Marvel has never been shy about introducing some other-worldly and supernatural aspects to comic books. Falling into the latter category would be vampires, and it seems that the story surrounding vampires is in its own subcategory of the Marvel comics and completely spearheaded by Eric Brooks, a.k.a. Blade.
Blade has been the title character for three movies, all of which came before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was launched (and starring Wesley Snipes). Despite being considered a bit of an off-shoot character that does his own thing, Blade has still been involved with many of the other Marvel superheroes. Let’s take a look at five of his best team-ups throughout comic book history, showing just how important Blade is to the Marvel universe.
There have been some superhero team-ups that have gone incredibly well over the years like Superman and Batman, Daredevil and Spider-Man, or Captain America and the Winter Soldier, but then there have been some that have gone terribly wrong. One of those that falls in the latter category is the time that Blade teamed up with the X-Men in one of the darkest storylines in Marvel Comics history.
Blade appeared in the 2010 series “Curse of the Mutants” which saw Blade assist the X-Men after they were attacked by Dracula’s son Xarus. While things were going smoothly between the two sides as they fought together, things came to a head when Jubilee became infected, turning her into a vampire. The X-Men demanded that she stayed alive, but as a vampire hunter, Blade didn’t feel that way. The two went their separate ways on bad terms, but it was a fun team-up overall.
Spider-Man has fought some pretty off-the-wall villains throughout his history, and that includes fighting off vampires. The web-slinger is used to battling people with robotic limbs or wings, and even a lizard-human hybrid, but he needed some assistance when it came to dueling with vampires. That’s where Blade comes in, and the two have teamed up on multiple occasions throughout comics and animated shows.
Perhaps the best example of Blade and Spider-Man working together came in the 1998 series “Marvel Team-Up Starring: Spider-Man and Blade”. The two didn’t quite get along at first and had different ways of operating as heroes, but when Henry Sage threatened them, the two decided to work together. Eventually, the two find a cure called the Day-Walker formula that could help Blade heal vampires instead of killing them.
Deadpool, the off-the-cuff smartmouth antihero, has teamed up with just about everyone in Marvel Comics at this point. While he hasn’t had extended interactions with Blade, the two have had a couple of team-ups. The previously mentioned “Curse of the Mutants” from the X-Men series also featured Deadpool, as well as the series “Dracula’s Gauntlet”. As he did with Spider-Man, Blade got off on the wrong foot with Deadpool.
Blade’s eventual wife, Shiklah, was originally a target for Blade. Dracula wanted Shiklah to help build his army, and Deadpool fought Blade to protect her. Thankfully, the three were able to work out their differences and form an alliance against Dracula to take him down, with Deadpool (Wade Wilson) even getting an invite to the wedding.
Prior to the Marvel Cinematic Universe being launched, which helped to make Black Panther into a household name, Blade was actually the bigger name. He had been featured in multiple movies of his own before the likes of Iron Man or Thor, and in 2006, he teamed up with Black Panther (T’Challa) himself. The team-up was part of the Black Panther series which lasted for two issues early in the year.
The short storyline was very much a product of its time as it took place in New Orleans, Louisiana shortly after the events of Hurricane Katrina. Vampires have taken over the ravaged city, and it’s up to Black Panther and Blade to lead the charge against the attack. They aren’t alone in their efforts, either. Other heroes like Monica Rambeau and Luke Cage join them in the Bayou.
“Civil War” was one of the biggest storylines in Marvel comic history, and just about every major character showed up at some point. Blade was thrust into the Civil War when he was tasked with capturing Wolverine but found himself after Morbius instead. However, it was a setup, and Blade was captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. but not because they wanted him imprisoned. Instead, they needed his help, and offer to remove any charges against him.
Blade is then given the task to protect Wolverine at any cost, which ends up being one of the biggest parts of the storyline. Blade is successful in keeping Wolverine alive, ending the conflict which would lead to Wolverine becoming a member of the Avengers. The New Avengers, which debuted in 2005, consisted of Wolverine, Spider-Man, Carol Danvers, Luke Cage, and The Thing.