Real Name: Adrian Toomes
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man 2
What's His Problem? Toomes was one half of Bestman & Toomes, an engineering firm which he co-owned with Gregory Bestman -- Toomes was the brains while Bestman provided the financial savvy. While experimenting on an electromagnetic flying harness, Toomes discovered that old buddy Bestman was embezzling funds. Unlike Norman Osborn, who got rid of a pesky partner by having him arrested, Toomes instead confronted Bestman physically. Proving that brute force never solved anything, Bestman used the assault as an excuse to kick him out of his own company. Toomes didn't mind that much, since the confrontation showed that the harness had given him extraordinary strength for a man his age (which was pretty advanced). He built a green costume for himself, called himself the Vulture, and robbed Bestman & Toomes blind. Intoxicated by his newfound power (ain't they all?), he decided to keep up the criminal bit, which brought him into conflict with a neophyte young super-hero named Spider-Man.
Powers: The Vulture has enhanced strength thanks to the radiation from his electromagnetic harness, which also gives him the ability to fly, an ability he has perfected through years of practice. He is also remarkably durable -- he was put in traction at one point, which would normally take years to recover from (especially at his age), but was completely recovered within a couple of months.
Heroes He Keeps Running Into: Spider-Man almost exclusively, though he has shown up elsewhere, including in an odd issue of Daredevil where he decided to take his name literally and took to grave robbing, and issues of The New Mutants where he faced Rusty and Skids.
Other Vultures of Note: Dr. Clifton Shallot experimented with the Vulture's harness while Vulchy was in prison. Snapping, he tried to go on a vulture-esque murder spree and was only partially successful; he killed the wrong victim, menaced witness Mary Jane, and never quite got to his original target. Spidey cured him and hauled him off to prison, where he presumably remains. Toomes's cellmate, Blackie Drago, took on the mantle of the Vulture temporarily, and a bunch of kids ripped off his designs and became the "Vulturians." Toomes took care of both these copycats himself. As for the whole re-aging/de-aging thing -- try not to think about it.
Aw, C'mon -- We Wanna Hear About the Re-aging/De-aging Thing! Okay, okay -- you big babies! Basically, the Powers That Be at Marvel went through a period where they decided to make their villains younger and hipper. This resulted in such stupidities as the female Dr. Octopus, the Grim Hunter, and the de-aged Vulture (and the whole Spider-Clone storyline, where they decided Peter Parker himself wasn't hip enough to be Spider-Man! editor in-retrospect-hard-to-believe-they-were-serious Jeanne). With the help of the Chameleon, Toomes used a life-sucking machine to slurp out Peter Parker's youth (hey, don't look at me, I don't write this stuff) to make Toomes young again. This also conveniently wiped the cancer that Toomes was dying of, thanks to prolonged exposure to the radiation of his flying harness. The Powers That Be have made recent attempts to rectify the travesties of the last few years, which in the Vulture's case resulted in a crazy mixed-up kid named DK (both for "decay" and because they're the guy's initials -- not one of the most inspired codenames, but what the hey) attacking Toomes and decaying/DKing him, thus reverting the old guy back to his old self. Whether or not he has the cancer -- or will get it again if he keeps using the fershlugginer harness -- is as yet unclear.
Favorite Quote: "Please -- no jokes!" (Amazing Spider-Man 2, upon his capture, right after a cop asks him, "What happened, fella? Did you have a tailspin?" This quote wins the Most Bizarre Thing To Say Upon Your First Arrest Award.)
People Who Think He's Not So Bad: He's teamed up with the various members of the Sinister Six on more than one occasion. He became chummy enough with the Chameleon to team up with him and undergo a process that made him youthful (and wiped out his inoperable cancer). He also teamed up with the Owl to try to poison all their enemies. Most interesting of all, Nathan Lubensky befriended a very dejected Toomes, inadvertently leading to inspiring Toomes to stop thinking of himself as a washed-up old fool and re-take the mantle of the Vulture.
Most Despicable Act: Amazing Spider-Man 336. The Vulture killed Nathan Lubensky, the man who befriended him at a time when nobody else gave a hoot about an old fool. It wasn't the Vulture's intention, but considering he was targeting Aunt May, that hardly exacerbates the despicable-ness of it. Close second is his poisoning of Spider-Man in Spectacular Spider-Man 219.
by Keith R.A. DeCandido
Vulture Mug Shots!
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