Cover Price: $.60

#240
May 1983

Value: $9 (Near Mint-Mint)

 

Supporting Cast:
 Aunt May, Nathan Lubensky


Guests:


Villains
:
Vulture

"Wings Of Vengeance!" - 22 Pages


Writer -
Roger Stern
Artist - John Romita Jr.
Inker - Bob Layton
Cover -
John Romita Jr.
Letterer
- Joe Rosen
Colorist -
Bob Sharen
Editor - Tom DeFalco
Editor In Chief -
Jim Shooter

The Vulture is one of Spider-Man's oldest foes, dating all the way back to Amazing Spider-Man #2. Given that Spidey battled the Chameleon in his first issue, the Vulture can be described as the first super-powered villain that Spider-Man ever fought. But up until Amazing Spider-Man #240, we really didn't know much about the Vulture, nor did he have much depth to his character. He was a costumed criminal with a sour disposition who could fly. That was about it. We didn't even know his real name.

But writer Roger Stern was determined to change that. He began the process in Amazing Spider-Man #224, which was the first story to explore the Vulture's age (he's a senior citizen) in any real depth. Stern continues to probe the character in the two-part story beginning in this issue.

When the story starts, the Vulture, real name Adrian Toomes, has moved to a retirement community in the American Southwest. But instead of a life of shuffleboard and gin rummy, the Vulture is continuing his life of crime. However, he's doing it under the radar of the authorities and superheroes. "No one thinks to look for the Vulture in a retirement village!" He thinks. "It's too bad about Spider-Man, though...too bad he hasn't gotten killed yet. It looks like Dr. Octopus and the Owl have been running him ragged. Good...saves me the trouble." However, Toomes reads an advertisement in the Daily Bugle and sees that a Gregory Bestman is back in the electronics business. He angrily books the quickest flight back to New York City.

Meanwhile, Peter Parker is having a terrible nightmare that his girlfriend, the Black Cat, has been killed. She was badly injured by Dr. Octopus and the Owl over in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #75 and this is a nice reference to link the two titles. It also gives John Romita Jr. a chance to show what he can do in an impressive two-page spread.

Peter wakes up and decides to web-sling over to Queens to visit Aunt May. "This is the time of year when Aunt May gets down to some serious baking! I'll bet anything she has a pie in the oven. Mmm-mmh!" he thinks.

Meanwhile, the Vulture has arrived in town and is headed to the High-Tech Expo to settle his old score with Gregory Bestman. This ruins Peter's hope for a quiet afternoon at the old homestead. Aunt May's boyfriend, Nathan Lubensky, sees the Vulture's attack on TV, sending Spider-Man into action. "No one's going to get hurt this time! No one!" Spider-Man thinks.

Spider-Man convinces the police that he's their best shot at bringing down the Vulture without causing a bloodbath in the crowded exhibition hall. Inside, the Vulture is trashing the place, looking for Bestman. Spider-Man tackles him in mid-flight. "He's still practically unbeatable! I'll never find Bestman now! I must retreat to plan anew," the Vulture thinks. He turns on a electricity generator on display and it sends lightning bolts scattering through the expo hall. That gives the Vulture time to go after Bestman, but before he can harm him, Spidey tries to make the save, but the Vulture knocks Spider-Man hard down to the floor below and escapes with Bestman to end the story.

This is simply a great two-part story because it reexamines the Vulture and evolves him into a three-dimensional character worthy of being one of Spider-Man's great foes. However, Stern and Romita Jr. do this not by reinventing or changing the Vulture, but by building on what has already been established and filling in the blanks. There's a lesson for every comics writer in this.

Next issue: For the first time, the origin of the Vulture!

Reviewed by Bruce Buchanan.

Quality Rating: 3
Significance Rating: 2

Overall Rating:

5

 

Amazing Spider-Man #239

Also This Month:

Marvel Team-Up #129
Spectacular Spider-Man
#78

Ka-Zar
V3 #26

Amazing Spider-Man #241