Spoilers for Avengers vs. X-Men #5 on: as we expected, someone new is the host of the Phoenix Force at the end of the issue, but it’s not who you think, i.e., Hope Summers… It’s actually five X-Men, including Cyclops, Emma Frost, Namor, Colossus, and Majik. What will happen next, we’ll have to wait two weeks to find out. But in the meantime, here’s a list of the top ten previous hosts for the Phoenix Force, and some tips on how these X-Men can possibly hope to contain it:
In the underrated series Young X-Men, Ink - a mutant who was able to give himself power through tattoos (though it actually turned out it was the tattoo artist who was the mutant) - gave himself a Phoenix Force tat... And was able to channel the force itself. Like many other hosts for the Phoenix, Ink lost the power while sacrificing himself for someone else... Something the new hosts might want to keep in mind.
9. Amber Hunt
A superpowered valley girl from the Ultraverse, Hunt became the host for a damaged portion of the Phoenix Force when it was sucked through a portal - along with a few other X-Men affiliates. She eventually went nuts with the power, and had to be taken down by the X-Men. Since the X-Men are the ones with the power now... Who X-Men’s the X-Men?
Interestingly, Cyclops became the Phoenix once before, in the classic X-Men/New Teen Titans crossover of 1982. In the story, DC bad guy Darkseid wants to use the Phoenix to turn Earth into another Apokolips, but after being weakened by Professor X and the Teen Titans’ Raven, the Phoenix looks for a new host... Which it finds in Cyclops. Remembering its time in Cyclops’ girlfriend Jean Grey, it ends up saving the day. Will the same thing happen this time?
In an alternate reality, Colossus sacrificed his life to save his sister, leaving an empty, metal husk. Into that husk came the Phoenix Force... Which promptly turned him into a woman. Because, you know: comics.
We don’t know a ton about Fongji, as her story is currently being told. But, like Hope Summers and Jean Grey before (after?) her, Fongji was a red haired girl who became the host of the Phoenix. The big difference with her is that she was also the Iron Fist of her time, which allowed her - possibly - to better control the Phoenix Force.
An alien from the Shi’ar Empire, Rook’shir wielded the power of the Phoenix through a massive, only in Anime or comics, blade. He used that blade to destroy most of the Shi’ar Empire, and in return, the Shi’ar tried to kill as many of his relatives as they could, like some sort of intergalactic Ha’tfields and M’coys.
4. Stepford Cuckoos
These over-powered, identical clone/children of Emma Frost (the White Queen) spent a fair amount of time as either temporary hosts of the Phoenix, or having a small piece of the Phoenix lodged inside of them. Because of the Phoenix shard in their hearts, the sisters can’t feel emotion the same way people do... But also, they’ve never gone and tried to destroy the universe. So, pretty successful.
3. Quentin Quire
Speaking of successful, after one of the Cuckoos decided to immolate herself with the Phoenix Force rather than be with psychic Quentin Quire, in a future timeline he was shown to not only be a repentant hero, but also the stable host of the Phoenix. That’s due to his Omega level psychic abilities, and not because he’s a good dude.
2. Jean Grey
Even though she’s probably had the absolute worst track record with the Phoenix, Jean Grey is high on this list because time and again, it comes back to her over anyone else. The first time, she went way bad and died, the second time, she died; yet like a free ice cream buffet, it keeps coming back for more.
1. Rachel Summers
The daughter of Jean Grey and Scott Summers from an alternate timeline, Rachel became the host of the Phoenix after her Mom died... And had no problem with it. In fact, she was - and is - the most stable host the Phoenix Force has ever had. Her link to it was severed when she travelled back to the past (as one does), though time and again she’s manifested aspects of the power when coming into contact with other hosts in the present day. If the new hosts are looking for advice, Rachel is the one they need to go talk to.