Blood Hunters #1 puts Dagger in the spotlight as she forms her own anti-vampire squad to rescue Cloak

Blood Hunters #1 interior art by Bernard Chang
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Marvel is gearing up to kick off its massive Blood Hunt summer crossover, in which most of the Marvel Universe, from the Avengers to the X-Men and nearly everyone in between, will be fighting off a bloodthirsty vampire invasion.

In the midst of the chaos, Dagger, of superhero duo Cloak & Dagger, will find herself on her own, separated from Cloak. But to save her missing partner, she'll put together a whole team of her own in the lead story of the Blood Hunters anthology limited series, written by Erica Schultz with art from Bernard Chang.

Newsarama caught up with Schultz ahead of the May 8 release of Blood Hunters #1 to dig into what it's like to put Dagger in the spotlight without Cloak, how Blood Hunters plays into the horrific nature of the larger Blood Hunt event, and what it's like to take the lead on an anthology title.

We've also got some brand new preview pages from all three stories in Blood Hunters #1, including Mark Russell and Bob Quinn's Hawkeye story, and Christ Gage and Javier Garròn's Man-Wolf story alongside the main Dagger chapter.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Newsarama: Erica, you're writing the lead story in the anthology Blood Hunters, with Dagger assembling a team of vampire hunters. What can you tell us about her mission and how it ties into the larger crossover?

Erica Schultz: I’ve been calling this the “everyone’s a vampire!” crossover event. Obviously that’s not entirely true, but you get the point. One of the victims of the vampire’s plot is Cloak. Being a Darkforce user, Cloak is possessed and forced to blot out the sun. This gives Dagger a whole lot of motivation to want to take down whatever vampires she can in order to restore Cloak to himself. 

Dagger will have to focus on her own skills and what she can bring to the table as an individual to help heal as many vampires as she can. Unlike some of the other members of the team, Dagger is more focused on the person who was turned rather than the fact that they’re a vampire. She wants to restore order, and, in her mind, that means restoring the humanity of the victims.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Cloak and Dagger are fan-favorite characters with long Marvel histories, but we've rarely gotten to see them apart. How are you digging into Dagger on her own in this story?

I feel like Tandy and Tyrone are two great heroes that go great together. Because they’ve always been linked to each other, it’s very difficult to think of one without the other, but that’s the fun in writing comics. You get to challenge characters and see where those obstacles take them. 

Despite being on her own for this series, you won’t be seeing a Dagger solo series any time soon. She and Cloak are linked no matter what. 

We've seen her recruiting Elsa Bloodstone in solicits, but who else is Dagger bringing into the mix for her Blood Hunters team?

So, joining Dagger and Elsa Bloodstone will be Hallows’ Eve and White Widow (Yelena Belova). Each of these women brings their own special set of skills to the table. White Widow is the sister of Natasha Romanov, so she has a very pragmatic and street level focus on everything. Hallows’ Eve has an endless bag of Halloween masks that grant her all kinds of abilities. The masks are cursed with chaos magic from Limbo, so they don’t always work the way she expects. 

There are a lot of big personalities on this team, so they’re not likely to get along all the time. No spoilers, but Elsa will also discover someone she’s going to bring along for the ride, too.  

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Blood Hunt has been billed as Marvel's "bloodiest event ever." How are you capitalizing on that and leaning into the horror of it all?

Well, it’s easy to just have people tearing throats out left and right, but that’s not really my jam. Obviously, there’s blood…lots of blood, but I’ll let Jed and Pepe really dig into that. 

You're working with Bernard Chang on your Blood Hunters chapters. How does it feel having an artist with his experience as a creative partner on a story like this?

Bernard has decades of experience and talent in both comics and design, so I’m really lucky to have my name next to his. I’ve always said that it’s an embarrassment of riches with the artists that I’ve been so fortunate to work with, and Bernard keeps that streak up. 

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of doing the lead story in an anthology comic, versus a totally standalone comic?

Writing for anthologies can be really tricky because you’re usually telling a standalone story in a short amount of space. That’s a challenge in itself, but also a respite from 20 page issues. 

That said, because this is an anthology, and there will be other standalone stories, some people may only pick up one issue or two rather than all four. That may hinder their understanding of what we’re building. But I think it’ll be fine. 

Bottom line, what do you want readers to know about Blood Hunters?

Blood Hunters will give you drama, unexpected outcomes, and have you seeing the Marvel Universe in a whole new way!

Blood Hunt core series writer Jed MacKay also spoke to Newsarama about the upcoming event.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)