||This article possibly contains original research. (March 2012)|
Vampires (Homines nocturnae, Latin: 'Night Human') in Marvel Comics' Blade universe, are an offshoot of humanity descended from Drake (also known as Dracula or Dagon), an ancient Sumerian immortal who was worshipped as a god. There are two biological groups of vampires: those that are born and those that are turned. "Purebloods" are vampires born of vampiric parents. Vampires that are turned are merely converted from humans by contagion, and are considered a byproduct of vampirism.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Government
- 3 Pureblood and Turnblood vampires
- 4 Familiars
- 5 Daywalkers
- 6 Revenant
- 7 Reapers
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Vampirism in the Blade film series is a biological condition caused by a virus, not a supernatural affliction, although the ritual to awaken the vampire blood god La Magra in the first 1998 Blade film using pureblood vampires indicates that the vampire virus does possess some supernatural elements. In Blade, vampires are species, being a branch of Homo sapiens called Homines nocturnae and they are not affected by religious symbols such as crucifixes and holy water. Other attributes traditionally associated with vampires such as turning into mist or a bat are believed false. Vampires are intricately involved in most aspects of modern human society. Vampires also possess their own language, which many vampires speak. This language also has its own writing system, referred to as "vampire glyphs", which are often used in graffiti to mark vampire hideouts.
In the Blade films, vampirism is a virus often transferred via the saliva of a vampire into the victim's bloodstream through a bite. The incubation period is 72 hours after infection for the virus to mutate the victim to become a vampire; even a person who is killed shortly after becoming infected can be turned and revive as a vampire if the infected individual is not properly drained of blood. In Blade: The Series, infected humans have been shown to become vampires within a few hours after infection when they are killed after becoming infected. In The Series, Marcus Van Sciver reveals that transformation from bites is not a highly reliable means of transmitting the vampire virus. He turns Krista Starr simply by injecting her with his blood via hypodermic syringe and dropping her from a two storey building onto a car, killing her. She rises as a vampire over one hour later. It has also been shown in The Series that when an infected person is dead while turning into a vampire, they experience an After Death Experience (or ADE); in which they have visions both of their own dreams and memories as their cognitive functions reconstruct, and of when the vampire that infected them was turned (the latter is obtained via the infector's genetic memories transferred to the infected person). The ADE also gives a permanent connection between the new vampire and the vampire that turned them, although it is usually difficult to access.
A vampire cannot produce sufficient amounts of hemoglobin as the vampire virus burns away what is produced, which is why vampires must feed on blood (preferably human). Ordinary food is edible to vampires, but provides little to no nutritional value. This need for human blood (or blood in general) is known as "The Thirst" and is considered to be a vampiric weakness. As shown in Blade: The Series, Blade's serum which inhibits and satiates his own thirst, it can also be used on full vampires to inhibit the thirst and the psychological changes the transformation into a vampire causes, although it will only do so if the vampire that uses the serum has recently been turned and not yet fed much yet when they first take the serum.
Vampirism endows the vampire with several improved biological functions that grant numerous superhuman physical capabilities and highly enhanced senses. These are made possible via new specialized organs created during the mutation process.
Such capabilities and traits include:
- Vampires age significantly slower than humans, granting them a greatly extended lifespan. Vampires can live for centuries, if not millennia.
- Vampires possess superhuman strength equivalent to that of ten men. They can leap large distances and deliver powerful blows, i.e. able to throw an adult male human across a room with enough force to crack solid surfaces such as concrete.
- Vampires move with great agility, celerity, and flexibility. They are also able to scale sheer surfaces including walls and ceilings. Krista Starr (Blade: The Series), a newborn vampire, was able to jump from her window onto the roof of another building in a single bound. Deacon Frost was able to easily dodge bullets fired by Blade.
- A vampire's senses are sharper than those of a human. They can see into the ultraviolet spectrum and see clearly in total darkness. Their sense of smell allows them to smell blood.
- Wounds tend only to slow the vampire down temporarily, healing quickly (in some cases regenerating entire body parts). This process is accelerated by the amount of hemoglobin absorbed from blood. Vampires are immune to terrestrial illnesses and diseases.
Vampires do have several weaknesses:
- Blood-thirst - Because vampires have an inability to sustain enough hemoglobin (virus causes hemolysis) they develop a form of anemia. This causes them to have a craving for blood, similar to food craving. If a vampire does not feed on blood for a long period of time, it will develop withdrawal symptoms and become gradually weaker and eventually die. In the movie, the need for blood is referred to as 'the thirst'
- Ultra-violet light - Being exposed to sunlight will severely burn and ultimately kill a vampire. This is not a supernatural relationship with the sun, as any UV light source will harm a vampire due to their inability to produce defenses in the skin. Blade uses a portable UV flashlight unit in the first film, and by the second film is using smaller gun-mounted UV lights. Some vampires have discovered that by applying heavy amounts of sunblock, mascara, or other materials to their exposed skin, they can functionally move around in daylight for a limited length of time without significant harm. Others have worn full-body covering suits i.e. motorcycle helmets to move around during the day. Those that produce a natural defense in the body from UV-light, allowing them to move around in daylight are called 'day walkers' in the film.
- Impaling a vampire through the head or heart will permanently kill a vampire. Otherwise, they can eventually recover from virtually any injury.
- Vampires are fatally allergic to silver and garlic which causes them to go into anaphylactic shock and possibly death. For this reason vampire-hunters like Blade rely on weapons made of silver, such as hollowpoint silver bullets filled with garlic. Non-lethal wounds from silver weapons are more difficult for vampires to heal. Whistler also developed an aerosol mace composed of silver nitrate mixed with garlic, which was quite effective.
- The EDTA blood-thinner used in hospitals for clearing out blood clots in arteries reacts incredibly violently with vampire blood. Injecting a vampire with a syringe filled with EDTA will cause them to literally explode into a cloud of blood in a matter of seconds.
- Vampires have a lower average body temperature than humans, making them easily distinguishable when viewed with a heat vision scanner.
Vampire society on the local or regional level is broken up into over a dozen major clans or "Houses", e.g. the House of Erebus (in Blade) or the House of Chthon (Blade: The Series). The Houses form a united front in the "Vampire Nation": the international governing hierarchy of the entire vampire race.
Over the generations, the vampires have developed an international power cabal: Whistler states that they control about half of the global financial institutions and "own the police", bribing off human officials throughout the world to ignore and/or aid their activities.
Most of the Vampire Nation believes maintaining the truce is in their best interests. Occasionally renegade vampires pop up who disregard the Vampire Nation's rule. One such renegade was Deacon Frost who felt that vampires should rule humans directly. Frost's actions were considered dangerous by the House of Erebus, with one leader warning him that the human governments would make things very difficult for them if their numbers increased too much.
Pureblood and Turnblood vampires
Vampires are divided into two categories; pureblood and non-pureblood (the latter category is referred to as 'turnblood' in Blade: The Series). Purebloods are born as vampires, the offspring of two people who are already vampires; this happens very rarely. Turnbloods, or 'turned' vampires, have had a human existence before becoming a vampire.
Vampires age very slowly. For example, Charlotte, a pureblood vampire of the House of Chthon in Blade: The Series, is about 300 years old and still maintains the youthful appearance of a little girl. A pureblood vampire that looks like an elderly adult is truly ancient. Marcus van Sciver mentioned in Episode 2 of Blade: The Series that while vampires do have a massively extended lifespan, it is still limited.
Very few pureblooded vampires have scars. This is because purebloods have the vampire ability to biologically regenerate from birth, meaning that unless injured with silver, they will heal all injuries flawlessly and age at an incredibly slow pace; whereas any scars a turned vampire gained as a human will not fully regenerate as injuries the turnblood sustains as a vampire will. While all vampires are capable of having offspring both through reproduction and 'turning', the birth-rate between mating purebloods is so low that it is practically non-existent (even after many centuries, they may only have one or two children).
A pureblood vampire is unable to become human, due to the vampire virus being part of their DNA. The viral DNA coding means the virus is constantly being replicated by their body. This is not the case with turnbloods. In the first Blade film, a retrovirus is found that can return non-pureblood vampires to their human state; although it was implied in Blade II and Blade: The Series that there are some cases in which turned vampires cannot be cured.
The differences between pureblood and turnblood vampires result in a class system, according to pureblood or turnblood status. Purebloods tend to take positions of dominance, regarding themselves as superior and looking upon turnbloods with contempt. Turnbloods are often lackeys, minions or lieutenants. Turnblood reaction to this state of affairs is diverse and varies between individuals; some accept the hierarchy as natural, while others look upon purebloods with disdain.
- Nyssa Damaskinos — Daughter of Eli Damaskinos and sister of Jared Nomak. Bitten by Nomak, Blade helps her kill herself by exposing herself to the sun.
- Bloodpack — A group of purebloods that Eli Damaskinos and his familiar, Karel Kounen, originally trained to kill Blade, but were used to deal with the Reaper threat. Most of them were slain in their attempt to neutralize the Reapers.
- Rheinhardt — Member of the Bloodpack. Killed by Blade.
- Chupa — A pugnacious member of the Bloodpack.
- Asad — A well-mannered member of the Bloodpack.
- Snowman — A mute swordsman and member of the Bloodpack.
- Verlaine — A red-haired female member of the Bloodpack. She killed herself and her companion Lighthammer, after he became infected by the Reapers.
- Lighthammer — A hulking, hammer-wielding member of the Bloodpack. He ended up falling victim to the Reapers. He was killed by Verlaine.
- Priest — An Irish member of the Bloodpack. He fell victim to the Reapers and was killed when Blade let some sunlight into the area he was in.
- Drake (aka Dracula) — The first vampire, the oldest of the purebloods being over 7,000 years old. He was killed by Blade.
Blade: The Series
- House of Chthon Conclave Delegates — Representatives of the House of Chthon from the live-action series. They are all very old and powerful purebloods. They were all killed by Blade.
- Overlord Rusk — A pureblood of the House of Chthon. Killed by Blade.
- Charlotte — A pureblood of the House of Chthon killed by Blade.
- Damek — The last remaining pureblood of the House of Armaya killed by Marcus.
- Alex — House of Erebus. Considered something of a maverick by the other purebloods of Erebus, he spent his time trying to distance himself from the others of his House, who, according to him, were becoming increasingly conservative out of a growing fear of losing their grip. He was killed in a gruesome experiment to test the refined Aurora vaccine/Retroviral weapon.
"Familiars" are humans who willingly serve vampires. Familiars serve vampires in exchange for wealth and protection, and the possibility of one day being rewarded for their service by being turned into a vampire. Familiars usually have tattoos of vampire glyphs located somewhere on their body (e.g. the back of the neck or base of the wrist), which is much like a cattle-brand. This glyph warns other vampires that if they attempt to feed on or harm this human, they will have to answer to the vampire he serves. Familiars can function in daylight and may occupy crucial positions in human society which aid the vampires' infiltration, i.e. police officers, prison psychologists, powerful lawyers, teachers etc.
- For more on Daywalkers and similar creatures from general world mythology outside of the Blade series, see "Dhampir".
"Daywalkers" are a type of vampire who can walk in the daylight without harm. Blade is a type of daywalker, his mother bitten while she was pregnant with him. As a result he has all of their strengths but none of their weaknesses. Drake is another Daywalker. As the first vampire, he is stronger than most of his descendants. Daywalkers still have the vampiric need for blood - Blade staves this off using injections of a special serum, but over time his body builds up a tolerance to it and he has to develop a new one. Whistler states that Blade also ages like a normal human would. As seen in Blade II, vampires have a much lower body heat signature than humans, particularly apparent when viewed through a heat vision scanner, but Blade gives off the normal heat signature of a human.
Daywalkers are exceedingly rare. Blade and Drake are the only examples of Daywalkers featured in the series. Vampires are very jealous of Daywalker powers and would have tried to create more Daywalkers if it were easy to achieve. Given their extreme rarity, its not clear how representative Blade is of other recorded Daywalkeres in terms of their creation and their abilities.
On extremely rare occasions, something goes horribly wrong in the normal transition process from infected human to vampire. The result is a “Revenant”, a badly malformed zombie-like creature. The reason for this is not understood and it is unpredictable, though such “mistakes” occur so infrequently that vampires do not usually consider it when they try to turn a human. Pallid and cadaverous, a Revenant is covered in patches of dying flesh that are shedding and sloughing off. Revanants have an insatiable desire to eat anything, from animals, rodents, and corpses, to humans and even vampires. Revenants are still conscious and capable of complex speech, but their minds are clearly deranged. Vampires usually destroy Revenants when they occur.
In the first Blade movie, Karen’s ex-boyfriend Curtis was infected by Quinn, but to the surprise of Quinn and Frost he turned into a Revenant. They attempted to feed Karen to him, but she bashed him in the head with a bone and was able to escape.
Luke Goss as Jared Nomak.
|Publisher||New Line Cinema|
|First appearance||Blade II|
|Created by||Guillermo Del Toro, David S. Goyer|
Superhuman senses, strength, speed, stamina, agility, reflexes, and endurance
Immunity to all conventional vampire weaknesses except sunlight
Reapers are a deadlier breed of vampires that appear for the first time in Blade II. The character Eli Damaskinos (played by Thomas Kretschmann), an ancient vampire elder, created this breed in a quest to eliminate the weaknesses of the vampire race via genetic sequencing of his own pureblood DNA. Carriers of the Reaper strain are known as "Reapers". Their heightened metabolism prompts them to feed every couple of hours or else they'll start feeding on themselves; thus, the strain spreads rapidly. With the exception of the first Reaper, Jared Nomak (played by Luke Goss), they are incapable of human speech, communicating through snarls and growls, though they retain enough intelligence to follow Nomak's orders, attack in an organized way, feign private and civilized behavior in public when not attacking, and set traps for their enemies and prey.
Strengths and weaknesses
Reapers have the following distinct advantages over other vampires:
- A thick case of bone, covering their heart in the front and back, making it near-impossible to be staked directly.
- A 'three-way' jaw, in which the two sides of the lower jaw split apart at the chin. The left and right sides of the lower jaw have fangs that inject a neurotoxin to paralyze their victims while feeding. This jaw is easily concealed, allowing the Reaper to surprise the victim. Their mouth also contains a toothed, inner proboscis: this does the actual bloodsucking when the Reaper's three-way jaw splits apart, and is what transmits the Reaper strain into the victim. In addition, a Reaper's mouth has overdeveloped masseter muscles which allow for a much stronger bite.
- The ability to transfer the Reaper strain to victims through a bite. The virus is carried by barbs through the Reaper's tongue.
- The ability to turn even a dead victim into a Reaper
- A highly evolved 'thirst', which allows them to feed on both humans and normal vampires alike
- Even greater strength and durability than normal vampires. Standard vampires will at least be stunned if shot by standard, non-silver bullets, but Reapers practically shrug off automatic weapons fire.
- Total resistance to silver and garlic
- Improved resistance to EDTA. While normal vampires literally explode into a cloud of blood after several seconds if injected with EDTA, Nomak was only briefly stunned and in moderate pain, before shrugging it off with no long-term damage.
The only Reaper weaknesses are to sunlight/ultraviolet light (which causes them to combust almost instantly), and the constant pain caused by the virus which is only satiated by feeding daily. Impaling a Reaper through the heart is possible, but difficult due to the extra layer of hardened bone. Because the heart is protected in the front and back by bone plate armor, it is necessary to impale a Reaper from the side, which is very difficult. Additionally, with the exception of Nomak, all other Reapers are so dependent on fresh blood that their bodies will start to consume themselves if they are unable to feed for a couple of hours; their bodies will still try and 'feed' even after their brains die.
Reapers have a grayish complexion and little to no hair. They have a thin scar starting from the lower lip that ends at the base of the neck, this is where their 3 way jaw splits apart. While feeding there can be seen a feeding tube with sharp teeth for penetration.
When Reapers die and combust, their ashes glow blue instead of orange as is the case with vampires.
Jared Nomak, the first Reaper, is the main antagonist of the film Blade II and is played by actor Luke Goss. Nomak was the first reaper. Whether he was created by using Damaskinos DNA as a template-as several fetuses were in the film-or was his actual child is unknown. It is known that he considered Nomak his son and gave him a ring which was passed down in Damaskinos' family. When it becomes clear he is not a daywalker Nomak becomes estranged from his father. Nomak sets out for revenge, feeding on vampires and spreading the Reaper strain.
This effort is resisted by Damaskinos through an alliance with Blade. Damaskinos offers his elite pack of killers (the 'Bloodpack'), originally trained to slay Blade, to help hunt and kill Nomak and his Reapers. Nomak also initially offers an alliance to Blade, who refuses.
Due to his powers being enhanced by the Reaper strain, Nomak succeeds in killing Damaskinos and transmitting the Reaper strain to Nyssa. He was then killed in battle against Blade when Nomak kills himself by pushing Blade's sword further into himself, puncturing his heart and causing his own death. He does this to finally free himself from the pain his condition constantly causes him.
Powers and abilities
Nomak possesses the common powers of the Reapers. However in addition to this, Nomak seems to be in much more control of his 'thirst' than the other Reapers he turns, and his physiology allows him to go for longer periods between feedings than his progeny. Nomak has an immunity to silver as well as a more robust internal structure, protecting his vital organs, especially his heart. Nomak is still susceptible to UV light. Nomak also retains all of his higher brain functions, not relying on his basic instincts to feed. This allows him to formulate plans and also communicate in both English and the ancient vampire language.
- Blade (Motion Picture) (in English). 1998. Event occurs at 120 minutes.
- Blade Trinity (Motion Picture) (in English). 2004. Event occurs at 113 minutes.
- David S. Goyer (April 1, 2012). "Blade script by David S. Goyer". Blade script. Retrieved 2012-04-02.
- Blade II (Motion Picture) (in English). 2002. Event occurs at 117 minutes.