REVIEW: ‘Vanish,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Vanish #3

Vanish #3 is written by Donny Cates from a story by Cates & Ryan Stegman, penciled by Stegman, inked by JP Mayer, colored by Sonia Oback, and lettered by John J. Hill. It’s published by Image Comics under Cates and Stegman’s KLC Press imprint. Oliver Harrison’s battle against the Hollow has brought him face-to-face with twins Haro & Aris Disogate – now known as “Wormhole” and “Silkworm,” respectively. Wormhole’s super speed and Silkworm’s ability to generate invisible razor wire have Oliver on the ropes. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, he’s succumbing to his addictions in more ways than one…

What drew me to Vanish, other than its delightfully bonkers premise, is its exploration of how the mantle of a “chosen one” can be a burden. People will either view you as a savior or a menace, and as it turns out, the fight doesn’t end even if you beat the Big Bad. Oliver’s obsession with fighting the Hollow has taken a toll on his mental state, and Cates explores just how heavy of a toll it is.

Even though the Hollow are content to live their lives as superheroes, Oliver isn’t interested in their possible redemption. He wants them to pay for what they’ve done, and pay they do, in horribly gruesome ways. Cates also approaches magic in a unique way, showcasing how it can supercharge the body or be just as addictive as any drug. And given where Oliver was at the start of the series, it’s clear that mainlining magic isn’t good for him.

Stegman illustrates what may be the most brutal issue of the series to date, as Oliver is heavily outmatched by the Diosgate twins. In fact, the opening page sets the scene for what’s to come as Wormhole viciously pummels Oliver at superspeed. A progressing series of panels show blood flying from every orifice in Oliver’s body as his face grows progressively more bruised. Trust me; it only gets worse from here for all parties involved. Stegman also makes great use of splash pages within the book to display the destructive effects of magic, as flesh and blood splatter across the page.

The rest of the creative team builds upon Stegman’s work in their own way. Mayer’s inks add texture to the characters, such as the waves that follow Wormhole when she moves at superspeed and the tatters in Oliver’s cloak. Oback’s color art casts shadows around every corner to the point where you don’t know what’s going to come out of the darkness. She also makes heavy use of green to represent Oliver’s magic, which takes the form of various weapons. And Hill’s sound effects literally stretch across the page: a loud “FWAM” when Oliver fires an energy blast jumps right out at the reader.

Vanish #3 delivers a bloody and brutal beatdown along with a story that explores the fraying mental state of its protagonist. It’s a major turning point in the series, and it suggests that the protagonist may be just as much of a danger as the people he’s fighting. As Nietzsche once said: “Battle not with monsters, lest you become a monster yourself.”

Vanish #3 is available wherever comics are sold.


Vanish #3
5

TL;DR

Vanish #3 delivers a bloody and brutal beatdown along with a story that explores the fraying mental state of its protagonist. It’s a major turning point in the series, and it suggests that the protagonist may be just as much of a danger as the people he’s fighting. As Nietzsche once said: “Battle not with monsters, lest you become a monster yourself.”

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