This week's Avengers #37 from Jason Aaron, Javier Garron, and Jason Keith sets the stage for the title's next big story, 'Enter the Phoenix,' in which the Phoenix Force returns to Earth in search of a new host – and as predicted, the Phoenix Force's arrival has garnered the attention of the X-Men.
Spoilers ahead for Avengers #37
The Avengers' current conflict with Khonshu comes to a head in space as the infant Starbrand uses her power to do battle with the moon god, who rallies his forces to combat the still unseen threat of Mephisto – by going through the Avengers. But as Khonshu is overwhelming the team, Moon Knight arrives with the power of the Phoenix Force and, joining the Avengers, helps put an end to Khonshu's attack.
But Moon Knight's own transgressions come back to haunt him. As he hovers above the Earth debating whether to use the Phoenix's power to cleanse the world – the cosmic entity's longstanding destructive desire – Thor arrives and takes Moon Knight down, divesting him of the Phoenix Force.
Elsewhere, on Krakoa, Jean Grey, the longtime host of the Phoenix sensing its arrival on Earth – and senses that it will soon seek a new host, leading to a tournament to decide the next Phoenix host.
Popping his claws, Wolverine vows to take on the Phoenix Force himself.
Avengers series writer Jason Aaron has been teasing the idea of a renewed clash between the Avengers and X-Men for some time – and considering the last time the Avengers and X-Men clashed, it was for control of the Phoenix Force, this may be the moment for a rematch.
"[Jonathan Hickman]'s plans are continuing to unfold, and as we all know Jonathan's plans tend to stretch forward in terms of years, not just a few issues, years worth of storyline," Aaron told Newsarama back in February. "We've seen such a profound shift and change in terms of the X-Men's place in the Marvel Universe, I think you have to know that change is gonna be reflected not just across all the X-books as we've seen, but it's gonna bleed out into every corner of the Marvel Universe at some point or another."
Interestingly enough, Jason Aaron has previously involved a future version of Wolverine who is the Phoenix Host in other stories. However, that version is known as the 'Last Host,' so don't necessarily count on Wolverine to ascend to the status of the Phoenix here, despite his entry into the tournament.
'Enter the Phoenix' kicks off in November 4's Avengers #38.
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