The dream team that brought us the most epic Venom storyline in years starting back in 2016 is together again for something entirely different. Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman have been working on a top-secret project for several years, and it just manifested in the pages of Image Comics in the form of Vanish #1. This new series blends the concept of magic with dark and mature storytelling, along with some major twists on the genre. Donny Cates gave his own description of what fans could expect. “Sick and tired of all these ‘young adult’ stories about magic, and wizards, and destiny and love and bla bla bla? Well, good news! We are too!” Cates said after the new series was announced earlier this year. He then left fans with this teaser: “What if magic was….metal?” His partner in crime Ryan Stegman added: “Donny’s and my goal with this project is to create something that we could never do at Marvel and, well…We’ve succeeded at that I assure you.” 

A Fallen Hero is Called Back into Action 

Vanish tells the story of Oliver Harrison, who was once a student in a far-off mystical realm which exists outside of the “real” world.  Children learn the power of magic at a place called Everkeep, a school run by a group of powerful sorcerers. Don’t let the premise fool you though. The similarities to Harry Potter end there. Oliver, who as a child saved his realm from the evil sorcerer Baron Vanish and his followers known as the Hollow, is now an adult living in the real world. Needless to say, he’s not the same person he used to be. In the present day, he’s a mentally unstable alcoholic barely holding it together. He gets black-out drunk on a nightly basis in order to hide from his past. Oliver’s life is once again flipped upside down when a familiar group of foes return though.

Not Your Average Tale of Good vs Evil 

One evening on his way home from a bar, Oliver takes a familiar shortcut through an alley. As he stumbles through the darkness, already halfway drunk, two muggers attack him from behind. The pair attempt to rob poor Oliver when suddenly the superhero known as Battle Rocket breaks up the party. While the hero takes out the two thieves, Oliver catchers a glimpse of his would-be-savior’s true identity. It turns out that Battle Rocket and his allies are actually the Hollow masquerading as a team of superheroes called the Prestige. What happens next promises to blur the usual notion of superheroes vs supervillains. Vanish #1 is on sale now, and it looks very promising.