Vulture? The Who is
“He strikes from above – silently and without warning!” No, not that bastard urban seagull evacuating its bowels but classic Spidey villain the Vulture, first seen menacing Manhattan in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 1963.
Only the second foe to face the web-slinger, the Vulture is electronics wiz Adrian Toomes. Embezzled by his business partner, Toomes takes to crime, making use of an electromagnetic harness that allows him to fly, boosts his strength and augments his lifespan.
Creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko clashed over the Vulture’s appearance. “Stan believed the most effective villain was the heavy-set one,” Ditko recalled. “So Stan didn’t like my thin, gaunt Vulture.”
Lee continued to feel uneasy at the sight of Spidey beating up a scrawny old codger. He later introduced a younger, burlier Vulture in the form of Blackie Drago, who inherits Toomes’ tech. Readers didn’t like him but Drago was the first Vulture to hit the screen, appearing in four episodes of the ’60s Spider-Man cartoon, albeit rebranded as Vulture Man.
Silver Age Spidey fan Sam Raimi wanted to use the Vulture in Spider-Man 3, with Ben Kingsley frontrunner for the role. John Malkovich was in line to take on the wings in Spider-Man 4 before Raimi left the franchise.
We glimpse the Vulture’s wings in the Ravencroft Institute at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, a tease for Sony’s unmade Sinister Six movie, which would have teamed the web-slinger’s classic foes.