Invaders #7 (Jul. 1976)
Doctor Strange #10 (Dec. 1989)
(Crichton & Cromwell)
(as Kenneth & Lilly)
Captain America #253 (Jan. 1981)
(as Baron & Baroness Blood)
Union Jack #2 (Jan. 1998)
Roy Thomas & Frank Robbins
Roy Thomas & Jackson Guice
(Crichton & Cromwell)
(as Kenneth & Lilly)
Roger Stern & John Byrne
(as Baron & Baroness Blood)
Ben Raab & John Cassaday
-John Falsworth, Jr.|
-Dr. Jacob Cromwell
Superhuman strength and durability
Animal and weather control
Created by Roy Thomas and Frank Robbins, the original incarnation first appeared in The Invaders #7 (July 1976), a second incarnation created by Thomas and Jackson Guice appeared in Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme volume 3, #10 (Dec. 1989), and further incarnations, including a female version called Baroness Blood, were created by Ben Raab and John Cassaday for Union Jack #1-3 (December 1998-February 1999), based on characters originally created by Roger Stern and John Byrne for Captain America volume 1 #253 (January 1981).
Roy Thomas and Frank Robbins featured the original Baron Blood, John Falsworth, in The Invaders #7-9 (July–October 1976); in the story flashbacks show him being turned into a vampire by Dracula on a trip to Transylvania and joining the German forces for World War I and World War II, while in the present day he stays at Falsworth Manor under the guise of his own son plotting to kill his niece, Jacqueline Falsworth, to get revenge against his elder Brother, Lord Falworth, until he is killed by Captain America.
Roger Stern and John Byrne gave Falsworth a false identity as Dr. Jacob Cromwell for Captain America volume 1 #253-254 (January–February 1981); in the story, which features the first appearance of his successors Kenneth Crichton and Lilly Cromwell, he is defeated and killed by Captain America and new Union Jack Joey Chapman. Falsworth made a brief reappearance in Tom DeFalco's Avengers Annual #16 (1987); in the story he is one of a group of villains brought back from the dead to battle the Avengers.
Kenneth Crichton made a brief appearance in Fabian Nicieza and Kieron Dwyer's story The Establishment for Marvel Comics Presents volume 1 #42 (February 1990); in a flashback to events following his debut appearance he is shown persuading his mother, Lady Jacqueline, to allow Joey Chapman to continue as Union Jack. Dan Slott and Rita Fagiani featured Crichton and his mother again in Young Blood for Marvel Comics Presents volume 1 #89 (November 1991); in the story he is kidnapped in an attempt to steal the secret of youth from the recently rejuvenated Lady Jacqueline. While Ron Marz and Ron Lim featured Falsworth in the World War II-era story The Gift for Namor the Sub-Mariner Annual #2 (1992); in the story Falsworth wins over the affections of Namor's love interest.
Falsworth appears as a supporting character in Nicholas Vince and Mark Buckingham's four-issue Motigan Goth: Immortalis (September 1993-October 1994) mini-series for Marvel UK; the story reveals in flashback that while staying at Falworth Manor during World War II under his original assumed identity, he turned the spurned lover of the titular anti-hero into a vampire.
Crichton and Cromwell appeared as a supporting characters in Ben Raab and John Cassaday's three-issue Union Jack (December 1998-February 1999) mini-series; in the story Crichton is seduced by Cromwell as Baroness Blood, transformed into the new Baron Blood, and ultimately left to die. While Falsworth appeared as the principal antagonist in Bill Rosemann & Vince Evans' World War II-era Sgt. Fury back-up story for Captain America volume 3 #20–21 August–September 1999); in which he threatens to turn Fury and his team into vampires.
Cromwell appeared as the principal antagonist in Allan Jacobsen and C.P. Smith's New Invaders #4-5 (January–February 2005); in which in she traps Lady Jacqueline using an image of Crichton and feeds her blood to their new born vampiric son. While Falsworth made a brief appearance in Steve Niles and Rafael Garres's story Self-Made Monster for Amazing Fantasy #17 (March 2006); in which a flashback shows him taking revenge against biochemist Michael Morbius for polluting the vampire bloodline.
Mike Benson and Paul Grist featured Falsworth in the World War II flashback story Operation: Tooth Fairy for the 70th Anniversary Issue Captain America #616 (May 2011); in the story Captain America is temporarily turned into a vampire by Baron Blood.
Fictional character biography
John Falsworth first appears in the title Invaders as an English aristocrat. Although posing as the son of the first John Falsworth, it is revealed in flashback that the character is in fact the original, made possible due to the fact that he is now an ageless vampire. When the family fortune is left to older brother James, John Falsworth leaves England to pursue an interest - vampire lore. Falsworth travels to Transylvania and encounters the original vampire Dracula, who, after overpowering Falsworth, drains his blood and turns him into one of the undead. Dracula then commands Falsworth to return to England and cause havoc in revenge for the deeds of former opponent Jonathan Harker. Adopting the alias of Baron Blood, the character allies with Germany during World War I and without either party realizing the identity of the other, battles his own brother, who is now the English hero Union Jack. Blood is wounded by Jack with a silver dagger, and flees to recover.
The character reappears during World War II in his false persona, and once again aids Germany, with Nazi technology helping to reduce susceptibility to sunlight (a major vampire weakness). As Blood, Falsworth attacks and wounds his niece, Jacqueline Falsworth, but is driven off by the original Human Torch. Almost dead due to blood loss, Jacqueline Falsworth is saved when given a blood transfusion by the Torch. The artificial blood causes the character to develop superhuman abilities, and she becomes the heroine Spitfire. Blood captures Spitfire and takes her to a cavern below Falsworth Manor, where in a final battle with Union Jack he cripples the hero by dropping a boulder on his legs. The superhero team the Invaders, however, arrive and defeat Blood, driving his body onto a silver-veined stalagmite.
Baron Blood reappears when Japanese soldiers sent by the spy Lady Lotus find the cavern and attempt to resurrect the character. The soldiers are driven off by Union Jack II (James Falsworth's son, Brian) and Spitfire, although Blood is accidentally revived. Blood travels to the United States of America and, after a brief skirmish with the Invaders, joins the Nazi team the Super-Axis for a final battle with the heroes. Blood is killed once again when impaled on a stake thrown by Namor the Sub-Mariner.
In the title Captain America a servant of Dracula, Dr. Jacob Cromwell, is sent to revive Blood, whose bones are stored in the Tower of London. Although Cromwell is successful, Blood betrays and kills him and one of his daughters, turning the other into a vampire (who becomes Baroness Blood). Assuming Cromwell's identity, Blood commits a series of murders that arouse the suspicions of his now very elderly brother James. The older Falsworth requests the aid of Captain America, who with the third version of Union Jack battles Blood. After being tricked into thinking that Union Jack was his older brother James, Blood is decapitated with Captain America's shield. The character's body is burned to ashes, with the ashes scattered.
Baron Blood returns in the Avengers: Standoff! storyline as an inmate of Pleasant Hill, a gated community established by S.H.I.E.L.D.
The storyline The Book of the Vishanti: Curse of the Darkhold in the title Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme features a new version of the character. When a still inexperienced Doctor Strange attempts to resurrect his dead brother Victor with a spell from the Book of the Vishanti, it revives the character as a vampire. Given the costume and name of Baron Blood by a voodoo sorceress, Victor Strange attempts to control his bloodlust, and becoming a costumed vigilante called Khiron, attempts to only prey on criminals. At times when criminals are not available, Victor utilizes his willing girlfriend, Morgana. However, his heroic impulses are used against him; Victor is preyed upon by Cagliostro, an ancient entity that needs vampire blood to live. Victor barely escapes this situation. The bloodlust, however, forces the character to kill innocents and he eventually commits suicide.
The final version of Baron Blood features in the limited series Union Jack. Kenneth Crichton, the son of Jacqueline Falsworth and a sufferer of the medical condition anemia, is estranged from his family after refusing to adopt the identity of Union Jack, deeming his close friend Joey Chapman to be a better choice. Crichton encounters Baroness Blood, who offers to cure his anemia. The character accepts and is turned into a vampire, becoming the new Baron Blood. Baroness Blood then directs Crichton to steal the Holy Grail from a museum, and uses the artifact to become immune to all vampire weaknesses. The Baroness then betrays Crichton and her vampire servants, leaving them to die when exposed to sunlight.
Powers and abilities
The first Baron Blood possesses all the abilities of a vampire, including superhuman strength and durability; hypnotism; the ability to command mice; rats; bats and wolves. Weaknesses include vulnerability to sunlight; garlic; silver; the presence of religious symbols; decapitation and a wooden stake through the heart.
Courtesy of Nazi science, Blood received treatment that allows activity in sunlight, at least for some length of time, although this also prevented a vampire's traditional shape-changing powers (into wolf or bat form) from working. His transformation into a vampire also somehow activated an apparently latent psionic ability of self-levitation, which enabled Blood to fly without having to change into bat form.
Set in an alternate universe, the limited series Marvel Apes depicts Earth's heroes as intelligent apes with Baron Blood posing as hero Captain America in the Ape-Vengers (a distorted version of the superhero team the Avengers). The villain is eventually opposed and defeated by the true Captain America.
Old Man Logan
In the pages of Old Man Logan, the elderly Logan had awoke on Earth-616 and had a flashback to where Baron Blood, Red Skull, Count Nefaria, Spiral, and Whirlwind were standing over the dead bodies of the superheroes the day when the villains rose and the heroes fell.
In other media
- Baron Blood appears in Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers.
- Invaders #7 (July 1976); #8 (Sep. 1976) #9 (Nov. 1976)
- Invaders #39 - #40 (Apr. - May 1979); #41 (Aug. 1979)
- Captain America #253 - 254 (Jan. - Feb. 1981)
- Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Omega #1
- Doctor Strange:Sorcerer Supreme #10 - 11 (Dec. 1989)
- Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme #14 - 18 (Feb. - June 1990)
- Dr. Strange Annual #2 (1992)
- Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme #56 (Aug. 1993)
- Seen in Captain America #253 - 254 (Jan. - Feb. 1981)
- Union Jack #1 - 3 (Dec. 1998 - Feb. 1999)
- Exiles #31
- Spider-Gwen Annual #1
- Marvel Apes #0 (Jan. 2008); #1 - 2 (Nov. 2008); #3 - 4 (Dec. 2008)
- Old Man Logan Vol. 2 #1
- Baron Blood I at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Baron Blood III at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe