For many issues, the Phoenix Force has held a group of heroes hostage, forcing them to wield its power in combat with each other like a low rent Secret Wars, all to decide who will be the next host for the fiery cosmic power. Yup. That conflict comes to an end in Avengers #44 with results that at best could be considered baffling and at worst could be considered insipid.
Captain America vs. Black Panther! Black Widow vs. Shanna the She-Devil! Namor vs. She-Hulk! All of this ultimately pointless pugilism happens while Thor grapples with a terrifying revelation that's the equivalent of a Maury Povich surprise. If you had plugged a few quarters into an arcade game and ended up with this selection of heroes, you might think it was pretty fly. As a "story," especially with the wildly nonsensical and virtually non sequitur conclusion left here, it's frustrating in the extreme.
Javier Garron, David Curiel, and Cory Petit did everything they could with this visual presentation, cast in a red-orange monochrome for most of its panel space on purpose. No, alas, all the fault here lies with the execution and conception of the Jason Aaron script, which had most of the actions of most of the people here be ultimately unimportant. Much like King In Black, for this narrative to invalidate much of its previous events seems like a thematic deficiency worth lancing like a boil.
It's quite a deflated balloon when you get to the end of it, which is not what you want for such a high octane production. RATING: NO. JUST … NO.
By Jason Aaron, Javier Garron
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!