While pregnant with her son Eric Brooks, Vanessa was bitten by the vampire Deacon Frost. She later seemingly died while giving birth to Eric but later returned to life as a vampire. Eric reacted to the mutagenic virus that turned people into vampires while still in the womb and became half-vampire; he later became the vampire hunter Blade. While hunting down Deacon Frost, Blade unexpectedly encountered his mother and learned that she was now Frost's mistress. Vanessa tried to convince her son to give in to his vampiric urge to drink blood, but Blade decided to kill his mother in order to rescue her from her vampire curse.
All vampires share common superhuman abilities regardless of whether they were born a vampire, or were once human and were subsequently turned into a vampire. The only exceptions are vampire offshoots such as half-vampires and those who are carriers of the Reaper Strain.
- Vampirism: Vampirism is the physiological act of becoming and/or turning another human being into a vampire. Despite its roots in European folklore, vampirism exists in nature, and there are many such creatures who are actually born as vampires. Pathologically, vampirism is likened to a virus, carried in the saliva of predators. The vampire enzyme is carried through a victim's bloodstream and within seventy-two hours, mutates the subject's physiology, creating new parasitic organs. It has been described as cancer with a purpose.
- Immortality: Vampires are immortal creatures whose bodies cease to physically age beyond a certain point. Pure blood vampires will age into adulthood, while turned vampires maintain the physical form they had when they were still human. Theoretically, a vampire can live forever providing that it is not destroyed.
- Protractile Fangs/Claws: Vampires possess adapted musculature around the canine teeth that can extend these to become fangs. Similarly, they can also extend their fingernails to claw-like proportions.
- Superhuman Strength: Most vampires possess superhuman physical strength anywhere from 10 to 20 times greater than they possessed in their mortal lives. The vast majority of known and recorded vampires are capable of lifting from 1,000 lbs to 4,000 lbs. A vampire's enhanced strength also enables them to perform other superhuman feats such as leaping great distances. Supplementing their strength, vampires are naturally heartier than normal humans and can withstand severe physical exertion with no ill effects. It is unknown if vampire strength levels differ between pure bloods and turned vampires.
- Superhuman Durability: With the exception of certain restrictions, vampires are essentially invulnerable to most forms of bodily harm, including the effects of disease, and the natural cellular mitosis that comes with aging. Vampires are not living creatures, and as such, they do not require oxygen to breathe. Vampires can exist without undue stress in oxygen free environments such as being submerged under water or buried beneath the earth. Excessive force will cause physical damage to a vampire, but their bodies will regenerate damaged tissue providing they can supplement themselves with regular supplies of blood.
- Superhuman Reflexes: A vampire's reflexes, agility and reaction time are many times greater than a normal human being. At maximum optimal capacity, a vampire can move more quickly than the human eye can perceive.
- Hematophagia: Vampires require the consumption of human blood for nourishment and to maintain their existence. he required dosage of blood per vampire depends upon their overall strength and vitality, though most vampires need to feed at least once per evening. Older, more powerful vampires will sometimes require more blood than lesser vampires in order to maintain their health. The most common form of extraction is by biting a human victim upon the neck, usually on the jugular vein where the blood is freshest. Some vampires keep supplies of stored blood at secret locations called blood banks. This practice is more common among turned vampires and rarely employed by natural vampires, who prefer to feed on live prey. Failure to consume human blood at regular intervals may produce a variety of effects. Vampires may suffer a loss of vitality and cohesion and they will find it more difficult to maintain a human mien. If enough time has passed without nourishment, a vampire may enter a blood frenzy wherein they will act on primal instinct and take what they need from the closest available source, regardless of the consequences.
- Ultraviolet Radiation: The vampire's greatest enemy is the power of the sun. Minimal exposure is known to cause great discomfort, even pain, but direct exposure to ultraviolet radiation is instantly fatal. Vampires are at their most vulnerable during daylight hours, and must sequester themselves in environments completely cut off from all natural light sources. When exposed to direct UV radiation, a vampire's body will blister, burn and disintegrate into ash within seconds. Some vampires, such as Deacon Frost, have been known to apply a special protective ointment to their skin, which will enable them to survive minimal exposure, but even this is hardly considered a reliable alternative and most vampires know better than to take any undue risks. Artificial UV radiation is just as deadly to a vampire as natural sunlight. The vampire hunter known as Blade has been known to employ various UV gadgets in his quest to destroy all vampires including, UV lamps, UV target scopes and UV flash-bang grenades.
- Silver: Silver nitrate is extremely deadly to a vampire. Bladed weapons forged from silver are more likely to destroy a vampire than conventional ones. If ingested, a vampire's body will convulse wildly and disintegrate within moments. Silver nitrate combined with garlic extract produces a sort of vampire mace that when sprayed, will cause a vampire's body to quickly corrode.
- Garlic: Though unconventional, garlic is a useful tool against a vampire. A vampire who is tricked into consuming garlic extract will suffer severe pain and will be forced to flee so that he or she may recover. Concentrated doses of garlic extract, mixed with silver nitrate yields a deadly corrosive that will destroy a vampire in seconds. This chemical compound can be weaponized and used in impact grenades or aerosols.
- EDTA: Short for ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, EDTA is an anti-coagulant that reacts explosively to vampire physiology. Like silver nitrate and garlic extract, EDTA can be weaponized and used as a reliable offensive measure against vampires.