Chad Barrow was a student at John Hathorne High School in Salem, Massachusetts, a town split between magic-using families referred to as "Wicks" and those without magical abilities, called "Blanks". Barrow believed himself to be a "Blank" until, after his girlfriend Sally Sherman, a "Wick" with thermokinetic powers, broke up with him, he stole her power and froze her to death.

Learning that he was the Thief, a prophesied magical mutant that can steal and use other magic-user's powers, Barrow set out to steal enough power to resurrect Sally. After he killed David Knox, attempted to manipulate and kill Kim Vesco, destroying the Pillar of Smoke (a source of the Salem witches's power), and captured nearly all the "Wicks" in Salem, Barrow was opposed by a group of witches led by Kim. Kim used her necromancy powers to free the newly resurrected Sally who dragged Chad with her back into the afterlife.[2]


Chad was a witch with a 'parasitic mutation' which meant he was only able to absorb and use the magic of other witches when he was around them. Destroying and consuming the potent magical device known as the Pillar of Smoke augmented his powers, turning him into a focus of magic, and allowed him to hold onto powers even with distance from other witches as well as being able to spread a magical 'disease' to other witches to control them and bring the dead back to life.

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