Marvel's Mystery Contagion Gets a Name - and an Origin

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Contagion #2 by Ed Brisson, Stephen Segovia, Veronica Gandini and Cory Petit, in stores now.

In Contagion #1, a mysterious virus was unleashed on the Marvel Universe. This ancient virus was awakened from the depths of the mystical city of K'un-Lun, most famous for being the place where Danny Rand learned to become the Iron Fist. After monks unearthed a previously undiscovered staircase that led underneath one of the city's temples, they ventured downward to discover where it led. Three of these monks discovered a series of tunnels and catacombs where the virus was eventually found. Then, after taking the lives of two monks, the third left and eventually found himself in the subway system under Yancy Street, New York.

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The monk, referred to as the Disease Man, wasted no time in spreading the titular contagion there. But even after it took down three members of the Fantastic Four and countless other lives, the truth of the matter is we still had no idea what this mystery virus at the center of Marvel's latest event series is. Well now, with Contagion #2, we finally have a name, and an origin.

At the end of Contagion #1, Sparrow, the caretaker of K'un-Lun and friend of Danny Rand, recruited the Iron Fist to help contain the spread of this dangerous virus. As the second chapter of the series begins, Sparrow, aka the Thunderer, reveals all that she knows about this dangerous virus. First of all, the monk who was previously called the Disease Man gets a new name -- the name of the contagion he carries: the Urchin.

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As Luke Cage and other heroes join the fight, Sparrow reveals the origin of the virus. She explains that it was designed as a living weapon created by the villainous H'ylthri, a race of plant-like monsters who have been at war with K'un-Lun for eons. The H'ylthri, who first appeared in 1975's Iron Fist #2, were the original settlers of K'un-Lun, and they have often fought to try and reclaim their land. When humans first established themselves on K'un-Lun, the H'ylthri created the Urchin virus to try and wipe them all out. However, as Sparrow explains, the contagion was too powerful, and it eventually turned on the H'ylthri. To survive, they had no choice but to contain it and lock it in a tomb, deep under K'un-Lun.

Now, the Urchin has spread the virus to New York, and it's only growing more powerful the more heroes it takes over. Contagion has just turned into a race against time, as Iron Fist, Sparrow and the remaining heroes fight to contain the virus -- and cure everyone under its control. We have yet to know how the H'ylthri were able to contain the Urchin, but hopefully Danny Rand and his friends will find out how before it's too late.

Contagion #3 releases Oct. 16.

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