Friday, December 24, 2010

Uncanny X-Men #531 Review

Writers: Matt Fraction & Kieron Gillen
Artist: Greg Land
Cover By: Greg Land & Justin Ponsor

Quarantine Part 2

Team books. I’ve already spoken of my disdain for them (though very exaggerated). One of the major problems with such series’ is the confusion and choppy cutting from one part of the story to another. The writing team of Matt Fraction and Kieron Gillen is able to avoid such pitfalls in this well-written chapter to the current X-Men story Quarantine. For those of you not familiar, a mutant flu pandemic has broken out on Utopia; trapping some of the most powerful X-Men on the island while it goes under quarantine. Not only this, many (including the one we call Wolverine) are at the mercy of this power-suppressing virus. Logan’s healing factor is weak, and it’s causing all kinds of problems mentally and physically, but we’ll get to that later.

This one opens with Namor (aka The Sub-Mariner) demanding that he be released. He tries to fight the affects of the virus, but these attempts prove to be futile. By giving in, we see how powerful this “flu” really is. A quick page-turn later and we see that there are in fact many more infected mutants and Dr. Kavita Rao observes that the affects are increasing rapidly in those who have contracted the virus. It is unknown whether the virus is indeed contagious to humans, but there is emphasis that this knowledge must be known as soon as possible. This leads Dr. Rao to make an irrational decision to inject the virus into herself to see whether she will contract it or not. Who does that? That’s like John McClane shooting himself to kill some dude, only this is a no-win situation for Ms. Rao. The outcome of her “experiment” is held off for next month.

While this is going on, Logan is suffering many different symptoms to go along with the typical coughing, and wheezing and all that other nasty stuff. Blood poisoning from the adamantium in his body is causing mood swings and psychosis. Right now, he’s just a mess. What is causing him the most pain though is the feeling of helplessness, the feeling that he is letting down people who have put their trust in him. As the havoc is going on in Utopia, there is a mutant killing the people that Wolverine has sworn to protect, and he can’t do a thing. This is a recurring theme with Logan; the man who can’t be physically hurt for the most part, is vulnerable when it comes to the guilt of putting others in danger.

At the same time, Angel is in charge of a temporary X-Men team with the help of Storm. As they go about their business, the pseudo-mutants created by the Sublime Corporation are doing the best they can to imitate the X-Men. They’ve garnered the attention of the media as well as the X-Men, and both are a little unsure of who they are and whether they are a threat. The final piece to this story is with Emma Frost who is currently tasked with the disposing of Sebastian Shaw. We hear a bunch of stuff about her past, yada yada yada, then my boy Fantomex makes like an idiot and kicks Shaw into the weird portal thing, or maybe it was just a giant hole. Don’t ask me, I just read these books.

So an overall decent issue, there wasn’t really anything to complain about. On the other hand there wasn’t anything spectacular. We’re getting bits and pieces of an overall larger story that will hopefully tie together nicely. Fraction and Gillen do a good job of including humor into the book without making it feel like you’re reading Deadpool.


  1. I bought this issue on a whim--mainly because I saw that Kieron Gillen was co-writing it. It was a decent yet interesting issue. Haha. Namor. Even when he's sick as sick can be, he's still an arrogant jackass. And I just knew Logan would be hit BADLY! Blood poisoning on top of the other hellish flu symptoms. Bloody hell! Damn is Laura Kinney lucky that she hauled her ass off of Utopia last November!

    Even though I think he's a hypocritical ASSHAT, I gotta give points to Cyclops for hiding his flu symptoms and maintaining order. And common, you gotta give it up for Dr. Rao! Lady has balls the size of BLEEPing grapefruits for injecting herself with that shit-ton of the virus plus immunosuppressants AND she injected herself on her neck! Balls, my friend. Balls the size of grapefruits.

    Oh and kudos to Gillen for throwing in Hope and her Lights [*Generation Hope; GREAT series written by Gillen himself!]

    Sublime's wannabe X-Men team (seriously, if there's a genuine wannabe team in all of Marvel, these guys should be the poster child) earned a "FEH" for me. But at least it fit into the story much better than Emma's "MEH" at the end. I would have been much satisfied if the book ended with Sublime's "FEH" portion and then used Emma's "MEH" portion as a snapshot/2-3 panel cliff-hanger/teaser and save THAT stuff for the next issue.

    All in all, I agree with your 3.5 rating. Good job, Josh!

  2. Lol yes Dr. Rao has balls, more than me. There's no way I'd do that to myself. It IS definitely a good thing Laura got the hell outta there haha. Thanks for the feedback Noctis!