Uncanny X-Men #530
As the “Five Lights” story arc spun its way off into the Generation Hope series, a single page introduction from issue #529 has exploded into a new story line – “Quarantine”, which is a pick-up of a forgotten plot line from issue #521 when the mutant-sickening HX-N1 virus was released. Yes, another mutant virus – it’s only been about 10 years since the Legacy virus so the X-Men were due. Northstar appears as a regular member of the X-Men, having joined up in issue #508.
As the mutant population on Utopia gets sicker and sicker from the virus, a few random X-Men who happen to be removed from the island at the time are assembled by Angel to form a de facto group, including Northstar. Readers might be reminded of the “Eve of Destruction” arc (2001) where Northstar was also recruited into an ad hoc team of X-Men, but this time it’s more of a random coincidence than a purposeful recruitment – he just happens to be out having brunch at Mama’s in San Francisco with his BFF, Dazzler.
If the image of Northstar seems familiar, recall Greg Land’s tracing of Northstar from issue #508 and you’ll see an eerie similarity – he obviously traced the same image for this issue.
After taking a call from Cyclops on his cell phone, Northstar changes from his civilian clothes into his costume (was it under his clothes?) and later joins up with Angel, Pixie and Dazzler, who also has changed, along with Storm, who makes an unnecessarily dramatic entrance. These five mutants comprise all of the X-Men outside of Utopia, er…, except for Emma, Kitty Pryde and Fantomex who are STILL kidnapping Sebastian Shaw, but they can be considered AWOL for all intents and purposes. In the scene where the de facto team joins up, a hunched over no-neck Northstar can be seen from behind:
It’s hard to find him in that panel, but if you look hard, you can see him just to the left of Dazzler’s butt. Something about this is hauntingly familiar.