Black Panther Is The Only Hero Worthy Of Marvel’s New Phoenix
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Avengers #43 from Jason Aaron and Javier Garrón
In the latest issue of Marvel Comics’ Avengers, it’s clear that the Black Panther is becoming the most worthy to become the new host of the cosmically powerful Phoenix Force. While the Phoenix has chosen a variety of fighters from across the Marvel Universe to battle one another in its tournament, King T’Challa has had to fight more than any other hero so far, always coming out on top, which leads to the question: will these victories tempt him to accept the power of the Phoenix willingly?
In prior issues of Jason Aaron’s Phoenix saga, Black Panther was pitted against the bizarre and monstrous Man-Thing, which he easily won. After this first battle, the spirit of the Phoenix spoke with T’Challa directly, offering to end the entire tournament should Black Panther embrace the Phoenix and its power as a willing host. Black Panther refused the dangerous and destructive power, though he’s still continued to prove his worth as the tournament has gone on. Black Panther later defeated Nighthawk of the Squadron Supreme of America. Should he win the tournament, Black Panther seemed inclined to control and contain the power of the Phoenix rather than actually use it.
Now, Avengers #43 from Aaron and artist Javier Garrón sees the Black Panther having defeated Wolverine in an intense clash between his vibranium and Logan’s adamantium. However, Black Panther again emerged as the victor. While he had tried to contain the Phoenix, he ultimately failed to do so and was forced to use its power to take Wolverine out. The end of the issue sets up the Black Panther’s next battle, which will see him fight none other than Captain America, and T’Challa is just as determined to win as he has been in his previous battles.
While the Black Panther is displaying his worthiness by consistently winning in the Phoenix’s tournament, this might not be a good thing. The more he wins, the more he’s forced to use portions of the Phoenix’s power, which potentially could become more tempting as the tournament goes on. Rather than containing its power, will Black Panther believe that he can embrace it as a force for good? While the Phoenix Force is capable of great destruction, it can be a force for creation and rebirth as well. However, its volatile nature as a sentient energy source with its own agendas would mean that the Black Panther would be playing a dangerous game should he try to use the power as its new host rather than try to suppress it.
In any case, there’s only a handful of Marvel heroes left in the tournament. As it stands, Captain America, Namor, Red Widow, She-Hulk, and Shanna The She-Devil are all that stand between the Black Panther and becoming the next Phoenix in the Marvel Universe. Will he be successful, or will the Phoenix’s power be granted to one of these other contenders? Marvel fans will just have to wait and see in the next issue of Jason Aaron’s Avengers.
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