By Jim Beard
The voracious Vulture wings his way back into Spider-Man's life with a double dealing of danger, in March 10's AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #624 and WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #6. The Gauntlet, a sprawling storyline surrounding Spidey's most sinister super villains, reintroduces the wily bird and the upstart who would rob him of his nefarious name.
Bald and boastful, the Vulture employs his electronic and engineering skills to augment a special flying harness and lead a life of crime. Fortunately, the otherwise earth-bound Spider-Man always finds ways to confront his avian adversary and pluck his feathers time and time again.
Now, buckle your seatbelts and turn off all electronic devices as we fly the unfriendly skies of the history between the Vulture and Spider-Man!
His career barely begun, Spider-Man steeled himself for the onslaught of the winged wonder known as the Vulture. The key to his victory, the young hero determined, would lie in cracking the secret of his foe's flying ability. Sure enough, Spidey knocked the Vulture out of the sky with an "anti-magnetic inverter" and the bird found himself caged.
With a badly battered arm, Spider-Man engaged the Vulture in a spectacular rooftop battle, one that escalated with every blow. While J. Jonah Jameson chortled over the web-slinger's apparently-approaching defeat, Spidey played possum to lure his enemy closer and succeeded in damaging the Vulture's power pack. The two adversaries, both now injured, called it a draw.
As if fighting an angry Vulture didn't already constitute a handful, Spidey also faced off against the Hitman, a hired killer with orders to squash the wall-crawler. The assassin interrupted the Vulture's own vengeance on Spidey but ultimately lost his fee by bungling the job. The Vulture landed in police custody and Spider-Man reluctantly returned to his eternal personal problems.
Now a freelance mercenary himself, the Vulture swooped in to terminate a business rival of the Kingpin's. Spider-Man appeared to stop him but so too did Aunt May and her fiancé Nathan, with the elderly lady swiftly becoming the Vulture's hostage. Spidey watched in horror as Nathan moved to defend May and paid for it with his life, a victim of a massive heart attack, and the Vulture flew off.
Spider-Man: old! The Vulture: young! After an amazing transference of the wall-crawler's life-force into his aged adversary, the two men went their separate ways, the Vulture to a renewed lease on his larcenous life and Spidey home to a bed of pain. Alas, the effects of the rejuvenator faded quickly and they met for battle once again, this time with Spider-Man the victor and the Vulture vanquished.
Spider-Man rushed a suddenly-incapacitated Vulture to the hospital and learned that his old enemy suffered from a stroke. Weak and vulnerable, the Vulture asked the web-slinger to kill him and put him out of his misery. Spidey refused, but goaded into anger by the old man placed a pillow over his face. The Vulture fought for his life and Spider-Man's lesson hit home.
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