Vulture (Marvel Comics)

The Vulture is an alias used by several fictional supervillains appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The original and most well-known incarnation, Adrian Toomes, is a brilliant, but maniacal electronics engineer, who designed a suit that allows him to fly at great speeds. After turning to a life of crime, he became a recurring enemy of the superhero Spider-Man, and a founding member of the supervillain team known as the Sinister Six.

Vulture
Vulture (Adrian Toomes).png
Interior artwork from Amazing Spider-Man Annual vol. 1, 1 (October 1964 Marvel Comics)
Art by Steve Ditko
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Amazing Spider-Man #2 (May 1963)
Created byStan Lee
Steve Ditko
In-story information
Alter egoAdrian Toomes
Team affiliationsSinister Six
Savage Six
Notable aliasesFalcon
Abilities
  • Genius electrical engineer
  • Electromagnetic tailored body-harness grants:
    • Flight
    • Enhanced physical attributes

Since his conception, the character has been adapted from the comics into various other forms of Spider-Man media, including television series and video games. Michael Keaton portrayed the Vulture in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), which marked the character's live-action debut.

Publication historyEdit

The original Vulture, Adrian Toomes, first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #2 (May 1963), and was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.[1][2][3] According to Ditko, Lee wanted the villain to be heavy-set and based on actor Sydney Greenstreet. Ditko designed him to be leaner and more gaunt, feeling he should be swift and fast and also because "The bulkier anything is, the more panel space it has to take up, thereby shrinking panel space for other characters and story panel elements."[4]

Since Toomes originally assumed the Vulture alias, several other character have taken on the mantle. The second incarnation, Blackie Drago, first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #48 (May 1967), and was created by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.[5][6] Lee created the new version because he thought that Spider-Man looked like a bully fighting a wizened old man. However, the readers wrote in that they did not like the new Vulture, and Lee relented and brought the original back.[7]

The third incarnation, Clifton Shallot, first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #127, and was created by Ross Andru, Gerry Conway and John Romita Sr.[8] A fourth incarnation, Jimmy Natale, first appears in The Amazing Spider-Man #593 as part of the story arc "Spider-Man 24/7", and was created by Mark Waid and Mike McKone.[9] In Young Men #26, a scientist named Isidoro Scarlotti, created by Joe Gill and Carl Burgos, went by the Vulture name and was an enemy of the original Human Torch and Toro.[10]

Fictional character biographyEdit

Adrian Toomes was born in Staten Island, New York. He is a former electronics engineer who was once Gregory Bestman's business partner; Bestman handled the finances whilst Toomes handled the inventions. One day, after creating a flight harness, Toomes eagerly rushed into Bestman's office to share the happy news. But Bestman was not there, and Toomes discovered that Bestman had secretly been embezzling funds and that Toomes had no legal recourse, meaning he had lost his job. Enraged, Toomes wrecked the business, discovering that exposure to the harness had also granted him superhuman strength. He then decided to turn to crime professionally as the Vulture.[11]

The Vulture employs a special electromagnetic harness of his own design that allows him to fly; his flight is directed by a pair of artificial wings worn on his arms. The harness also endows him with enhanced strength and (according to some sources) increases his lifespan. Although Toomes is advanced in age, he is a strong fighter and a remorseless killer. On one occasion, he restored his youth through biochemical means,[12] though this wore off after exposure to an elemental superhuman's corpse.[13] At one point, he had used a device to steal Spider-Man's youth, leaving Vulture young and Spider-Man elderly, but this effect wore off within hours.[14]

Vulture was on a robbery and burglary spree throughout New York City when he first encountered Spider-Man. Spider-Man realized for the first time he could sell photos to J. Jonah Jameson after the Daily Bugle offered a reward for a picture of Vulture.[15] Due to a preoccupation with the camera, Spider-Man was knocked out by Vulture and sealed in a water tank with sides too slippery to climb up, but was able to break free. Vulture then challenged the police, saying he was going to steal diamonds; however, he escaped through the sewers. Spider-Man had created a device that stopped Vulture's harness from working and activated it during an airborne fight with Vulture, causing the two to crash onto a roof, knocking Vulture unconscious. He was then arrested.[16] Vulture modified his harness, and attempted to rob the Daily Bugle payroll.[17] He joined Doctor Octopus's first Sinister Six, and gave the message to the Daily Bugle that the group had captured Betty Brant. He was the last foe to battle Spider-Man before Doctor Octopus. He forced Spider-Man to remove the web-shooters by threatening to fly away, then squirted oil onto the roof, and tried to push Spider-Man off using a wind created by his wings, but Spider-Man escaped this. Vulture was caught after Spider-Man swung onto him using a lasso. He then told Spider-Man where to find Doctor Octopus's lair and (like the rest of the team) was jailed at the end of the story.[18]

Later, believing himself to be dying in prison due to injuries obtained in the prison workshop, Toomes revealed an extra Vulture outfit's location on the prison grounds to his cellmate Blackie Drago. Drago revealed to Toomes he caused the accident for this very purpose. Toomes was angry, but apparently fell unconscious within the next few minutes; Blackie then knocked out a guard, dug up the wings, and escaped.[5] Drago, as Vulture, teamed with Kraven the Hunter against Spider-Man.[19] Toomes ultimately escaped from prison and recovered from his injuries – crediting his hatred for Drago's betrayal with the strength to overcome them – and as the Vulture again, defeating Drago.[20] Toomes then nearly defeated Spider-Man in battle, injuring the arm before Spider-Man managed to play possum and tricked Toomes into coming in close enough for Spider-Man to damage his power pack and force his nemesis to retreat.[21] Some time later, Dr. Clifton Shallot mutated his body into a form resembling Toomes's, but possessing natural wings and flight capability.[8]

The Vulture later humiliated the racketeering mobster Mr. Morgan, who hired the Hitman to kill Spider-Man, trying to rob the Vulture of revenge.[22] Vulture then arranged New York's top mobsters' murders in order to be New York's new crime lord, and battled Spider-Man again.[23] Vulture later escaped prison, and battled Spider-Man again.[24]

Vulture came out of retirement to claim vengeance on his former research partner Bestman who embezzled him out of the profits of their business.[25] He then confronted the Vulturions, a group of criminal youths who stole his designs.[26]

He became involved in Atlantic City casino racketeering to prepare for his own ostentatious funeral, but was thwarted by the Hobgoblin.[27] Reduced to a "mere salesman", he journeyed to Las Vegas, where he attacked Morris "Snake" Diamond in the middle of the desert for stealing Toomes's blueprint journals for ultrasonic-sensitive dice. Intending to inject Snake with a mummification serum, Vulture was thwarted by Spider-Man (who had been granted a flight on Snake's plane back to New York) and Agent Sara Glenville of the Central Intelligence Division.[28] He later confronted the mutants Rusty Collins and Skids in an attempt to release Nitro.[29]

On more than one occasion, Toomes has been in league with several of Spider-Man's other villains in order to destroy the wall-crawler. Vulture has been in every incarnation of Sinister Six, and also appeared in the ranks of the Sinister Twelve. He has a strong friendship with fellow villain Electro; the two once nearly beat Spider-Man to death.[30]

During one of his many periods of ill health, Toomes struck up a friendship with Nathan Lubensky, a man who had become the new love of May Parker's life. Nathan was unaware of Toomes's true identity, and encouraged the injured criminal to take chances with life and not to let handicaps drag him down (Nathan was a paraplegic). Toomes followed Nathan's advice and went on a crime spree as the Vulture while hiding out in his civilian identity at the same nursing home Nathan lived in, reasoning that the authorities would never think to look for him there. After Peter Parker visited the nursing home and recognized him, however, a battle ensued between the Vulture and Spider-Man. During the course of the fight, Toomes instinctively grabbed a hostage and threatened to kill him if Spider-Man did not back down; however, as soon as Toomes realized that the hostage was Nathan, he decided he could not take the life of a man who had helped to save his own. He shoved Nathan's wheelchair at Spider-Man, distracting the web-slinger long enough for Toomes to make his getaway.[24]

Vulture would seemingly cherish Nathan's influence, but irony would serve him a cruel blow when he was hired by the Kingpin to assassinate a high-ranking casino runner. During another conflict with Spider-Man just prior to joining Doctor Octopus's new Sinister Six, the Vulture sought to use a hostage as a shield, and selected May Parker from the crowd. Nathan, who was with May, leapt from his wheelchair and grabbed Toomes. Not realizing who it was, Toomes flew high into the air with Nathan on his back. The shock of seeing how high they were caused Nathan to suffer a fatal heart attack. Toomes fled as Nathan was falling. Though he was successfully caught by Spider-Man, Nathan would die in May's arms.[31]

Toomes was later diagnosed with cancer, caused by frequent exposure to the essential chemicals needed to power his flying apparatus. In an attempt to be forgiven for all of his previous sins, Vulture terrorized the Parker household, pleading that May Parker forgive him for indirectly causing Nathan's death. The enraged Parker attacked Toomes, forcing the Vulture to capture him and take him back to his old lair. After escaping Toomes, Peter switched to Spider-Man and brutally assaulted the Vulture, and in the ensuing battle, Vulture's own power pack malfunctioned and exploded, setting his wings ablaze. Spider-Man successfully ripped the burning pack off of Toomes, and the two crash landed in a muddy ditch.[32]

After being arrested, Toomes was returned to the Parker home so May, reunited with Peter, could identify him. May hoped that Toomes' death would be slow and full of suffering. The next day, she visited Toomes in prison and apologized to him for her cruel remarks, but also stated that she could not forgive him, and that any kind of redemption would be left up to him and God.[33]

Vulture stumbled across a plot by the Chameleon and the Green Goblin (Harry Osborn) to drive Spider-Man insane by having shapeshifting androids impersonate his late mother and father; due to Toomes' interference, the androids were destroyed, leading the wall-crawler to a brief nervous breakdown. The Vulture absorbed the artificial life force from the Mary Parker android, and the effect on the Vulture was twofold; not only did he become a young man again, but he was instantly cured of his cancer.[12] During this period, he attempted to kill everyone who had ever known him as an old man in an attempt to get a clean slate for his life, but this plan went wrong when he targeted a Prowler impersonator as the Prowler having once thwarted his attempted takeover of his old company; Toomes was unconcerned about the fact that the current Prowler was a thief who had stolen the costume of the original Prowler (Hobie Brown) and Spider-Man; although Toomes nearly gutted the fake Prowler, Spider-Man managed to get him to the hospital. During a later fight with Spider-Man, the Vulture was 'attacked' by David Kalen, a man capable of dissolving anything he touched who had turned his power on himself in his grief at the death of his brother. Toomes subsequently reverted to his old age, presumably due to Kalen's power having negated the youth effect.[13] His cancer, however, did not return.[citation needed]

In the Identity Disc series, it was revealed that Toomes, with the help of Sandman, manipulated Marvel villains Bullseye, Deadpool, Juggernaut and Sabretooth into laying siege to terrorist group A.I.M. headquarters in order to retrieve a disc containing the identities of undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives, including his daughter Valeria Toomes a.k.a. "Valerie Jessup".[volume & issue needed]

During a brief time working for the Owl, he failed in a mission (and had his face brutally slashed by the Black Cat) and was severely beaten as punishment. He subsequently revealed himself as a member of Norman Osborn's Sinister Twelve — though he wore a helmet, presumably to mask the wounds.[34]

Under the tutelage of Alyosha Kravinoff, Toomes briefly attempted a stint at heroism, but before long he returned to the other side of the law.[35]

Aside from his daughter, Toomes also has a son whom he has dismissed, and a grandson from that son. The Vulture has come to care deeply for both his grandson and his mother, committing a series of robberies to finance a cure for his grandson's terminal illness. He once had a nephew, Malachai Toomes, and flew into a killing rage when he was murdered by a gang-lord.[23]

During the Civil War, he was apprehended along with the Grim Reaper and the Trapster, by Captain America and the growing Resistance, who chained him together with Grim Reaper to a pole and broke his nose. When he was found and taken into custody by S.H.I.E.L.D., he complained, "that lunatic broke my damn nose." After Spider-Man unmasked himself, Toomes was seen in his jail cell, knitting his fingers together. As someone on the television set said they hoped it would not be any trouble for Spider-Man, Toomes said, "Oh, I think it will be."[36]

After Spider-Man goes rogue, Toomes is seen in a S.H.I.E.L.D. prison cell speaking with Agent Jamie Madrox, and commenting on Spider-Man's inherent weakness, that being his unwillingness to use his powers for personal gain. S.H.I.E.L.D. then returns his flying harness and encourages him to hunt down Spider-Man, saying that he "is now an outlaw, same as you."[37]

Later, the Vulture attacks Spider-Man at a book signing, and manages to slash him with a powerful sedative. Toomes, however, falls unconscious and, sensing something is wrong, Spider-Man rushes him to the hospital.[38]

Toomes wakes up a few hours later, where a doctor reveals that he has suffered a stroke, and many of his muscles on the left side of his body have been paralyzed. When the doctor leaves, Spider-Man sneaks in and Toomes asks him to kill him because he is weak. When Spider-Man refuses to do so, he says that Spider-Man is also weak, and always has been. After making remarks about Uncle Ben, Spider-Man takes a pillow and begins suffocating him. He fights back, and Spider-Man removes the pillow, commenting that "For somebody who's begging to die, you fight for life pretty hard."[39]

When Alyosha Kravinoff began collecting a zoo of animal-themed superhumans, Vulture was one of his captives.[40] To stop Vulture from using his intellect to find a way to remove his bomb collar, Kraven broke his hands repeatedly,[41] but with the help of Rhino, Vulture escapes.[42]

Spider-Man later visits Vulture's cell to ask him about the latest person who calls himself the Vulture. Toomes says calmly that he has no connection to him, though he heard that the new Vulture was made that way by the mob and is out for revenge. He just as blandly states that while he normally hates people who steal the Vulture name, he would have no problem with him killing Spider-Man.[43]

Following the "Spider-Island"' storyline, Vulture returns as the leader of an unnamed gang of penthouse thieves and murderers who have vulture-like wings, but with a new gothic style. The members of his gang have the same name of an angel that matches with the black angel look they have.[44] However, it is swiftly revealed that the gang's technology is actually controlled by the Vulture who designed their wings so that he could shut them down with a simple signal if they tried to act against him. Having used his new magnetically sensitive webbing to catch the gang and deactivate their wings, Spider-Man defeats Toomes despite his new use of his gravity-manipulating technology to give himself seemingly superhuman strength.[45]

Carlie Cooper later works with the Superior Spider-Man (Otto Octavius's mind in Spider-Man's body) to investigate a series of crimes committed by the Vulture's gang. Superior Spider-Man confronts Vulture and attempts to bribe him into giving up crime by offering him a small fortune from Octavius's hidden bank accounts. Vulture does not believe a word of it, and has his midget henchmen attack. Superior Spider-Man accidentally knocks out one of the midget henchmen who turns out to be a young boy. Realizing that Vulture has been using children all this time and remembering his own abusive childhood, Superior Spider-Man attacks Vulture in a rage. After a brief midair struggle, Superior Spider-Man blinds Vulture with a searchlight, causing him to crash onto the roof. Carlie arrives and finds Vulture, broken and bloody, but still alive.[46] Vulture's child henchmen are then recruited by the Goblin King to be part of the Goblin Nation.[47] Vulture is later seen in the Raft's infirmary, along with Boomerang and Scorpion. When Alistair Alphonso Smythe escapes with the mini-Spider-Slayers' help, the mini-Spider-Slayers are sent into the infirmary to heal and enhance Vulture, Boomerang, and Scorpion in exchange for their assistance in killing Superior Spider-Man.[48] While Superior Spider-Man fights Boomerang, Vulture is sent to attack the civilians in the Raft.[49] Glory Grant, Norah Winters, and Smythe's lawyer plead with him to stop, claiming they can clear him of any charges, causing him to stop and consider his options. When Smythe dies, the Vulture's enhancements fail, leaving him blind once again. He is then tasered by Ted Shipley, the Raft's Chief of Security.[50] Vulture eventually has another encounter with Superior Spider-Man, seeking revenge for his recent defeats, but is defeated again.[51] Vulture, Chameleon, Electro, Sandman, and Mysterion are later seen as part of a team led by Superior Spider-Man called the "Superior Six", which is forced via mind control to perform heroic (and occasionally dangerous) deeds as an act of "redemption". When they are not being controlled, they are kept in containment cells.[52] They eventually break free of Superior Spider-Man's control and attempt to exact revenge on the wall-crawler, nearly destroying New York in the process.[53] Superior Spider-Man barely manages to stop them with Sun Girl's help.[54]

Adrian Toomes later developed a modified version of his electromagnetic harness that has a reinforced helmet and lightweight, razor-sharp, nano-woven wings which responded to his mental commands, where he took on the Falcon name, which he believed to be vacant at the time. He robbed a location in East Village where he fought Spider-Man, until they were immobilized by a new Trapster who made off with Falcon's loot.[55]

During the "Hunt for Wolverine" storyline, Spider-Man was seen thwarting Vulture's robbery when he is called in by Iron Man to help him, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones find Wolverine's body when it goes missing from his unmarked grave.[56]

In a prelude to the "Hunted" storyline, Vulture is among the animal-themed characters captured by Taskmaster and Black Ant on Kraven the Hunter's behalf. He is among those who Arcade publicly reveals as the Savage Six.[57]

Vulture's son Frankie Toomes is married to a woman named Lenora. When Frankie left Lenora, Toomes often visited Lenora and her daughter Tiana to support them. At one point, Vulture took Tiana on a ride in his Vulture suit. After Lenora died from a surgical error, Adrian started to take care of Tiana. As Tiana came to age, Adrian made a suit similar to his so that Tiana can follow whatever destiny awaits. This led to Tiana being Starling.[58]

At the time when Vulture visited Tiana, he gave her a set of pencils. When Spider-Man is sighted outside, Tiana slips off to become Starling to make sure that Spider-Man stayed away from her grandfather. During the fight, Spider-Man mentioned to Starling that her grandfather has killed people like Nathan Lubensky and Gibbon. When Spider-Man collapses upon being hit by the elephant tranquilizers she used on him, Starling realizes that she might be lying to herself about Vulture.[59]

Powers and abilitiesEdit

Utilizing his Vulture harness, Adrian Toomes is able to fly as if by natural winged flight. He wears a costume of synthetic stretch fabric housing a tailored electromagnetic harness with artificial bird-like wings attached beneath the arms. This consists of an electromagnetic anti-graviton generator worn on his body as a harness, enabling him to fly silently with precise maneuverability. The Vulture harness also increases his resistance to injury to the point that he can survive blows from Spider-Man's enhanced strength. Another by-product of his exposure to the harness is that, despite his age and lack of exercise, Toomes' physical strength represents the upper limits of human development. When he removes the harness, some of his enhanced abilities slowly fade, although the rate at which this transpires remains unclear (some writers have suggested that his strength is permanent). Toomes is elderly and depends on his electromagnetic harness to augment his strength, vitality, and athletic prowess, as well as absorbing life force to maintain his vitality. It has recently been revealed that, due to his prolonged use of the harness, Toomes can levitate or float his body even without the harness, although he requires his wings to maneuver while airborne. Toomes has a new version of his Vulture flight harness that has supposedly been augmented by the Green Goblin. Though he claimed that it increased his strength by 500%, it appeared to be a bluff to frighten the Black Cat, who proceeded to beat him half to death. Toomes is intellectually brilliant in the fields of electronics and mechanical engineering, with a great talent for invention. He has earned a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering.

The Jimmy Natale version of Vulture has superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina, durability and reflexes. In addition, he can also spit acid.

Other characters named VultureEdit

Blackie DragoEdit

Vulture
 
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Amazing Spider-Man #48 (May 1967)
Created byStan Lee
John Romita Sr.
In-story information
Alter egoRaniero "Blackie" Drago
Abilities
  • Electromagnetic tailored body-harness grants:
    • Flight
    • Enhanced physical attributes

Raniero "Blackie" Drago was a prison cellmate of Adrian Toomes's. He tricked Toomes by causing an accident in the prison workshop that made Toomes think he could die soon, and stole the Vulture harness and costume which was recently rebuilt. He used the suit to make money through air piracy which led to a confrontation with Spider-Man, that Drago believed ended in the wall-crawler's death (Spider-Man had merely collapsed due to a serious cold in reality).[5] After robbing a helicopter, Drago was pursued by Kraven the Hunter, who resented his claims of victory over Spider-Man, and ended up fighting him until Spider-Man arrived. Spider-Man managed to defeat them both and webbed them up for the police.[19]

Drago was later 'rescued' from prison by Toomes - who revealed that the revelation of Drago's role in his accident had given him the strength to overcome his injuries - but that was merely so that Toomes could prove himself to be the true Vulture once again. Once the two were free, he was subsequently defeated and humiliated by Toomes, who regained the recognition he deserved. A humbled Drago was taken away by the police, vowing "I'm through!! I'll never put these wings on again! The Vulture's too much...for anyone!"[20]

Drago was later seen in the same prison that Norman Osborn was incarcerated in during the "Sinister Twelve" storyline.[60]

Clifton ShallotEdit

Vulture
 
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Amazing Spider-Man #127 (December 1973)
Created byGerry Conway
Ross Andru
In-story information
Alter egoClifton Shallot
AbilitiesSuperhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina, durability and reflexes
Genius-level intellect
Sharp teeth and finger claws

Doctor Clifton Shallot was an expert on bio-mutation and a professor at Empire State University.[61] He also had one of Toomes' harnesses and costumes, which he had requisitioned from the State Prison Authority. When one of his courses was cancelled by the university trustees, he snapped, and underwent the final stage of the mutation himself when he donned the Vulture costume – his face, teeth, and fingernails mutated, and for a short time, the wings became part of his body and he could fly. The only ones who knew his secret was his lab assistant Dr. Christine Murrow and her roommate Gloria Jenkins.[62]

Mary Jane Watson witnessed him killing Gloria (whom he had mistaken for Christine) and she became a target. While flying around Mary Jane's apartment, he noticed Spider-Man and attacked him. Vulture managed to defeat Spider-Man and leave him for dead. Shallot then searched for a way to reverse the transformation. He stole some chemicals from a ship called the Düsseldorf at Dock 20. The next morning as he was flying to Christine's lab, Vulture noticed Mary Jane in her car. He dove toward the car and grabbed Mary Jane. He was then encountered in the air by Spider-Man, who dropped Mary Jane, giving Vulture enough time to reach the Biology Lab. He attacked Christine, only for Spider-Man to arrive and defend her. Vulture managed to rip the webbing with his sharp finger claws and teeth. Their fight continued, with Spider-Man blinding Vulture with the webbing as the cops arrived and threw a net over them. Still blinded by the webbing, Vulture broke free from the net and grabbed Spider-Man, thinking he was Christine. When he saw it was Spider-Man, Vulture ended up dropping him.[63]

Vulture went back to his lab and transformed back into Shallot. He then had an agreement with Christine, stating that he would not kill her if she did not betray his trust. Later that night, Vulture flew back to Dock 20 and stole more chemicals. He noticed that Peter Parker had followed him and picked him up and dropped him into the water. When he flew above Mary Jane's apartment, Vulture noticed her getting into a taxi. Vulture attacked the taxi and kidnapped Mary Jane, only for Spider-Man to interrupt him, causing Vulture to flee. He made it back to his lab where Christine was. Spider-Man then arrived an hour later, finding Christine there. Vulture then attacked Spider-Man, who subdued him and force-fed Vulture the antidote he had stolen from the Düsseldorf. After reverting from his Vulture form, Shallot fainted. Shallot is presumably still serving his sentence for the murder of Gloria Jenkins.[8]

VulturionsEdit

Vulturions
 
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceWeb of Spider-Man #1 (April 1985)
Created byLouise Simonson
Greg LaRocque

While in prison for dealing heroin, an engineer named Honcho is the cellmate of Adrian Toomes, who has revealed his Vulture harness designs to him. Memorizing how to construct the Vulture harness, Honcho (when released on parole) builds four red, yellow and silver Vulture costumes (complete with harnesses) with which he equips himself and three petty criminals (Gripes, Pidgeon and Sugar Face). Gaining all the Vulture's powers and abilities, the group members call themselves the Vulturions.[64][65] Wanting to make names for themselves and become big-time criminals, the Vulturions make several attempts to kill Spider-Man and accumulate wealth, ultimately failing in all their attempts. Learning of the Vulturions' existence and exploits, Toomes builds a new Vulture harness and costume and breaks out of prison, intent on hunting down his "rip-offs". Locating the group, Adrian beats them all and comes close to killing them, only to be stopped by Spider-Man, who defeats the Vulture and turns him and the Vulturions in to the police.[66]

A new group of Vulturions (consisting of three members, including a female) appear in Avengers: The Initiative, where they steal a briefcase containing classified research on gamma radiation from Baron Von Blitzschlag. One of the Vulturions is identified as Honcho (apparently released from prison and having gone back to crime). They are stopped with ease by a costume-less Peter Parker and the Scarlet Spiders.[67]

During the "Civil War II" storyline, the original Vulturions resurface. This time, they have upgraded their gear and are still using the same moniker. The Vulturions were seen committing a heist until they were stopped by Spider-Man upon him being tipped off by Ulysses Cain.[68]

During the "Spider-Geddon" storyline, the Vulturions are on a heist, where they encounter Miles Morales. Despite some difficulty, Miles defeats them.[69]

Jimmy NataleEdit

Vulture
 
Jimmy Natale as Vulture. Cover to The Amazing Spider-Man #623. Art by Joe Quinones.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Amazing Spider-Man #592 (June 2009)
Created byMark Waid
Mike McKone
In-story information
Alter egoJames "Jimmy" Natale
Notable aliasesJimmy the Fixer
AbilitiesSuperhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina, durability and reflexes
Acid spitting

A new Vulture appears in the story arc "Spider-Man 24/7". He is a mutate vigilante rather than a supervillain, mercilessly killing and eating criminals. During the battle, Spider-Man is temporarily blinded by an acid the creature spits in his face.[9] Spider-Man defeats the new Vulture in the new Yankee Stadium.[43]

During The Gauntlet storyline, he escapes prison and goes after the mobsters responsible for his transformation. The first mobster he finds reveals Vulture's past as the Maggia's "cleaner" Jimmy Natale, and then claims that the transformation was caused by J. Jonah Jameson. In truth, it was actually biochemist Dr. Charlie Goss who used the machines that were previously used by Dr. Farley Stillwell and his brother Dr. Harlan Stillwell so that they can have a newer Vulture. It was Charlie Goss that claimed that Jameson had a hand in his creation when he confessed to the authorities about Vulture.[70] After being fended off from Spider-Man, Vulture visited the mobster again, who came clean about who was behind his transformation. Vulture then killed the mobster. Vulture is later seen soaring above the ruins of the Daily Bugle and past a jobless, depressed Peter Parker into the night.[71]

In the Origin of the Species story-arc, Vulture joins Doctor Octopus' supervillain team, which was assembled to procure specific items. He attacks Spider-Man, who was caring for Lily Hollister's newborn child, in Hamilton Heights, but their fight is interrupted by Freak. The two villains team-up after a brief scrimmage, and are knocked out by Spider-Man.[72]

A further-mutated Vulture is hired by the Exchange to assassinate the Punisher.[73] Vulture ambushes the vigilante at an abandoned warehouse, and the two engage in an aerial battle, which ends with the Punisher fatally stabbing the Vulture in the torso and jaw, causing him to crash land in the South Bronx.[74] The Punisher flees the scene, leaving Vulture's body to be recovered by the NYPD, and examined by Carlie Cooper.[75]

Minor charactersEdit

There have been other characters who went by the name of Vulture:

  • Vulture is the name of an outlaw during the Old West who went up against Marshal Tex Morgan and his deputy Lobo. He died in a duel with Tex.[76]
  • Hugh Bradley is a Mojave Indian of the Vulture Tribe who worked for the Nazis and fought Captain America and Bucky.[77]
  • An unnamed Nazi commander went by the name of Vulture and fought Captain America and Bucky. He perished when he was caught in the crossfire between two opposing forces.[78]
  • Ottokar Meltzer is a Nazi scentist who invented a drug that enabled it's consumer to fly and have their strength increased by 20 fold for 24 hours. He fought against Captain America and Bucky.[79]
  • Harrison Klein is a saboteur and bird trainer working for the Axis powers who fought the original Human Torch and Toro.[80]
  • A scientist named Dr. Isidoro Scarlotti went by the name Vulture. He was the leader of the International League of Criminals and was an enemy of the original Human Torch and Toro.[81]
  • Mikhal Oglu is a winged man from Turhan who has clashed with Conan the Barbarian.[82]
  • Rudy Rudolph is a trading post owner who dresses up in a costume that makes him look like a giant vulture. As the Vulture, he was behind a diamond heist before being defeated by Lorna the Jungle Queen.[83]

Other versionsEdit

Ultimate MarvelEdit

The Ultimate Marvel incarnation of Adrian Toomes is an employee of Trask Industries who was about to extract the Venom symbiote from Eddie Brock, Jr. but the Beetle attacks the facility with knockout gas.[84]

The Ultimate Marvel version of Vulture was rendered by artist Mark Bagley to resemble actor Jason Statham as per writer Brian Michael Bendis' instructions.[85] This version is Blackie Drago,[86] a disgruntled former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who had been hired to kill Roxxon CEO Donald Roxxon. Drago received his equipment from the Tinkerer (Elijah Stern). He was defeated by Spider-Man and taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, imprisoned in the Triskelion, headquarters of the Ultimates. When the Green Goblin broke out, several other villains. Marvel Comics. including Drago escape in the chaos; a news report depicts Vulture's recapture at Captain America's hands.[87] He was apprehended by Spider-Woman and the Human Torch after a robbery.[88] Alongside the rest of the Ultimate Six, Vulture plays a role in the "Death of Spider-Man" storyline. Osborn breaks him and the rest out of the Triskelion, and after their escape, informs them that God wishes for them to kill Spider-Man.[89] When Drago shows up with his teammates in search of weapons, Tinkerer accommodates them by giving them weapons including upgrading Vulture's suit.[90] When Electro is shot by Aunt May, an electric surge knocks out Kraven the Hunter, Sandman and Vulture.[91]

Earth XEdit

In the Earth X reality, Adrian Toomes has mutated into a more vulture-like appearance, with real wings, claws, and beak, due to the action of the Terrigen Mists. He was seen as a member of the Enforcers, bodyguards of the USA President Norman Osborn.[92]

House of MEdit

In the House of M reality, Vulture is one of Rhino's friends who helped him attack and detain the Green Goblin for ruining the best chance at a good life Rhino ever had. Here he is a human who is nearly attacked by a Sentinel for flying after Spider-Man with his winged suit.[93]

Marvel 1602Edit

In the Marvel 1602 reality, the group of warriors working for Otto von Doom are referred to as the Vulture-Fliers and wear flight-enabling armor similar to the mainstream universe Vulture's costume.[94]

Marvel 2099Edit

 
Spider-Man 2099 and Vulture 2099 on the cover of Spider-Man 2099#7

In Marvel 2099, a new Vulture is a recurring foe of that era's Spider-Man. This version of the character uses advanced combat armor to fly, and is an insane cannibal who wishes to rule the sky. In his debut, the Vulture saves Spider-Man from a group of thugs and proposes an alliance against the Public Eye Police Force with him, but Spider-Man rejects his offer of partnership when he realizes the Vulture is a man-eater. Spider-Man and the Vulture fight, their battle bringing them to a church, where the Vulture and his followers ("The Freakers") are driven off by Spider-Man's ally Kasey Nash and her gang, the Throwbacks.[95]

When the original Spider-Man is brought to the year 2099 due to two companies (one in 2099, the other in the past) experimenting with extra-dimensional generators, he fights and defeats the Vulture before meeting his successor, Spider-Man 2099.[96]

Marvel NoirEdit

The Marvel Noir version of Adrian Toomes (a.k.a. the Vulture) is depicted as a former circus freak, a geek who lived in a cage, feeding on chicken heads. The Vulture was taken by mob boss Norman Osborn (The Goblin) to become one of his hitmen. Toomes was responsible for the death of Ben Parker, whom the Vulture cannibalized after Parker was beaten by Osborn's Enforcers.[97] Vulture later took May Parker hostage and attempted to kill her, but Spider-Man killed him instead.[98]

Marvel ZombiesEdit

In the second issue of Marvel Zombies, an undead Adrian Toomes can be seen among a group of zombified heroes, whom he later aids in attacking the Silver Surfer.[99] The zombified Vulture is among those who battled against the Silver Surfer and is seemingly killed. In "Marvel Zombies 3", it is revealed he survived, and along with the Angel, the Falcon, and Beak, he attacked the Earth-616 Machine Man, and Jocasta, but failed. Just as Machine Man killed the other three wingsters, Vulture, after almost being torn in half by a dangling Jocasta, attempted to retreat to his boss, but was blown up by Machine Man before he could successfully escape.[100]

In the one-shot prequel issue to Marvel Zombies, Marvel Zombies: Dead Days, the Vulture is part of an undead version of the Sinister Six, alongside the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Electro, and Mysterio, who he helps in attacking and devouring the inhabitants of New York.[101]

MC2Edit

In the timeline of MC2, Blackie Drago is revealed to have had a daughter named Brenda Drago, a.k.a. the Raptor.[102]

Old Man LoganEdit

In the pages of Old Man Logan, Vulture was among the villains that attacked the Avengers in Connecticut. Teaming up with Roderick Kingsley, Vulture targeted Wasp. After Hobgoblin was knocked off his glider and Wasp was shot in the chest, Giant-Man crushed Vulture in his hands.[103]

Spider-VerseEdit

During the Spider-Verse storyline, a group of five Vultures (consisting of alternate versions of Blackie Drago, Jimmy Natale, the Vulture Noir, a young Adrian Toomes, and Clifton Shallot) are members of the Hounds which are owned by Morlun's sister Verna. They are sent after the Ben Reilly of Earth-94 by Verna. Reilly defeats them with the aid of Spider-Ham and the Old Man Spider-Man of Earth-4.[104] Toomes was eaten by the other Vultures, Shallot and Natale are implied to have been killed by Verna for their failure, and the rest are killed by Assassin Spider-Man, Superior Spider-Man, and Spider-Punk.[volume & issue needed]

Another version of the Vulture from Earth-803 is a member of the "Six Men of Sinestry", the universe's version of the Sinister Six.[105]

Spider-GwenEdit

The Vulture appears in the first arc in the Spider-Gwen solo series taking place on Earth-65, where Gwen Stacy was bitten by the radioactive spider. Vulture appears more deranged than his Earth-616 incarnation and secretes a green gaseous cloud wherever he goes. Vulture was attacking police officers while mentioning how Spider-Woman "killed" Peter Parker and was easily lured out by Gwen who wrote graffiti insults towards him all over the city. Once she caught his attention, both of them fought. As Vulture was flying away, Spider-Woman shot a webline in order to be carried away with him and follow him. However, Vulture used the claws in his suit to rip the web, causing Spider-Woman to fall from a great height.[106] With Spider-Woman believed dead, Vulture was captured by Kingpin's henchmen and beaten up by Matt Murdock. Vulture admitted not being certain of Spider-Woman's death, due to the lack of a body. He was ordered by Matt Murdock to find evidence of her survival.[107] Vulture attacked George Stacy in his home in order to find his connection with Spider-Woman, due to her rescuing him from Aleksei Sytsevich a long time ago, and gassed the residence. Gwen, who was on the scene, used the gas as a cover to change to her Spider-Woman suit and confront Vulture. After being shot in the shoulder by George Stacy, Vulture was forced to flee. Spider-Woman followed him, where she managed to beat him, even though she was under the effects of the gas. He was then left webbed to a police car.[108]

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your VowsEdit

During the "Secret Wars" storyline in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, Vulture appears as a member of Regent's Sinister Six. His costume now has a beak-like mouth cover.[109] In the Sinister Six's fight with Spider-Man at Public School 122 Mamie Fay, Vulture was incapacitated by Spider-Man.[110]

During the "Spider-Geddon" storyline, there is a gang that is named after him called the Vulture Gang that is led by Kid Vulture. They are defeated by Spider-Man, Spinneret, and Spiderling and left for the police. Spider-Girl and Spider-Woman of Earth-925 run into Kid Vulture and the Vulture Gang and receive assistance in fighting them by Spider-Man, Spinneret, and Spiderling.[111]

Earth-138/Spider-PunkEdit

On Earth-138, Adrian Toomes is the CEO of Bestman/Toomes where the company had the subsidiary Toomestone Records. Using Toomestone Records, Adrian Toomes bought Free Medianet in an attempt to shut down Spider-Punk and his Spider-Slayers at the time when they were giving a free concert sponsored by Free Medianet. This interruption led to a fight between Toomes' security force and Spider-Punk's Spider-Army until it was interrupted by the arrival of the forces led by Ducktor Doom 2099 of Earth-8311.[112]

In other mediaEdit

TelevisionEdit

 
Vulture (Adrian Toomes) in the Spider-Man animated series.
  • The Blackie Drago incarnation of Vulture, referred to as Vulture Man, appeared in the 1960s Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Gillie Fenwick.[113]
  • The Adrian Toomes incarnation of Vulture appeared in the 1981 Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Don Messick.[113]
 
Vulture (Adrian Toomes) in The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series.
  • The Adrian Toomes incarnation of Vulture appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Robert Englund.[113][115][116] This version wears a modified version of Terry Dodson's black and red costume from Marvel Knights Spider-Man. Originally an aeronautics engineer who sought revenge against Norman Osborn for stealing his inventions, he later joined the Sinister Six as Doctor Octopus's right-hand man.
  • The Adrian Toomes incarnation of Vulture appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Tom Kenny.[113][117] This version is depicted as a teenage test subject of Doctor Octopus's genetic experiments who has the ability to shapeshift between his human form and an anthropomorphic vulture-esque form that sports Jimmy Natale's organic wings and sonic shrieks. He is later equipped with Blackie Drago's Ultimate green armor after becoming involved with Hydra and his original counterpart's red and black armor after joining the Sinister Six. Additionally, he is not as villainous as other versions and even regards Spider-Man as a friend, only siding with supervillains who offered to help him discover his origins before eventually redeeming himself as a hero.
  • The Adrian Toomes incarnation of Vulture appears in the 2010s Spider-Man animated series,[118] voiced by Alastair Duncan.[113] This version is a middle-aged man whose flight suit is equipped with a neck-mounted device that enables sonic attacks, acting as an antagonist to Spider-Man while serving as a henchman to Norman Osborn and Doctor Octopus for the Sinister Six. He also inspires the Wake Riders and later takes on the Goblin King alias in a personal quest for power while leading the Goblin Nation.
    • A Vulturion-esque group called the Wake Riders also appear in the show. Based on the name for a group of vultures, they are a viral stunt group that consists of their leader Barkley Blitz (voiced by Ogie Banks[119]), an unnamed female (voiced by Audrey Wasilewski[119] and by Melanie Minichino[120]), and two unnamed males (both voiced by Zack Shada[119]).
  • The Adrian Toomes incarnation of Vulture appears in the Avengers: Black Panther's Quest animated series, voiced again by Alastair Duncan.[121]

FilmEdit

  • During the early development for the live-action film Spider-Man 3, Ben Kingsley was in negotiations to play the Vulture in the film, but producer Avi Arad convinced director Sam Raimi to use Venom instead.[122][123]
  • In December 2009, John Malkovich was in negotiations to play the Vulture in the live-action film Spider-Man 4,[124] but the film was cancelled.[125]
  • Michael Keaton portrays Adrian Toomes in the live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe film Spider-Man: Homecoming.[126][127] This version of the character runs a New York salvaging company and is Liz Allan's father. Toomes' flight suit is equipped with turbine-powered wings, claw-like wingtips, and boot-mounted talons. With the creation of the Department of Damage Control following the Battle of New York, Toomes' company is run out of business. In response, he persuades his colleagues Phineas Mason, Herman Schultz, Jackson Brice, and Randy Vale not to relinquish the salvaged Chitauri technology they collected, and go on to start a scavenging operation and black market weapons ring. After deducing Spider-Man's secret identity, he threatens him with retaliation unless he stops interfering. However, Spider-Man thwarts Toomes' attempt to hijack a plane carrying Avengers weaponry and saves his life when his suit malfunctions before Happy Hogan and the FBI find and arrest Toomes. As a result, his family moves away. During the mid-credits scene, an imprisoned Toomes is approached by Mac Gargan, who wants to confirm whether he knows Spider-Man's identity, which Toomes denies.

Video gamesEdit

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External linksEdit