The Phoenix Force – Part II

When AvX came to an end, three words were spoken: “No more Phoenix.” In that second, the X-gene was re-initiated, new mutants appeared for the first time since the Decimation – and the Phoenix Force apparently ceased to be.  Just what happened?  I’m going to take a look at some of the spin-offs in this second article, seeing what we learn about the Phoenix.

Three words that changed the Marvel Universe.
Three words that changed the Marvel Universe.

For a history of the Phoenix Force up to AvX, click here.  Now, on with the show!

New Avengers‘ featured an interesting side-story, establishing an ancient link between the Phoenix Force and the Iron Fists. An ancient secret of K’un L’un was revealed:

One thing any Grand Mystic Master has - an ability to word things dramatically!
One thing any Grand Mystic Master has – an ability to word things dramatically!

We were introduced to the character of Fongji, a beautiful redhead who would become a Phoenix Host.

The comic featured an interesting fractal style of rendering the Phoenix Force.  It grew on me.
The comic featured an interesting fractal style of rendering the Phoenix Force. It grew on me.

Much of it fails to catch the eye, because Fongji just isn’t a compelling character – another mysterious redhead seeming to catch the Phoenix Force’s eye.  And then, in #27, you get a few clues.

For any Phoenix Host, there is a choice.  On the one hand, the bearer can become the Phoenix – “a being of purity”.  On the other, the bearer becomes corrupted by it.  Now, note the subtlety of this mystic language here.  To become the Phoenix is to become a being of purity; so the ‘Dark Phoenix’ lies not within the Phoenix Force, but within the Phoenix Host.  I would suggest, then, that it follows that it is the power of the Phoenix that corrupts, revealing the hidden flaws within the Host and ultimately enabling them to be driven to ever-greater extremes.
For any Phoenix Host, there is a choice. On the one hand, the bearer can become the Phoenix – “a being of purity”. On the other, the bearer becomes corrupted by it. Now, note the subtlety of this mystic language here. To become the Phoenix is to become a being of purity; so the ‘Dark Phoenix’ lies not within the Phoenix Force, but within the Phoenix Host. I would suggest, then, that it follows that it is the power of the Phoenix that corrupts, revealing the hidden flaws within the Host and ultimately enabling them to be driven to ever-greater extremes.

Now turn to Uncanny X-Men #13.  In this issue, the alien being Unit tells a tale of the history of the Phoenix.  Unit told of discovering a strange world, one where mystics had brought evolution to a halt. And then – a Messiah emerged.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Toads!

The Phoenix’s power was unleashed – and evolution was re-ignited.  If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is.  On Earth, the Scarlet Witch had worked an act of magic that brought evolution to a standstill.  Then, presumably nine months later, a Messiah was born; and shortly thereafter, Hope returned from the future and found five acolytes, tied to her with a mystic bond.  This is the way it was supposed to be; of course, the Avengers would get in the way, and Unit himself would ensure that the Five Lights were not with Hope on the Moon when the crisis came to a head.

Why Five Lights?  Well, in numerology, five has always had a special meaning – this because it is a number that cannot be divided to produce a whole.  In Jewish numerology, five is the number of harmony and balance, representing the dual body / spirit of man.  To the Mayans, it is symbolic of perfection.  Maybe the writers (or, at least, Gillen) actually put some thought into this!

The sad truth is, though, that this about drains the cup of the spin-offs dry.  Most of them were simply excuses for fights, and only these two series dared to add anything worth speaking of to the AvX story.  In my next installment, I’ll be turning to the main event…

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