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Contagion (Batman) [Paperback]

Doug Moench , Chuck Dixon , Alan Grant , Dennis O'Neil
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Dec 1998 Batman
/DC Comics A lethal virus has been released on the unknowing inhabitants of Gotham City, causing excruciating pain and ultimate death within 48 hours. Batman races to contain the chaos and find a cure, with help from Robin, Nightwing, Azrael, Huntress, Catwoman and Poison Ivy. Full-color illustrations. Graphic novel format.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: D C Comics (a division of Warner Brothers - A Time Warner Entertainment Co.) (31 Dec 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563892936
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563892936
  • Product Dimensions: 26 x 1.1 x 17 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 802,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Born in Philadelphia, Pa.

Chuck Dixon has more than twenty-five years of experience in the graphic novel field as an editor, writer and publisher. He has contributed well over a thousand scripts to publishers like DC Comics, Marvel, Dark Horse, Hyperion and others featuring a range of characters from Batman to the Simpsons. His comic book adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit continues to be an international bestseller. Considered to be one of the most prolific writers in his field, this award-winning storyteller currently writes G.I. Joe for IDW, The Good the Bad and the Ugly and Stargate Universe for Dynamite, The Simpsons for Bongo Comics along with many creator-owned projects for various publishers.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have For Batman Fans 19 Aug 2002
By A Customer
This is one of the major events in the Batman universe, and is handled in a suitably epic fashion. The plague ravages Gotham, forcing Robin and Azrael to travel the world looking for a cure. Meanwhile, Catwoman is also after the cure - so that she can make a fortune out of it. Back in Gotham, Batman tries to cope with an insane world of plague and death.
With great (if sometimes sickening...) artwork, this is an outstanding read. It also provides a look at the human psyche, so see how people would react when plunged into this kind of apocalyptic nightmare.
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5.0 out of 5 stars extrordinary 11 Oct 2008
This is a collection, not a graphic novel. However, even with this flaw I keep coming back to re-read this edition, one of my favourites and most read from my extensive collection. While it is disconcerting to have the style of the artwork changing chapter by chapter put that aside and what you have is a brilliantly crafted tale. At times heart-wrenching at times gut-churning the only time this is not a compelling page-turner is when Catwoman features - rarely has she been drawn more alluring.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gotham in the grip of a deadly Virus! 11 Oct 2007
By Mr. S. W. Steel VINE VOICE
This is a Batman graphic novel from a few years ago. The collection originally came out in 1996 and compiles comics from the Batman universe. Not all of the chapters in here are from the Batman series - but also come from the Azrael, Robin and Catwoman series. So what this means is that within this one main story, there are different threads to it, and also different artwork.
The main story deals with an unstoppable virus affecting the populus of Gotham. The build up into the main story is quite nice, as we track the virus into the city - a series of deadly sneezes pass this on to the next unlucky soul. Batman, Azrael (yes, THAT Azrael from the Knightfall trilogy), Robin, Catwoman and Nightwing all struggle to overcome the impending disaster that threatens to engulf Gotham.
Whilst the plague (or as it is known in the graphic novel, 'The Clench') spreads to all corners of Gotham we see all corners of society dealing with impending death. The rich hole themelves up, and assume that they can beat the virus. The poor suffer and die in the streets - but not before looting places, and threatening to murder the over-priveleged who have hidden themselves away!
This is the basic set up for the story and i won't say anymore as there as some nice twists throughout the graphic novel.
There is plenty of showcasing of characters here - Robin, Catwoman, Azrael and Nightwing all get plenty of coverage here, and so do other characters such as Poison Ivy, and for me the highlight is the small, but very well done, piece with Commissioner Gordon. It is nice to see the comparison between Batman and the Commissioner. Both are fighting this crisis in different ways, and it is quite clever to see how they both do this. For me, this was the stand-out section of the story.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hmm. Collected, disparate issues, and it shows. 2 July 2007
Well. If you put a "book" like this next to something like "year one" or "Top Ten" then it just doesn't stand up. personally, I don't like the highly coloured, flashy style. The super-muscled, ubermench style of drawing which makes the likes of Nightwing look impossibly inhuman is just a turnoff. Also, what is going on with catwoman's bizzare Pammi Anderson style bazoomas? So strange. There has always been something so human about the Batman comic and this kind of bursting physicality is just absurd.

The story is good but the fact that it is culled from different comix (Azrael, Batman, Nightwing etc) means that the consistency is patchy and the drawing of actual characters inconsistent. I don't mind two artists having a different take on Poison Ivy - but not in the same book. That's annoying.

If you are someone who follows all these stories every month in the single issues, I'm sure the criss-crossing of narrative post-modernly from thread to thread was very exciting. However it does not, does not add up to an acceptable whole. After reading something like The Dark Knight Returns or Year One, this doesn't cut the mustard. Read Year One instead is my advice. Or No man's land. Or the Hush.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.9 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good storyline similar to "No Man's Land" 4 Aug 2005
By Corum Seth Smith - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Batman and Robin, contacted by Azrael, learn that a mutation of the Ebola virus is about to hit Gotham. The richest people in Gotham board themselves up and isolate themselves from the masses. However, one of their member is already infected, and the decadent millionaires offer the city five million dollars to find a survivor so that an antidote can be made.

This novel is a "cross-over" style, it takes place in Batman, Robin, Huntress, Azrael, and Catwoman titles. Each of the heroes approaches the problem as best they can. They reach a new height of desperation when one of their own is infected.

One of the ways I am the most impressed is how Chuck Dixon has developed the Robin character. Tim Drake is a great Robin, with a sense of humor and an even stronger sense of justice. The way he develops Robin into a selfless hero should silence most of the remaining critics that say Robin is only an offshoot of Batman, or a nuisance. When Robin is facing death and Catwoman bends over to touch him, he tells her to leave him alone, he will not stand by and watch people die. Even Catwoman, the irreverent spoil of the Batman squad, looks at Drake with awe and respect.

One complaint: the plot is a little choppy. They spend most of the time going one direction, only to find their efforts vain. The transition from one course of action (finding a survivor to get a cure) to the other (deriving an antidote from a strange, esoteric text from Azrael) seems a bit too inconsistent.

Overall, however, this book is a true test of the characters that watch over Gotham. Will they give in to the despair and fear like the other Gothamites? Even Nightwing, the most optimistic of the characters, thought Gotham to be doomed. "Contagion" is an interesting storyline that pits Batman and crew against a destructive, invisible force that cannot be conquered by orthodox means.
23 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Quick! Get Me The Antidote! 10 Jun 2003
By Daniel V. Reilly - Published on
DC has reissued Batman: Contagion in the wake of it's mega-successful No Man's Land collections, and it serves as a good reminder of just WHY the Batman books needed to be shaken up so drastically in the first place...
Contagion revolves around an outbreak of "The Clench", a fictional Ebola offshoot, in Gotham City. Batman and company attempt to contain the spread of the Disease, while trying to track down a trio of survivors of a previous Clench outbreak, with the hope of synthesizing a cure/vaccine from their blood.
The book is very choppy, especially the first chapter, which appears to be heavily trimmed from it's original presentation in Batman: Shadow of the Bat. DC hasn't taken any steps to make their collections new-reader friendly, either, which could be a very big mistake. Longtime readers will know Oracle, Azrael, Nightwing, The Huntress, etc.; A new reader browsing this in a store would no doubt put the book right back on the shelf. The story has a few compelling moments, but for the most part it seems unnecessarily padded. Did we really need the Native American tracker? What did Biis contribute to the story? The writing is average at best; Most of the stories in Contagion were written by people who had long since overstayed their welcome on the Bat-books, such as Doug Moench & Alan Grant; The art ranges from okay to sub-par; Kelley Jones' chapter seems especially ugly thanks to poor color reproduction which mars his intricate pencils. The ultimate revelation of who is behind the spread of The Clench is sure to be a head-scratcher to new readers, since no background at all is offered to explain who these people are and what their motives are. DC really needs to get on the ball with their trade-paperback program; Preaching to the Choir is nice, but they need to try for new converts. Junk like Contagion is NOT the way to expand their readership......
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Average at best crossover story 2 Jan 2009
By Simon - Published on
Batman: Contagion is a crossover story arc in the Batman comics taking place after the Knightfall Saga and before No Man's Land. A plague has come to Gotham and Batman and his allies must race to find the cure.

The premise sounds interesting, but the execution itself is average at best. The story was spread out over 12 issues between every major Batman title and spin-off comic available at the time, so the focus, writing, and art style are all over the place. There are story tangents (particularly in the Catwoman and Azrael sections) that take too much time and have very little payoff. Some art like the wonderfully grotesque gothic style of Kelly Jones clashes against the more mainstream and cartoony styles in the rest of the story. Alan Grant over-writes his chapters compared to the other contributors, and so on. The ending is unfortunately anti-climactic, with a deus ex machina cure that only makes sense to anyone who's followed D-list hero Azrael.

Skip this one. Readers looking for a good Batman crossover story should try No Man's Land instead.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It did not live up to its hype. 14 July 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Collects the Contagion storyline that ran in all Batman related books. Overall, the book isn't so bad. There were some great moments such as Batman and Nightwing teaming together, Robin's dreams, and... I guess that's it. There were so many letdowns mainly because each writer seems to want to steer the story to his own direction rather than work as a whole. Major letdowns are the supposed major roles played by the Penguin and Poison Ivy, the quest for the plague cure, the annoying involvement of Catwoman and the resolution of the story. I had expected better.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A silly mish-mash 2 Jun 1998
By A Customer - Published on
This is essentially what you get if you take an essentially decent idea for a Batman story and then spread it over about seven different comics belonging to four different characters, and several writers and artists. The plot is disjointed and the art varies between excellent and mediocre. That said, it was a pleasant enough inconsequencial read.
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