With Spider-Man: Homecoming hitting theaters on July 7, you may be wondering who a few of the characters are in the movie. Everyone knows Peter Parker, especially after two separate franchises and five solo films. However, some of his villains are not as well known. In Homecoming, Spider-Man faces The Vulture, played by Michael Keaton. This Silver Age villain is over 50 years old, but where did he come from and who is he?
The Vulture first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #2 back in 1963. He was created by the legendary Steve Ditko and Stan Lee. The villain's real name is Adrian Toomes, an electronics engineer who was stabbed in the back by his business partner. This betrayal led Toomes to a life of crime, using a device he invented which gave him the ability to fly, as well as super-strength. The Vulture is primarily known for being an old man--Spider-Man's senior citizen foe.
While Vulture isn't the biggest or most formidable of Spider-Man's villains, he did meddle in Parker's life on more than one occasion. Toomes was partially responsible for Nathan Lubensky's death. Lubensky was the love interest for Aunt May, and after a battle between Vulture and Spider-Man, Lubensky suffered a fatal heart attack when he jumped on Vulture's back in hopes of stopping a fight between the villain and the web-slinger.
During a really bizarre storyline, Chameleon and Green Goblin created lifelike androids of Peter Parker's parents, hoping it would drive Spider-Man insane. Vulture, who recently developed life-force-sucking gloves, stole all the energy from Peter's "mother," and transferred it into himself, making the Vulture young once again. Like everything in comics, this didn't last forever, and he returned to his elderly state.
Aside from being adept at inventing, Vulture proved himself to be a master strategist during the mid-'00s miniseries Identity Disc. In that story, Vulture--along with the help of Sandman--manipulated a group of supervillains to work together in order to get a disc with the identities of SHIELD agents on it. This list included Toomes's daughter. This is one of the few times we get to see Vulture as an empathetic villain, as he wanted to protect his child from other evildoers.
We last saw Vulture during the volume Superior Spider-Man, when Doctor Octopus put his mind into Spider-Man's body. Spider-Man blinded Vulture and sent him to The Raft, a prison for supervillains. To this day, he is still blind and imprisoned.
Looking to read more about The Vulture? Check these stories out:
- Return of the Sinister Six: Vulture joins the Sinister Six, and they have a plan to defeat Spider-Man. the story takes place in Amazing Spider-Man #335-339.
- Lifetheft: Vulture becomes young again after draining the life of Peter's mother, who is an android. Read it for yourself in Amazing Spider-Man #386-388.
- Civil War: After Peter Parker reveals himself as Spider-Man on television, there are a few revelations involving Vulture. While Spider-Man's story goes branches out through a lot of the Marvel event, this story can be found in Astonishing Spider-Man #55-56.
- Funeral Arrangements: Vulture gets too involved in Peter's home life. This '90s classic story takes place in Spectacular Spider-Man #186-188.
- Identity Disc: Vulture puts together a team of villains for a mission. All five issues of the Identity Disc story are available on Comixology.
Spider-Man: Homecoming hits theaters on Friday, July 7. You can check out our review here.