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Friday, 16 December 2016

Comics Explained: Vulture (Adrian Toomes)

The Vulture
Recently the trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming was released revealing the villain of the movie: the Vulture. The Vulture is the second oldest Spider-Man villain first appearing in The Amazing Spider-Man #2 all the back in May 1963. Although he is not the most well known of Spider-Man's villains, or the most powerful, he has a key place in the history of Spider-Man. Over the years there have been four people to take on the mantle of the Vulture, however, today we will only look at the first one, Adrian Toomes, as he was the one which will be featured in the movie, as played by former Batman Michael Keaton.

Vulture's initial appearance
Like many characters from the Spider-Man comics Adrian Toomes came from New York, more specifically Staten Island. With his parents dying when he was young Adrian was raised by his older brother Marcus until Marcus became paraplegic following a motocycle accident. Thereafter he spent his time caring for his brother. Toomes was incredibly smart, and after leaving school he helped found a firm called Bestman and Toomes Electronics where Toomes could use his engineering skills to make projects. His favorite project was an electromagnetic harness which improved muscle mass, and the ability to fly like a bird when in use. However, his continuous obsession with his pet projects distracted him from the fact that his partner had been slowly embezzling funds from the business, and buying Tomes's stocks in the company. By the time that Toomes had realized he was an old man and Bestman was the sole proprietor. He retired to work on his revenge. Soon he had perfected his harness and developed a costumed identity called Vulture. He immediately flew to Bestman's office and began to ransack it to find evidence to incriminate his former partner. When he could not he robbed the premises and then began a series of robbings across New York City. The thrill of thieving under the guise of a costume went to his head and he started to announce where he would rob. The big one was the Park Avenue Diamond Exchange. Everyone had believed he would attack from the air so the police had set guards to prepare for the Vulture's arrival from the skies. However, it turned out he had flew through the sewers, emerged from a manhole, and robbed the place. It was this which made him run in with Spider-Man. Like Vulture, Spider-Man was also a skilled engineer and to combat the electromagnetic harness which powered Vulture's flight he created an inverter which would stop the electromagnets in the harness. It worked and Vulture was captured becoming the second villain in Spider-Man's Rogue Gallery.

Sinister Six
Sinister Six
After being beaten by Spider-Man the Vulture ended up joining forces with five other members of his Rogues Gallery in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1. Here Doctor Octopus realized that by working with other people who hated Spider-Man he could defeat the Web-Slinger. Other than Vulture he also hired: Electro (a man who can shoot electricity, farthest left on the above photo), Mysterio, (someone who can make lifelike images appear, second on the left), Kraven the Hunter, (an extremely strong man who hunts with his bare hands, farthest right), and Sandman, (someone who can turn into sand and use sand who was the villain in Spider-Man 3, second to the right). To try and take down Spider-Man their plan was to kidnap someone from the Daily Bugle, leave behind clues at locations, and hopefully wear down Spider-Man. They kidnap Betty Brant and Aunt May who happened to be visiting Brant as she was worried about her nephew and hoped that his colleague could help. Spider-Man managed to defeat Electro, Kraven, Mysterio and Sandman before taking on, (and defeating), Vulture. Eventually he also defeated Doctor Octopus. 

After the Six
Two Vultures
Following his defeat as part of the Sinister Six Toomes was sent to prison again. It was in prison that he made friends with his cellmate Raniero 'Blackie' Drago (the one on the left in the above picture), in Amazing Spider-Man #48. Drago staged an accident which left Toomes hospitalized and close to death. Fearing he might die Toomes told Drago where his secret Vulture suit was. Drago's plan was complete and he managed to escape from prison as the new Vulture. However, Toomes found out that Drago had been defeated by Spider-Man quite easily he vowed to show the world who the real Vulture was. He managed to escape prison and create a new Vulture suit. To finally show the world who the better Vulture was he fought Drago and with his superior suit managed to defeat his former friend. Not until 1990 would anything major happen with the Toomes version of the Vulture. Introduced in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #47 a wheelchair bound retired vaudeville Nathan Lubensky had started a relationship with Aunt May. Lubensky had met Toomes and was unaware of his identity as the Vulture saying that life should never get him down. In Amazing Spider-Man #336 he had arrived at a casino yacht, (which May and Nathan had been attending), and during a fight with Spider-Man he tried to use May as a human shield. However, Nathan managed to get onto Vulture's back to try and stop him from taking May resulting in Lubensky having a fatal heart attack. Toomes became distraught and was soon caught. 

Throughout the 1990s the Vulture remained a secondary villain for Spider-Man with writers focusing more on Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin and Venom instead of his flying adversary. However, there was a brief time when he became a hero, but as always in comics he went back into his ways of being a villain. During the Civil War event he was beaten by Captain America in the early days of the Superhero Civil War. When incarcerated he was offered a chance by S.H.I.E.L.D to hunt down Spider-Man who had gone rogue and joined Captain America. However, when he went to fight Spider-Man he had a stroke and Spider-Man had to rush him to hospital. In 2014 in Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #5 Vulture was forced to join Spider-Man's Superior Six, (this was a weird time in Marvel).

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it.

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