Losing It All
Immediately following the Battle of New York in 2012, salvage company owner Adrian Toomes received a contract from the city to take part in the massive clean-up job. Around the same time, the S.H.I.E.L.D. branch Damage Control was purchased by Stark Industries and the federal government. Under what the government referred to as Executive Order 396-B, any and all post-battle cleanup would fall under the Department's jurisdiction.
While cleaning up Grand Central Terminal, Toomes was approached by the Department's director Anne Marie Hoag, who relieved him and his colleagues of their duties. When Toomes attempted to argue with her, Hoag advised him to speak with Tony Stark about the contract.
As he was watching the news report, his crew member Randy Vale notified him that they still had a truckload of alien weapons that they were supposed to turn in, as per Damage Control's legal request. Toomes' friend and employee Phineas Mason, an engineer who often tinkered with the Chitauri weapons they salvaged, remarked that it would have been cool if they were allowed to use the alien tech to create stuff. Realizing that the world had changed and that they must adapt to survive, Toomes deemed Mason's idea to be sound and told his crew to keep the alien stuff.
A Booming Business
- "Business is good."
Using the Chitauri weapons they kept, Phineas Mason created an exo-suit for Adrian Toomes to wear as well as a Matter Phase Shifter, which allowed a surface to become intangible. Using the exo-suit and the phase shifters, Toomes stealthily hijacked Damage Control trucks and stole few Chitauri tech under the radar.
Mason then combined the alien tech with human engineering to create hybrid weapons, which they used to improve their own equipment as well as sell on the black market for a profit. As more superhuman battles occurred, such as the Battle of Greenwich and the Battle of Sokovia, the Dark Elf and Stark Industries technology left behind were recovered by Damage Control and periodically stolen by Toomes, who declared to his crew that business was good.
Selling Illegal Weapons
- "Yo, this high-tech stuff makes it too easy! Told you it was worth it."
- ―ATM Robber
Over a period of four years, Adrian Toomes' Crew continued to create hybrid weapons and sell them to local criminals on the black market for profit. Jackson Brice and Herman Schultz, two crew members who were former members of Adrian Toomes' salvage company, were tasked with meeting and selling the weapons.
While Schultz kept his composure and liked to remain below the radar, as Toomes expected them to, Brice had a habit of giving potential buyers public demonstrations, firing the hybrid weapons out in the open as well as using a modified gauntlet to destroy cars while calling himself the Shocker, an act Toomes likened to being akin to a professional wrestling antic.
- "How did jerks like you get tech like this?"
Sometime in 2016, Adrian Toomes' Crew successfully sold an Anti-Gravity Gun to four criminals, who used it in an attempt to steal large sums of cash from the Queens Community Bank branch on 21st Street. However, their actions were spotted by Spider-Man, who nearly succeeded in thwarting them. Although the criminals managed to escape with the cash and their weapons, the encounter alerted Spider-Man to the fact that alien tech was being sold on the streets, a fact he alerted Happy Hogan to, although Hogan did not take his complaint seriously.
After Spider-Man crashes an arms deal between Shocker and Prowler, the former, along with his partner Herman Schultz attempt to flee, only for Spider-Man to continue pursuing them. Realizing that they are having trouble losing their tail, Schultz calls in Vulture to deal with Spider-Man. As Vulture manages to successfully prevent Spider-Man from tailing them back to their base, the skirmish leaves a Chitauri core in the streets, which Spider-Man gains possession over, as well as leads Vulture to realize that Shocker is not a reliable crew member. After being fired, Shocker threatens to expose Vulture's operation, prompting Vulture to murder Shocker and appoint Herman Schultz as the new Shocker.
Vulture, Randy Vale, Tinkerer and Shocker traveled to Maryland, where three Damage Control trucks were driving in tandem on a long road. Aiming for the last truck, Vulture used the Matter Phase Shifters to infiltrate the truck and place certain items in a bag. While exiting the truck, however, his heist was interrupted by Spider-Man, who stole the bag. However, Spider-Man, along with the bag, fell into the opening, with the impact of the landing dislodging the Matter Phase Shifters and closing the opening. With no way to get back into the truck, Vulture was forced to return to the base empty-handed.
Returning to their headquarters, Tinkerer notified Vulture that while they had enough materials left to complete their next order, they would be unable to fulfill the rest as they did not acquire the necessary equipment from the truck. Seething at the heist's failure, Vulture remarked how for years they had performed their heists without anybody noticing, including the federal government or the Avengers, but that all of a sudden their livelihood was being thwarted by Spider-Man.
As Vulture declared his intention to find Spider-Man and kill him, Shocker responded that he found Spider-Man and pointed to the television, where a news broadcast announced that Spider-Man had saved the Midtown School of Science and Technology's Academic Decathlon Team from certain death at the Washington Monument. Vulture's mood immediately shifted to one of care and concern, as his daughter was one of the students there.
Spider-Man made his way to the Staten Island Ferry where he intervened Vulture's group and his new buyer Mac Gargan. Spider-Man easily took down his enemies using multiple types of webs. Spider-Man was then confronted by Vulture and the two engaged in a short fight before a Chitauri weapon malfunctioned causing several beams to shoot out, splitting the ferry in half and letting the Vulture retreat.
Spider-Man quickly acted and webbed the two parts of the ferry together. He then tried to pull the two parts together himself by pulling on the webs, the other webs started to break off causing the ferry to continue to sink. Suddenly, Iron Man arrived with several mini repulsor-powered thrusters to assist in pushing the two parts together, repairing the ferry and saving everyone.
After discovering that his daughter's date, Peter Parker, was actually Spider-Man, Vulture offered Parker a deal; if Parker forgot they had ever met and never again interfered in their business, he would spare his life and the lives of his loved ones. However, Vulture contacted Shocker and told him to remain posted outside Midtown School of Science and Technology in case Parker did not adhere to their deal. When Parker ran out of the school, dressed in his homemade suit in order to apprehend Vulture, he was immediately punched by Shocker's Gauntlet.
Shocker warned Spider-Man that Vulture had offered him a choice but that he chose the wrong decision, and proceeded to hurl Spider-Man through a bus. With his Web-Shooters detached, Spider-Man was unable to defend himself until his friend Ned Leeds, who had followed him out of the dance, had snagged Shocker's gauntlet with the discarded Web-Shooter, allowing Spider-Man to disarm Shocker and trap him against the side of a bus.
Spider-Man then made his way to Adrian Toomes' secret warehouse where he confronted him. Toomes tried to justify his actions to Spider-Man, explaining that everything he had done was to support his family and claiming that the wealthy and powerful care nothing for the common people like themselves. When Spider-Man refused to listen again, Toomes summoned his Exo-Suit to break the support beams around his lair, trapping Spider-Man under a pile of rubble and leaving him to suffocate.
With Parker seemingly being crushed to death, Toomes stepped outside and donned his Vulture Wings which had been upgraded by the Tinkerer. Looking out over New York City, the Vulture spied on Stark Tower and waited until the cargo plane filled with the Stark Industries weapons and the other Chitauri and Ultron technology was moved out so that he could steal it and sell all of the technology on the black market. Vulture flew after and quickly caught up with and entered the last cargo plane leaving Stark Tower holding the equipment he planned to steal.
Speaking to the Tinkerer during his flight, Vulture noted that the new Exo-Suit felt like it was dragging extra weight. Grabbing onto the side of the plane, Vulture cut himself inside using his gadgets and deployed a decoy drone to throw the plane's ground control, which Happy Hogan was monitoring. Entering the plane, Toomes discovered it was filled with even more than he could have hoped for, boxes of Chitauri weaponry, robotic parts of Ultron and well as various armors from the Iron Legion, all of which would be worth millions on the black market. Toomes began going through the boxes, throwing aside one of Iron Man's old helmets to get to the Chitauri Guns.
While attempting to alter the plane's course and marveling at the Avengers' equipment, Vulture discovered that Spider-Man had survived their previous encounter. Furious, Toomes attacked Spider-Man and both of them fought outside of the plan. During the battle, Toomes' Exo-Suit was severely damaged just before the plane crashed in Coney Island.
- "Time to go home, Pete."
"I'm trying to save you!"
- ―Vulture and Spider-Man
As Spider-Man slowly regained consciousness after the crash, he took his mask off and looked around at the rubble. Vulture was able to pounce at Spider-Man, who was caught off-guard. Vulture then picked Spider-Man up with his talons and slammed him into the ground repeatedly. He was about to kill Spider-Man when he spotted a crate full of Arc Reactors. He dropped Spider-Man and grabbed the crate with his talons, and attempted to escape.
However, the radiation emitting from the Reactors caused the Chitauri Technology in the suit to short-circuit. Spider-Man tried to pull Vulture away from the arc reactors before the suit exploded, but he was too late and ignored his pleas to save him, overdriven by greed. His suit went up in a ball of flames. Just after Vulture crashed, Spider-Man ran into the debris and pulled him out alive. Powerless without his suit and weak from the explosion, Spider-Man was able to tie Vulture to a damaged car, where he was later found and arrested by New York City Police Department, with Toomes offering no resistance.
Toomes was taken to prison, where he met with Mac Gargan who tells him he heard a rumor he knows who Spider-Man is, so as to repay Parker for saving his life, Toomes simply responded that if he knew, who Spider-Man was, he would be already dead.