[World of Bats] Batman: Contagion

Hello and Welcome to the World of Bats, the Batman Book Club!

For the next two weeks, we’ll be looking at another spooky event in the Bat-Verse and checking out the 90s crossover Contagion, written by Chuck Dixon, Alan Grant, Doug Moench, and Dennis O’Neil; with art by Kelley Jones, Mike Wieringo, Dick Giordano, Tommy Lee Edwards, Vince Giarrano, Barry Kitson,
and Graham Nolan.

A mysterious and lethal virus is unleashed on the unknowing inhabitants of Gotham City, causing excruciating pain-and ultimately death-within 48 hours of contact. Batman, Robin and Nightwing must race to contain the chaos while finding a cure-with the help of unlikely allies Azrael, Huntress, Catwoman and Poison Ivy. But can the Dark Knight and his team of vigilantes stop an invisible enemy? And what happens when one of them is infected?


Batman: Shadow of the Bat #48
Detective Comics #695
Robin #27
Catwoman #31
Azrael: Agent of the Bat #15
Batman #529
Batman: Shadow of the Bat #49
Detective Comics #696
The Batman Chronicles #4
Catwoman #32
Azrael: Agent of the Bat #16
Robin #28


Reading will last from 2023-10-21T05:00:00Z2023-11-03T05:00:00Z, but if you’re at a nice, swanky party and people start…coughing…you can always come back later!

Looking forward to discussing this event with you all! :batparrot:

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Ah, good. We’re far enough away from 2020 to cover this one!


Also, how does he get around anywhere with those ears?!


His sonar is legendary I guess


I think so. That was…what, seven, eight years ago? :sweat_smile:

Seriously though, this reminds me of around…early-mid March of 2020, when I decided to reread this story again after hearing that a lot of places were closing down due to a novel coronavirus. I was thinking, “Wow, that’s crazy, might as well read some stuff like this in the meantime, because surely this will all be over in a few weeks.”

Oh that sweet, summer child…


It really is a little surreal to read this book in light of what’s happened the last couple of years. I really haven’t read or watched any outbreak or pandemic fiction since 2020. It’s been an interesting read so far

Every time we do a big 90’s Batman event I’m surprised by how many Bat books there were



POV: You’ve just realized that DC has been publishing a glut of Batman books for decades…


Anyway, one thing that strikes me when I’m reading this again is the interesting combination of characters we get for a nice chunk of the story of Tim, Selina, and Jean Paul. It’s an interesting change of pace, since there’s all this drama and horror around what’s going on in Gotham, meanwhile those three are having James Bond-like adventures trying to find the cure.

Also, I get that all of her story hasn’t happened yet, but seeing Renee Montoya dating a dude feels SO WEIRD now.


I liked this story. It was interesting to see Robin, Catwoman, and Azrael team up and do some globe trotting. I was disappointed that the search for a survivor was ultimately pointless.

The story in Gotham itself was probably a little better, to me. All the chaos and rioting made for a lot of good drama. I especially enjoyed the scenes with Tim and Alfred ,that was a cruel joke Alfred played on Dick, though


Yeah, what we got with the whole survivor plotline does kind of go nowhere in the end. After just finishing the story again, looking back I do feel like the ending of this story is a little anticlimactic. I guess that makes some sense – it’s not like our heroes can punch a plague to death – but I figure there must have been a more exciting way for the cure to come though than some no-name Azrael supporting character faxing the cure over to Gotham. There could have been something really cool to having Azrael come in clutch (no pun intended) to save Gotham – what better way to redeem himself from his actions during Knightfall than to save the city from a literal Biblical plague?

But then, there is that sequel to this story, Legacy, to read, which we will quite soon…


I wanted to come back around to this because an interesting thing has happened since I’ve reread this story.

I remember when I was first reading this story as a wee lad, picking up as many comic trades I could find at my local library, and suddenly coming up to Kelley Jones’ art and just being gobsmacked in a way that didn’t really appeal to me, to the point where I would avoid any work by Jones for a long time. But since I started this club and we’ve used it to read some of Jones’ other Batman work like Kings of Fear and Gotham After Midnight, I’ve really come to appreciate Jones’ unique take on the characters and Gotham in general. I guess it shows the dangers of having an artist who’s work REALLY sticks out in a crossover event.

Now, looking back, I feel like Jones’ art is probably the best of the entire story and is really the best fit for it. In another issue, this story references the classic Edgar Allen Poe story The Masque of the Red Death, and I think Jones’ gothic horror influences best fit this story.

Now I’m wondering what this story would have felt like if Jones drew the entire story. Now THAT would have been a sight to see…

And there’s a funny timing to this, because earlier this month Jones and another legendary Batman creator, Matt Wagner, are working together to do their own unique spin on Dracula in the form of a series of graphic novels with Kickstarter which looks absolutely amazing.



Yeah, that’s the basic issue (no pun intended) with crossover stories at this time. His art is very striking and often effective, but it’s hard to buy in a universe that’s supposed to be consistent.


I’m reminded a bit of the 1993 Topps miniseries Dracula: Vlad the Impaler, which I collected at the time of release. Roy Thomas wrote it (as he had written the adaptation of Coppola’s Dracula the year before), and Esteban Maroto did the art (taking over for Mike Mignola, who had done the Coppola adaptation).

Anticlimactic is definitely the right word for it. I get that Batman can’t punch a virus, but this story seemed to just fizzle out. The Robin issue at the end serves pretty well as an epilogue. I enjoyed the Tim and Selina team up


Popping in late to remind everyone that this is the prequel to Cataclysm which was the prequel to Aftershocks which was the prequel to Road to No Man’s Land which was the prequel to No Man’s Land which was awesome and one of the greatest stories of all time.

Contagion was a great story. Can you imagine a disease running rampant while people ignore simple things like government orders not to gather? Fiction is crazy sometimes.