Uncanny X-Men # 530-534
Utopia is stricken with an epidemic – a Mutant Flu, as it were – which they discover is Mutant only. Scott locks down Utopia, leaving Storm, Pixie, Northstar, Dazzler, and Angel to serve as the X-Men. They pounce on the Collective Man, who is hitting up local stores for protection money. Meanwhile, Mister Lobe (who I always thought was John Sublime) has developed a means of creating Mutant Powers and has given these to some super-rich twenty-sometimes to create a New X-Men team. Of course, they suck, get pounced by the real X-Men and get shipped to Utopia. They spill rather quickly, and the X-Men head off to Sublime Corporation and quickly reveal that the Mutant Flu is affecting these fake Mutants faster than regular Mutants. Lobe quickly surrenders, but one of his New X-Men – Penny – slips out. Meanwhile, Sebastian Shaw is dropped off in the middle of China and, after a fight, is mind-wiped, all of his memories stripped clean.
I liked this little arc. Nice and clean, very effective. It wraps up the budding epidemic arc in a nice clean bow. It’s a good follow-up to the Third Species stuff from Morrison’s run. I especially the “smaller” team of X-Men, even though Dazzler and Pixie got really annoying. The Shaw/Frost material was not as good, but wasn’t too bad. It wrapped up another of Fraction’s subplots.
Fraction’s run was definitely one that got better once it got going. Some of his earlier stuff was pretty poor, while his later arcs were more interesting and innovative. He seemed to move well past the whole “let’s throw some X-Men at the problem” pretty well. If only they hadn’t given him Greg Land, whose art I despise.