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Contagion Cleverly Mixes Horror With the Ragtag Superhero Final Stand

In "Reason to Get Excited," I spotlight things from modern comics that I think are worth getting excited about. I mean stuff more specific than "this comic is good," ya know? More like a specific bit from a writer or artist that impressed me.

Today, we look at how Ed Brisson combined horror tropes with classic Marvel superhero tropes in the recent Contagion miniseries.

Contagion was a five-week event series written by Ed Brisson with different artists for each issue (Roge Antonio and Veronica Gandini in #1, Stephen Segovia and Gandini in #2, Mack Chater and Segovia with Gandini and Andrew Crossley in #3, Damian Chouciero and Gandini in #4 and Adam Gorham and Gandini in #5).

The concept is that a mystical fungus gets loose from K'un-Lun...

It ends up in Yancy Street, where it infects a young member of the Yancy Street Gang...

Soon, it has engulfed most of New York City by issue #3...

including all members of the Fantastic Four other than Ben Grimm...

Slowly but surely, heroes and villains are picked off until we get a ragtag group of survivors against the entire city. It's just the Thing, Moon Knight, Sparrow, Iron Fist and Pei (from the K'un-Lun contingent), Jessica Jones and Piledriver of the Wrecking Crew.

Here's the thing that Brisson picked up on, though. The final stand in horror films is very much like the ragtag superhero team in superhero comics. What is different from this and the heroes thrown together in the Kulan Gath storyline in Uncanny X-Men? Or the heroes in Peter David's The Last Avengers Story? Or the X-Men in Operation: Zero Tolerance (where the team came down to Iceman, Sabra, Marrow and Dr. Cecilia Reyes)? This is just classic superheroics here, just with a very much horror bend to it.

Anyhow, Moon Knight figures out that his peculiar brain make-up will allow him to enter the hive mind and perhaps break it down from inside...

Then Pei is captured and Moon Knight won't let her be taken....

And sure enough, while he is getting the full brunt of the psychic attack of the entity, Pei freed all of the other heroes under the control of the magical fungus...

And things went back to normal by the end of the series, but in the meantime, Brisson was able to merge genres really well, as he highlighted some of the distinctive similarities between the two famous genres.

Okay, this feature is a bit less of a reader-interactive one, as I'm just spotlight stuff in modern comics that specifically impressed ME, but heck, if you'd like to send in some suggestions anyways, maybe you and I have the same taste! It's certainly not improbably that something you found cool would be something that I found cool, too, so feel free to send ideas to me at brianc@cbr.com!

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