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Avengers #42: Review

Feb 2021
Jason Aaron, Luca Maresca

Story Name:

Enter the Phoenix part 3: Be like fire

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #42 Review by (February 5, 2021)
3 combatants left the contest between last issue and this:-
Nighthawk is another of Mephisto's simulacrums of the Squadron Supreme, and he's only appeared in previous issues of this series.
Luke Cage is of course an ex-Avenger who goes all the way back to his own Hero For Hire series in the early 70's. Before this arc he was also in the Empyre: Avengers mini-series and is currently involved in the King In Black event and the Iron Fist: Heart Of The Dragon series.
Moon Girl was much more recently introduced in the MG and Devil Dinosaur series, but the red dinosaur is someone else from the 70's and *his* own series. They lost their series over a year ago. Since then they've appeared together in a couple of issues of Gwenpool Strikes Back, plus Fantastic Four #19 and their own tale in Marvel's Voices.  Moon Girl appeared solo in the Outlawed 1-shot and #1 of the following Champions series.

2 others exit the combat this issue:-
Echo featured heavily in Daredevil in 1999-2004. Then she became a New Avenger as Ronin and later as herself. Lately she's been part of the Daughters Of Liberty in Captain America and another group in Captain Marvel. And she had her own story in Marvel's Voices: Indigenous Voices.
Shang-Chi is someone else from the 70's (Special Marvel Edition #15-16 before he changed its title to Master Of Kung Fu). He too has been an Avenger in various series. Lately he's had his own mini-series followed by a Legend of Shang-Chi 1-shot.

Iron Fist is another survivor of the 70's starting with his own series in Marvel Premiere and his actual own series. After that he began his long partnership with Luke Cage in Power Man & Iron Fist. At 1 time he was an Avenger with Luke in New Avengers masquerading as Daredevil (also in DD's own maq) and then as himself.
He's probably more au fait than Luke with current Avengers stuff like baby Starbrand and Boy-Thing because he was included in the Age Of Khonshu arc. Like Luke he's currently involved in the King In Black event and his Heart Of The Dragon series.

Thor's mother was previously believed to be Gaea. We'll see how this new revelation plays out against that.





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #42 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Phoenix Force has taken several Avengers and others to the White Hot Room and is sending them out in pairs to various parts of the globe to fight for the right to become the new Phoenix. Last issue we left several such pairs in combat.

Now we follow up on Sub-Mariner vs Echo deep in the Atlantic Ocean. Namor remembers as a child killing a bull shark by throwing it onto dry land. His Atlantean mother chided him for killing without reason as the surface dwellers like his human father do. The Prince told her he was teaching the denizens of the deep to fear him. Princess Fen made him carry the shark back to rest in the deep ocean, and he wept for it but claims never to have wept since. But now he needs to win the Phoenix power to help him defend the seas against the polluting humans.

All the time he's been thinking this he's been fighting Echo. Both combatants are enhanced with a portion of the Phoenix Force and they plunge together to the ocean floor like a blazing meteor. Echo responds to the blows of his fists with tonfas (side-handled batons) created out Phoenix energy. Subby snaps 1 of them but then tries another tactic. He summons several sharks to attack Maya Lopez, and 1 of them bites her arm. Then he parts the waves and sends her and the sharks to the surface(?).

The combat is over and the Phoenix Force takes Namor back to the White Hot Room. (And we know that the loser will be returned home unharmed.)

Last issue we saw Shang-Chi 'defeat' Hyperion. But now we see him in a new contest against Captain America in a Shaolin Monastery in Henan (where Shaolin kung fu was allegedly born). Cap is trying to lose to the martial artist because he believes that Shang-Chi is the safest hands that the Phoenix power could be in - and he'll help him control it. Shang promises himself that he'll wield the power with great responsibility. But the Force won't let them 'cheat' like this, and it takes Shang-Chi away and returns Steve Rogers to the others in the White Room.

There we see that others were in on the plan. Black Panther had hoped that the taint of Shang's father (who we're legally not allowed to call Fu Manchu) would provide enough darkness to satisfy the Phoenix Force. Also the presence of BP, American Eagle and Shanna The She-Devil (and Zabu) indicate that they won their fights against Nighthawk, Luke Cage and Devil Dinosaur (and Moon Girl). T'Challa tells us that he an Nighthawk fought for hours to a draw and the Force just chose him as the winner. Apart from these there are only Black Knight, She-Hulk, Valkyrie and Wolverine left. (Red Widow is also around but not depicted yet.)

The others are all determined not to let Sub-Mariner win. But most of them are worried about winning themselves (except for American Eagle). Wolverine threatens to kill whoever does get the prize. Valkyrie comments that this bickering is playing into the Force's hands, but Logan accuses her of once stealing Thor's hammer and name (but strictly she looked after them for him when he felt himself unworthy). Cap says they've got to find a way to send the Phoenix Force back to space, but Panther wonders if it's here for a reason.

Meanwhile in the Brain Room of Avengers Mountain Agents of Wakanda Broo and Gorilla-Man have been joined by returnees Devil Dinosaur and the genius child Moon Girl. Lunella Lafayette has set the dead Celestial's teleporter to transmit the Phoenix Force into their jail in the Celestial's ribcage. (You do remember that the Avengers Mountain HQ is the body of a dead Celestial?) Blade reminds them by radio not to trigger it unless the PF tries to fly away, at least until they can get the others back from inside.

We follow that radio link to the nearby volcano where the Phoenix has 'nested'. Returnee Luke Cage has joined Blade, Okoye and Iron Fist watching the Force alongside Sub-Mariner's Defenders Of The Deep (Echidna, King Crab, Orka and Tiger Shark). Danny Rand is worried who's watching over the space-baby (the new Starbrand) but Gorilla-Man tells him it's Boy-Thing (the baby Man-Thing). Cage doesn't know what they're talking about.

Meanwhile (again) Captain Marvel, Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes) and Iron Man are attacking the PF as part of a plan devised by Thor. The Thunder God prepares to strike too. He feels a personal animosity towards the Phoenix that he can't understand.

Meanwhile (yet again) more combat rounds commence. Black Knight and Red Widow clash at Stonehenge. Shanna and Zabu stalk American Eagle in the clouds above the Bermuda Triangle. She-Hulk breaks Valkyrie's shield on Easter Island. Black Panther stalks the Chernobyl exclusion zone in the Ukraine, currently the home to vampires. But the vamps are scared off by the eruption of Phoenix fire as Wolverine arrives and the fight begins.

Back in the sky over the Phoenix nest Thor ponders his feelings. He doesn't think he's angry about his father Odin getting it on with the Phoenix in 1 million BC. But whenever he's met a Phoenix avatar he's felt a connection (not that we ever knew about it before). Then the 1M BC Lady Phoenix known as Firehair appears before him and tells him she is his mother.



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

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Blade
Blade

(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)
She-Hulk
She-Hulk

(Jennifer Walters)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
Valkyrie
Valkyrie

(Brunnhilda)
Wolverine
Wolverine

(James Howlett)

Plus: American Eagle, Black Knight, Broo, Defenders Of The Deep, Echo, Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes), Gorilla-Man (Arthur Nagan), Lady Phoenix, Moon Girl, Okoye, Phoenix Force, Red Widow, Shanna (Shanna the She-Devil).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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