The Dhampir. The Daywalker. The one thing worse out tonight than vampires. The one and only Eric Brooks, aka Blade, is probably the coolest vampire to appear in media. And no, despite the fact he can happily prance around at twilight, he doesn’t actually sparkle.
But he does kick a lot of vampire butt – in both the original Marvel comics and the movie trilogy. With an upcoming Blade movie that’s finally going to introduce this badass character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we figured it’s time to take a look at Blade’s history and see how tough he actually is. Maybe he could’ve taken down MCU’s Thanos by himself? Well, he wasn’t really around in MCU (or was he?) during the Infinity War, so that will remain an enigma for ages. At least until Marvel decides to retcon the whole thing in Phase 5, or whenever the movie starring Marshehala Ali hits the theatres.
We’re not here to craft theories and “What if..” scenarios (yes, our reference game is on point). Instead, we’ll take a look at two different Blades. As more avid comic readers know, the Blade in the movies wasn’t the same vampire slayer we’ve grown to know and love from the original comics. Not even the universes shared any similarities, save a few characters key for the plot. So, it’s only natural to look at Blade through the ages and universes and see how his powers evolved over time.
Blade in Marvel Comics
His kicked-out-of-disco outfit aside, Blade wasn’t a powerful dhampir in the original comic run. The tragic child of a woman killed by a vampire, our protagonist always had ingrained hatred toward bloodsuckers, yet he wasn’t one of them at all. It was during the 1990s when the movie rights were in the talks, that Blade actually became a half-vampire by canon.
At that point, the character in comics was nigh-identical to the one in the movies. He was a “Daywalker,” a vampire that could survive in broad daylight, an indestructible being that craved blood but sated this hunger any way he could. Becoming skilled with swords and knives earned him the nickname, and he was shown killing vampires at a very young age. Throughout the years, he teamed up with various vampire hunters worldwide, even fought side-by-side with Dracula, and ultimately killed Morbius, the vampire responsible for his curse.
In those endeavors, Blade survived being exorcised from his doppelganger, fought Lilith the Mother of All Demons, traveled through time, broke free from mind control, and even assisted in a scheme for destroying all vampires on Earth. He’s immune to vampire bites and hypnosis and, on top of that, possesses superhuman strength and agility, heightened senses, and heals drastically faster than humans, which in turn makes him immune to certain substances. He’s not immortal, though; he just ages slower than regular people.
One intriguing ability of our fellow dhampir has remained exclusive to the comics – absorption. Blade uses this power in several episodes to draw certain elements out of his foes and even transfer cures.
Finally, what we also love about this character is his fighting prowess. Not only is Blade a skilled user of various cold weapons, but firearms, too. He was trained by Jamal Afari and fights in various styles – from kung fu to jujutsu and capoeira.
Blade in Movies
As we’ve mentioned before, the birth of cinematic Blade (iconically portrayed by Wesley Snipes) introduced the Dhampir in his full glory. That means all of the vampires’ strengths and no weaknesses, sans bloodthirst which he’s constantly trying to quench with a special serum.
He wasn’t as strong-willed in his younger years, though, succumbing to his own mind games and actually drinking the blood of homeless people, something his mentor Whistler mentions in the first movie.
Just like his comic book counterpart, cinematic Blade is immune to garlic, silver, vampire bites, and sunlight. He also possesses superhuman abilities, including an increased healing rate, but his aging process isn’t really slowed down. Of course, the movie version is also a master martial artist, swordsman, marksman, and even a polyglot – he speaks English, Russian, Czech, and a few lines of the vampire language.
While he doesn’t have the ability to absorb powers and elements, the movie Blade did survive a massive blood loss, so he’s still an incredibly tough nut to crack.
Can Blade Even Die?
While he’s often shown as equal or even tougher than regular vampires, Blade isn’t really immortal. Since he’s a half-vampire, Blade carries all of the strengths of these mythical creatures but also some of their weaknesses. That means a stake through the heart or a bullet to the head can absolutely end his career.
Aside from being weak to such “puncture” wounds, Blade does show another significant weakness. This is where movies and comics diverge again. In the movies, his vampire side often tries to take over, making him yearn for human blood. That’s why you’ve seen him being tempted by head vampires into turning to his vampire side but also sipping a serum from vials just to stay sane.
On the other hand, comics did make Blade a bit vulnerable to sunlight. Specifically, the red sunlight revealed in issue 27 of Avengers, Blade’s first intergalactic adventure. He won’t immediately burst into flames, though, instead of suffering severe burns that can lead to his death if he remains in red sunlight for too long. Comic buffs believe this directly references Superman, who loses his superpowers if he’s standing in red sunlight.
Blade is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic Marvel characters, even though he wasn’t initially one of the prominent superheroes in this big spandex-laden universe. We can’t wait to see him on the silver screen once again and, in the meantime, try to figure out whether and how the character will fit within the current arc. One thing’s for sure – there’s a lot of vampire slaying coming up.