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"Contagion #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Marvel Comics

Contagion 1 Large

Written by Ed Brisson
Illustrated by Roge Antonio
Colored by Veronica Gandini
Lettered by Cory Petit
2019, 32 pages, $3.99
Comic released on October 2nd, 2019

Review:

A plague has hit the Marvel Universe, causing the infected to shy away from the sun. No, they're not vampires. They have strange and hideous boils that cover most of their body and they're clearly not acting normal. They're driven to spread this disease by touch and their first target is the Fantastic Four. When you take down Marvel's first family, including Reed Richards, one of the smartest guys around, what hope do the rest of us have?

I absolutely love that we're getting more horror in the Marvel Universe. Absolute Carnage and Immortal Hulk are great and now we've got Contagion, a weekly five-issue series that spreads the spooky stuff around like...well...a contagion.

The scary part about this is that the virus is not something you can punch or beat up. The Fantastic Four are great heroes, capable of all sorts of things, but at the end of the day they hit stuff really hard. You can't do that with a disease. When you see them start to get infected, there's little they or anyone else can do. They can keep trying to fight, but it's a losing battle.

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This is especially heartbreaking for the Thing. Artist Roge Antonio shows the tear-filled rage that takes over him when he realizes his friends and family are being infected. He's only just got Reed and Sue back after they've been presumed dead for so long and now he could lose them again. That kind of care is what makes for great horror.

Antonio's depiction of the infected is so very creepy. I gag just thinking about the boils that cover the skin of these poor souls. I want to wash my hands just looking at them. They look uncomfortable and painful. Colorist Veronica Gandini gives them an unnatural look, with sickly greens and purples. We don't know where this disease comes from, but it has an otherworldly vibe to it based on these colors.

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Click images to enlarge

When someone is turned, their voice changes. Letterer Cory Petit alters the style of the infected's word balloons, changing them to a shade of green that intensifies the further along they are. This virus takes over their body and mind, transforming them into monsters that are not quite zombies, but not much better.

Writer Ed Brisson crafts an unsettling and emotional horror story in Contagion. We're already invested in these characters from decades of comics. Now we're seeing them getting torn apart by something they don't understand and can't see. It all happens in moments too, so it's tough to prepare for such a shock. This is a great opener and fortunately, we don't have to wait long to see it play out.

Grades:

Story: Fourandahalfstars Contagion 1 Small
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Contagion 1 Small
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Art: Fourandahalfstars
Overall: Fourandahalfstars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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