Having first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #2 (May 1963), Adrian Toomes—the Vulture—is one of Spider-Man’s oldest villains. A former electrical engineer and businessman, Toomes became a full-time criminal after inventing his Vulture suit and eventually went to become one of the founding members of the Sinister Six alongside the original line-up of Doctor Octopus, Mysterio, Electro, and Kraven the Hunter. Thus, when I saw that Marvel had assembled a collection of Spider-Man vs. the Vulture comics, I jumped at the opportunity to read and review The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Vulture.
Writer: Stan Lee, Roger Stern, Louise Simonson, J.M. DeMatteis, Peter David
Artist: Steve Ditko, John Romita Sr., Don Heck, John Romita Jr., Greg LaRocque, Sal Buscema, Scot Eaton
Publisher: Marve Comics
What’s The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Vulture about? From the publisher:
Collecting Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #2 (A story), 7, 63-64, 224, 240-241; Web of Spider-Man (1985) #3; Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #186-188; Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #14-16.
Spider-Man’s greatest battles with his avian arch-adversary — the Vulture! Adrian Toomes has long been one of Spider-Man’s most fearsome foes, and their early encounters are all-time classics! But when Toomes’ ex-cellmate Blackie Drago takes to the skies, the elder statesman must prove that he is the one, true Vulture! Toomes gets a new lease on life and soars once more – but what started him on his airborne life of crime? When the Vulture is hired to kill Spider-Man, will Peter Parker clip his wings for good?
More so than providing insight into the time in which these books were written, the earliest issues of The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Vulture, which includes the first appearance of the Vulture, provide great insight into the type of man that Peter Parker was early on in his Spider-Man career. For example, in the Amazing Spider-Man #2, Peter Parker is more concerned with getting pictures of the Vulture to sell to magazines than he is with stopping the thief. Sure, Peter was young and needed the money to help Aunt May pay the bills, but come on Spidey.
After reading through the whole collection, it became obvious that my favorite issues were the Vulture’s earliest appearances. Although the collection’s newest issues—taken from Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man—weren’t bad per se, the Vulture has this nostalgic air about him that, for me, doesn’t translate all that well into modern comics. For me, the character didn’t age that well, and I much would have preferred it if this collection only featured comics from the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s. But this is just my preference, it’s not a complaint.
For fans of the Vulture, this collection is a must-buy. And for fans of modern Spider-Man comics, I’ll say that it is a must buy too, because as I pointed out earlier, the early issues of the Amazing Spider-Man are solid reads that provide a good deal of detail about young Peter Parker.
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