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Adrian Toomes (Earth-616)

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Quote1 I fought Daredevil. I was in the Sinister Six. I'm faster, stronger, and smarter than a hundred men my age. No flunky with a pistol gets the drop on me. Quote2
-- Vulture src

Early life

Adrian Toomes (Earth-616) from Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 241 001

Vulture's flashback of opening a business

Young Adrian Toomes' parents died during his early years. Adrian was raised by his older brother Marcus and found intelligent by his teachers at school.[2] His brother Marcus became paraplegic after a motorcycle incident and the tables turned with Adrian looking after him.

As an adult, Adrian used his intelligence to become an electrical engineer and inventor, which led him to co-found the small firm of Bestman and Toomes Electronics. His business partner, Gregory Bestman, saw to all administrative affairs. Toomes devoted the bulk of his time to his pet project: an electromagnetic harness that would enable its wearer to fly like a bird. However, this inattention to detail proved disastrous when it came to light that Bestman had been stealing Toomes' share of the company.

Physically confronting Bestman, Toomes discovered that exposure to his electromagnetic harness had granted him superhuman strength. Still, he was unable to intimidate his opponent, and Bestman assumed full control of the company in the wake of his partner's threats. Toomes found himself without legal recourse: On paper, at least, Bestman was the firm's sole proprietor. Already an old man, Toomes retired to a farm in Staten Island on his meager savings. There, he continued to develop his flying harness. Realizing the potential for revenge afforded by his groundbreaking invention and new-found strength, Toomes created the costumed identity of the Vulture. He ransacked Bestman's office, hoping to uncover incriminating evidence, then vandalized and robbed the plant after his search proved unsuccessful.

Early Criminal Career

Adrian Toomes (Earth-616) from Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 241 005

Vulture enters a life of crime

Attracted by the easy rewards and thrill of thievery, the Vulture subsequently embarked on a career as a costumed criminal. He robbed the Park Avenue Diamond Exchange in which beforehand he tauntingly announced to the public as the site of his next robbery. While everybody expected the Vulture to strike from above, he struck from beneath a manhole cover, seized a case of diamonds, and fled through the New York City sewer system. Only the incessant intervention of the wisecracking, web-slinging super hero known as Spider-Man prevented the stealthy super-villain from escaping by using an anti-magnetic inverter he had designed to disable the Vulture's Wings. [3]

The Vulture managed to escape from prison and resumed his crime spree. He fought Spider-Man who found that the magnetic inverter no longer worked against the Vulture's wings. Spider-Man took a serious fall, spraining his arm in the process. When the Vulture later attacked the Daily Bugle, Peter changed into Spider-Man and defeated his foe by pinning his wings with his webbing. [4]

Sinister Six

Adrian Toomes (Earth-616) from Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 337 001

With The Six

After being defeated by Spider-Man the second time[4], the Vulture became a founding member of the Sinister Six. He and five other members of Spider-Man's rogues gallery united under the leadership of Doctor Octopus. The inaugural incarnation of the Sinister Six also included the Sandman, Mysterio, Electro, and Kraven the Hunter. With each villain facing Spider-Man separately (due to their shared sense of pride) they were defeated[5].

The high-flying felon fell to an all-time low when cellmate Raniero "Blackie" Drago became fascinated by his exploits as the Vulture. Drago befriended Toomes and gained his confidence, then arranged an "accident" in the prison machine shop. Toomes suffered injuries that appeared to be fatal. On his deathbed, the unsuspecting inventor revealed to Drago the secret location of a second Vulture suit, empowering him to seek vengeance on Spider-Man. Drago broke out of prison and adopted the guise of the Vulture, but lacked the skill and experience necessary to use the flying harness to its full potential. When Toomes heard of Drago's downfall at the hands of Spider-Man, his will to recover surged. He escaped incarceration and returned to his farm to develop a new, improved flight suit. Toomes later defeated Drago in one-on-one combat, securing his claim to the mantle of the Vulture, and proceeded to defeat Spider-Man in battle as well.[6] (Later, others would also use the Vulture's name and/or M.O, including Professor Clifton Shallot, Jimmy Natale and the Vulturions)

The Vulture later humiliated the racketeering mobster, Mr. Morgan, who hired the Hitman to kill Spider-Man, trying to rob the Vulture of his revenge[7]. The Vulture then arranged the murder of New York's top mobsters to become New York's new crime-lord, and battled Spider-Man[8]. The Vulture would escape prison and fight Spider-Man again[9].

The Vulture later came out of retirement to claim vengeance on Gregory Bestman, his former research partner who embezzled him out of the profits.[10][11] He became involved in Atlantic City casino racketeering to prepare for his own ostentatious funeral, but was thwarted by the Hobgoblin.[12] He moved his gambling operations to Las Vegas, where he attacked Snake Diamond in the middle of the desert for stealing his formula for a special embalming fluid.[13]

He later confronted the mutants Firefist and Skids in an attempt to release Nitro.[14]

Nathan Lubensky

The Pulse Vol 1 2 Textless

The Vulture fighting Spider-Man

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 as part of Doctor Octopus's new Sinister Six, the Vulture sought 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 leaped 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, Nathan died in May's arms.[15]

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 Peter 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. Spider-Man 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 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.

Rejuvenation and Return to Normalcy

Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 387


The Vulture once stumbled across a plot by the Chameleon and the Green Goblin 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 May 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.

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.[16]

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.[17] He subsequently revealed himself as a member of Norman Osborn's Sinister Twelve — though he wore a helmet, presumably to mask the wounds.[18]

Civil War

During the superhuman 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. He was found and taken into custody by S.H.I.E.L.D..[19] He witnessed Spider-Man unmasking himself from his jail cell."[20]

After Spider-Man went rogue Toomes spoke with Multiple Man and commented on Spider-Man's inherent weakness, that being his unwillingness to use his powers for personal gain. S.H.I.E.L.D. returned his flying harness and encouraged him to hunt down Spider-Man, as he was now considered an outlaw. Later, the Vulture attacked Spider-Man at a book signing and managed to slash him with a powerful sedative. Toomes however fell unconscious and, sensing something was wrong, Spider-Man rushed him to the hospital. Toomes woke up a few hours later, where a doctor revealed that he had suffered a stroke, and many of his muscles on the left side of his body had been paralyzed. When the doctor left, Spider-Man snuck in and Toomes asked him to kill him because he was weak. When Spider-Man refused to do so, he told Spider-Man that he was also weak, and always has been. After making remarks about Uncle Ben, Spider-Man took a pillow and began suffocating him. He fought back, and Spidey removed the pillow, commenting that "For somebody who's begging to die, you fight for life pretty hard." [21]

After Peter Parker made a deal with the demon Mephisto, Peter's identity was once again a secret from Toomes and most of the world.[22]

When Al Kraven began collecting a zoo of animal-themed super-humans, Vulture was one of his captives.[23] To stop Vulture from using his intellect to find a way to remove his bomb collar, Kraven broke his hands repeatedly[24], but with help from the Rhino, Vulture escaped.[25]


A new group of flying thieves were seen in New York, and Spider-Man worked with police officer Carlie Cooper to find out what wass happening. It was discovered that this group of thieves had a leader, who also provided them with the flying technology: Adrian Toomes, the original Vulture.[26] After resolving where these thieves were coming from, Spider-Man confronted and subdued them. At last he battled the Vulture (who used his magnetic technology to provide himself with super-strength), but the villain escaped.[27]

Some time later, the Vulture sent his henchmen to retrieve some documents he left behind at MJ's, formerly his hideout, The Wake. Spider-Man, identifying himself as Otto Octavius, invaded his hideout offering money to Toomes give up his life of crimes and leave the city, but he doesn't believe a word and orders his little henchmen to attack the web-slinger. Spidey accidentally knocks out one of the flying midgets; although it turns out that all this time Vulture had used children for his own purposes. Shocked, Otto recalls his own childhood and permanent beating by abusive father. These memories lead him into a rage and he attacks Toomes. After the heavy battle in the air Spider-Man manages to black out the upgraded lenses, blind the old man activating the Spider-signal and crash him right into it.[28]

Along with Boomerang and the Scorpion, Toomes was incarcerated and treated in the Raft's infirmary. Alistair Smythe's mini Spider-Slayers heal and enhances them where Smythe gives them the offer to kill Spider-Man (Otto Octavius inhabiting Spidey's body at the time).[29] He was eventually defeated and was temporarily forced by Spider-Man to work in his Superior Six.[30]


Temporary/Limited Levitation: It has recently been revealed that, due to his prolonged use of the harness, the Vulture can levitate or float his body even without the harness, however at a very slow speed. Like his other abilities, it is probable that this ability too would fade with time away from the harness.

Super-Strength: With the use of his magnetic technology, Toomes can provide himself with super-strength, being able to lift a water tank easily.[27]


Genius Intelligence: 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.[31]

Strength level

Augmented by his Flying Harness, the Vulture can lift (press) approximately 700 lbs. Without his harness, he possesses the normal human strength for a man his age, height, and build who engages in minimal regular exercise.


Adrian Toomes (Earth-616) from Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 241 004

Utilizing his winged suit, Adrian Toomes possess the powers of flight and superhuman strength

  • Electromagnetic Wing Harness: Utilizing his harness the Vulture is able to fly with a natural winged flight limit (95 miles per hour). The anti-graviton generator attached to his flight suit enables him to take to the air by flapping the bird-like wings he wears under his arms. When wearing his electromagnetic harness, the Vulture possesses superhuman strength, vitality and athletic prowess. The harness increases his physical strength to the absolute human maximum enabling him to lift roughly 700 pounds. When he removes the harness his enhanced abilities slowly fade, although the rate at which his abilities fade remains unclear. The harness also (according to some sources) increases his lifespan. The Vulture can reach speeds of up to 95 miles per hour and attain a maximum height of 11,000 feet.

The Vulture has a new version of his flight harness that has supposedly been augmented by the Green Goblin. Though Vulture claimed that it made him several times stronger than his previous version (500% stronger) it appeared to be a bluff to frighten the Black Cat, who proceeded to beat him half to death. Considering she has no real superhuman powers and the severity of the beating she managed to give him it is very unlikely he was being entirely truthful. Vulture's harness also lets him fly virtually soundlessly.

  • Wing Projectile Capability: His feathers are as sharp as swords and can be used as projectile weapons. They will replenish themselves so he can maintain flying abilities.


He prefers flying.


The Vulture carries some form of plasma pistol and several grenades of unknown types.

  • The Vulture was the first traditionally costumed super-villain Spider-Man ever faced, having previously only squared off against the super spy Chameleon in Amazing Spider-Man #1.
  • Up until Amazing Spider-Man #676, the Vulture had been the only Spider-Man foe besides Electro to be a member of every incarnation of the Sinister Six, Sinister Seven, and Sinister Twelve. He has also never once served as leader of any group.
  • The Vulture was the planned antagonist for Spider-Man 4 before the film got cancelled.

Discover and Discuss


  1. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover Vol. 13
  2. Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #15
  3. Amazing Spider-Man #2
  4. 4.0 4.1 Amazing Spider-Man #7
  5. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1
  6. Amazing Spider-Man #64
  7. Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #4-5
  8. Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #44-45
  9. Amazing Spider-Man #224
  10. Amazing Spider-Man #240
  11. Amazing Spider-Man #241
  12. Web of Spider-Man #24
  13. Web of Spider-Man #45
  14. New Mutants #86
  15. Amazing Spider-Man #336
  16. Spider-Man: Get Kraven #4
  17. Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #2-4
  18. Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #10-#11
  19. Civil War #2
  20. Amazing Spider-Man #533
  21. Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #14-16
  22. Amazing Spider-Man #545
  23. Punisher War Journal Vol 2 #13
  24. Punisher War Journal Vol 2 #14
  25. Punisher War Journal Vol 2 #15
  26. Amazing Spider-Man #674
  27. 27.0 27.1 Amazing Spider-Man #675
  28. Superior Spider-Man #2-#3
  29. Superior Spider-Man #11
  30. Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #5
  31. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #13
  32. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover Vol. 13

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