Uncanny X-Men #532
Matt Fraction’s Uncanny run nears its end in the middle of the five-issue Quarantine story arc. The X-Men continue to sweat like pigs on Utopia, which is locked down due to the mutant-only HX-N1 virus. Fortunately, a small de facto team of X-Men unaffected by the virus has been in operation in San Francisco. Northstar appears as a member of this team, having joined up in issue #530 after joining the full X-Men roster in issue #508.
This de facto team swoops down in an unnecessarily dramatic manner, lightning bolts and all, to confront the Collective Man after discovering him last issue in a Chinatown street fight. Iteratively splitting into his five parts and collecting himself back into his quintuple-powered self, he displays an impressive set of acrobatic skills which include dodging the aforementioned lightning bolts and synchronized gymnastics. During one of the moments when he’s split into his five parts, Angel, the team leader, orders Northstar to take him out. This would seem to be a great strategy, as Northstar ought easily be able to Fwip! around at super-speed and get all five of the Collective Men in a flash. However, after exactly one awesome super-speed face smash, the Collective Man collects himself and take out Northstar in one punch.
This is a particularly unrealistic outcome to the battle, even in a five-on-one scenario. Northstar, with his super speed, ought to be able to dodge this kind of brute-force attack. It’s reminiscent of what Matt Fraction did in Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus #1 when he sent in Northstar on point to attack Dark Beast, who swatted down Northstar in one shot before the remainder of the team defeated the enemy.
Later, after the rest of the team defeats The Collective Man, the chatty de facto team regroups on the street. A very hunched over Northstar can be seen from behind, in a familiar place – right next to Dazzler’s butt!
So ends Matt Fraction’s run on Uncanny X-Men with the conclusion of this arc at issue #534, due out in March 2011. We had some good times with him, notably the addition of Jeffries and Northstar to the team, with Alpha Flight members appearing in 27 of 28 issues, the powerful Utopia arc in which Alpha Flight members appeared in all six chapters and a new member of the Alpha Flight family – Northstar’s boyfriend Kyle. Along the way his characterization of Jeffries wandered into a more distracted and silly version than we would have preferred, and twice he had Northstar toss outright insults at Alpha Flight in a misguided attempt to portray him as a disgruntled member of his former team. Those weren’t such good times but Alpha Flight fans should keep in mind one particular scene – when Wolverine gutted Weapon Omega in a direct vengeful response to the unfortunate events of New Avengers #16. I’ll always consider that Matt Fraction’s high point. May he rest in peace and Hodiak have mercy on his soul.