Cover of Batman: Contagion (1996), trade paperback collected edition.Art by Rodolfo Damaggio.
|Publication date||March – April 1996|
"Contagion" is the name of a story arc that ran through the various Batman "family" comic book series. It concerns the outbreak of a lethal disease in Gotham City, and Batman's attempts to combat it. The events of this lead into Batman: Legacy and Batman: Cataclysm, which itself leads into No Man's Land. It ran from March of 1996 through April of that year.
Contagion reading order:
Shadow of the Bat #48
Azrael sent a report to Batman - a plague connected to the Order of St. Dumas was on its way to Gotham City. Robin found a plane originating from the area which had just landed in Gotham. Batman went to investigate at a military facility where the Ebola Gulf-A virus was being studied. He found a man in quarantine who'd been accidentally infected.
Detective Comics #695
Batman and Robin checked out a possible carrier who lived in a self-sustained condo neighborhood for the extremely rich. They confirmed he'd been infected and began seeking a survivor from a previous outbreak. The residents of Babylon Towers also sought this person out. They pooled their riches and hired bounty hunters. Robin and Alfred arrived in Canada to find him. Catwoman was already there.
Robin and Catwoman teamed up to find the survivor as the plague spread in Gotham City. Batman asked Azrael to follow and watch out for Robin. He and Catwoman found the survivor only to come in second to a man calling himself Tracker. He hit them from behind; Azrael appeared.
Robin tried to get the survivor to safety, but they were ambushed outside the cabin. The survivor didn't survive. Robin was able to get a blood sample from him after he mentioned two other possible survivors.
Tracker caught up with Azrael and Catwoman. They formed a truce. Azrael, on a lead from the first survivor's journal, led them to a yacht housing a gang member who also survived the Greenland outbreak. They found him, but he tried to show them he was immortal by stabbing himself in the chest. He wasn't immortal.
Gotham City had been quarantined. Robin delivered the blood to Batman, who began working with it in attempt to create an antidote. Azrael soon arrived with a second blood sample. Nightwing offered his services in the battle. Batman got Poison Ivy out of Arkham Asylum so that she (being completely immune to all things) could deliver the antidote to the residents of Babylon Towers. Nightwing and Robin attempted to stop rioters outside the strong hold; Huntress joined them as Ivy entered. The police went to James Gordon for leadership.
Shadow of the Bat #49
Poison Ivy continued selling the antidote to the highest bidders inside Babylon Towers. Batman went in after her. Huntress and Nightwing realized Robin had been infected. Gordon met Batman inside looking for Ivy. The antidote failed.
Detective Comics #696
Nightwing got Robin to the cave under Alfred's care and went back out to find Batman. The governor sent in the National Guard. Batman and Gordon got Ivy and escaped Babylon Towers. Gordon was happy to learn that THE Batman was back. Alfred continued to care for Robin. Nightwing met up with Batman and they headed for the cave.
The Batman Chronicles #4
Batman learned of a secret government entity that might be able to provide a cure for the Clench. Hitman killed him before Batman could get there. Huntress went looking for one of her students who'd lost his entire family to the plague. She found him dying of it. Tim dreamed he was cured. His father and girlfriend knew he was Robin, and his mother was alive.
Catwoman found the trail of the last known Greenland survivor. She picked her up in Florida and headed back to Gotham City. There, she found Babylon Towers completely destroyed - there would be no reward. Batman found them and let them know it was useless, no vaccine could be made from the girl.
Gotham doctors realized there'd be no cure. Azrael saw a magnification of the virus and realized he'd seen it before. Lilhy began searching through the texts Brian had taken from the Order of St. Dumas. She was able to translate what they believed to be the antidote. Azrael grabbed it up and headed to Gotham City. He delivered it to a hospital and it had a 100% success rate.
Tim was cured. Nightwing and Batman went out to clean up some of the mess in their city. Robin went to the aid of the GCPD when he heard they were in a shootout with a local gang while trying to deliver the antidote. Still shaken from his ordeal, Robin took a break on a rooftop. Catwoman found him and gave him a hand taking down the gang-bangers. Tim returned home.