The Vulture as seen in interior artwork from The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (October 1964).
Art by Steve Ditko.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearance
Created by
In-story information
Alter ego
  • Isidoro Scarlotti
  • Adrian Toomes
  • Blackie Drago
  • Clifton Shallot
  • Jimmy Natale
Team affiliationsLegion Accursed
Sinister Six
Savage Six
Notable aliasesDirector Vulture

The Vulture is the alias of several supervillains appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, most of whom are depicted as recurring enemies of the superhero Spider-Man and belong to the collection of adversaries that make up his rogues gallery, typically using special suits which allow them to fly at vast speeds.

The first incarnation of the character, Isidoro Scarlotti, is an Italian scientist and an enemy of the original Human Torch and Toro. The second and most prominent incarnation of the character, Adrian Toomes, is an inventive but maniacal genius who designed his suit and turned to a life of crime, becoming an enemy of Spider-Man and a founding member of the Sinister Six, with later characters to assume the mantle including Blackie Drago, a former cellmate of Toomes, and Clifton Shallot and Jimmy Natale, human/bird hybrids of independent origins. Toomes is later revealed to be the grandfather of the superhero Starling.

Since his conception, the character has been adapted from into various other forms of Spider-Man media, including television series and video games. In live-action, the character was played by Michael Keaton in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and the Sony's Spider-Man Universe (SSU) film Morbius (2022).

Publication history

The first Vulture, Italian scientist Isidoro Scarlotti, first appeared in Young Men #26 (December 1953), created by Joe Gill and Carl Burgos and depicted as an enemy of the original Human Torch and Toro.[2]

The second Vulture, Adrian Toomes, first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #2 (May 1963), and was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.[3][4][5] 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."[6]

Since Toomes originally assumed the Vulture alias as an enemy of Spider-Man, several other character have taken on the mantle from him. The third incarnation, Blackie Drago, first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #48 (May 1967), and was created by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.[7][8] 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.[9]

The fourth incarnation, Clifton Shallot, first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #127, and was created by Ross Andru, Gerry Conway, and John Romita Sr.[10]

A fifth incarnation, Jimmy Natale, first appears in The Amazing Spider-Man #593 as part of the story arc "Spider-Man 24/7"; created by Mark Waid and Mike McKone, he is a recurring enemy of both Spider-Man and the Punisher.[11]

Fictional character biography

Isidoro Scarlotti

Isidoro Scarlotti was born in Italy, attaining a doctorate in atomic science and rising to become the czar of the International League of Criminals, constructing a series "super atomic bombs" with which to hold the world ransom, wearing a mechanised vulture mask. In an attempt at preventing the flaming heroes Human Torch and Toro from interfering with his plans, the Vulture builds robot duplicates of the heroes programmed to commit crimes and murders in order to discredit them; when the Torch and Toro arrive at their boss Chief Wilson's office, they learn that the Vulture has kidnapped his daughter Mary, with his trademark Vulture plane spotted en-route to New Mexico.[2] Following it to the Vulture's hideout, melting through its walls, they are confronted by the Vulture, who traps them with a wall of radiation deflecting their fire powers, before fleeing the scene, leaving Mary behind to watch them die. After the radiation-proof Torch is able to save them, the Torch and Toro return to Chief Wilson's office and stop their Vulture-made robotic duplicates from killing the Chief, before learning of the Vulture's ransom demand to the world's governments to surrender and rush back to his base in New Mexico, trashing his equipment. On revealing his identity, the Vulture traps the heroes in his base again, which begins to fill with acid, threatening to smother their flame. After revealing he has set the atomic pile in his base to explode, the Vulture flees, with the Torch and Toro barely able to escape in time, the Torch believing it to be far from the last they will hear of the Vulture.

The Vulture next kidnaps and kills roboticist Professor Costene in order to obtain his robot formula, using it to create a wave of crime robots, the largest of which he names Metallo. When the Torch and Toro arrive to investigate Costene's disappearance, they encounter the Vulture'scrime robots and manage to defeat them by luring them into the swamp to be short-circuited by water. On getting to the Vulture's hideout, they battle Metallo and free the Vulture's hostage Betty Wilson (the chief's other daughter) as the Vulture got away.[12]

Later, the Vulture sabotages a testing site for a new rocket to take man to the moon, with the Torch and Toro learning he has constructed his own rocket in Canada. Rushing up north to the secret location of the Vulture's hideout, the Torch and Toro ambush the criminal and his minions and destroy the rocket. The Vulture and his men attempt to escape by plane with the two heroes in pursuit, only for the Vulture to unleash a fire-dousing chemical on them causing them to fall to the ground long enough for them to lose trace of the Vulture. On returning to the United States, the heroes encounter the Vulture again, taking the chief's other daughter Betty hostage in an attempt to reach the Moon first, blasting off in the rocket only for a following the Torch and Toro to board through the rocket thrusters and knock the Vulture and his men out. The ship is then stopped by aliens calling themselves the Guardians of Space, who tell the Torch that mankind is not ready for travel into space until they forsake war, before leaving with the Vulture into deep space, never to be seen again.[13]

Adrian Toomes

Adrian Toomes was born in Staten Island, New York. He is a former electronic 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 he was not there. Toomes discovered that Bestman had secretly been embezzling funds and then, Toomes got no legal recourse, meaning he 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.[14]

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,[15] though this wore off after exposure to an elemental superhuman's corpse.[16] 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.[17]

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.[18] 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.[19] Vulture modified his harness, and attempted to rob the Daily Bugle payroll.[20] 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.[21]

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.[7] Drago, as Vulture, teamed with Kraven the Hunter against Spider-Man.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24] Some time later, Dr. Clifton Shallot mutated his body into a form resembling Toomes's, but possessing natural wings and flight capability.[10]

The Vulture later humiliated the racketeering mobster Mr. Morgan, who hired the Hitman to kill Spider-Man, trying to rob the Vulture of revenge.[25] Vulture then arranged New York's top mobsters' murders to be New York's new crime lord, and battled Spider-Man again.[26] Vulture later escaped prison, and battled Spider-Man again.[27]

Vulture came out of retirement to claim vengeance on his former research partner Bestman who embezzled him out of the profits of their business.[28] He then confronted the Vulturions, a group of criminal youths who stole his designs.[29]

He became involved in Atlantic City casino racketeering to prepare for his own ostentatious funeral, but was thwarted by the Hobgoblin.[30] 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.[31] He later confronted the mutants Rusty Collins and Skids in an attempt to release Nitro.[32]

On more than one occasion, Toomes has been in league with several of Spider-Man's other villains to destroy him. 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.[33]

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.[27]

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.[34]

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.[35]

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.[36]

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.[15] 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.[16] 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 to retrieve a disc containing the identities of undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives, including his daughter with wife Cheryl, 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.[37]

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.[38]

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.[26]

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."[39]

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."[40]

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.[41]

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."[42]

When Alyosha Kravinoff began collecting a zoo of animal-themed superhumans, Vulture was one of his captives.[43] To stop Vulture from using his intellect to find a way to remove his bomb collar, Kraven broke his hands repeatedly,[44] but with the help of Rhino, Vulture escapes.[45]

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.[46]

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.[47] 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.[48]

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.[49] Vulture's child henchmen are then recruited by the Goblin King to be part of the Goblin Nation.[50] 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.[51] While Superior Spider-Man fights Boomerang, Vulture is sent to attack the civilians in the Raft.[52] 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.[53] Vulture eventually has another encounter with Superior Spider-Man, seeking revenge for his recent defeats, but is defeated again.[54] 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.[55] 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.[56] Superior Spider-Man barely manages to stop them with Sun Girl's help.[57]

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.[58]

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.[59]

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.[60]

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.[61]

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.[62]

Vulture is among the villains captured by Ultra Living Brain. After Spider-Man defeated the Sinister Six-type Super-Adaptoid, Ultra Living Brain teleported the villains away.[63]

At the time when Nightcrawler in his alias of Spinnenmann, Vulture is operating as Director Vulture at an Orchis facility. In addition, he also upgraded his Vulture harness with a sample of the Technarchy as he begins to experiment on Feral.[64] After his final experimentation of Feral, Director Vulture uses the Technarchy samples on Animax, Cloak and Dagger, Fatale, and Reaper. With Feral, these characters are used to form Orchis' version of the Hounds as he sends them after Mystique and Nightcrawler (who is now using the Creepy Crawler name).[65]

Blackie Drago

Blackie Drago as Vulture. Art by John Romita, Sr..

Raniero "Blackie" Drago was a prison cellmate of Adrian Toomes. 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).[7] 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.[22]

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!"[23]

Drago was later seen in the same prison that Norman Osborn was incarcerated in during the "Sinister Twelve" storyline.[66]

Clifton Shallot

Clifton Shallot as Vulture. Art by Ross Andru.

Dr. Clifton Shallot was an expert on bio-mutation and a professor at Empire State University.[67] 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.[68]

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.[69]

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.[10]

Jimmy Natale

Jimmy Natale as Vulture. Cover to The Amazing Spider-Man #623. Art by Joe Quinones.

A fourth Vulture appears in the story arc "Spider-Man 24/7". He is a human/bird hybrid vigilante rather than supervillain, mercilessly killing and eating criminals. While fighting, he temporarily blinded Spider-Man by an acid the creature spits in his face.[11] Spider-Man defeated a newer Vulture in the Yankee Stadium.[46]

During The Gauntlet storyline, he escaped from prison and goes after the mobsters responsible for his transformation. The first mobster he finds revealed Vulture's past as the Maggia's "cleaner" Jimmy Natale and then, lies about the transformation caused by J. Jonah Jameson. In truth, it is actually Dr. Charles Goss, a biochemist who used these machines that were previously owned by the Stillwell brothers so they can have a new Vulture. Dr. Goss fibs that Jameson had a hand in his creation, until he confessed to the proper authorities.[70] When Spider-Man fended him off, Vulture visits the mobster again, who came clean for being behind his mutation. After that, he killed him. Vulture was later seen soaring above the Daily Bugle ruins and flew past by a jobless Peter Parker at night.[71]

In the Origin of the Species story-arc, the Vulture joins Doctor Octopus' supervillain team, which was assembled to procure specific items. He attacks Spider-Man, who is caring for Lily Hollister's newborn child in Hamilton Heights, but their fight was interrupted by the 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 fled the scene, leaving Vulture's body to be recovered by the NYPD, and examined by Carlie Cooper.[75]

Powers, abilities, and equipment

By utilizing their Vulture harnesses, each Vulture is able to fly as if with a natural winged flight. He wears a costume of synthetic stretch fabric housing an electromagnetic harness with artificial bird-like wings attached beneath the arms. This consists of an anti-graviton generator worn on his body as a harness, enabling him to hover silently with precise maneuverability.

Adrian Toomes

The Vulture harness increases Toomes' resistance to injury in which that he can survive blows from Spider-Man's super strength. Another by-product of his exposure to its unique radiation as that, despite old age and no exercise of Adrian Toomes, his physical strength represents the upper limits in human development. When he removes it, most of these abilities would slowly fade, although the rate at which this transpires remains unclear (some writers have suggested that his strength is permanent). Toomes is also elderly and depends on the tailored suit for strength, speed, and health boosting, as well as draining life-forces to maintain his own youth. It has recently been revealed that, due to the prolonged use of his harness, he could levitate or float even without it, but Vulture still need those wings for mobility while airborne. He once upgraded a new version of his flying apparatus, complete with battle armor, metallic wings, and sharpened feathers. During the later years, he added various weapons to his arsenal. Vulture possesses brilliant expertise in the fields of electronics and chemistry, with a great talent for invention.[76]

Blackie Drago

While wearing the Vulture costume, Drago has super strength, durability, and speed, as well as flight. He added a built-in radio helmet with limited receiver functions as extra protection for his head.

Clifton Shallot

As a physical duplicate of the Vulture, Shallot has enhanced strength, resilience, and mobility, along with natural fangs and talons. He is capable of flight, due to the wings grafted onto his body.

Jimmy Natale

The Red Vulture possesses inhuman strength and durability, as well as flight, natural talons, and acid expulsion. His costume is identical to Toomes, complete with bladed feathers.


Alternative versions

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows

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.[78] In the Sinister Six's fight with Spider-Man at Public School 122 Mamie Fay, Vulture was incapacitated by Spider-Man.[79]

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.[80]


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.[81]

Earth X

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.[82]

House of M

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.[83]

Marvel 1602

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.[84]

Marvel 2099

Spider-Man 2099 and Vulture 2099 on the cover of Spider-Man 2099 #7. Art by Rick Leonardi

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.[85]

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.[86]

When the floods have stopped, Vulture became the leader of the Wild Boyz and is revealed to have a daughter named Fiona. They were later killed by the Phalanx.[87]

An unidentified reality's version of 2099 featured a version of Vulture who is a member of this reality's Sinister Six. His identity here is revealed to be Snidely.[88]

Marvel Noir

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.[89] Vulture later took May Parker hostage and attempted to kill her, but Spider-Man killed him instead.[90]

Marvel Zombies

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.[91] 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.[92]

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.[93]


In the timeline of MC2, Blackie Drago is revealed to have had a daughter named Brenda Drago, a.k.a. the Raptor.[94]

Old Man Logan

In the pages of "Old Man Logan" that took place on Earth-21923, 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.[95]


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.[96] 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.[97]


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 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.[97] 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.[98] Vulture attacked George Stacy in his home 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.[99]

Ultimate Marvel

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.[100]

The Ultimate Marvel version of Vulture was rendered by artist Mark Bagley to resemble actor Jason Statham as per writer Brian Michael Bendis' instructions.[101] This version is Blackie Drago,[102] 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. 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 (including Drago) escape in the chaos; a news report depicts Vulture's recapture at Captain America's hands.[103]

He was apprehended by Spider-Woman and the Human Torch after a robbery.[104]

Upon joining the Ultimate Six members Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Electro, Sandman, and Kraven the Hunter, 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. Though Vulture witnesses Green Goblin kill Doctor Octopus when they argue about that.[105] When Drago takes his teammates to Tinkerer's lair for weapons, Tinkerer still blamed him for bringing S.H.I.E.L.D. to his door as Green Goblin intimidates him to grant them some weapons to use. Vulture's suit is upgraded by Tinkerer as he states to Vulture that nobody else can fit it.[106] When Electro is shot by Aunt May, an electric surge knocks out Kraven the Hunter, Sandman, and Vulture.[107]

In other media


Adrian Toomes / Vulture as he appears in Spider-Man: The Animated Series.
Vulture as he appears in Spider-Man Unlimited.
Adrian Toomes / Vulture as he appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man.


Video games


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