Adrian Toomes is a former electronics engineer who employs a special harness of his own design that allows him to fly; his flight is directed by a pair of wings worn on his arms. The harness also endows him with enhanced strength and (according to some sources) increases his lifespan. Although Toomes is advanced in age, he is a strong fighter and a remorseless killer. On one occasion, he restored his youth through biochemical means, though this wore off after exposure to the corpse of an elemental superhuman. At one point he had used a device to steal Spider-Man's youth, leaving Vulture young and Spider-Man elderly, but this effect wore off within hours.
On more than one occasion Toomes has been in league with several other Spider-Man villains in order to destroy the wall crawler. The Vulture has been in every incarnation of the Sinister Six, and appeared in the Sinister Twelve. He has a strong friendship with fellow villain Electro; the two of them nearly beat Spider-Man to death.
The Vulture once stumbled across a plot by the Chameleon and the Green Goblin to drive Spider-Man insane by having shapeshifting androids impersonate his late mother and father; due to Toomes' interference, the androids were destroyed, leading the wall-crawler to a brief nervous breakdown. The Vulture absorbed the artificial life force from the Mary Parker android, and the effect on the Vulture was twofold; not only did he become a young man again, but he was instantly cured of the cancer that had been slowly killing him for some time. (The Vulture has since reverted to an old man once again.)
Toomes' identity as the Vulture has been claimed by imposters on several occasions. Blackie Drago and Professor Clifton Shallot are some of them. The Vulture technology was later copied by a group of thugs called "The Vulturions"; Toomes defeated these usurpers as well. Also, Toomes himself was not the first comic villain to use the name. In the 1941 comic Doll Man Quarterly, a robber named the Vulture used his pet vultures carrying bombs to commit crimes.
In the Identity Disc series, it was revealed that Toomes, with the help of Sandman, manipulated Marvel villains Bullseye, Deadpool, Juggernaut, and Sabretooth into laying siege to terrorist group A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) headquarters in order to retrieve a disc containing the identities of undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives (including that of Toomes' daughter).
During a brief time of working for the Owl, he failed in a mission and as a result was punished in that he was severely beaten and one eye was removed from his face. He subsequently revealed himself as a member of Norman Osborn's Sinister Twelve - though he wore a helmet, presumably to mask the wounds.
Under the tutelage of Al Kraven, Kraven the Hunter's son, Toomes briefly attempted a stint at heroism, but before long he returned to the other side of the law.
During the Civil War, he was apprehended along with the Grim Reaper and the Trapster, by Captain America and his growing Resistance, who chained him together with Grim Reaper to a pole and broke his nose. When he was found and taken into custody by S.H.I.E.L.D., he complained, "that lunatic broke my damn nose". After Spider-Man unmasked himself, Toomes was seen in his jail cell, knitting his fingers together. As someone on the television set said they hoped it wouldn't be any trouble for Spider-Man, Toomes said, "Oh I think it will be."
After Spider-Man goes rogue, Toomes is seen in a S.H.I.E.L.D prison cell speaking with agent Jamie Madrox, and commenting on Spider-Man's inherent weakness, that being his unwillingness to use his powers for personal gain. S.H.I.E.L.D. then returns his flying harness and encourages him to hunt down Spider-Man, saying that he "is now an outlaw, same as you."
Later, the Vulture attacks Spider-Man at a book signing, and manages to slash him with a powerful sedative. Toomes, however, falls unconscious and, sensing something is wrong, Spider-Man rushes him to the hospital.
Toomes wakes up a few hours later, where a doctor reveals that he has suffered a stroke, and many of his muscles on the left side of his body have been paralyzed. When the doctor leaves, Spider-Man sneaks in and Toomes asks him to kill him because he is weak. When Spider-Man refuses to do so, he says that Spider-Man is also weak, and always has been. After making remarks about Uncle Ben, Spider-Man takes a pillow and begins suffocating him. He fights back, and Spidey removes the pillow, commenting that "For somebody who's begging to die, you fight for life pretty hard."
the Green Goblin
J. Jonah Jameson
Jack O' Lantern
Kraven the Hunter
The Sinister Six