Over the past few years, Marvel has introduced an increasing number of new and young heroes to bear the superhero mantles held by long-established characters. X-23 became the new Wolverine after Logan's death; Kamala Khan became the new Ms. Marvel; Jane Foster became the new female version of Thor after the Odinson found himself unworthy; and Amadeus Cho became the new (and Totally Awesome) Hulk.
But now, to satiate fan demand, Marvel is looking to bring the focus back on its old characters, but without having to sacrifice the growing popularity of its newer, younger generation of superheroes.
To bridge this gap between the old, the new, and the return of the old, Marvel is currently in the midst of releasing a series of one-shots fittingly titled Generations. Each of the ten issues teams one of these young heroes up with their original counterpart, with the twist that these meetings take place thanks to some form of time travel. For the most part, the young heroes don't meet their namesakes in the present, but in the past – a simpler time, some would say, when these battle-hardened heroes were at their prime, a window into a bygone era of Marvel history. It's a way to embrace the past, all while setting up the future, and nowhere is this more true than when it comes to the Phoenix.
Through its long history in the Marvel Universe, the Phoenix has more often than not been portrayed as a force of destruction, a cosmic entity hellbent on destroying life. It is a power feared as much as it is revered. In storylines like the classic Dark Phoenix Saga and the much more recent event Avengers vs. X-Men, the Phoenix was a danger to all, the ultimate force of annihilation in the universe. But in the recent pages of The Mighty Thor #19, the fifth and final chapter of the “Asgard/Shi'ar War” storyline, we were reminded that as one of the Shi'ar Empire's gods, the Phoenix is believed to be a remnant of the fire of creation; it is not just a bringer of death, but of life as well.