star Wars. I first got into Marvel when Iron Man came out, but it wasn’t until Avengers: Age of Ultron when I really started following the comics. Luckily I have a comic book shop nearby that I can peruse and learn about comics. I love to write pretty much anything whether it’s fiction, reviews, or journalistic articles.

As far as movies, books, comic books, or tv shows, I tend to gravitate towards good writing regardless of the genre. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English-Creative Writing; I like sports like hockey, football, and soccer. Go, Bruins! And I have one cat named Zeke who is doing his best at laying on my arm as I type this right now.

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