Warning: contains spoilers for Avengers Forever #4 and X Lives of Wolverine #5!

Although Wolverine would seem to be the last person to wield the Phoenix Force, it actually makes sense for him to accept it. In the past, Wolverine has flat out rejected being the Force’s host, but in the pages of the recent Avengers Forever #4, readers learn that a Wolverine variant is the multiverse’s longest living Phoenix Force host—but what led Wolverine to finally accept it? The answer lies in a text page in X Deaths of Wolverine #5. Both this issue and Avengers Forever #4 are on sale now in print and digital.

One of the primordial forces of creation, the Phoenix Force takes control of its host, giving them immense powers that can be difficult to contain. Jean Grey is perhaps the most famous Phoenix Force host; its current host is Echo, of the Avengers. Wolverine has turned the Force down in the past for a variety of reasons, yet in Avengers Forever #4, Thor’s granddaughters state that a Wolverine variant is the longest living Phoenix Force host, as they look down at his severed hand, still glowing with power. Fans curious as to why Wolverine would suddenly embrace a power that he has rejected need look no further than a text piece in X Lives of Wolverine #5. The issue is written by Benjamin Percy, illustrated by Joshua Cassara, colored by Frank Martin and lettered by Cory Petit.

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In the text piece, Wolverine relates the story of a visit to Mexico. He was near Coba ruins, and as he imagined the scene hundreds of years ago, a kid made a remark about tearing the ruins down and building something new. Wolverine is clearly annoyed, and states that many people, like this kid, only live in the present, with no real knowledge of their history. Wolverine feels many people live this way out of fear—a perspective of which he is jealous. Wolverine goes on to state it is his job to have the “long view” of history, stating: “to know what blood came before is to know what blood’s coming again.”

Text piece explaining Wolverine's view of history

Wolverine’s decision to finally embrace the Phoenix Force can trace its roots back to his view of history. Wolverine sees himself as a guardian, or someone who can “keep watch,” as he puts it. Possessing something as powerful as the Phoenix Force would allow Wolverine to truly be able to carry out this mission. The Phoenix Force already grants its host fantastic powers, and when this is coupled with Wolverine’s healing factor (which makes him essentially immortal) he is more powerful than ever. Furthermore, could Wolverine’s healing factor help him, in some way, control the Phoenix Force better than its past hosts? Many Phoenix Force hosts burn out, crushed under the weight of so much power, but Wolverine lasted longer than anyone—did his healing factor help him outlast his predecessors?

The classic saying of those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it informs Wolverine’s actions, especially his decision to finally become a Phoenix Force host. This immense power allows him to truly be history’s guardian.

Next: Wolverine Finally Explains Why Only Jean Grey Can be the Love of His Life

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