Prologue: The Vulture
The red and blue clad Spider-Man leapt from building to building, using the webs that shot from his wrists to propel him like a living projectile across the morning sky of New York City. The wind whipped at his mask, and he could feel it through the fabric on the skin of his face. The feeling was exhilarating. He would have taken the time to enjoy it if he wasn’t focused on catching up with the villainous Vulture, who was intent on flying faster and higher than Spider-Man could, using his flight harness and wings.
The Vulture (AKA Adrian Toomes) was once a brilliant inventor. He turned to crime once he found out that his partner had been embezzling funds from their company. Adrian used the flight harness he had been working on to transform himself into The Vulture, going on a burglary spree across New York to get the money he so desperately needed. That’s when Spider-Man first ran into (or swung into) the villain. The flight suit also gave The Vulture enhanced speed and strength, making him a formidable foe for the flight impaired Spider-Man. His bald head and pointed nose is what gave Toomes the nickname “Vulture”.
“Slow down, Toomes!” Spider-Man shouted as he caught up. “What’s the rush? Do you need to be on a pirates shoulder somewhere?”
The Vulture ignored Spiderman’s quip and went into a dive, picking up speed as he descended.
“Seriously,” Spider-Man said, making his body rigid to fall faster after the diving Toomes. “Who’s ever heard of a green vulture? You really should be called ‘The Parrot’.”
“Leave me alone, Spider-Man!” The Vulture shouted, turning on his pursuer. He twisted in air, aiming a double-legged kick at Spider-Man’s head. Spider-Man’s spider sense (his own personal warning system for danger) picked up on it instantly, and he twisted in the air to dodge.
Spider-Man fired a strand of webbing using the web shooter on his wrist with a THWIP into a nearby building and pulled on the web to keep from tumbling in mid-air. The Vulture seized the opportunity, landing a hard punch into the web-slinger’s gut. He was back into the air before the air could leave Spidey’s lungs.
“Dammit,” Spider-Man muttered, leaping off the eave of the building and swinging from another web in the direction of The Vulture. He had put The Vulture away mere months ago, but here he was flying around New York City like a fly that you just couldn’t swat. He had no idea what The Vulture was doing in the middle of the morning, zipping around, but he didn’t want to take the time to ask.
Spider-Man caught back up to The Vulture, picking up momentum by swinging from ledge to ledge. “I just want to talk!” he shouted. “I don’t think you need to steal if you just sell off your feathers to a pillow factory. Think about it!”
The Vulture didn’t take the bait for a second time and picked up speed once more. Spider-Man fired a web into Vulture’s chest and pulled downwards, closing the gap between the two. The Vulture was ready for the attack, and grabbed Spider-Man’s ankles. He did a loop in the air, firing Spider-Man towards the earth below like a red and blue comet.
Spider-Man twisted in the air and he flew towards the ground. He knew that if he couldn’t stop from tumbling that he’d soon be a splatter of blood and spandex on the New York street. He fired a line of webbing from his left hand, landed it on a building, and used it to stop his wild spinning. He was now falling backwards as he watched the sky. He had the wherewithal to determine that The Vulture had thrown him between two buildings less than a hundred feet apart.
Spider-Man fired a web line from both hands simultaneously with matching THWIPs, catching the sides of the buildings on either side of him. He had tested the elasticity of his home-made webbing time after time, but he still prayed his quick calculations on how much to use was correct. He felt his body come to a stop a moment before it would have hit the pavement. A bus was charging towards his body on the right, and he panicked for a moment before inertia kicked in, firing his body like a bullet back into the sky.
With his arms at his side, Spider-Man did his best to treat his body like a javelin and aim it towards The Vulture. He realized he was about to overshoot his target, so he fired a web line towards the top of the building in order to slingshot himself in an arc. Once the web found its target and stuck to it, Spider-Man pulled with all of his might, changing his trajectory. He felt a jolt in his arms as whatever his web had hit came loose, but it was only a momentary jolt. Spider-Man was still on his collision course.
“HEY POLLY!” Spider-Man yelled as he neared his target. “WANNA CRACKER?”
The Vulture turned to assault the wise cracking Spider-Man once more, but Spider-Man was a blue and red blur, ramming his shoulder into The Vulture’s abdomen and hurtling both of them towards the earth. With some quick web work, Spider-Man was able to slow his descent to a speed he was more comfortable with while pinning Vulture’s wings to his sides at the same time.
“What the hell is that?” a young police office asked, approaching an alleyway minutes later.
“New to this beat, rookie?” his older partner asked. “Stick around a while. You’ll see this every now and then.”
The two police officers approached the cocoon of webbing that had a bald man’s head sticking out from the bottom of it and green feathers poking out throughout.
“You want me to call the fire department to cut him down?” the rookie cop ask.
“Nah,” his partner said. “The webs come apart in an hour or so. I’ll keep this mook company over here and call for the wagon. Why don’t you run down the street and bring back a slice or two.”
Across the street from the two police officers and the small crowd of people that had began to gather was Peter Parker. He had put his street clothes back on over his Spider-Man costume in order to blend in with the foot traffic. He snapped a couple of photos for The Daily Bugle before looking at his watch. He realized he would be late for his class if he didn’t hurry. He put the lens cap on his camera and ran off towards Empire State University.
“You comfy up there?” the police officer asked the Vulture.
“Damn you,” The Vulture said. “Damn you and that Spider-Man! He’ll rue the day he ever tangled with The Vulture!”