WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Avengers Forever #4, now on sale from Marvel Comics.
The multiverse is full of powerhouse variants of classic Marvel heroes, freed from the constraints that the mainstream Marvel Universe usually places on them. One such hero has seemingly failed in battle, setting up a potentially vital mystery for the future of the multiverse.
Avengers Forever #4 (by Jason Aaron, Jim Towe, Guru-eFX, and VC’s Cory Petit) reveals that the Phoenix Wolverine from King Thor’s timeline was targeted by a multiversal level threat, ripping apart the hero and scattering his body across the multiverse.
In the world of King Thor (aka Earth-14412), the Marvel Universe has changed drastically in the thousands of years that have passed since the present day. Thor was King of Asgard, protecting the universe alongside his three granddaughters from him. However, the war between Thor and Loki eventually resulted in the near-eradication of humanity, with only a handful of survivors escaping. Among them were the Wolverine of this reality, who was reborn following his death to become the new avatar of the Phoenix Force. Becoming something of an ally to Thor, this version of Wolverine would help him fight against their world’s Doctor Doom. Despite his multiple deaths, the Phoenix Force repeatedly revived Logan again and again to help fight alongside Thor’s granddaughters.
The sheer power and durability of this Wolverine is what makes the revelation about him in Avengers Forever #4 all the more surprising. On Earth-14412, a meteor storm of cosmic flames crashed into the planet, nearly killing Thor’s granddaughters, the Goddesses of Thunder. After surviving the onslaught, they recognize the flames as Phoenix Fire, and among the debris of the storm, they discover a severed arm that clearly belonged to Wolverine. This prompts them to journey across the multiverse in search of answers. Another piece of the Phoenix Wolverine is revealed to have landed on Earth-818, a reality controlled by the Black Skull. Ant-Man (the Tony Stark of this reality) reveals that a few weeks prior, a cosmic firestorm had flown the other arm of the Phoenix Wolverine to his earth from him.
Notably, both the Goddess of Thunder and Earth-818’s Ant-Man note that the hand appears to be moving—suggesting the Phoenix empowered Wolverine is still alive in some capacity. This suggests that whatever fate befell him was multiversal in nature. It would have to be something powerful enough to confront a mastered variant of the Phoenix Force, and deadly enough to contend with a seasoned Wolverine. Even being ripped to pieces doesn’t seem to put a permanent stop to this version of the hero, although it does seem to have at the very least incapacitated him. But that doesn’t answer who attacked and dismembered the Old Man Phoenix.
It’s possible that he was targeted by the multiversal Masters of Evil, who’ve so far proven dangerous enough to wipe out entire realities with relative ease. It is also possible that the Phoenix Wolverine fell afoul of the Council of Red, the multiversal Mephisto alliance that seeks to break reality in favor of the demonic villain. This could also be the work of the vicious future Thanos glimpsed by Thor, or could be somehow tied to the dark futures awaiting the X-Men that were recently glimpsed in Hell. The fate of the Phoenix Wolverine is now one of the most pressing questions awaiting an answer, and the revelations about it will almost certainly play out in the multiversal-scale conflict that’s been brewing.
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