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Avengers #43: Review

Mar 2021
Jason Aaron, Javier Garron

Story Name:

Enter the Phoenix part 4: In the beginning ... there was not darkness

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #43 Review by (March 5, 2021)
Next issue's cover shows a female silhouette which this issue suggests is the next Phoenix. If Valkyrie hadn't been dropped from the contest I would say it most resembled her.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #43 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Various Avengers and others are still being pitted against each other in 1-on-1 combats by the Phoenix Force to see who is worthy of being the next Phoenix host. Last issue ended with ongoing battles Black Knight vs Red Widow, Shanna and Zabu vs American Eagle, She-Hulk vs Valkyrie and Black Panther vs Wolverine.

We pick up on BP vs Wolvie in Chernobyl, with a background narration by the Phoenix Force (I think) using the royal 'we'. It describes being the initial fire of the universe (hot, dense post-Big Bang plasma). But it wanted something else and so it allowed stars and planets to form. And those planets became infested with parasitic life.

Logan boasts that his adamantium bones and claws will defeat T'Challa so he might as well give up. But Panther uses his vibranium-laced battle suit to repel the mutant. And he bets on it to absorb the full Phoenix Force and allow him to control it. As if on cue the PF sends more energy his way trying to overload the suit. Wolverine takes the opportunity to pin his foe down and threatens to put a (fiery) claw up into his skull. But BP grins to show vibranium-enhanced teeth. His whole body is so-treated and will block the claw. But he doesn't put it to the test because he kicks Logan in the gonads and gains the upper hand. He can't allow the Force to go to a man who has sworn to kill to get it (or rather to stop anyone else getting it).

She-Hulk is beating Valkyrie on Easter Island. Jane Foster tries to talk Jennifer Walters out of fighting. But Shulk says she has to win because Jane doesn't have what it takes. Not to handle the Phoenix Force but to kill Sub-Mariner to stop *him* winning.

The vicious Red Widow is also easily besting Black Knight at Stonehenge. She ends the fight by running him through with her weapon of Phoenix-fire ...

... and the grievously-wounded Dane Whitman is teleported to the volcanic isle near Avengers Mountain HQ where the PF has been 'nesting'. Blade finds him and calls on Gorilla-Man in the HQ to port the ex-Avenger to med bay. American Eagle arrives too in better shape to report being defeated by Shanna and Zabu. But Blade immediately recruits *him* to help Iron Fist, Luke Cage and Okoye fight Namor's Defenders Of The Deep.

The Phoenix Force voiceover returns as we turn our attention to Thor in the sky above facing the PF directly. Last issue it left its nest and manifested an early host (the 1st on Earth), Lady Phoenix/Firehair of the 1 Million BC Avengers. And she told him she was his mother. Now she continues to insist it's true, as the narration says *that* is why the PF has always been so interested in Earthlings. Thor equally insists that his mother is the Earth Goddess Gaea. Phoenix and Force recombine and tell him that was a fiction to ensure that he would protect the Earth and mankind.

Captain Marvel, Ghost Rider and Iron Man are watching the events in confusion (only IM was able to hear the conversation). Okoye calls to say the Wakandan helicarriers are ready to fire on the Phoenix Force, if only Thor would get out of the way. Shellhead tells her to hold off because the fight's got personal.

Firehair reappears and claims that she was just 1 of the many ex-Phoenix hosts in the White Hot Room until the arrival of the Celestial Final Host (at the start of this series) pulled her to the fore, reigniting the Phoenix' love for her son. She's here for *him* ...

... but just then Valkyrie swoops in and takes Thor away. She too is out of the contest now, and she fears she sees the anger in his eyes that she saw in She-Hulk.

In the White Hot Room only Captain America and Sub-Mariner have not been in the current round. Steve Rogers asks his fellow ex-Invader if he is really prepared to kill him for the Phoenix. Namor says he'll do anything to gain the Force to protect the denizens of the oceans. Then they are joined by the winners Shanna and Zabu, Red Widow, She-Hulk and Black Panther (so bye-bye Wolverine) ...

... and immediately the next round begins. She-Hulk vs Sub-Mariner in Moscow. Red Widow vs Shanna and Zabu in the waters off an airport. Cap vs Panther atop the Celestial body that is Avengers Mountain.

Javier Garron
Javier Garron
David Curiel
Leinil Francis Yu (Cover Penciler)
Leinil Francis Yu (Cover Inker)
Leinil Francis Yu (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Knight
Black Knight

(Dane Whitman)
Black Panther
Black Panther


(Eric Brooks)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Iron Fist
Iron Fist

(Danny Rand)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Luke Cage
Luke Cage

(Power Man)

(Jennifer Walters)


(Jane Foster)

(James Howlett)

Plus: American Eagle (Jason Strongbow), Defenders Of The Deep, Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes), Lady Phoenix (Firehair), Okoye, Phoenix Force, Red Widow, Shanna (Shanna the She-Devil).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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