What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Avengers #39! In other words the prologue to ‘Enter the Phoenix’. A story which should turn many heads because no one knows what to expect from ANOTHER visit to Earth from the Phoenix. The last time this force of destruction came to Earth? Jean Grey had her heart-to-heart with it that ended with “I don’t need you anymore”. One would think that’s it, and then you would be very wrong. When it comes to writers at Marvel that is. One person saying no just means that someone else is going to have to take the role of host.
With that said, the big question I had for this prologue was how they were going to introduce the Phoenix into this story. Well better yet, how they were going to introduce the Phoenix to the masses. Even if you assume that the Phoenix is an entity most readers should be familiar with, the reality is that you never want to take that chance. And after recent Phoenix stories, the only way to start at the beginning, is to go all the way back to the beginning. What I appreciated most about this story was the fact that this creative team decided to add their own spin to it too. This could have easily just been another host who simply had a chance encounter with the Phoenix, but there was much more to it this time around. Not only did they introduce this first host to us, they took a step further to introduce the existence of mutants. They didn’t use the name, but it was pretty much a given.
From there, this left you with wonder as to where the Phoenix would come into play. That part was mostly worth the wait. There was something to enjoy about a different take on the impact which the Phoenix had on Earth and the universe at large. However, with that said the ending left me with more questions than I would have liked. Mostly when it comes to how this story would lead to something that will change human history forever. I didn’t really see that. Neither did I see how this would play a part in anything that would unfold in the present.
Most of us know that the Phoenix is a creature of habit. Never is there really much more to it than finding a new host and causing havoc. Only in some rare cases is the host even able to take that power and control it.
The best thing this prologue had going for it was the quality of the interior pages. I for one loved the detail that went into penciling this primordial world of One Million B.C.E.. Not only this, but the creativity that went into imagining mutants of that era. There was nothing but appreciation when you look at the designs and see people who really would not have fit in with regular people. Their mutations aside from the redhead were all on the outside, and even that one regular looking person was not one who was a picture of health. It made a big difference that this was something that stood out. That as well as the accuracy which went into capturing the viciousness of the world around that time. Namely the savagery of the animal kingdom. The colors really played a big role in bringing it all together too. The way the colors blended together, their range, not to mention the natural glow from the palette.
I definitely expected a bit more from Avengers #39, but even then I would rather judge this story in particular for what unfolds in the present. Rather than for what happened in the past.