Marvel's "Enter the Phoenix" storyline has officially kicked off in the pages of The Avengers, and after the previous issue set up which heroes/characters from the Marvel Universe would do battle to become its next host, a favorite has emerged. You wouldn't be out of line for assuming that Wolverine would be the victor, in fact he still might be, considering his appearance in the pages of Jason Aaron's Thor comics as the Phoenix's host in the far future, but the Phoenix itself has her eyes on one man, T'challa aka The Black Panther. As the remaining combatants for the title of host mill about in the issue, an emissary for the Phoenix makes herself present to reveal the news to him.
Readers of Aaron's run on Avengers will recognize this character as Firehair, the host of the Phoenix during the various stories featuring the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC. As the spirit tells T'Challa, she previously knew a Black Panther in that time (canonically the first Black Panther and the one to discover Vibranium) and that the Phoenix wants him as her host. The giant flaming space entity makes him an offer, "Give yourself to her. And she promises to burn the name of Wakanda across the stars. Try to fight her? And she'll burn it to ash."
T'Challa refuses this offer of course and counters with his own, telling the Phoenix "You have fought in defence of this planet in the past. Show me you can do so again, and I will spare your life. But continue to treat the people of this world as yours for the burning...and I will not be so merciful."
The Panther is forced into another fight after he makes his counter, going up against none other than Nighthawk in the tournament. Though no victor in this fight is seen, we can only assume that Black Panther will come out victorious since solicitations for future issues further tease his involvement in the fighting.
By the end of Avengers #41 the remaining combatants fighting to be the host include Black Panther, Captain America, She-Hulk, Shang-Chi, and Red Widow; though some fights are shown without a clear victor leaving Luke Cage vs American Eagle, Shanna the She-Devil vs Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, and Echo vs Namor still up in the air. The full solicit for the next issue of Avengers can be found below.
Jason Aaron (W), Luca Maresca (A)
ENTER THE PHOENIX, PART THREE
THE BATTLE TO DECIDE THE ALL-NEW PHOENIX RAGES ON! Who will wield the destructive cosmic power of the Phoenix Force? Namor will stop at nothing to be the fiery victor. The Black Panther worries as much about victory as he does defeat. Jane Foster knows what it means to carry on a powerful legacy. The She-Hulk cannot be stopped. And the Orb has a giant, creepy eyeball for a head!
In stores: February 3