Business Goes Bad
Years after Toomes turned to a life of crime, his illegal weapons business was thriving, even as he kept the truth from his wife, Doris, and their teenage daughter, Liz, making up stories about “business trips” to cover for his time away. At the same time, Toomes’ actions fell onto the radar of local Queens hero Spider-Man, who had encountered bank robbers with unusually powerful weapons, and began to look for their source.
Soon after, Spider-Man happened upon an arms deal officiated by Toomes’ employee, Herman Schultz, after another associate, Jackson Brice—the self-proclaimed “Shocker”—fired off one of the weapons they were attempting to sell, attracting Spider-Man to the spot. When Spider-Man attempted to follow the fleeing men in their van, Toomes, wearing his exo-suit, came to their rescue and grabbed Spider-Man, flying him far up into the air. Spider-Man escaped Vulture’s grasp, however, by deploying a parachute.
Toomes returned to his base, furious with Brice for firing off the weapon in the first place, reiterating that they must move their weapons as quietly as possible, lest they attract more attention. He fired Brice from the operation, but Brice threatened to rat his boss out to the authorities. Wanting to intimidate Brice by using an anti-gravity device on him, Toomes accidentally picked up a far more lethal weapon and disintegrated his ex-employee. Though not his intention, Toomes wasn’t especially bothered by Brice’s death, giving Schultz Brice’s powerful Gauntlet and declaring Schultz was the new Shocker.
Toomes found himself thwarted once again by Spider-Man while attempting to intercept a shipment of valuable parts headed for Maryland. He managed to trap his enemy inside the shipment truck in order to escape, but didn’t get away with the duffel bag of items he was attempting to steal.
An arms deal with dangerous criminal Mac Gargan on the Staten Island Ferry was also interrupted when Spider-Man showed up, wanting to bring everyone involved, including Toomes, to justice. Though Gargan was incapacitated, Spider-Man’s plan backfired when Toomes donned his suit, splitting the boat in half during the confrontation that followed. Toomes and Schultz managed to escape before Iron Man arrived to save the boat and those onboard.