Vanish is the much anticipated new series by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, who both blew our minds with a new and exciting take on Venom back in 2018. The series is out September 21st, but followers of Stegman and Cates’ KLC Substack have seen most, if not all, of the issues and gorgeous character designs over the last year. With the series launch only a few short weeks away, we all have one question on our minds: is it good?
Without a doubt, if you like superhero tropes being messed with, magic-wielding characters, and a visual style that rips, you’ll love Vanish. The ’90s comics style is impressively visualized with colors by Sonia Oback, inks by JP Mayer, and pencils by Ryan Stegman. First and foremost, the book will linger with you because the visuals are so rich and well done.
If someone were to boil down what Image Comics meant to them in the first few years of its existence and then produce a comic with all the knowledge of superhero comics and pop culture content like Harry Potter into a slick new comics series, it’d be Vanish. The book screams ’90s, from the flashy art and color to the opening page captions utilizing black gutters ala Todd McFarlane’s Spawn. It oozes the visual aesthetic that made the imaginations of most of us 30 to 40-something comics fans thirsty for more.
Visuals toy with gore, blood, and blur. Seriously, the blur does some fantastic things that make certain panels all the more cinematic. There’s a production value to this book that’s unmistakable, maybe because the team had extra time due to their successful Substack. The artists take advantage of in-your-face full-page spreads, explosive moments literally and figuratively, and intense violent moments. The book leans towards a more adult vibe, but kids will likely cling to the main character’s backstory or the cool costume designs.
Speaking of, Stegman’s penchant for costume designs is well catered to in this issue. There are familiar looks that are different enough to look fantastic on their own. Humberto Ramos’ Crimson comes to mind with the primary character’s costume, for instance, while traditional superhero looks are also flashed about. The bottom line is Stegman is clearly having fun with visual tropes and styles.
Great art and nostalgia aside, this first issue is also highly entertaining from a story and character perspective. The magic that makes this scripting work by Cates is how it feels familiar, but all its own. There is the reluctant shabby main character, the idea of a chosen one, and a crew of villainous magic wielders that are part of a richer, more extensive world. There’s a lot of promise to this world that you’ll want to explore, which is always exciting. Throw in a twist or two, a cliffhanger that shifts what you think about the main character, and a sense of newfound heroism around the corner, and you have a winning first issue.
Vanish #1 is going to make a lot of 30-somethings like myself very happy. It’s as if The Pitt, Harry Potter, and The Authority had a baby visualized in stunning 4K Ultra. It has mystery, a robust world worth exploring, and a main character you will cheer for as he will likely violently disassemble “superheroes” in the coming issues.
Join the AIPT Patreon
Want to take our relationship to the next level? Become a patron today to gain access to exclusive perks, such as:
- ❌ Remove all ads on the website
- 💬 Join our Discord community, where we chat about the latest news and releases from everything we cover on AIPT
- 📗 Access to our monthly book club
- 📦 Get a physical trade paperback shipped to you every month
- 💥 And more!