Captain America and Black Panther Begin Their Ultimate

Filled with the fiery power of the Phoenix Force, Captain America and Black Panther begin their ultimate showdown as the Avengers’ tournament ends.

In a new preview for Marvel Comics’ Avengers, it’s confirmed the upcoming issue will see Black Panther and Captain America facing off in their ultimate showdown. The Phoenix Tournament is nearing its end, with only a few rounds left before the devastating force of cosmic energy chooses a victor to be its new host. King T’Challa and Steve Rogers have both managed to survive thus far in the tournament, but the time has finally come for the two of them to face each other.

In previous issues of Avengers from writer Jason Aaron and artist Javier Garrón, the Phoenix arrived on Earth after being summoned by Namor. However, instead of immediately bonding with the the King of Atlantis like Namor wanted, the Phoenix chose nearly twenty different contenders from across the Marvel Universe, forcing them to fight for the right to become its new host (whether they wanted to or not), while also granting them portions of its fiery power. Heroes were then eliminated with every one-on-one duel, and any attempts to resist or cheat the tournament proved fruitless, as Captain America learned fighting Shang-Chi. Meanwhile, T’Challa was forced to fight Man-Thing and Nighthawk, and the Black Panther even battled Wolverine in an epic battle pitting adamantium against vibranium.

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Related: Avengers Phoenix Tournament: Every Hero vs. Hero Winner So Far

Now, only Shanna the She-Devil, Namor, She-Hulk, Red Widow, Captain America, and Black Panther remain as the final contenders heading into the upcoming Avengers #44, and Steve Rogers and T’Challa have no choice but to fight each other when the Phoenix sends them both to battle at the top of Avengers Mountain. While neither wants to harm the other, it does seem as though there will be some solid tension between the two friends and allies, as Captain America and Black Panther envision different outcomes for the Phoenix’s power. Enjoy the preview pages and summary from Marvel Comics:

ENTER THE PHOENIX: THE FIERY FINALE! It all comes down to this. The final battle to decide who will wield the awesome cosmic power of the Phoenix Force. You don’t want to miss…the debut of the all-new Phoenix!

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Thanks to the synopsis, it seems fair to assume the final champion and eventual host will be decided by the end of the issue, though Captain America seems pretty determined to find a way to prevent this from happening. In contrast, Black Panther believes the rise of a new Phoenix is inevitable, and that one of the Avengers should wield its power in order to survive what he sees as an imminent Age of Chaos.

Of course, the tournament won’t be decided just here, but what this fight in particular offers is an opportunity to see Captain America and Black Panther duke it out with more power than ever before and yet still on a level playing field. Fans have long speculated which of these heroes is the better fighter, and Avengers #44 seems set to answer that question with a fiery showdown when it hits retailers April 7. But whether Black Panther or Captain America wins their rematch, they’re not the only fighters remaining, and things could still go in an unexpected direction as the Avengers‘ Phoenix Tournament comes to a close.

More: Black Panther Is The Only Hero Worthy Of Marvel’s New Phoenix

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