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What Kind Of Geekery Is This?

Spoiler-Free Geekery!


Listen here, Maggott
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Had an idea for one of the most overlooked X-Men, Japheth aka Maggott. For those who never encountered the character, he was created by Scott Lobdell & Joe Madureira. He appeared around the same time as the Magneto clone, Joseph. He had a history with the real Magneto, “Erik” freed the slugs from Japheth’s body and revealed that he was a mutant. He served as an X-Man after the Zero Tolerance event and he was demoted to Generation X after Hank McCoy suggested that he needs more training. He was eventually captured by a reformed Weapon X program and murdered in the Neverland death camp, resurrected as magical techno-organic zombie during the Necrosha event, and apparently teaches at the Jean Grey School

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He was billed for having the strangest mutant powers ever! His digestive system manifested as twin biomechanical slugs that exited his abdomen to consume and returned when their meal was over. They transferred energy to him, changing his skin blue & granting him superhuman strength. He also possessed psychometry and it allows him to draw psychic residue from his environment. The slugs were sensitive to magic and mystical energy. His main weakness was, he couldn’t be separated from the slugs too long or he would starve.

My idea involves Mojo and particularly Spiral and her Body Shoppé. Mojo sees great rating potential in Japheth but he believes that he first needs a makeover. Spiral abducts him, modifies him based on Mojo’s orders, and dumps him in the Savage Land. His slugs (the slug experimented on by Nathaniel Essex and the remaining one) were integrated on a molecular level and dispersed throughout his body. His mutant digestive system had evolved into a tactile consumption aura. Japheth can now feed through touch. His stomach cavity contains a biomechanical battery that stores the energy gained from eating and augments his enhanced state. He can expel the excess energy as a corrosive energy burst. His psychometry and the slugs’ sensitivity to magic grew to the point of Parker’s ESP.

Pusher Man Returns (only in my head)
Monkey King
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I have been toying around with Pusher Man reintroduction ideas. The Pusher Man was a drug dealer that sold MGH, mutant growth hormones. Mutant Growth Hormones is a drug that granted normal human superhuman abilities (usually based on the donor’s ability) or amplifies a posthuman’s super power. He also possesses a pair of gloves derived from the Fistigons. Fistigons are a pair of mechanical gauntlets created by the Steins; they allowed the user to project and manipulate flames. The Steins were a part of the Pride, a powerful criminal organization that had dominated the West Coast. The LAPD were in their pocket & no super villain or evil entity dared enter California. PM was fooled into believing the Pride was recruiting him by Chase Stein. His mistake resulted in his death at Kingpin’s order.

The first idea involves Pusher Man using Mr. Immortal-derived MGH before Kingpin’s goons arrived. It allowed him to survive the savage encounter. His damaged Fistigons were repaired and upgraded by former Atlas Corporation engineers. The gauntlets are bionic systems powered by designer MGH. The vials are integrated into the gloves and function as nanofactories. Raijin is a tetrawatt electrical projection. Brute is gravity field manipulation utilized to simulate superhuman strength. Sprite is molecular intangibility. Jotunn is gamma radiation enhanced size magnification. They also possess chameleon circuitry that allow them to replicate Stark’s repulsor beam technology, Von Doom’s shield system, and Death Head II’s bladed weapon.

The second idea involves the Pusher Man’s next of kin, Pusher Man II. PM II is the 17 year old cousin of the first who plans on avenging PM’s death and revolutionizing the MGH business. He developed a more potent form of MGH which he sells to criminal organizations like HYDRA and AIM for a greater profit. Pusher Man II installed a nanomachine failsafe in his MGH batch to prevent HYDRA and AIM from recreating his formula. He used his wealth to hire former Atlas Corporation engineers to construct an advanced version of the Fistigons. This version has the same functions as the one defined in the previous idea. The only differences are the dimensional storage device used to transport MGH shipments and the ability to transform into ring-like devices when inactive.

Multiversal Savior
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The Dystopian Reality:
I have been toying with the idea of a reality traveler story. A cataclysm wiped out the super hero population: every mutant, artificial posthuman, radiation empowered being, alien, synthetic life form, cyborg, magic user, supernatural entity, and deity died on that day. An extremist group composed of AIM, HYDRA, and followers of Chthon created a Nihil Cube, a variant of the cosmic cube, designed to eliminate every superhuman hero. The bomb was prematurely detonated and eliminated both heroes and villains. The wide scale death attracted the attention of Thanos, who acquired the cube and enhanced its ability. The Mad Titan used to extinguish all life including the cosmic entities like the elders of the universe and the Celestials. Despite his accomplishment, Death still rejected him. An enraged Thanos then travels to parallel realities to repeat his rampage. His actions attract the attention of a higher reality, which sends a champion to defeat him.

The Hero:
He hails from a utopian reality where all of the science heroes used their intellects to usher in a golden age. His signature weapon is a Richardtech recreation of Noh-Varr’s Kree Weapons Band. It is composed of unstable molecule alloy and is the amalgamation of his reality’s Heroic Age weaponry. It assumes the form of repulsor revolver based on Starktech, Parkertech impact webbing pistol, and a beam axe derived from Weapon X. It possesses a mobile force field generator constructed from Nathan Summers’ Cone of Silence, the Ghost’s intangibility circuitry, and modified Ultimate Nullifier built to destroy the Nihil Cube. He also possesses technology from the World: a nanite-based Greylock and bacterial variant of James Howlett’s healing factor. A dimensional transportation spell from the Book of Vishanti is implanted in his mind.

Technology:
  1. The Greylock is a variant of the Doomlock based on Nate Grey’s former dimension crossing ability. It protects the user reality friction.
  2. The impact webbing is a web pellets that releases tendrils which ensnare the target upon impact.
  3. The beam axe is based on the energy claws used by Strike Force X.

The Amazing Spider-man
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I am pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed the film. The only thing that interested me from the trailers was his new fangled compact web shooters. It was not a perfect film but it gave me a more authentic Peter Parker than the previous films.

What I Loved:
  1. Garfield’s Peter Parker… he gave the character a soul. He made the audience empathize with Peter’s joy and pain.
  2. The scientifically gifted Peter Parker: the film clearly and smoothly demonstrated throughout the film.
  3. Eugene “Flash” Thompson had some depth… he wasn’t another generic one dimensional bully. He offered Peter a proverbial shoulder to cry on after his uncle died and he reacted gently to Pete’s outburst. He even went the extra step of checking up on Pete some time after. These acts of kindness redeemed Flash in my eyes.
  4. The introduction of Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker’s true love and intellectual equal: Emma Stone was a better fit in this role than Kirsten Dunst was as MJ.
  5. The compact web shooters: I loved this design. It makes sense and wouldn’t mind if the comic Peter Parker refined his classics to this model.
  6. The chemistry that Garfield and Stone had on screen, it didn’t feel wooden or forced like some other super hero romances.
  7. Captain Stacy centering Peter by telling him that Spider-Man’s blind vendetta put innocent people’s lives at stake. He prevented this film from going to the dark places that the previous films have traversed.
  8. I loved Sally Field and Martin Sheen as May and Ben Parker. I was visibly shaken when Ben wrestled the crook and was shocked. I don’t recall being emotionally moved in the Raimi films.
  9. The animal motiff, like Peter hunting like a spider and using his web to track his prey.

What Irked Me:
  1. Curt Connors wasn’t a very interesting or compelling villain. He lacked a certain spark and his motivation wasn’t believable either. I felt that depriving Connors of his family weakened his overall potency in addition to lumping him with Norman Osborne. His passion would have been more believable if he wanted to be whole for the sake of his family, especially his young son. I would have loved if the Lizard was a separate personality instead of an uninhibited and unhinged Connors. If they fleshed out the Lizard as Golem to Connor’s Smeagol would have added some depth but I guess time constraints prevented this. The mysterious guest at the end was more interesting that Connors… I will end my rant now… forgive me for exposing my geek.
  2. The web fluids: I disliked the fact that Peter didn’t invent it. He just lifted it from OsCorps. It takes something away from his overall brilliance IMO.
  3. The lack of accelerated healing (well not quite Wolverine but faster than the average human’s).
  4. The loose ends like the people on the Q train that saw Pete display his powers or the first thug & his gang who got their collective arses kicked by Pete. Wouldn’t they have gone to the police or tabloids after Spider-Man debuted. How come only one spider escaped? It would be interesting if some more escaped and we ended up with some more Spider-People.

Avengers: Disassembled
Monkey King
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Avengers did what I previously thought was impossible… it Leonidas-kicked Iron Man 1 off its throne and now reigns on my all-time favorite comic inspired movie. Nolan has a tough act to follow. The gauntlet has been dropped. I attribute this remarkable feat to Joss Whedon’s screenplay and the cast for the most part.  I will not spoil the film and simply state what I enjoyed in a vague manner.

What I loved:

  1. The cast embodied the characters that I grew up reading, especially Downey and Pines
  2. The incorporation elements of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s version of Avengers (in my opinion at least) in the film
  3. The revelation of the Other’s Master
  4. The Other’s design and connection of the comic version of Fantastic Four
  5. The nod to the classic Thor and Hulk relationship
  6. Clark Gregg’s Phil Coulson
  7. Tom Hiddleston captured all the resentment, sense of entitlement and bitterness that represents Marvel’s iteration of Loki
  8. The more humane and decent version of Ultimate Nick Fury (he’s a rotten & ruthless so & so on Millar’s book)

Things that caused Geekasm (due to be modeled after the much loved Mark Millar & Bryan Hitch run on the Ultimates):

  1. The use of the Chitauri (or a version of them) as the invading army was an interesting and unexpected move. This tied the movie universe closer to the Ultimate Universe because they were the first villains that the Ultimates (that reality's Avengers). I can understand the omission of Herr Kleiser (it relates to the omission of Nazis in Captain America).
  2. Clint Barton wearing his Ultimate costume and using this iteration's bow. His relationship with Black Widow and lethal efficiency further tied things to the Ultimate universe.

Overall Geekasm:

  1. The Black Widow wearing and using her Widow's bite.
  2. The brawl between Thor and Hulk, and the continued jock-frat boy relationship that they shared.
  3. The Other's Skrull-like chin because it gave a subtle clue about who the invading army was. It tied to Millar's Ultimate Fantastic Four because the more Skrull-like Skrull appeared after the Chitauri were defeated.

The Big Bad: Spoiler [Highlight to see text]

  1. Thanos appearing at the end of the Other's master. I didn't expect him at all since Loki and Thanos never interacted in the comics.
  2. The film iteration of the Mad Titan seems to be a mix of the 616 & Ultimate versions. His obsession with Death and smile when the Other mentioned Challenging them would court death tied him to the 616 iteration. His obsession with The Tesseract (Cosmic Cube), his extradimensional residence and command of a vast army tied him to the Ultimate version.
  3. I can only assume that the Mad Titan will attack Asgard in the Thor Sequel or at least send his minions there to acquire the cosmic cube. The fact that Loki was his faithful lapdog despite his ambition and desire to rule, speaks to the power he wields.


Minor quibbles:
  1. The Black Widow’s lack of a Russian Accent (but it didn’t take away from Scarlett’s performance
  2. The lack of a Loki betrayal, he’s the god of evil after all

Jack Kirby: The Man, The Myth, the Legend
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Jacob Kurtzberg, known to the world as Jack "The King" Kirby, was the unappreciated artistic genius and innovator. I hold him in the same regard as the equally legendary Osamu Tezuka, kamisama no manga (god of comics)/godfather of anime/Japanese Walt Disney. Both men revolutionized their respective fields, inspired and continue to inspire many generations.

Joe Simon and Jack created Captain America (the first Avenger) and the Cap Parody, Fighting American.  Kirby created Nick Fury, the Mighty Thor, Iron Man, Black Panther, the X-Men, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, and the Avengers with Stanley Lieber, known to the world as Smiling Stan Lee.  OMAC, Silver Surf, Kamandi, The Last Boy On Earth, X-51, the Eternals, Devil Dinosaur, Etrigan the Demon, Challengers Of The Unknown, Kobra, and the entire Fourth World mythology were his solo creations.  The King was responsible for the character design of Thundarr the Barbarian and Goldie Gold & Action Jack.

As a wee lad, I was captivated by his level of detail and imagination.  Now that I am in my 30’s, I continue to appreciate his work and be perpetually in awe of how his work showed that he wasn’t afraid to dream big. I am delighted to see the Kurtzberg Legacy live on through books Godland by Joe Casey, Tom Scioli and the epic yet short-lived Jersey Gods by Glen Brunswick and Dan McDaid, and Kirby Genesis by Kurt Busiek, Alex Ross And Jackson Herbert.

Below is Mark Waid and the late Mike Wieringo’s tribute to Jack during their Fantastic Four.

Here are some examples of the King’s work.

Here are some examples of the work inspired by him.


**Spoilers** Review of The Cabin In The Woods
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Originally I wasn't going watch this because of pathological hatred of Zucking Fombies. Fortunately, Arleigh told me that it was more than those wretched Zucking Fombies. The Cabin In The Woods is sheer brilliance because Whedon and Goddard turned the tired and cliched horror formula on its ear. Their collaboration freed us from the oppression of torture porn and loathsome gore for the sake of gory credo.

**Spoilers begin here**

In this film world, every horror film nightmare creature from the shambling zombies to snarling werewolf to a Cenobite analogue to Lovecraftian elder gods exist.  As a fan of Whedon's Buffy The Vampire Slayer series, I couldn't help but see similarities between the TCITW's world and the world of the Slayer.  So the description, "It's like an episode of Buffy with gore, cussing, and naughty bits, but no Buffy Summers" is pretty accurate. The presence of Amy Acker (Winifred "Fred" Burkle) from Angel fame cemented this opinion. The film cast could easily be stand-ins for the Scoobies with Marty playing Xander Harris, David as Riley, Dana as Willow, etc. The mysterious shadow organization could easily be division of Wolfram & Hart and the slumbering elder gods could replace the Senior Partners as well as Buffy's Big Bad. I found it interesting and clever that the token victims served as the required sacrifice to appease slumbering boogie men because it explained why the fool, the virgin, the scholar, the jock, and the party girl are always the victims of horror movies. I also loved that the grumpy old man that cryptically warns the kids also served a purpose.

The film is also reminiscent of Mike Mignola's Hellboy universe in the sense that the evil and violence had a higher purpose.  The nightmare creatures could easily be Ogrdu Hem carrying out the will of their parents, the Ogdru Jahad. The secret organization had the dual role of the BPRD and Rasputin.  They were like the BPRD in the sense they prevented the end of the world and captured/contained/employed the things that go bump in the night. They were like Rasputin because they reverenced the elder beings and paid them annual tribute.

Found the following things interesting:

  1. The plot to keep the elder gods happy was a global one (other nations like Japan were involved).
  2. The wide range of monsters that the organization captured (made me wonder how they were able to capture the most lethal ones like the Cenobite wannabe, werewolf, soul stealing ghost, etc).
  3. The causal office vibe the organization had despite their morbid mission.
  4. The elder gods represented the audience/horror audience (an interesting point brought to my attention by a friend)

Woo Woo Woo! Soitenly
Monkey
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As a child of the 80's I grew up watching reruns of the 3 Stooges (among other classes like The Little Rascals, Laurel & Hardy, etc). My love for this show, along with Alyssa Milano, Bruce Lee films, and Blade Runner are the only things that survived my transition from wee lad to loner teen, from loner teen to awkward adult.

I was a tad apprehensive when I learned about the film, since very few movie revivals of television series did the source material any justice. The Farrelly Brothers did something special, they introduced the Stooges to the wee ones of this generation and entertained the old fans (like myself and my Stoogephile buddy). Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes, and Will Sasso truly honored the characters made famous Moses Horwitz, Louis Feinberg, and Jerome Horwitz. They successfully captured the innate innocence and mischieous of these loveable trouble makers.



A possibly biased Greek Myth Buff's Review of Immortals
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My review of Tarsem Singh's Immortals will be spoiler free. My love of Greek mythology may have biased me positively (I loved Ninja Assassin because I still want to be a ninja despite being 30 years old).

The Olympians were depicted as young (and attractive) people instead middle aged folks, especially since the ancient Greek culture was so fixated physical perfection forms. These gods showed their prowess in combat and got their hands dirty instead fighting by proxy (Poseidon's tidal waves and sea monsters, Zeus' lightning bolt, Apollo's arrows, and Dionysus' murderous band of drunk women) as in most media productions.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPVQ1f8ewfU]

Luke Evans provided a fresh interpretation of Zeus. He wasn't the typical rash and violence prone elderly king with the libido of a frat boy, he displayed the same level of fatherly compassion as Anthony Quinn's Zeus (y'all remember Kevin Sorbo's Hercules series). He generally cared about humanity and looked at them as something more than notches on his belt like the previous Zeus. He even showed compassion for his children (male and female) unlike the mythical Zeus who only seemed to care about his sons in varying levels.

Found several things interesting:

  1. Theseus' demigod status and divine paternity was seemingly replaced by a more tragic upbringing.
  2. The bovine suit that Daedalus made for Pasiphaë was transformed into a cruel torture device.
  3. The suit was still linked to the result of Pasiphaë and Mino's prized bull.
  4. The war between the Olympians and the Titans was similar to the war between the Aesir and Vanir of Norse mythology.
  5. The lack of Hades and the other major 12 Olympians.
  6. Apollo's weapon of choice was changed from a bow to a hammer.
  7. The racial diversity of the background cast (there were only Caucasian actors and actresses in these types of film).
  8. The religious ideologies of a believer, an atheist and an agnostic played out in the film.
  9. The removal of mere mortals dying when they behold a god's divinity.
  10. Zeus and Athena using disguises to interact with mortals.

Images courtesy of  IGN's Immortals review

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Chuck Hogan & Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain bring gruesome Vampires back
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The vampires of The Strain appear to be the next step of the Reapers, Del Toro introduced in Blade II. These creatures far removed from the handsome angst filled vampires of True Blood, Twilight, etc and more in the line with the apex predators that caused nightmares.

Below is the breakdown of the hemophagic corpses (via the wiki page)
Vampire Biology
The vector for vampirism is a capillary worm, which, once introduced into the human host's bloodstream (either through a vampire's feeding or direct invasion by the worm through a wound or orifice), introduces an incurable and fast-acting virus. By manipulating the host's genes, the virus causes a human to undergo numerous radical physical changes.

Vampire Physicality
The first and most distinct vampire adaptation is the development of a long, retractile proboscis beneath the host's tongue, which is able to extend up to six feet from the mouth. This "stinger" is both the vampire's feeding and reproductive mechanism, shooting forth to latch onto human prey's throat or thigh, both draining the victim's blood for nutrition and infecting the human with capillary worms. The vampire's jaw is set at a lower hinge than a human, the mouth gaping like a snake's when the stinger is deployed. As the structure of the stinger is actually modified tissue from the human lungs and throat, vampires are incapable of physical speech.



A vampire's physical appearance is governed mainly by the host body shedding those human traits that are obsolete to its new life cycle. Hair and fingernails are gradually lost, while the external nose and ears atrophy, leaving a fully matured vampire's skin as smooth and featureless as marble. The vampire's complexion is extremely pale between feedings, but appears a flushed red after a recent blood-meal. Eye coloration is a black pupil surrounded by a red sclera, with a white nictitating membrane sliding across for protection. The middle fingers of both hands grow and strengthen, and a thick talon develops in place of the lost fingernail. As vampire reproduction is achieved through viral infection of hosts and not through any sexual mechanism, the human genitalia also atrophy, leaving a mature vampire with no discernible gender.

The digestive and circulatory systems of a vampire are simplified and fused, the vampire's interior organs most resembling a series of connected sacs. Nutrition from a blood feeding is transported throughout this system via a thick, viscous white fluid that forms the vampire equivalent of blood. The capillary worms are present in this fluid, swimming throughout the circulatory system and often visible beneath the vampire's thin skin. Like rodents, a vampire is unable to vomit, its suction-based digestive process functioning only one way. All bodily waste is excreted from a single rectal orifice in the form of a pungent ammonia-based spray; a vampire will excrete for the entire duration of a feeding, purging old food as it consumes new blood.

The vampire's body temperature runs extremely high, at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and a human is able to feel their ambient heat from several feet away.

Many of the physical changes from human to vampire occur gradually following the initial worm infection, and are accompanied by great pain. A newly "turned" human will lie in a state of suspended animation for an entire day, rising the next night as a nascent vampire. The stinger is present for the vampire's first foray, in order to facilitate feeding, but other traits (hairlessness, talons on the mid-digit, lack of distinct internal organs) will develop within the first seven nights following infection. The vampire's mental state will also be confused at first, and its movements will be clumsy and awkward. As it matures, however, the vampire will become supremely agile, able to leap great distances and climb sheer surfaces with the aid of its talons. Full maturity, physically and mentally, occurs within the first thirty nights.



In spite of the vampire's morbid biology stripping legend of most of its romance, the most famously admired trait of the undead remains intact: immortality. Unless slain by violence or sunlight, a vampire's parasitic body structure will neither fade nor weaken with the passage of time, giving them an effectively endless "life"-span. Even in those cases where the host body is damaged beyond repair, a vampire of sufficient power can transfer their consciousness (via a torrential capillary worm transfer) from one human form to another.

Vampire Senses
The sensory apparatus of the vampire is highly adapted for their nocturnal life cycle. Color vision is replaced with the ability to sense heat signatures, and the world is perceived in a monochrome brightened by sources of warmth (such as human prey). Hearing is greatly enhanced, in spite of the loss of external ears.

The vampires' greatest sensory asset, however, is the "hive mind" that all new vampires share with the Ancient that propagated them. Each vampire, through some undefined telepathic link, is able to send and receive thought and sensory information to and from their Ancient progenitor. In this manner, the Ancient vampires direct the actions of their individual spawn through mental communication, regardless of distance. Perhaps akin to its radiation shielding properties, the element lead has the effect of blocking this mental connection.

In spite of their biological inability to speak, vampires can communicate with humans through telepathy, transmitting thoughts directly into a person's internal monologue. Those vampires seeking to pose as human can train themselves to move their lips in a pantomime of speech, but the actual communication is still via thought-transference.

An Ancient vampire is also able to use this telepathic ability as a weapon; known as the "murmur", this mental shock-wave has the ability to completely overwhelm the minds of surrounding human beings, rendering them unconscious.

Vampires also experience an overwhelming compulsion to infect family members and those they cared about as humans (their "dear ones"). They possess a unique ability to locate such targets, this sense being likened to a pigeon's homing instinct.

Vampire Weaknesses
Many of the traditional vampire "weaknesses" of common folklore remain effective, although their potency is explained in terms of specific effects on vampire biology.

Sunlight is the vampire's ultimate destroyer, specifically ultraviolet light in the UVC range. This is due to the germicidal properties of the wavelength, as it breaks down the virus-laden tissues of the vampire's body. A localized source of UVC light, such as a fluorescent lamp, can be used to repel a vampire, much as a burning torch can repel an animal. Complete exposure, either to direct sunlight or a powerful UVC source, will result in complete desiccation of the vampire's body, leaving behind nothing but ashes.

Silver, whether in the form of a metal weapon or even a fine chemical mist, can also wound or kill a vampire. Much like sunlight, this is due to the disinfecting properties of the element damaging the vampire's viral biology. While conventional weapons (lead bullets, steel blades) can cause physical damage, they will not repel a vampire. Silver causes vampires both debilitating pain and a certain amount of fear, and binding a vampire in silver will completely incapacitate them.

Severing the spinal column through any method is another effective way to destroy a vampire. While the vampire's simplified internal organ structure makes them difficult to harm with attacks to the body, decapitation will result in the vampire's death.

Although there appears to be no biological imperative behind it, vampires cannot cross running water. This is alluded to as having something to do with the origin of the Ancients, but no further explanation is given. This aversion to water can be overcome, however, if the vampire is assisted (or "invited") by a human.

Traditional religious protections against vampires, such as a crucifix or holy water, display no practical effect. The prevalence of this lore is explained as having been the product of Bram Stoker's "fevered Irish imagination".

Garlic, another common folk defense, has no noticeable use in repelling vampires.

Silver-backed mirrors, while they will not harm a vampire, will reveal their presence. While vampires do indeed cast a reflection, it is blurred and distorted, akin to an image vibrating at an impossible speed. Modern chrome-backed mirrors, however, will not have this effect, and the vampire will appear normally in such a looking-glass.

Images courtesy of Dark Horse Comics

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