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Contagion TPB

Writers: Dixon, Moench, Grant, O'Neil, Priest
Pencils: Giarrano, Giordano, Balent, Kitson, Edwards, Wieringo, Jones, Nolan, Fosco, Haley
Inkers: Woch, Hanna, McCarthy, Pascoe, Smith, Beatty, Sellers
Reviewer: bluedevil2002

Cover: Not much to it. A biohazard symbol on top of the Contagion symbol (the one used on the covers underneath the part number). Contagion is stencilled. The shadow from Shadow of the Bat is on it too. Simple, but I think a piece of art would have been better.

Presentation: Straightforward. Only one page is not part of the story; the final page lists other Batman collections. The info about the creators is on the inside covers. Also, since Shadow of the Bat at that time gave the title and credits on a separate page, you wouldn't know just by looking at the issue who had done that part. The cover gallery is split onto two pages, surrounding part 7. However, six covers are jammed into one page. For what the editors bragged as their best covers, they sure didn't want to show them off. The last page of Robin #28 (part 11) is cut out, since it was not related to the story, and led into Robin #29, which definately was not part of the story. However, glossy paper is used, and all 12 issues (including the Batman Chronicles tie-in) are reprinted for only $12.95, about a dollar an issue. Definately a good price.

Story: The best story since Knightfall. A little slow at first, but the action really picks up in part 7, and part 8 (Detective #696), is probably one of the best Batman comics ever. Sadly, there is no reference to then-current sub-plots, such as when the Gordons had been fired, and when elections were taking place. If fact, some new readers might even be confused when they mention a female Gordon.

Art: Hard to judge an entire mini-series by the varied art. Tommy Lee Edwards guest art in part two didn't mesh well with the coloring. Part 6 in Batman #529 didn't have the best art. Of course, I don't really like Kelley Jones's work that much. Batman's ears are still too long, and Batman still looks like he's crippled. The coloring didn't look right at the beginning of this part. The rest of the story had great art, by some of the best in the biz: Nolan, Balent (who sadly only did thumbnails, instead of full pencils), and Wieringo. Just to name a few.
(B+ [lowered due to Jones and Edwards])

Overall: Good for someone who wanted it for the story. Especially those like me, who picked up its sequel, Legacy, first. However not having full covers is disappointing. It's obvious that this was thrown together quickly to get it on the shelves.

Grade: B+