The Phoenix Force's Side Effects Are Still Tormenting One Avenger – CBR – Comic Book Resources
While the Avengers enjoy some rare downtime, it becomes clear that one hero still has lingering effects from the Phoenix Force.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Avengers #46, by Jason Aaron, Javier Garron, David Curiel and VC's Cory Petit, on sale now.
Recently, the devastatingly cosmic Phoenix Force came to Earth in search of a new host. The fiery entity had long been linked to the X-Men, with Jean Grey as its most famous host, but flashbacks have since revealed that the Phoenix has been a presence on Earth ever since prehistoric times. As a prominent member of the Avengers of 1,000,000 B.C., the Phoenix went as far as to enter a romantic relationship with a younger Odin and has since claimed to be the true mother of Thor, shaking the God of Thunder to his core. And while the Phoenix Force eventually did find a new host, one Avenger that was temporarily bonded to a fraction of its power in the interim remains changed by the ordeal: She-Hulk.
When searching for a new host, the Phoenix Force divided itself among several candidates to inherit its power, tasking them each to trials by combat to see who among them was worthy enough to wield its full, fiery power. Among the heroes chosen was She-Hulk, resulting in a temporary, cosmic upgrade for Jennifer Walters as she took on her competitors. Ultimately, Echo was selected as the new host for the Phoenix, absorbing its full power and taking away the portion that was given to She-Hulk. However, as the Avengers enjoy a rare moment of downtime back at their headquarters, it's clear that She-Hulk craves more than just the taste of the Phoenix Force she received.
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For a prolonged period of time, She-Hulk had descended into savagery rather than retain her intellect as she had done for much of her superhero career. Both the Phoenix Force and She-Hulk's experiences during the crossover event Empyre helped restore her cognitive abilities. No longer the host of the Phoenix Force, She-Hulk is seen training back at the Avengers' headquarters with a noticeable amount of fury. Though Jen assures her teammates that she has her gamma-radiated potential under control, a glimpse into She-Hulk's mind reveals that she is still preoccupied by the Phoenix Force and its possible residual effects.
The Phoenix Force's influence and effects have a tendency to last longer than when it is bonded to a host. Jean remained linked to the Phoenix on some level from her prior experiences as the cosmic entity's host while Namor the Submariner actively sought to reclaim its power for himself after receiving a portion of it during the 2012 crossover event Avengers vs. X-Men. She-Hulk may be experiencing a similar connection to the Phoenix Force, with its sudden release leaving a void in Jen's life as she feels incomplete after having its cosmic energies taken from her.
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All of this comes shortly before the Avengers are ambushed by the Russian superhero team the Winter Guard, with the defeated She-Hulk taken into custody and remanded to the clandestine Red Room. She-Hulk has undergone experimentation resulting in a physical change and, if the Phoenix Force has left residual effects in Jen, these may combine into something unexpected that may cause She-Hulk to spiral out of control again. And if there's one thing that is abundantly certain, it's that gamma radiation and cosmic energy make one hell of a combination that even the Winter Guard may not have anticipated.
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Sam Stone is a 10th level pop culture guru living just outside of Washington, DC who knows an unreasonable amount about The Beatles. You can follow him on Twitter @samstoneshow and ask him about Nintendo, pop punk, and Star Trek.

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