Adrian Toomes was a former electronics engineer who was once the business partner of a man named Gregory Bestman. Bestman handled the finances while Toomes, the inventions. One day, after creating a flight harness, Toomes eagerly rushed into Bestman's office to share the happy news. However, Bestman was not there, and Toomes discovered that Bestman had secretly been embezzling funds. that Toomes had no legal recourse. Enraged, Toomes wrecked the business, discovering that the harness also granted him superhuman strength. He then decided to turn to crime as the Vulture. The Vulture employs a special harness of his own design that allows him,to fly using a pair of wings worn on his arms. The harness also endows him with super-strength, and some say it even lengthens his life-span. Although Toomes is advanced in age, he is a strong fighter and a remorseless killer.
Mayor Story Arcs
First fight against Spider-man
Toomes first appeared in the media after robbing a bank. Within two days of this incident, however, Spider-man attacked Vulture when Vulture was flying around the city. This was not a chance occurrence--Spider-man had gone out looking for him. However Spider-man at this time had not been a super-hero for more than a month and was very inexperienced. Vulture quickly defeated him and Spider-man barely made it away alive.
Vulture then decided to prove his abilities and gain recognition in the criminal community by actually warning the police of his intentions to rob an armored car containing jewels before he committed the crime. Since the police expected Vulture to come from the air they were taken by surprise when he jumped out of a manhole. Vulture took the jewels and got away without a fight.
Vulture had gotten cocky, though, and once again flew around the city in broad daylight in the same area where Spider-man prowled. Spider-man attacked him, but this time he had a device of his own invention that neutralized Vulture's harness. Spider-man then turned Vulture over to the authorities. In less than two months, though, Vulture managed to escape, mostly using tools in the prison shop in order to build a make-shift harness. Vulture returned to an abandoned silo where he sometimes lived and he held several real harnesses. After a few days, he resumed life as a thief. After only a few days, though, Spider-man once again approached him. Vulture had, however, rebuilt his harness to stop Spider-man from negating it. Vulture broke Spider-man's arm and stunned him, then hurriedly left before the police could arrive. Vulture's success was short lived. Spider-man practiced his skills and challenged him again, this time being successful. Spider-man went on to being one of New York's greatest heroes, and Vulture went back to jail.
Doctor Octopus smashed into jail and gave Vulture the opportunity to escape. Vulture took it, under the deal that he would join Doc Ock's Sinister Six (Vulture had by now grown a passionate hate for Spider-man, whom he believed as arrogant and insensitive due to his 100% adherence to the law). The other team members were Mysterio, Sandman, Electro, and Kraven the Hunter. Doc Ock suggested the other five members draw lots to see which ones would fight first and the team would plan a one-by-one attack on Spidey to wear him down. To increase their force, Spider-man would be lured into traps where he would fight each villain in their element.
At first the Sinister Six looked to have the victory, as Spider-man had recently lost his powers due to him subconsciously desiring not to. However Spider-man regained his will to be a hero and with it came his powers. Spider-man defeated and webbed up each villain (including Vulture who fought in an aviary), though each one of them planned on Doc Ock rescuing them after the exhausted web-crawler was taken out. However Spider-man managed to win every fight, and Vulture was dismayed as he was brought back to prison.
Vulture escaped several times after this, but each time met with defeat at the hands of Spider-man, Toomes decided to stop being just a petty mercenary and to use his powers to become a crime-lord. He was rather successful, running several gangs from behind the scenes with his nephew, Malachi Toomes, posing as the head. The Toomes' gangs became ensnared in a vicious gang war with the forces of the now non-super-powered yet still incredibly strong crime-lord Blackie Drago (who Vulture had previously fought).
At a celebration of the gang's success where Adrian planned to reveal himself Spider-man burst in. Toomes was prepared and with his men managed to chain him up and throw him into a large furnace the gang used to dispose of evidence and bodies. Spider-man managed to burst out, but in the process he set the building on fire. Adrian pulled Malachi out of the building, but despite his nephew's please he did not risk his and his relative's life to save anyone else. The gangsters were trapped in the building and nearly died, but Spider-man managed to help them out. However this took time, and thus he was not around to see Vulture and Malachi. This was a problem since Blackie Drago and his gang had decided to attack the escaping Toomes. Malachi took a bullet saving Adrian. Vulture became enraged, as Malachi was the only one left who cared about him and was the only one Vulture truly loved. He attacked Blackie and had nearly beaten him to death by the time Spider-man arrived and stopped him. Vulture attempted to escape, and Spider-man pursued him, even going so far as to cling on to a strand of webbing attached to Adrian's leg. Spider-man knew Blackie had gotten help for as Vulture tried to run away Captain Snyder and several policemen had arrived. In his fit of fury while violently trying to shake Spider-man off him, Vulture crashed into Graham Central Station. Spider-man then commented that it was a giant bird cage, and he began to try and capture Toomes. In the ensuing battle there was a great deal of location damage, including the station's trademark clock. In the end vulture accidentally crashed headfirst into shatter-proof glass. The glass shattered, but the impact had knocked Vulture to the ground and severely injured him. It is likely Toomes suffered brain damage, and that this injury lead to his later health problems.
On one occasion, he restored his youth through biochemical means, though this wore off after exposure to the corpse of an elemental superhuman. 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. On more than one occasion Toomes has been in league with several other Spider-Man villains. in order to destroy the wall crawler. The Vulture has been in every incarnation of the Sinister Six, and appeared in the Sinister Twelve. He has a strong friendship with fellow villain Electro; the two of them nearly beat Spider-Man to death.
During one of his many periods of ill health, Toomes struck a friendship with Nathan Lubensky, a man who had become the new love of May Parker's life. Nathan was unaware of Toomes' true identity, and encouraged the injured criminal to take his chances with life and not to let handicaps drag him down (Nathan was a paraplegic). Toomes followed Nathan's advice and attempted to take over his rehab clinic as The Vulture. A battle with Spider-Man led to Toomes almost killing Nathan, the shock of almost taking the life of a man who had helped to save his own distracted Toomes and led to his capture. The 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, the Vulture thought to use a hostage as a shield, and selected May Parker from the crowd. Little did he suspect though that Nathan was also with May, and he defiantly leapt from his wheelchair and grabbed Toomes. still not realizing who it was, Toomes flew high into the air with Nathan on his back, warning the man to get off. Nathan took one look down,and realized how high they were triggering a fatal heart attack. Toomes fled as Nathan fell. Though he was successfully caught by Spider-Man, he would die in May's arms.
Toomes was later diagnosed with cancer, caused by frequent exposure to the essentials needed to power his flying apparatus. In an attempt to be forgiven for all of his previous sins, the Vulture terrorized the Parker household, pleading that May Parker forgive him for indirectly causing Nathan's death. An 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, the Vulture's own power pack malfunctioned and exploded, setting his wings ablaze. Spidey successfully ripped the burning pack off of Toomes, and the two crash landed in a muddy ditch. After being arrested, Toomes was returned to the Parker's 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.
The Vulture once stumbled across a plot by the Chameleon and the Green Goblin to drive Spider-Man insane by having shape-shifting 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 the cancer that had been slowly killing him for some time. During this period he attempted to kill everyone who'd 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 (the Prowler having once thwarted his attempted takeover of his old company) 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 and had turned his power on himself in his grief at the death of his brother. Toomes subsequently reverted back to his old age, presumably due to Kalen's power having negated the youth effect. Toomes' identity as the Vulture has been claimed by imposters on several occasions. Blackie Drago and Professor Clifton Shallot are some of them. The Vulture technology was later copied by a group of thugs called "The Vulturions;" Toomes defeated these usurpers as well. Also, Toomes himself was not the first comic villain to use the name. In the 1941 comic Doll Man Quarterly, a robber named the Vulture used his pet vultures to carry bombs and commit crimes.
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. ( Advanced Idea Mechanics) headquarters in order to retrieve a disc containing the identities of undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives (including that of Toomes' daughter). During a brief time working for the Owl, he failed in a mission 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.
Under the tutelage of Al Kraven, the son of Kraven the Hunter, Toomes briefly attempted a stint at heroism, but before long he returned to the other side of the law. 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.
During the Civil War, he was apprehended along with the Grim Reaper and the Trapster, by Captain America and his 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 wouldn't be any trouble for Spider-Man, Toomes said, "Oh I think it will be."
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."
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. 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 Spidey removes the pillow, commenting that "For somebody who's begging to die, you fight for life pretty hard."
When Al Kraven began collecting a zoo of animal themed superhumans, Vulture was one of his captives. To stop Vulture from using his intellect to find away to remove his bomb collar, Kraven broke his hands repeatedly but with the help of Rhino, Vulture escapes.
Brand New Vulture and Dark Reign
During Norman Osborn's term as head of superhuman forces, many super-criminals were able to leave prison and even join the Initiative by cutting deals with first the Hood working for Osborn, and then Osborn himself. These super-criminals were able to continue most of their corrupt ways, but had to keep their activity to a minimum and make sure it was secretive. Either because Hood and Osborn did not trust Vulture with this responsibility; or he had built up to many enemies in the superhuman community; or he simply refused, the Toomes was one of very, very few New York super-villains not participating in these deals (others being Tombstone, Lady Bullseye, and Mister Negative).
With Toomes still in jail, a new vulture appeared. Feeding on trapped and injured people (mostly criminals) he would kill and eat them. Spider-man approached Toomes asking if he knew anything about this, but Adrian replied he had no connection to the new villain. He then stated that while he intended to beat and possibly kill the new crook for using his identity, he somewhat hoped that before he could the cannibal would kill Spider-man. Spider-man fought the new vulture, nick-named Red Vulture by some to distinguish him from Toomes. Spider-man discovered that while Red Vulture used Adrian's codename and appeared similar, his powers were somewhat different in origin. Very strong metal wings were actually implanted in Red Vulture's body, and he had molten, metallic blood and saliva. The villain also had natural claws and fangs. In his first fight with Spider-man Red Vulture took the upper hand, forcing Spider-Man to escape. However in a subsequent battle Spider-man won by braking his opponent's hands.
Red Vulture was sent to the raft, but before Toomes attacked him he was broken out by Adrian's old teammate Electro. Later, Punisher kills him.
The Vulture has smilingly returned with some upgrades in fact. He is using children dressed as vultures to perform Crime, but he is ultimately stopped by Spider-Man / Doc Ock.
Powers and Abilities
The vulture's harness augments his physical strength, durability, speed and agility despite his age. However the vulture's key ability is his intellect. Highly skilled in mechanical engineering and very crafty and cunning. Deception usually works in his hand.
The vulture often uses weapons such as an automated hand gun and other new inventions.
Recently, the Vulture has been rejuvenated and has changed his look to a more streamlined outfit, complete with razor sharp wings.
Recently Adrian has gotten an upgrade which enables him to Fly without his wings. and it seems that he had gained a power enhancement since he managed hold an enraged spider-man on his neck.
Ultimate Universe (Earth-1610)
The Vulture was a SHIELD agent named Blackie Drago, but when kicked out he started working for Roxxon. In Roxxon he got his vulture suit and during a battle with the Silver Sable he was introduced to Spider-Man. Later when the Green Goblin got out of SHIELD so did the Vulture. He was later recaptured by Captain America.
The character of Adrian Toomes was also introduced in the "War of the Symbiotes" arc as Bolivar Trask's head scientist working on "the Suit". He said that he did his graduate work in Edward Brock Sr. and Richard Parker's lab. He does not have a flight suit or wings and is only a scientist.
In the year 1602, warriors loyal to Otto von Doom wear similar suits just like the earth-616 Vulture.
Marvel 2099 (Earth-9200)
In the year 2099, Vulture 2099 is an enemy of Spider-Man 2099 . He is a cannibal, the leader of the group "Freakers."
In this reality, the Vulture is a zombie and is with a zombified Sinister Six. He was destroyed by the Silver Surfer.
Marvel Noir (Earth-90214)
In Spider-Man Noir (part of Marvel Noir), Vulture is a former (deformed) circus freak and somewhere along the road became a cannibal. His act of being a vicious monster came to life. He was part of Goblin's gang. Although the public was lead to believe that Benjamin Parker had been killed and torn apart by dogs, he was really ripped apart and partially eaten by the Vulture. In the fourth comic book in the series, Spider-Man Noir shoots the Vulture, killing him, after the monster had attacked Aunt May in his pursuit of abducting Peter.
Spider-Man: 1967 Tv Series - The Vulture uses a device to control an army of birds. After Vulture beats Spider-Man, he holds the city hostage for a money ransom and the blame gets put on Spider-Man. Spider-Man is forced to fight Vulture on a high rise but he counters his disadvantage by turning his own birds against him by destroying his device.
A doctor by the name of Noah Buddy releases Electro, Green Goblin, and Vulture from prison to get revenge on Spider-man. They were able to disable Spider-Man's powers and arranges a meeting with Spidey at midnight on the docks. Their egos turned out to be their downfall as the 3 villains argued. Spider-Man used it to his to beat his arch nemesis's.
Spider-Man: The Animated Series - In this show Adrian Toomes was the head of Toomes Aerodynamics and had developed technology that alllowed the elderly Toomes to master flight. Using a piece of the table of time Toomes could suck the life force from an individual and temporarily gain his own youth back. After using the youth sucking device on Spider-Man, he absorbed his disease, and began mutating into a Man-Spider. At the lab Dr. Connors tricked Vulture into taking the disease fully, curing Spider-Man of the threat to turn into Man-Spider. Vulture would later use his device to suck the youth from a baby Silvermane, gaining youth while giving Silverman back his elderly body. Vulture would later gain membership on the Insidious Six, replacing the presumed dead Mysterio.
Spider-Man: Unlimited - An alternate heroic verison of the Vulture appears on Counter Earth. This version is a human who was made into a partial Beastial thanks the the High Evolutionary. Vulture at first thinks Spider-Man is a villain, but then helps him after he realizes that they are both
Spectacular Spider-Man - In this show Adrian Toomes appears as a researcher trying to present his magnetic flight system to OsCorp, but was turned away by Norman Osborn. 4 Months later OsCorp announced they development of the flight system forcing Toomes to don the armor and take the name Vulture to get revenge on Norman Osborn. Once Vulture attacked Osborn though Spider-Man got in the way. Vulture would later join with Doctor Octopus and the other villains to form the Sinister Six.
Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six - Vulture appears as the stage 3 boss on the rooftops of New York City.
The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin - Vulture appears in the SEGA CD version of the game.
Spider-Man: The Animated Series game - Vulture appears in this SNES game based of the 90's Animated Series.
Spider-Man - The video game tie in for the 2002 movie, Vulture appears as in a super villain duo with Shocker. Both rob a jewelry store, though Vulture is the only one to escape back to his hideout, a clock tower on the Lower East Side. Spider-Man enters the clock tower though Vulture is aware of his presence, using mini android bombs to attack Spider-Man. Once Spider-Man reaches the top of the tower Vulture tries to escape, but Spider-Man forces him into a battle around the Chrysler Building. They proceed to battle in the air around the tower. Vulture using razor feathers and grenades to try and match Spider-Man's powers. Vulture is eventually defeated and strung up for the police.
Spider-Man 2 - In the Gamecube, Xbox, and PS2 version of the game, Vulture's feathers can be found on the Chrysler Building as a refrence to the battle in the previous game. Vulture is an added boss in the Nintendo DS version. Exclusive to the PSP Vulture is one of the many villain assists for Mysterio. In the PSP version Vulture is broken out of prison by Rhino along with Shocker and Mysterio. Vulture plants bombs all around the city and after Spider-Man disarms them he is defeated again in a construction sight.
Ultimate Spider-Man - Adrian Toomes "Ultimate" Incarnation appears in this game as a researcher working for Bolivar Trask. This version never becomes Vulture, bu did do research with both Peter Parker's and Eddie Brock's fathers. Toomes injects micro samples of the symbiote into Spider-Man turning him into a version of Carnage and ends up getting knocked out.
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows - Vulture appears as one of the boss characters in the game. His armor is more advanced than usual, adding sword like blades held to the wings with anti-gravity and magnetic technology. He is shown working for the Kingpin providing him with high tech armor and goblin gliders for his henchmen. Once Spider-Man defeats him if he takes the good path, Spider-Man will web him up for the police. If he takes the evil path Spider-Man will do the same though also tell Vulture to never mess with him again. Over the course of the story Vulture is shown working with both SHIELD and the Kingpin to end the symbiote threat. When Spider-Man needs a ride to the island prison in order to recruit the Tinkerer Spider-Man will get a ride from Vulture if he takes the evil path. Vulture is eventually infected with a symbiote and begins taunting Spider-Man to embrace the symbiote. If Spider-man takes the evil path he will destroy the sonic emitter on the Trask Building and then force Vulture to fly him to the Helicarrier where Spider-Man will battle Venom while Vulture plants bombs on the Helicarrier.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions - The Noir version of Vulture appears in the game as the second act boss for Noir Spider-Man. It is said that Vulture cannibalized Ben Parker adding to Spider-Man's grudge to the villain. It is said that Vulture is Norman Osborn's right hand monster and a former circus geek who grew to love human meat from people laughing at him in his cage. Spider-Man chases Vulture through out the streets of New York City until they come to an almost abandoned building where Vulture sets the place ablaze with a Molotov cocktail, forcing Spider-Man to evacuate the building. Vulture's agility seems to be on par with Spider-Man's and Vulture utilized bolas, throwing knives, and the aforementioned Molotov cocktails. Once he activates the Tablet fragment he collected Vulture gains the ability to teleport. Vulture's only real weakness is a strong photo sensitivity that Spider-Man exploits by using spotlights to blind him. Once defeated Spider-Man takes his piece of the Tablet and leaves Vulture for the cops.