Uncanny X-Men #531
The “Quarantine” story arc continues in this issue as part two unfolds. The X-Men on Utopia are suffering from the HX-N1 virus, a mutant-only illness that causes power loss and, apparently, a lot of sweating. The quarantine strictly covers the X-Men’s island headquarters of Utopia, leaving only a small handful of mutants unaffected, including Northstar, who appears in two panels as a regular member of the X-Men, having joined up in issue #505.
Northstar is one of the mutants organized by Angel into a de facto team also consisting of Storm, Pixie and Northstar’s new BFF, Dazzler. The team intersects with two ongoing plot threads that had been isolated up until this point:
First, they show up at a scene of destruction in San Francisco caused by an impostor team of X-Men. Angel calls into base, reporting that they got there as fast as they could, to which Northstar responds, “Ahem.” It’s his only line in the entire comic and is just so perfectly arrogant while also introducing him as a superspeedster in the caption above. It’s a quick little bit of characterization by writers Matt Fraction and Kieron Gillen. Wait, who? Yes, Fraction is phasing out of Uncanny as Gillen phases in, a somewhat welcome change to the creative team.
Second, the de facto team is sent by Cyclops to intercept The Collective Man, an old, old Alpha Flight baddie that Sasquatch fought one-on-one (and lost!) in the Contest of Champions series from 1982. After ignoring Pixie’s request to stand down, the de facto team swarms in, as depicted in a Storm-centric splash page, with Northstar flying alongside. Greg Land traces him in a pose he typically uses for flying characters, seen from an aspect that obscures the character’s legs, and without the circumscribed “X” on his costume.
Note: Dazzler’s butt does not appear in this issue.