Written by: Ed Brisson
Art by: Stephen Segovia
A seemingly unstoppable force has invaded the Marvel Universe, and it’s going to take every hero the streets of New York has to stop it! A strange substance is taking over heroes and citizens alike, draining them of their life force, stealing their knowledge and abilities, and neither science nor magic can stop it! Where did it come from? Can anything destroy it? And who will fall to its awful, overwhelming power?
Last week, I had the pleasure of reviewing issue number one of Contagion and as you can tell from that review, I really enjoyed it. So, when I was asked to review issue two, I was all for it. I’m assuming that if you are reading a review for issue two that you have already read issue one, but if not, or you need a quick recap, you can read last week’s review here. I’ll wait right here ‘til you get back…… Okay, welcome back. Let’s get this show on the road!
Issue two of this planned five part miniseries opens up with Iron Fist and Sparrow (Yu-Ti) arriving at Yancy Street. The street is filled with people infected by the sentient fungus/plague-like entity which is now being called “The Urchin”. Iron Fist states that they need someone like Reed Richards to solve this problem. Ben Grimm then shows up with the three infected members of Fantastic Four, including Reed, in tow. Ben informs Fist and Sparrow of The Urchin’s ability to absorb the super powers of all who it infects. He then takes the FF members to Dr. Strange. Fist and Sparrow stay behind to inform the paramedics of the dangers of the infection. Fist then calls his Heroes for Hire partner, Luke Cage, for backup.
At The Sanctum Sanctorum, Strange examines the infected FF members and reveals that he has never seen an infection like this before and that The Urchin is very ancient and has been magically enhanced. He then asks Ben to take him back to Yancy Street to collect a sample from the main infected host. On the way there, Strange contacts The Avengers to inform them to not get directly involved as The Urchin would become far more dangerous if it managed to absorb their powers as well. He then asks them to stand by until he can get a sample for them to examine. It is also revealed here that the reason Ben has not been infected by The Urchin is due to the fact that The Urchin infects people through their skin and Ben’s rock exterior is preventing the infection from getting through. Back at Yancy Street, Sparrow reveals to Fist and Cage that The Urchin was created by The H’ylthri long ago to destroy her people when they first settled K’un-Lun, but the entity turned on its creators and nearly wiped out their entire population. They then somehow were able to contain and entomb it, which is what our heroes must now do as well.
Strange and Ben arrive to Yancy Street to find Fist, Cage, and Sparrow fighting off the main host and some infected paramedics. They join the battle only to be overpowered before being saved by the arriving Cloak and Dagger. Strange then has Cloak trap the main host within the Dark Dimension within Cloak’s cloak (in case you were wondering where his superhero name came from). The heroes believe they have contained the threat, but The Urchin proves to be too powerful and escapes Cloak’s Dark Dimension, infecting Cloak, Dagger, and Cage in the process. Strange conjures a magical shield to protect the rest of them, but his magic proves powerless against the enemy and he becomes infected as well. Now having absorbed the four heroes’ powers, The Urchin main host grows to massive size. This leaves Ben, Fist, and Sparrow to fight it alone as the issue ends.
This was an excellent second issue. It seemed to flow by faster than the first issue. I liked how they had Strange contact The Avengers in order to give a good reason for them not to be directly involved in combating this major enemy. One problem you have in a shared universe is that whenever you want to tell a story with just certain characters facing a worldwide threat, you have to have a legitimate reason for why the more powerful and more major names don’t just swoop in and fix everything. I believe they did a great job in doing that here.
Another thing I liked was that the writer, Ed Brisson, had The Urchin break out of Cloak’s Dark Dimension (which is usually impossible) and then followed this with having it easily break through the magic of the Sorcerer Supreme himself. This continues to show the reader just how powerful and dangerous this new villain is. You can have the characters say all day just how serious of a threat the antagonist is, but it is by having it do things like I mentioned above that really puts that idea really into people’s minds. The Urchin is quickly becoming one of the biggest threats to ever face Marvel’s heroes and it could very well end up being a classic one as well. As I said in my last review, the artwork, this issue’s being done by Stephen Segovia, is fantastic in this series. The fight scenes were well choreographed with the action flowing from panel to panel.
Overall, this was a very good second issue. With their heavy hitters quickly being taken out, this series makes you wonder just how the remaining heroes will be able to take down this monster in the next three issues. Stay tuned until the next issue of Contagion, same Urchin time, same Urchin channel.
An excellent second issue that continues the momentum of the first in this superhero meets horror mini-series.