Contagion is the latest mini-event from Marvel Comics telling a story that’ll touch multiple superheroes and whose #1 issue is out this week; the event is spearheaded by writer Ed Brisson and Rogê Antônio and will combine horror and superheroes for five weeks. Something is spreading and the first family is the first to be affected.
So what’s it about?
Read the preview.
Why does this matter?
It’s that time of year when horror just makes sense and it’s literally and figuratively infecting superheroes. The Absolute Carnage event is taking place, sure, but why not add a little horror mystery to the Marvel universe with Contagion?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The cover of this book perfectly summarizes one of the most intense scenes in the issue. The Thing is fighting off Moloids and he’s being overrun. There’s a sense of hopelessness that Brisson captures well in this issue. It starts with a Yancy Street kid who left his friend in the sewers after being too scared to help them. Thing is soon dragged in and things go from bad to worse. Mr. Fantastic, Human Torch, and Invisible Woman all make appearances and they too feel a sense of hopelessness. The threat at hand isn’t a zombie virus necessarily as it’s some kind of fungal growth. It’s appropriately gross and should have folks itching when they see it.
There is an additional layer to the book too involving K’Un-Lun. The book opens there and it appears Brisson is going back to his roots after his excellent Iron Fist run a few years back. How this ties into the infection remains to be seen, but this additional layer will have you pondering what could happen next.
Antônio does a good job with the art keeping the fungal growth looking bizarre-looking but never going too far with it to make you feel sick. He’s backed up by color artist Veronica Gandini with letters by Cory Petit. Thing appears most in the book and he looks solid (heh) with varying levels of rockiness looking sharp.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
I wish the book leaned a bit more heavily into the horror angle with the fungus looking much more grotesque on the cover than it does in the book. The body horror element is lacking here. There’s certainly a scary vibe to a certain fungus covered dude, but this first issue is too bright, looking more like a standard superhero comic than a horror book. I’m holding out hope the darker and scarier elements rear their heads.
Is it good?
The feeling of hopelessness is strong with this narrative and it should have you feeling lost as the contagion grows in strength. I’m not yet sold on the horror angle, but I’m here for it.
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