In Marvel’s Phoenix Tournament, Black Panther has fought more than any other contender. Does this mean that he is the most worthy?
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Avengers # 43 by Jason Aaron and Javier Garrón
In the latest issue of Marvel Comics’ Avengers, it is clear that the Black Panther He is becoming the most worthy of becoming the new host of the mighty Phoenix Force cosmically. While the Phoenix has chosen a variety of fighters from across the Marvel Universe to fight each other in their tournament, King T’Challa has had to fight more than any other hero thus far, always coming out on top, leading to the question: Will these victories tempt you to accept the power of the Phoenix willingly?
In previous issues of Jason Aaron’s Phoenix saga, Black Panther took on the strange and monstrous Man-Thing, who won easily. After this first battle, the spirit of the Phoenix spoke directly to T’Challa, offering to end the entire tournament if Black Panther accepted the Phoenix and its power as a willing host. Black Panther rejected the dangerous and destructive power, although he still continues to prove his worth as the tournament progressed. Black Panther then defeated Nighthawk of the Supreme Squad of America. If he won the tournament, Black Panther seemed inclined to control and contain the power of the Phoenix rather than use it.
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Now, Avengers # 43 by Aaron and artist Javier Garrón sees Black Panther have defeated Wolverine in an intense clash between his vibranium and Logan’s adamantium. However, Black Panther re-emerged as the victor. While he had tried to contain the Phoenix, he ultimately failed to do so and was forced to use his power to eliminate Wolverine. The end of the problem sets the next Black Panther battle, which will see him fight none other than Captain America, and T’Challa is as determined to win as he has been in his previous battles.
While Black Panther is showing its mettle by consistently winning at the Phoenix tournament, this might not be a good thing. The more you win, the more you are forced to use portions of the Phoenix’s power, which could potentially become more tempting as the tournament progresses. Rather than contain his power, will Black Panther believe that he can embrace him as a force for good? While the Phoenix Force is capable of causing great destruction, can be a force for creation and rebirth as well. However, her volatile nature as a sentient energy source with her own agendas would mean that Black Panther would be playing a dangerous game if she tried to use the power as her new host rather than trying to suppress it.
In any case, only a handful of Marvel heroes remain in the tournament. As it stands, Captain America, Namor, Red Widow, She-Hulk, and Shanna The She-Devil are all that stand between them. Black Panther and become the next Phoenix of the Marvel Universe. Will he succeed or will one of these other contenders be awarded the power of the Phoenix? Marvel fans will just have to wait and see in the next issue of Jason Aaron’s. Avengers.
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