Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios today released new information about the origin of the Vulture, Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton), in Spider-Man: Homecoming. The new information may be hinting at a connection to a fan favorite organization from the Marvel Comics Universe.
Toomes is described as a blue collar worker who runs a salvage company that makes its money cleaning up after the major superhero battles that take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's only after Tony Stark, Iron Man, steps in with a new government organization and takes the job over from Toomes' company that Toomes becomes the Vulture. He and his allies, the Shocker and the Tinkerer, begin turning the technology they've recovered into powerful weapons to sell to criminals.
The idea of an organization within the Marvel Universe that cleans up after major battles for a profit is not original to Spider-Man: Homecoming. There's a company that does exactly that called Damage Control in the Marvel Comics Universe. Damage Control was created by writer Dwayne McDuffie and artist Ernie Colón and first appeared in in five-page story titled "The Sales Pitch" 1988's in Marvel Age Annual #4. The organization has remained a little-known fixture of the Marvel Universe ever since, headlining three separate four-issue miniseries from 1989-1991 and being featured in tie-ins to several major Marvel Comics events, including Civil War and World War Hulk.
Damage Control was first referenced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as an Easter egg in the original Iron Man movie. They were then name-dropped by Daisy "Quake" Johnson in an episode of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD titled "Watchdogs." As the story goes, McDuffie pitched the idea of Damage Control as a sitcom set in the Marvel Comics Universe. Marvel Television planned to realize that vision as a television sitcom set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In 2015, Marvel Television ordered a pilot for a Damage Control television series, but there's been no update on the project since then.
Perhaps plans changed and Marvel decided to integrate Damage Control more fully into the fabric of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by making them a part of the first MCU Spider-Man movie, possibly even as a kind of backdoor pilot for a future television series. Adding the Vulture into the mix and making him the "dark Tony Stark" even serves as a nice call back to Damage Control's first mention in Iron Man, emphasing that this organization is as old as the MCU itself and really came into being as a direct response to the birth of Iron Man and the beginning the MCU's age of heroes.
None of this has been confirmed, but it seems like an odd coincidence for Toomes' organization to not be Damage Control. Fans will surely learn more as more information about Spider-Man: Homecoming continues to come out. The wait may not be very long, as the new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer hits tomorrow.
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Spider-Man: Homecoming opens in theaters on July 7, 2017.