The End of Time
While it may seem surprising at first to see Wolverine possessed by the Phoenix Force hanging out with Thor at the edge of the universe, fans of Jason Aaron’s Marvel ouvre may remember this isn’t the first time that Logan has wielding such power. Way back in the pages of Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine, the titular mutant came into possession of a gun imbued with the power of the Phoenix Force and using it against Doom The Living Planet caused him to flame out as the latest wielder of the cosmic power. It was only through Spider-Man’s friendship — and incessant babbling — that Wolverine was able to free himself of its control and continue on the pair’s time-hopping journey.
However, there are still many questions raised by Wolverine appearing as The Phoenix at the end of time, with the most obvious one being “how did that happen?” More pertinently, King Thor should be worrying about whether or not his long-time ally appears to him as a friend or foe, because he does announce himself to The God of Thunder with a firery blast that knocks Thor off his present trajectory. The Phoenix is all about death and rebirth, and while Thor may be seeking a way to save the dying and dead universe, The Phoenix may be more interested in letting this universe perish so that the next one can take its place. Just as the previous universe gave way for the current Marvel Universe — of which Galactus was the only survivor — the death of the universe doesn’t mean the end of all life forever, and as the Shi’Ar god of resurrection, The Phoenix has a vested interest in allowing entropy to succeed.
From First To Last
While it’s snuck up on us, Jason Aaron has been slowly telling the story of The Phoenix from its first host to its final host throughout the course of his Marvel career. Aside from the aforementioned Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine, his first significant time with The Phoenix was as one of the writers of Avengers vs X-Men, which saw five mutants gain fragments of the cosmic power. Then, not too long ago, Jason Aaron and Russel Dauterman pit Jane Foster against the Shi’Ar gods, who summoned the Phoenix following their defeat and the Gods of Asgard were forced to recruit Quentin Quire in order to provide it with some form of host.
Presently, Aaron seems to be telling the story of the first and last Phoenix concurrently, as while Wolverine appears to be the final Phoenix, we’ve been recently introduced to one of, if not the first as a member of Avengers 1,000,000 BC. While we’ve not had a chance to meet these prehistoric Avengers outside of their most epic of battles, we know that she shared an Asgardian connection in the form of a relationship with Thor’s father Odin and upcoming issues of Aaron’s run on Avengers promise to spotlight individual members of the team.
When it’s all said and done, Jason Aaron’s work with The Phoenix Force as a concept may just be second to his work with Thor and the Asgardians in terms of his significant impact on the Marvel Universe. We may not have realized he was doing it at the time, but Aaron seems to have a plan and a roadmap for where he wants to take the concept and we’re lucky enough to see it play out across two of the most high-profile titles in the Marvel Universe.