Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #534

Issue Date: 
April 2011
Story Title: 
Quarantine, part 5

Matt Fraction & Kieron Gillen (writer), Greg Land & Paul Renaud (pencilers), Jay Leisten & Paul Renaud (inkers), Justin Ponsor (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Greg Land & Justin Ponsor (cover artists), Jack Thomas & Jordan D White (assistant editors), Daniel Ketchum (associate editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

On Utopia, the X-Men who can fight have been drugged up to combat their illness, and depart for San Francisco, where Lobe’s investors are battling Storm, Northstar, Dazzler, Angel and Pixie, but they are seriously outnumbered by the investors, until Cyclops and a squad of other X-Men arrive. The battle continues, until Lobe releases an “Ebola-plus” functionality of the virus, the effects of which are soon felt by the investors and Lobe himself, since using the mutant drug on themselves, they too can be harmed like the X-Men. Cyclops manages to get Lobe to release the cure, and everyone is healed. The investors depart, while Angel plans for his lawyers to come and deal with Lobe on charges of infringement. Storm then destroys the massive stock-pile of drug, while Cyclops deals with the “You X-Men”. Except of course for “Angel” who is en route to anywhere she wants in a taxi, armed with a supply of the mutant drug.
Meanwhile, in China, the White Queen continues to evade Sebastian Shaw, until finally using her telepathy on him, she wipes his mind clean, and knowing he will be safe from Namor’s rage, leaves him there, deciding it was time for both of them to live their lives.

Full Summary: 

Xinjang Province, China, Emma Frost a.k.a. the White Queen rushes away from Sebastian Shaw, while EVA burns in the background. Emma thinks to herself that, some days you come to realize that the complaints of the mundane and the unglamorous can hold a kernel of truth. ‘Heels are terrible impractical’ Emma admits, and in her diamond form, elbows Shaw in the face when he gets close to her. ‘Even without my sacrifices to fashion, he’d be a trifle faster than me’ Emma tells herself, adding that he is always stronger. ‘Oh, Emma, Emma, Emma’ Shaw smirks, before smacking her hard, sending her careening backwards, she bounces across the ground. ‘His rage will not be denied’ Emma realizes, before telling herself she is not going to get any more space. ‘Here we go. A different approach’.

Emma drops her diamond hard form, ‘I can - I can just -’ she begins, but Shaw leaps towards her, ‘NO!’ Emma calls out, quickly reverting back to her diamond form, ‘But YES!’ Shaw booms as he tears Emma’s head off. ‘You always liked the attention that bust of yours received. How appropriate that’s what you’re ending up as’ Shaw remarks, before calling out ‘Who wins now, eh, Emma? Who wins?’ However, Shaw in truth is standing motionless, while Emma, very much unbroken, stands beside him. ‘What a terribly good question. I couldn’t stop you with my telepathy…but convincing you that you already had what you wanted? That’s an awful lot easier’ she declares, before stroking Shaw’s chin and asking ‘Now, Sebastian, darling…how am I going to get you out of my life?’

On Utopia, an island near San Francisco, ‘This is a terrible idea’ Dr Kavita Rao exclaims as she follows Cyclops down a corridor. Scott tells Rao that they have to stop Lobe, that the diseases is not infectious to humans, so there is no risk. Kavita declares that HX-N1 is killing them all. ‘You’re dying. And you’re too weak to fight them. And they have your powers! That’s the risk, Scott. Just -’ she exclaims, but Scott interrupts her, declaring that the decision has been made. He turns to Doctor Nemesis and asks who is coming. ‘Pretty much everyone’ Nemesis replies, while Victor Borowski a.k.a. Anole stands nearby, a blanket wrapped around him. Doctor Nemesis informs Cyclops that he has drugged them all to the bounds of mutant endurance, that they will crash within the hour, but wobble in the right direction until then, as his model Anole demonstrates.

Scott points out that Anole has been showing symptoms the longest and tells the young mutant that he does not need to do this. Victor replies that it is the only way he could work out to get Nemesis to give him the best drugs, adding that if they are dying eh wants his chance to fight, or at least hurt whoever did this. ‘Sounds like the kid’s got the right idea’ Wolverine a.k.a. Logan remarks as he walks towards the others, armed with an assortment of kitchen knives. ‘…okay, everyone aboard Danger’ Scott announces. A short time later, ‘They have the powers. But we’re still us’ Scott tells the X-Men as several of them board Danger, who has transformed herself into a jet. ‘Let’s show them who the real X-Men are!’ Scott declares as Danger departs Utopia.

At that moment, inside the Triumph Hill Ballroom, in San Francisco, at the gala launch even for the Sublime Corporation’s “You X-Men” free sample, ‘Eyes on Pixie!’ Warren “Angel” Worthington III calls out as he battles a partyoger who possesses his wings, while Megan “Pixie” Gwynn lies at the feet of a partygoer who now possesses Wolverine’s claws. ‘Tidy!’ Alison Blaire a.k.a. Dazzler exclaims as she blasts the partygoer away with a beam of solid light. ‘I loved your last album! It should have sold millions!’ Pixie exclaims. ‘Tidy!’ Dazzler exclaims. ‘Tidy!’ Pixie shouts. ‘Will you pair stop it?’ Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier asks as he flies around the room.

Ororo Iqadi T’Challa a.k.a. Storm communicates with Cyclops, informing him that tensions are rising and they almost lost their emergency exit. ‘We’re going to be taken apart by this horde of amateurs by force of numbers alone’ she explains, adding that this would be a good time for a rescue. ‘Relax, Ororo’ Scott replies, and suddenly there is an explosion, knocking several partyogers backwards, ‘It’s a good time’ Scott declares, armed with a flame-thrower, several other X-Men are at his side, all armed with an assortment of weapons. Wolverine, Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin, Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock, the Stepford Cuckoos, X-23 and Rockslide are ready to battle.

‘Hey, bub. Oh man, I just said “bub”!’ one of the partygoers exclaims as he calls out to Wolverine. He unsheathes his claws, ‘And I just went “snikt”!’ he declares with excitement. Several other partygoers with claws stand alongside him, and he boasts ‘We’ve got cool claws. We’ve got this awesome healing factor. And you’re about to fall over! Guess who’s the Wolverine now?’ he asks. ‘You want to be the Wolverine?’ Logan asks, beads of sweat dripping down his face. ‘Healing’s not the problem!’ Logan exclaims as he shoves his large knife into the partygoer, who screams in agony. ‘Hurting’s the problem’ Logan exclaims. ‘That’s what being the Wolverine’s about. Dealing it out and taking it. You ready for that, “bub”?’ Logan asks, as he shoves the knife into another of the partygoers.

The rest of the X-Men are all engaging the partygoers, when Lobe, the CEO of the Sublime Corporation steps forward, holding a small device in his hand, he exclaims ‘Oh, you had to upset the investors. The markets are so delicate nowadays. I really didn’t want to do this…HX-N1: activate Ebola-plus functionality!’ as he presses the red button on the device. All of the X-Men keel over, and Lobe assures them that he is not enjoying this. ‘Why couldn’t we just do business? The flu was meant to be a sleeper hold. You were meant to submit’ he tells them. ‘Why couldn’t you just be realistic?’ he asks as Cyclops lies before him. But Lobe suddenly notices blood tricking from his own nose, and he wipes it across his face.

Lobe suddenly looks anguished, and he falls to his knees. ‘Wh-what?’ he gasps, as the partygoers all feel the same pain, and blood pours from their ears and noses. Scott grins, ‘You charge people to be mutants? They’re going to have to pay all the costs!’ Scott exclaims as he crawls over to Lobe, ‘Like being susceptible to your artificial disease. Your “new X-Men” were showing symptoms within minutes of reaching Utopia. It was only ever escalating in virulence. So I thought…let’s bring your flu home’ Scott declares. Cyclops suggests to Lobe that unless he likes leaking every red thing inside his weasly little chest, he had better release the cure. ‘Virus purge. Total virus purge, now! Now!’ Lobe calls out. The partygoers all sit up, and Scott wipes blood from his face: ‘So now you know’ he tells Lobe, who asks ‘Know what?’

‘What you all wanted to know. Risking death. People staring at you down microscopes only to find ways to rip you off, wipe you out or control you. Pain, and dealing with it…that’s what it’s like being an X-Man’ Cyclops declares, before turning to all the “investors” and suggesting that they go home, and that if they are indeed this rich, to give their money to charitable causes. Logan pops his claws, and exclaims that the first person who asks for an autograph gets it cut into them.

The investors all begin to leave, but Lobe calls out to them, exclaiming that this is just a setback, assuring them that the technology is sound, but they just have another hard look at their business plan. Cyclops turns to Lobe and exclaims ‘So, Lobe, what are we going to do to you?’, announcing that they are going to sue him for everything. Angel holds up an inhaler with his cartoon image on it and declares that it looks like some kind of infringement to him. ‘We can talk about this?’ Lobe smiles. Scott leaves the room, and asks Warren to talk to Lobe. ‘Not a chance. I’ll use my best social prophylactic and send in the lawyers’ Warren smiles. ‘Good enough’ Scott replies, and announces that if Lobe gives them everything that can hurt anyone, he will get to go to a normal prison.

Scott turns to the Cuckoos and asks them if they are together enough to pick where Lobe is keeping his stock from his distended head. ‘With pleasure, Sir!’ the girls reply. Scott thanks the girls and asks them to telepathically send it over. ‘Ororo? Can you…’ Scott begins, to which Storm points out that Cyclops has been beaten up by a killer flu for days, so she and her “squad” will finish this. Scott thanks them, and turns to the “You X-Men” who are sitting at the edge of Danger. ‘Right. As for you -’ he begins, before one of the rich kids exclaims that they have learned their lesson. ‘I mean, we didn’t even know what Lobe was doing. We just wanted to be X-Men’ he exclaims. ‘We don’t want to be X-Men anymore. We know how hard it is’ another exclaims, while the “Marvel Girl” adds that Wolverine is scary. Cyclops tells them that they have learned an important life lesson, before asking ‘Wait…weren’t there five if you?’

Back in Xinjang Province in China, ‘Time to say goodbye, Sebastian!’ Emma exclaims, while Kitty “Shadowcat” Pryde rushes towards them, and leaps in between the two of them. But Emma just walks through Kitty and tells her not to look so disapproving. ‘I haven’t come all this way just to kill him. But the problem must be solved’ Emma declares, touching Shaw’s forehead. Emma appears in her Hellfire Club costume, inside Shaw’s mind, announcing that, sometimes, for the good of everyone’s health, it is better if some people are separate from everyone else. ‘Including you from yourself’ she tells Shaw. A lone candle is before Emma, who adds that this is the most landlocked point on Earth, that it is the perfect place from Namor’s rage, where Shaw will be safe. ‘You will just not be you’ she remarks as she snuffs out the candle.

Shaw drops to his knees, ‘Guh. Who…what…who are you?’ he asks Emma, who stands over him. ‘Wrong question. Who are you?’ Emma replies, before declaring ‘I’ll tell you this: You always said you were a self-made man. Now it looks like you get the chance to prove it’. Kitty stands near Shaw, while EVA continues to burn in the background, and Emma walks away from Shaw, ‘Live your new life, Shaw. And I will live mine’ she exclaims.

At the Sublime Corporation HQ, Storm, Northstar, Dazzler and Pixie enter a large warehouse, with floor-to-ceiling shelves lined with boxes and boxes of drugs. You’ve been quiet, Ororo’ one of them remarks. Storm smiles and replies that she is merely quietly content. ‘Despite the gravity of the situation…it’s been good to work with you all’. ‘It’s been…’ she begins, Tidy!’ Alison and Pixie exclaim in unison. ‘Oh, knock it off, the pair of you’ Jean-Paul mutters as he hangs his head, before motioning to the boxes of drugs: ‘Storm…the honors?’ he asks. An instant later, Storm unleashes a powerful surge of lightning. ‘And that’s that’ Jean-Paul exclaims as they look around at the destroyed warehouse.

Elsewhere… ‘Where you want to go, miss?’ a taxi driver asks as a young blonde woman with wings gets in. ‘Meter’s running’ the driver announces. The young woman tells the driver not to worry, as she can afford it. ‘Just drive’ she exclaims. Smiling, “Angel” a.k.a. Penny Newsom holds up to inhalers - one with the image of the White Queen, another with the Phoenix symbol and exclaims ‘I won’t mess up again. Now…who shall I be today?’….

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Colossus, Cyclops, Dazzler, Northstar, Psylocke, Shadowcat, Storm, White Queen, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Anole, Pixie III, Rockslide, Stepford Cuckoos, X-23 (all X-Men students)

Doctor Nemesis, Dr Kavita Rao (both X-Club)


Sebastian Shaw


“Angel” / Penny Newsom, “Beast”, “Cyclops”, “Iceman”, “Marvel Girl” (all You X-Men)

Partygoers / investors
Taxi driver

Story Notes: 

This issue comes with a bonus reprinting of Avengers Academy #1.

X-23 really shouldn’t around as she left Utopia in issue #3 of her own title.
This marks Matt Fraction’s last issue as (co-)writer of the series.
The next issue is #534.1.

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