Written by: Ed Brisson
Art by: Damian Couceiro
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?
With three issues down, Contagion continues to entertain as our heroes try to take down this seemingly unstoppable force in The Urchin. The last issue reveled that they only have one week to stop this fungus-like monstrosity before it completely consumes all the people it has infected in New York so far. Before I go into detail about what occurred in the fourth issue of this five issue miniseries, you can catch up or refresh your memory of what has happened in the first three issues by checking out my reviews for them here, here, and here. Now, let’s get into how the remaining heroes continued their struggle to take the fight to this massive threat.
Issue four opens up where the last issue left off with The Wreaking Crew fighting The Urchin at Penn Station. They quickly get taken out and infected with the exception of Piledriver as he is saved by the arriving heroes, Moon Knight, Jessica Jones, Ben Grimm, The Punisher, Elektra, White Tiger, Black Tarantula, Sparrow, Señor Mágico, and Pei. Mágico casts a protection spell on the heroes to protect them from infection, but The Urchin knocks Ben into the magician. This causes the spell to fade and allows The Urchin to infect Elektra, White Tiger, and Black Tarantula. Moon Knight and The Punisher hold off the monster as the others escape.
The next night on day two, Iron Fist and Mágico inform the League of International Magic Practitioners or L.I.M.P. that The Urchin has gone into hiding since their last battle and that they must continue to hold the barrier they created to stop the fungus from spreading for a little longer. On day three, while doing a magical reading on the infected heroes at the Sanctum Sanctorum, Mágico reveals that The Urchin had not only absorbed the infected heroes’ powers, but also their minds. The next night on day four, Ben attempts to contact The Avengers only to learn that Iron Man had unknowingly spread the fungus to the entire team, taking them out of action. On day five while hunting for The Urchin, The Punisher runs into it and becomes infected.
Day six arrives with the remaining heroes (and Piledriver) meeting at Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’ apartment to desperately try to figure out how to save their infected friends and everyone else before it is too late. Mágico reveals that the infected have faint dust-like trails that flow from them and that this is how The Urchin draws power from them and that if they follow these trails, it will lead them to The Urchin itself. With a way to find The Urchin, Fist wonders how they can take it down and release their friends’ bodies and minds once they find it.
Moon Knight reveals that he has a plan to free the minds of the infected. Due to him having experience with the Egyptian god, Khonshu, and his own multiple personalities inhabiting his mind, Moon Knight believes that if he allows The Urchin to infect him and absorb his mind, he will be able to maneuver inside The Urchin’s consciousness and free everyone else’s trapped minds. Jessica tries to reject the idea, but L.I.M.P.’s barrier collapses, forcing the heroes to go with Moon Knight’s plan. The heroes arrive to help L.I.M.P. fight The Urchin, but discover to their surprise that The Urchin had gained control of the infected superhumans’ bodies to form it’s own army as the issue ended.
This was an intense issue. The story did a great job at building up this intensity by counting down each day with the clock quickly running out for the heroes. I had a feeling from the beginning that it would be Moon Knight’s fractured mind that would be the final key for the heroes’ final showdown with The Urchin. Now they must fight through a super powered army of their infected friends to get Moon Knight close enough to The Urchin and hope his plan works. As a massive fan of the character, Moon Knight playing such a big role in the final battle with The Urchin is really awesome. The art in this issue was a big improvement over the last issue, though not as good as the first two issues.
Overall, this was a really good issue and I can’t wait to see how Moon Knight’s plan pans out in the next and final issue of what has been a really fun series. Stay tuned until the epic concluding issue of Contagion, same Urchin time, same Urchin channel.
Great issue with intense drama and action that set's up next issue's final battle.