You know what’s awesome? Superpowers. I’m serious. If someone could bottle and sell superpowers, I would cut off my left arm to get some. And I’d bet money that I’m not the only one who feels this way. Because who doesn’t want to fly? Or shoot lasers? Or turn into fire? Everyone wants that. And it must be even harder for people living in a universe where actual superhumans exist. They must look up at the heroes when they fly past and wonder “Why them? Why not me?” Well, the Sublime Corporation has the answer. It has successfully bottled the X-gene so that now you can be your very own X-Man. You’d think that the X-Men would object to this. And they do.
Complicating matters, the Sublime Corporation has engineered a virus that affects the mutants, both robbing them of their powers and killing them. To stop the virus from spreading, and to protect themselves, the X-Men have quarantined themselves on their island Utopia in the San Francisco Bay. It’s up to the few X-Men who weren’t infected to stop the Sublime Corporation and deal with inexperienced fans with superpowers who are doing far more harm than good. (Also, Emma Frost has dragged Phantomex and Kitty Pryde halfway around the world to help her deal with Sebastian Shaw, because he has become too big a threat; he knows Emma’s past too well to be allowed to continue menacing her and — by extension — the rest of the X-Men.)
The art in this book is good. The fight scenes are well done and everyone infected actually looks sick. It’s not transcendently good, but there are no large flaws with it either. It’s not worth buying just for the art nor is the art a reason to pass it up. The fights in this comic are somewhat gory and the female superhero outfits are standard for the medium, which is to say that they are impractical and overly revealing. But there’s nothing awful in here for ages 13 and up.
I don’t have much more to say about this book. It’s not bad, but it is frustratingly average. There’s very little that stands out about the main plot. It’s not clichéd or unoriginal, but comics are about escapism and this plot seems to actively fight against that. The plot basically says, “If a fan like you were to get powers, you’d do more harm than good and it would be the job of the REAL heroes to stop you.” That sort of thing will sting the people who are likely to be reading this comic. The side plot is the real redeeming factor here. Emma Frost is a former villain turned hero and we get to see her struggle with the consequences of that transformation. She wants to kill the man who turned her into a villain and knows too much about her past, but as a hero, she can’t. It’s a great dilemma and it’s well solved. Also, the book leaves a good plot hook at the end. All things considered, if you’re a casual fan of Emma Frost or a die-hard fan of the X-Men as a whole, get this. Otherwise, don’t bother.
Uncanny X-Men: Quarantine
by Matt Fraction
Art by Greg Land
Marvel Comics, 2011