With all of the city-destroying battles and non-stop violence, superhero comics can get pretty bloody. While most of the bloodshed usually stays in fight scenes, blood has informed some characters on a much deeper level. By putting the word “blood” in a character’s name, generations of comic creators found a way to give their characters a cool, vaguely dangerous aura with nothing but a name. Especially after the blockbuster release of Rob Liefeld’s Youngblood, every other new character or storyline seemed to have the word “blood” somewhere in the title. For other characters, their fantastic blood-based abilities gave them an even deeper connection to the symbolic vital fluid. While most of these blood-fueled abilities played on the tropes of classic vampire tales, others used blood in a much more inventive fashion.
Now, CBR is counting down some of the bloodiest heroes and villains in comics. For this list, we’ll be looking at characters who either have the word “blood” in their name or have some kind of blood-related powers. Since there are so many characters who fall under one of those two criteria from American and international comics, this list will focus on relatively major western characters with some kind of connection to blood.
As one of Spider-Man’s most lethal foes, Carnage has drawn more than a little blood in his time. Before he was Carnage, Cletus Kasady was a serial killer who was created by David Michelinie and Erik Larsen in 1991’s Amazing Spider-Man #344. After the symbiote Venom reproduced in Kasady’s jail cell, he bonded with the alien to form Carnage in 1992’s Amazing Spider-Man #360, by Michelinie and Mark Bagley.
While Marvel’s other famous symbiotes traveled between a few different hosts, Carnage bonded with Kasady’s bloodstream. This blood connection gave Carnage his distinctive red color and a host of abilities that include shape-shifting and comprehensive regenerative abilities. While he’s fought Spider-Man and Venom fairly regularly, Carnage’s most notable starring role came in “Maximum Carnage,” a well-remembered 1993 crossover that was adapted as a video game in 1994. Since then, Carnage has starred in a few of his own horror-oriented miniseries.
14. BROTHER BLOOD
Brother Blood was created in the middle of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez’s era-defining Teen Titans run in 1982. After being introduced in New Teen Titans #21, the centuries-old sorcerer and cult leader was a regular Titans foe for the next decade. When a new, younger Brother Blood emerged in the 2000s, he was still a cult leader, but had additional vampiric powers and could copy other abilities by tasting someone’s blood.
While versions of Brother Blood have appeared in a few animated shows, Kevin Alejandro brought a more grounded take on the character to Arrow in the show’s second season. As Sebastian Blood, he was an active player in Starling City’s politics. As Brother Blood, the unpowered villain worked closely with Manu Bennett’s Slade Wilson before he was defeated by Stephen Amell’s Arrow.
13. BLOOD BROTHERS
While the Black Order might be serving as Thanos’ generals in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, the Blood Brothers were the Mad Titan’s original henchmen. The Blood Brothers made their first appearance alongside Thanos in 1973’s Iron Man #55, by Mike Friedrich and Jim Starlin.
When together, the two alien Roclite siblings were super-strong, but their strength weakened when they go farther away from each other. Although the reasons for this are somewhat unclear, they also needed to drain their victims’ blood. After a few decades as minor players in the Marvel cosmos, one of the Blood Brothers was killed by Drax in 2006. The surviving brother joined Mister Knife, Starlord’s comic book father, and received upgraded abilities to become one of his elite Slaughter Lords. Despite these developments, both Blood Brothers were seen alive with their classic powers in the 2016 crossover “Avengers: Standoff!”
In 1992, Rob Liefeld’ Youngblood #1 kicked off a new era for creator-owned comics. Although the team of government-sanctioned celebrity superheroes had already made a few cameos in other small press comics, the group’s full debut, by Liefeld and Hank Kanalz, was the first Image Comic ever published. Despite a mixed critical reception, Liefeld’s kinetic artwork made the book a blockbuster hit that spawned dozens of imitators.
Although the book featured a sprawling cast, Youngblood characters like the archer Shaft, the assassin Chapel, the agile Vogue and the stone teen Badrock all helped the book become a minor pop culture sensation. Despite the comic’s severe production delays, Youngblood spawned toys and came close to starring in an animated series. After Alan Moore revamped the title in the late 1990s, the team appeared irregularly throughout the 2000s. In 2017, Chad Bowers and Jim Towe launched a well-received revival of the title.
11. BLOODSTIRKE AND BLOODWULF
While several publishers tried to mimic Youngblood‘s success by putting the word “blood” in their comics, Rob Liefeld used the concept to tie the universe of his Extreme Studios titles together. Created by Liefeld in 1993’s Bloodstrike #1, the black-ops team Bloodstrike featured assassins who had been raised from the dead. Bloodstrike eventually shifted its focus from its titular team to Cabbot Stone, an undead assassin who took the name Bloodstrike for himself.
In one of the more recent Bloodstrike stories, a new, mysterious Bloodstrike went up against another Liefeld creation, Bloodwulf. Originally created in 1993’s Darker Image #1, the intergalactic bounty hunter was a more extreme version of DC Comics’ Lobo. The super-strong, human-eating character’s adventures usually take on a darkly comic tone, often parodying some element of pop culture. After being optioned for film in early 2017, both Bloodwulf and Bloodstrike will appear in a back-up feature in Youngblood.
Even though he doesn’t have the word “blood” in his name, Dracula has the most famous blood-related powers in all of western pop culture. While he’s appeared in hundreds of comics, the Lord of the Vampires made his modern Marvel Comics debut in 1972’s Tomb of Dracula. Under the direction of Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan, the horror-influenced title was one of the more popular and critically acclaimed titles of the 1970s and lasted for 70 issues.
In addition to introducing Blade the Vampire Hunter, Tomb of Dracula set the stage for the literary vampire to become a recurring player within the larger Marvel Universe. Dracula has used his well-established plethora of vampiric abilities in famous battles with the X-Men, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man. Marvel’s Dracula also starred in the 1980 anime film, Tomb of Dracula and tangled with Wesley Snipes’ Blade in 2004’s Blade: Trinity.
9. BARON BLOOD
Naturally, several comic book vampires have the word “blood” somewhere in their names. One of the older examples of this is the longtime Captain America villain Baron Blood. Created by Roy Thomas and Frank Robbins in 1976’s Invaders #7, John Falsworth was turned into a vampire by Dracula and fought the Allies during World War II. After a few battles with Captain American and Marvel’s English heroes like Union Jack and Captain America, he was killed in 1981.
Over the next few decades, there were a few other Baron Bloods, including Doctor Strange’s undead brother Victor Strange. In 2014, the original Baron Blood returned during Rick Remender and Stuart Immonen’s run on All-New Captain America. Since being revived by Baron Zemo, Blood has appeared fairly regularly as a member and ally of Hydra.
While plenty of Marvel heroes have been turned into monstrous, bloodthirsty versions of themselves at one point or another, almost all of them regained their humanity after a while. In one alternate reality, that wasn’t the case for the X-Men’s Storm. In the world of the Howard Mackie-penned ongoing series Mutant X, Storm was bitten by Dracula and became the vampiric Bloodstorm.
In that late-1990s series, Bloodstorm was a member of the heroic Six, a group led by the main Marvel Universe’s Havok. To satisfy her bloodlust, she kept Kitty Pryde and Forge alive as food sources. Although she also turned her world’s Gambit into a vampire, she fought against her condition’s savage side effects and killed Dracula in revenge. After Mutant X ended, she was drafted onto a team of alternate reality heroes tasked with saving the multiverse and cured of her vampirism in Paradise X.
Originally called Bloodsport, the vampiric Bloodscream tangled with Wolverine several times in the early 1990s. Created by Chris Claremont and John Buscema in 1989’s Wolverine #4, Bloodscream was originally a pirate doctor in the 16th century before a necromancer turned him into an immortal, vampire-like creature. Although he usually appeared human, he had drained people’s “life force” and could transform into a feral monster with a massive unhinged jaw.
Bloodscream initially met Logan during the Battle of Normandy in WWII. Years later, the duo crossed paths again when Bloodscream and his partner Roughouse were working for a crime lord in Madripoor. After a few encounters, Wolverine seemingly killed the immortal creature with the Honor Sword, a weapon from a meteorite by mystical swordsmiths. Since his lengthy absence and recovery period, Bloodscream has served as a minor villain throughout the Marvel Universe.
6. ELSA BLOODSTONE
To keep track of all of its vampires and other monsters, the Marvel Universe has a few fan-favorite monster hunters. One of those monster hunters is Elsa Bloodstone, the daughter of the immortal 1970s character Ulysses Bloodstone. Although she was created Andy Lanning, Dan Abnett and Michael Lopez in 2001’s Bloodstone #1, her biggest starring role came in the cult-classic 2006 series Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.
In Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen’s comedic series, Bloodstone helped the offbeat team of heroes battle Unusual Weapons of Mass Destructions. Fiercely proud of her European roots, Bloodstone used a small arsenal and inherited powers from her father’s longtime exposure to the mystical Bloodgem. After Nextwave ended, she eventually joined some considerably more serious teams like the Fearless Defenders and A-Force. Despite her history as a comedic character, Bloodstone has appeared in several fairly serious, recent mobile games like Netmarble Games’ Marvel: Future Fight.
5. BLOOD SYNDICATE
Starting in 1993, Milestone Comics produced some of the most diverse, criminally underrated superhero comics of the 1990s. While Static received some wider cultural recognition thanks to his cartoon Static Shock, the company’s other characters quickly fell into relative obscurity. Created by Dwayne McDuffie, Ivan Velez Jr. and Trevor von Eeden, the Blood Syndicate was made up of former rival gang members who got super-powers in an event called the Big Bang.
Over the course of their series, the members of the Syndicate struggled to hold their loose-knit group together. Even though the series was canceled in 1996, it went through several major upheavals. The pryrokinetic Holocaust became one of Milestone’s biggest villains, and Tech-9, the team’s leader who created telekinetic bullets, died when his skin melted off. Like Milestone’s other characters, the members of the Blood Syndicate have only made a few appearances since Static Shock ended in 2004.
4. JASON BLOOD/ETRIGAN THE DEMON
Jason Blood and his alter-ego, Etrigan the Demon, were part of a wave of characters Jack Kirby created when he left Marvel for DC Comics in the 1970s. Although Kirby wasn’t interested in creating horror characters, he created Etrigan at DC’s request in 1972’s The Demon #1. In a series that leaned more towards supernatural fantasy and bombastic action than horror, Etrigan was bonded with the immortal knight Jason Blood by Merlin.
In modern times, Blood moved to Gotham City, where he served as Batman’s ally and adviser on all things mystical. After Kirby left the title, creators like Matt Wagner and Garth Ennis took the hero in a more horror-influenced direction. Despite Etrigan’s violent nature, Blood has assisted the Justice League and been a major player on the supernatural side of the DC Universe. Both Blood and Etrigan have appeared in multiple animated versions of the DC Universe.
With his metallic skin and blood-red eyes, Valiant Entertainment’s super-soldier Bloodshot cuts one of the more imposing profiles in all of comics. Created by Kevin VanHook and Yvel Guichet in 1992’s Rai #0, Bloodshot lost his memory after being injected with microscopic nanites by Project Rising Spirit.
With super-human strength, agility, martial arts expertise and a powerful healing factor, Bloodshot was one of Valiant’s most popular series in the 1990s. He even met Youngblood in the infamous Valiant/Image crossover Deathmate in 1994. After a 15 year absence, Bloodshot returned as one of the flagship characters for the revived Valiant in 2012, and these more recent stories have achieved critical acclaim for re-examining Bloodshot’s violent past. A Bloodshot movie has been in development for years, and former Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers star Jason David Frank will bring the character to life in the upcoming web series, Ninjak Vs. The Valiant Universe.
Powered by the mystical Bloodgem, Bloodwynd was one of the Justice League’s more peculiar members in the early 1990s. Created by Dan Jurgens in 1992’s Justice League of America #61, the real Bloodwynd was trapped in the Bloodgem, an object made out of the concentrated rage of his ancestors. Under the influence of the villain Rott, the gem took control of the shape-shifting Martian Manhunter and forced him to pose as Bloodwynd.
After being freed from the Bloodgem, the real Bloodwynd served a brief tenure with the League. With the Bloodgem, the mysterious hero had a host of vaguely defined mystical powers, drew energy from the spirits of the dead and could make criminals experience the pain they inflicted on others. Though he hasn’t made many appearances since leaving the League, Bloodwynd and his bloodstone stayed around long enough to appear in Bloodbath, a brief follow-up to the 1993 crossover “Bloodlines.”
1. ADAM-X, THE X-TREME
Even though he doesn’t have the word “blood” in his name, the X-Men associate Adam-X, also known as the X-Treme had haemo-pyrokinesis, the mutant ability to set exposed blood on fire. Considering his powers, the 50 or so blades and other sharp objects on his costume didn’t seem really seem all that excessive.
Adam-X was created by Fabian Nicieza and Tony Daniel in 1992’s X-Force Annual #2, and was originally meant to be Cyclops and Havok’s half-alien half-brother. While that was never fully confirmed or denied, the Shi’ar-human hybrid only had a few adventures with X-Force and the X-Men before fading into obscurity. In 2011, Kieron Gillen and Greg Land gave Adam-X his most recent appearance in Uncanny X-Men #542, where he fought a rampaging Juggernaut. Unfortunately, the unstoppable Juggernaut covered everything in his path with flaming blood for the next 15 minutes thanks to Adam-X’s extreme powers.
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