Captain America wielding the power of the Phoenix Force sounds like the kind of idea Marvel fans debate after a few drinks, so many will be delighted to see it depicted in Marvel’s Avengers #40 preview. This reveal comes only a few issues after another unlikely hero took the Phoenix mantle, but that doesn’t mean Marvel are done, as the Avengers are about to enter into a brawl to see who gets to host the cosmic deity.
In Avengers #37, Moon Knight summoned the cosmic force of the Phoenix in order to defeat the Egyptian moon god Khonshu, thus betraying his former god and realigning himself with the Avengers. After the battle was won, the Phoenix left Moon Knight in search of a permanent host. In Avengers #38, Thor and Blade find the Phoenix “nesting” on an island on Earth. Blade is anxious to find a way to kill the cosmic being, while Thor remains contemplative, weighing their options based on his knowledge of the Phoenix. By the end of Avengers #38, no one from the team makes a move against the Phoenix Force, and neither does the Phoenix attempt to take a new host, showing some pretty uncharacteristic reserve by biding its time.
With the release of preview pages from Avengers #40 by Gamesradar, fans now know that Captain America becomes the latest host for the Phoenix, but there’s a catch. It seems the new host for the Phoenix will not be chosen in the usual ineffable fashion. Marvel’s solicitation explains that the Avengers and possibly even some X-Men members will be forced to partake in a tournament which will decide the true host for the cosmic fire bird. It was teased in the preview that the Phoenix may find a host of hosts, meaning throughout the events of the tournament, many characters could hold the power of the Phoenix. The premise of the teased Avengers comic is reminiscent of the current X-Men storyline X Of Swords in which the mutants must battle in a tournament that will decide the fate of their world. Given the similarities in plot and the possibility that some X-Men members may be involved in the Avengers story, the outcome of the Phoenix’s tournament impacting the events of X Of Swords is by no means out of the realm of possibility. Here’s the summary, covers, and preview pages for Avengers #40:
The infamous firebird of cosmic destruction and rebirth known as the Phoenix Force has returned to Earth to find a new avatar. So now the Avengers and some of the most powerful heroes and villains in the Marvel Universe are being called into a competition unlike anything they’ve ever seen. A globe-spanning battle that will transform them all and ultimately decide… who will be the all-new Phoenix.
Sticking to the facts of what was released in the solicitation, the pages and covers offered by Marvel in their Avengers #40 preview show not only Captain America wielding the power of the Phoenix Force, but also other characters including She-Hulk, Black Panther, Wolverine, and Doctor Doom imbued with the cosmic firebird. In two of the pages of the comic that were offered, a Phoenix-possessed Captain America is pictured fighting with what appears to be Doctor Doom, each vying for the power for very different reasons.
The Avengers story, titled “Enter the Phoenix“, is sure to be a slobberknocker of a contest, especially if the Phoenix creates a level playing field that puts characters like Shang-Chi on par with powerhouses like She-Hulk. It’s unlikely Marvel would permanently alter Captain America as their new Phoenix, though his strong will and moral convictions would probably help him resist its tendency to drive its hosts mad with power. Whatever happens in Avengers #40, it is safe to say the comic will be an action-packed thrill ride any Marvel fan can get excited for, and Captain America’s Phoenix Force suit and shield look undeniably epic.