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Vanisher (X-Men enemy) (Marvel Comics)

Vanisher

(Early career profile)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

The Vanisher was a very early enemy of the X-Men, appearing in 1963. A minor mutant, he continued to appear at the margins of the X-Men’s world over the following decades.

This profile is an emergent history profile, covering the first 25 years of his career. It ends as the Fallen Angels mini-series does, and uses no material after that.


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Background

  • Real Name: Unrevealed.
  • Other Aliases: Telford Porter.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Former member of Factor Three; sometime “leader” of the Fallen Angels.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile (sometimes New York City, formerly Washington, D.C.).
  • Height: 5’9” Weight: 165 lbs.
  • Note: OHOTMU lists his official height as 5’5” and weight at 175 lbs. This doesn’t look right based on the illustrations, though, so I’ve arbitrarily listed his height as taller and his weight as lesser.
  • Eyes: Green Hair: Bald


Powers & Abilities

The Vanisher has the power of self-teleportation. He can go practically anywhere, and is fast enough to avoid attacks from the likes of the Beast (in DC Heroes RPG terms, Acrobatics/Dodging).

The exact limitations of his power are unknown. Most reports claim that he has never been seen to carry passengers, only teleporting himself, his clothes, and whatever he may be carrying, such as a briefcase or a gun. However, on one occasion the Vanisher teleported the Blob across a room, and did so without having to teleport along with him.

The fact that he’s never repeated this feat may mean it’s something he can do only with difficulty (and the use of Hero Points ).


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The Vanisher’s range is also unknown, but he apparently believed himself able to teleport between Los Angeles and New York at will, a distance of almost 3000 miles (21 APs). When first struck by Iceman’s powers, he confidently vanished, claiming he could easily reappear in a warmer climate which would melt the ice.

It is clear that the Vanisher can teleport into places he has never seen without risk, and that he can teleport out of grapples and restraints. His teleportation is also all but instantaneous, allowing him to teleport away from attacks or to Blindside or Surprise opponents.

Other traits

Over the years, as his confidence has taken hits, he has become less aggressive and effective in combat, preferring simply to flee before a battle gets underway.

The Vanisher has some knowledge of robotics and computers, and has used guns in the past. His weaponry has included exotic guns which fire sleeping gas (potent enough to knock out the Blob) and energy guns.


History

The real identity of the man known as the Vanisher is unknown. Some reports claim that his real name is “Telford Porter” but others identify this as an alias with his true name still a mystery.

(The X-Men Roster Book from Saga’s Marvel Super-Heroes game indicates that the Vanisher was originally a spy whose thieving activities were a sideline. This is not at all apparent in the original story from X-Men #2, where his primary motivation is definitely profit.)

Spectacular debuts

The Vanisher came to public attention shortly after the dramatic first battle between the X-Men and Magneto, when the X-Men liberated Cape Citadel missile base from Magneto’s control. In a climate of great uncertainty, with the populace at large aware for the first time of the existence and power of mutants, the Vanisher used his teleportation powers to commit a series of spectacular crimes.

Secure in his ability to vanish and evade any capture, he publicly challenged the authorities and rapidly built a criminal organization under his command. He then announced his intention to steal the U.S.A.’s continental defense plans, daring the government to try and stop him.

The Vanisher within the Pentagon

Despite the efforts of the government and the fledgling X-Men, the Vanisher teleported into the heavily guarded room where the defense plans were kept. He escaped with them easily. The Vanisher then demanded a 10 million dollar ransom in exchange for returning the plans rather than selling them to a foreign power.

Confident that no one could stop him, the Vanisher and his men invaded the White House lawn in order to pick up the ransom money. However, this time Professor Xavier was present to back up his X-Men. Professor X telepathically induced amnesia in the Vanisher, blocking his memory of his powers as well as his agenda.

The X-Men easily subdued the Vanisher’s men, and they were all taken into custody, the plans recovered.

Factor Three

The Vanisher’s memory eventually returned, either on its own or with aid from the subversive organization Factor Three. Factor Three was, supposedly, an organization of superhuman mutants allied for the purpose of achieving world domination.

The core members were the Vanisher, the Blob, Unus the Untouchable, Mastermind, Deputy leader Changeling, and their leader, the mysterious Mutant Master. The Mutant Master claimed that Factor Three was the “third factor”, balancing the great political powers in the East and the West by means of their mutant powers and advanced technology.

As a member of Factor Three, the Vanisher again clashed with the original X-Men as he attempted to help trigger a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. (The rank-and-file members of Factor Three believed that they would be able to take over the world once the U.S. and U.S.S.R. had mutually devastated each other.)

Federal agents grabbing the Vanisher

The X-Men narrowly thwarted their efforts and freed Factor Three’s prisoners, Professor X and the Banshee. The Banshee’s sonic scream destroyed the Mutant Master’s disguise, revealing him as an extraterrestrial trying to weaken Earth in preparation for his own people to conquer it.

The mutants of Factor Three and the X-Men teamed up to defeat the Mutant Master and his androids, and on that occasion the good and evil mutants parted with a truce.

Seeking Revenge

Vanisher was next seen by the X-Men in the custody of the Mark II Sentinels, who had captured most of the publicly known mutants at that time. The X-Men defeated the bulk of the Mark IIs, and the Vanisher and other captives were released by Judge Chalmers and Larry Trask.

Some of the captives, like the Blob, Unus, and Mastermind, stuck together to continue as allies. But the Vanisher disappeared for many months, possibly years.

The Vanisher stealing amidst Federal agents

When he finally resurfaced he had commandeered and reprogrammed a number of abandoned Sentinels, and allied with Unus, the Blob, and Lorelei to attack the Champions of Los Angeles. Two of the Champions, Angel and Iceman, were former X-Men, and the Vanisher hoped that this plot would ultimately lead them to the X-Men so they could seek revenge for their past defeats.

With the Sentinels negating their powers to make their story more convincing, Unus, the Blob, and Lorelei burst in on the Champions to beg for help against the mutant-hunters. The Champions battled the robots, but soon began to doubt the villains’ story.

The Champions of Los Angeles

The Vanisher revealed himself and joined the battle, wielding a powerful ray gun, but the Champions still prevailed.

The Vanisher tried to flee but was caught in mid-teleport by the darkforce wielded by Champion member Darkstar. The extradimensional nature of her powers disrupted the Vanisher’s teleportation and caused him to become stuck in transition. Half his body remained in Los Angeles while the rest rematerialized sometime later in upstate New York.

A bizarre encounter with the X-Man Nightcrawler eventually returned the Vanisher to normal. He vanished again, fleeing for parts unknown, in a highly nervous state due to the trauma of the incident.

Fallen Angels

After this the Vanisher apparently lost his taste for revenge and conquest. That was at least in part because he’d developed a reputation among potential allies for disappearing in the middle of fights.

The Vanisher leads a small army of criminals against the X-Men at the White House

He set up a gang of petty thieves called the Fallen Angels in New York City, recruiting adolescent mutants and misfits to steal for him. Their crimes were very low-level — robbing vending machines for cash and the like.

After some of Xavier’s students and associates (Sunspot, Warlock, Madrox the Multiple Man, and Siryn) briefly joined them, the Fallen Angels became somewhat reformed. Their activities became more selfless than the Vanisher might have liked. Not brave enough to argue with the group, the Vanisher went with the flow.


Description

The Vanisher is a short, bald, weasely man. See illos for his costumes. The green one with the cape is his first outfit. Later he began wearing a simple black bodysuit.


Personality

Early in his career, the Vanisher was supremely confident in his abilities. He arrogantly broadcast his plans, daring the authorities to oppose him.

Adopting an icy, threatening demeanor, he also tried to capitalize on the fear of mutants by taunting victims, calling them “homo sapiens” or “human”. In fact, he seemed to taunt all his foes, belittling the original X-Men as fools, freaks, and costumed juveniles, and even insulting his allies.

The Vanisher filmed while teleporting

This is the Vanisher that you see in the quotes below. His confidence was bruised over time, and his inner coward often shows through now. He generally grovels or vanishes when facing danger.

In recent years he’s shown a politician’s plastic friendliness, smiling broadly and doing everything he can to ingratiate himself with those around him. This, of course, is simply to make it easier to exploit them…and get them to take all the risks for him.


Quotes

“Bah ! Your empty threats cannot frighten the Vanisher !”

“I’ll give you costumed juveniles exactly ten seconds to clear out of here, or suffer the consequences !”

“This is no time for personal vengeance, clown ! Quickly, agents — destroy the X-Men with ray blasts !”

The Vanisher vs. the X-Men

“Turn around, you winged freak ! I want to see the look on your face when I gas you !”

“Do your worst, you infernal meddlers ! You may have downed the Blob — but you’ll never stop the Vanisher !”

“You accursed female ! You did this !! Pray to whatever god you worship, for now you die !”


DC Universe History

He’d have been an early Teen Titans’ foe, and maybe part of some version of the Fearsome Five, where he and Dr. Light could duel for the part of most-cowardly-master-villain.

As these things go, he might also be an ancestor of the 30th century villain Benn Pares, a teleporting thief who dares the Legion to stop his attempted robbery of Legion HQ, and is shocked when they do.

He might also be related to Sade, the female mercenary and assassin who aids the Subs in the battle to free Earth from Dominion control, in the Giffen/Bierbaum timeline.

No, there is no relation to Ambush Bug.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Vanisher

Dex: 05 Str: 02 Bod: 04 Motivation: Mercenary/Power Lust
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 03 Occupation: Thief
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 007
Init: 016 HP: 025

Powers:
Teleportation: 14

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Teleportation is normally Self only; Teleporting others (either as passengers or on their own) should be treated as Catastrophically Marginal (-2).
  • Teleportation can take Vanisher to places he’s never been or seen (+2); see the special section below for details.

Skills:
Acrobatics (Dodging): 06, Charisma: 03, Gadgetry: 06, Thief (Security Systems, Stealth): 04, Weaponry (Firearms, Exotic): 04

Notes:
Though not demonstrated, the Vanisher may well have the full Thief Skill. Security Systems is definitely his forte, but you could safely add any of the other Thief Subskills at 03 APs for atmosphere.

Bonuses and Limitations:
Acrobatics (Dodging) is a Powered Skill (-1), Derived from Teleportation (-1), which may only be used in conjunction with Teleportation. This represents Vanisher reactively teleporting away from an attack but not actually leaving the battlefield. See the special section below for details.

Advantages:
Expertise (Sentinel tech), Lightning Reflexes.

Connections:
Former members of Factor Three (Low), Street (Low).

Equipment:

  • In his first few appearances he used a Sleep Gun [BODY 04, Knockout Gas: 08, Ammo: 02, R#03].
  • As a member of Factor Three, he still used the sleep gun but also had one of the alien ray-blasters of Factor Three. Its stats are unclear, as it was only used (unsuccessfully) against a force field. This may be the same gun he used against the Champions, or that one may incorporate Sentinel tech.
    That gun was extremely powerful. With a Blindside and HPs he was able to knock out all the Champions, including Hercules. (I’m assuming the Blindside, a good roll, and possibly a Partial Attack Vulnerability for Hercules.)
    I’d suggest [BODY 03, Energy blast: 09, R#03], the stats of a “Badass Energy Pistol” as presented in the old Weapons Locker on WORG. I might even up the Energy Blast to 10.
  • On one occasion the Vanisher commanded some reprogrammed Sentinel Mk IIs.

How beggarly appear arguments before a defiant deed ! (part 1)

The Vanisher can teleport, sight unseen, to places he’s never been, including locked rooms whose layout he does not know, filled with people whose positions he cannot ascertain.

This violates all sorts of rules and assumptions about how teleporting usually works. Most fictional teleporters (as opposed to the non-fictional ones) typically have to be able to see where they’re going, or go somewhere very familiar, or have coordinates, or some means to orient themselves, or risk materializing inside something or someone.

The Vanisher and allies vs. the Champions

The Vanisher ignores this. If there are any limitations on his ability to teleport to places he can’t see and has never seen, they are unknown — mostly because he’s never shown any limits.

From a gaming perspective, this is bad…it upsets game balance in precisely the way that a munchkin would try to do. But, well, that’s the Vanisher…and that’s what he does.

How beggarly appear arguments before a defiant deed ! (part 2)

Because the Vanisher’s limitations, if any, are never demonstrated, I’ve chosen to represent this ability in the simplest manner possible and leave defining the parameters up to the GM. So Vanisher has a miscellaneous Bonus (+2) to Teleportation which allows him to go to places he’s never been or seen.

The precise application of that Bonus is up to individual GMs to define based on what makes sense in their campaigns.

DCH Mailing List members offered good suggestions for more precise (and more precisely priced) mechanisms to represent this ability of the Vanisher. Among the best were Remote Sensing: 20 (Only to scan destinations to ensure safe Teleport sites) and Danger Sense: 10 (only to warn if he was teleporting to an unsafe spot, shunting him to the nearest safe point).

My campaign version uses the Remote Sensing option, but since those specific abilities and limitations aren’t in evidence for the comic book Vanisher, I’ve kept the simple Bonus for the main writeup.


Fight or Flight

The Vanisher’s Acrobatics (Dodging) is not really acrobatic at all. It doesn’t represent any special ability to leap, twist, evade, or otherwise contort his body to avoid attacks. Rather, it represents his extraordinary quickness as a teleporter. With the speed of thought, he can vanish out of the path of an attack, reappearing a short distance away.

In game terms this is not his normal Teleportation, which he usually employs to leave a battle altogether, or to move to an advantageous position where he can try for a Blindside attack.

Unlike his normal Teleportation, his ’porting dodges don’t have to occur during the movement portion of the Phase. And they don’t depend on him winning Initiative to get away before the attack starts. Instead, if he chooses to, he can add his APs of Acrobatics (Dodging) to his OV for evading physical attacks.

If the attack misses, he’s considered to have made a very short teleportational jaunt, causing the attack to miss. Just as with normal Dodging, doing this expends his Dice Action for the Phase. In other words, he can’t do a teleporting dodge in the same Phase that he decides to attack — making that the best time to hit him.


Vanishing Point

The stats above are for the Vanisher in his heyday as a costumed criminal. His HPs dropped to 20 by the time of the Factor Three debacle, but built back up to 25 for his battle with the Champions. After that his stats plummet.

By the time he’s part of the Fallen Angels, his Wealth has dropped to 02, and his HPs have dropped to no more than 10. His Connection with the other Factor Three members is basically gone, and he’s got at best a Low Connection with the Fallen Angels in its place.

By Chris Cottingham.

Source of Character: Marvel Universe (first appearance X-Men #2).

Helper(s): Darci, Dr. Peter S Piispanen, Pufnstuff, Frank Murdock; The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Deluxe Edition, #14 (January 1987); the X-Men Roster Book from the Marvel Super-Heroes Adventure Game.

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