Review by Ian Keogh
As the title suggests, the X-Men’s island of Utopia is quarantined due to the spread of a virus. The initial concern is that it could be passed on to humans with devastating consequences. However, the symptoms developed by the mutants on Utopia soon become the greater issue.
The Birth of Generation Hope dealt with the first five new mutants to manifest abilities since the mutant population was reduced to 198, and here Matt Fraction provides the other side of the coin as the Sublime Corporation begins their agenda of artificially generated powers. With almost all the X-Men in quarantine, the few remaining at large have to track down what are amusingly referred to as a tribute act.
Greg Land is back on the art, and once again excess is the order of the day. On the sample page Idie Okonkwo, a character introduced as devoutly religious, is shown posing about the place in tight spandex with as much of her body on show as covered. It might be asked whether the editor could have made him draw it again for the sake of consistency, but then then the editor employing Land in the first place obviously had little concerns about his posing the X-Men’s women as porn stars.
Post-covid there’s a tendency to look at any story concerning a possible pandemic through different eyes, and much of the future was here in 2010. Characters are drawn wearing masks, and a very real concern is how rapidly the virus can transmit. As this is a superhero story, though, the answer lies not in flu virus mutation, but in villainy. It’s smart, and the effectiveness of the X-Men being reduced to just a handful of characters is apparent as they undertake two missions. We have some horrible revelations about Emma Frost, an underlining of what a nasty piece of work Sebastian Shaw is, and the actual ending is clever, although moments of the final chapter are a little too glib and arch. It’s Fraction’s final X-Men outing, and he departs on a high as Quarantine is almost all enjoyable. Well, the writing, anyway, for which some credit should also go to Keiron Gillen, noted as co-writer, and who’d take over the X-Men franchise with the following Breaking Point.
Quarantine is also included in the third Uncanny X-Men: The Complete Collection by Matt Fraction.