Spoilers for Avengers ahead! For a few months now Marvel's Avengers series has been setting the stage for a brand new host of the Phoenix Force in the larger Marvel Universe. Many of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and other various Marvel figures, have appeared in the storyline as a major tournament takes place at the behest of the Phoenix herself. This week's issue marks the penultimate in the story though and we have six finalists waiting to take the prize. Three fights are set up at the end of the issue including: Captain America vs Black Panther, Namor vs She-Hulk, and Shanna the She-Devil (and Zabu) vs Red Widow.
Avengers #43 also saw some losers fall out of the running for the title of new Phoenix including Valkyrie, Black Knight, Jason Strongbow aka American Eagle, and, surprisingly, Wolverine. The X-Men member was a favorite to take it all, having previously been seen in the far future as the host of the Phoenix; it's worth noting though that Wolverine lost to none other than Black Panther, who the flying, flaming space entity has indicated is her favorite to be her new host.
One thing worth thinking about is that the solicitations for Avengers #44, the conclusion of the "Enter the Phoenix" arc, teases that the winner of the tournament and the new host is a woman. The cover image (seen below) could be a red herring naturally, but it seems to allude to either She-Hulk, Shanna the She-Devil, or Red Widow winning.
If we were going to wager a guess, based on past storylines in the comics and Jason Aaron's interests, we'd guess that Black Panther, Namor, and Red Widow will be the three finalists, and then while T'Challa and the Sub-Mariner are at each other's throats due to their history, Red Widow will win. Created by Aaron and David Marquez during the current run on the series, the identity of this character has not yet been revealed and it seems like the perfect opportunity to unmask her after she's crowned as the new Phoenix.
Future issues of Avengers that have been solicited offer no hints about who will win the tournament, as the next few will be King in Black tie-ins. That in mind you can find the solicit and cover of the Avengers #44 below!
(W) Jason Aaron (A) Javi Garron (CA) Leinil Francis Yu
In Shops: Apr 07, 2021
ENTER THE PHOENIX: THE FIERY FINALE!
It all comes down to this. The final battle to decide who will wield the awesome cosmic power of the Phoenix Force. You don't want to miss... the debut of the all-new Phoenix!