The Vulture won’t be alone in his task of giving Spider-Man a headache in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming, and in the trailer we spotted a member of his gang: Herman Schultz, portrayed by Bokeem Woodbine. Starting as a simple crook, Schultz will receive an upgrade as well (possibly thanks to the Tinkerer, set to appear in the movie), and he’ll become the villainous Shocker. This secondary supervillain was mentioned in the viral campaign for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, with an article from the Daily Bugle claiming he had been captured by Spider-Man right before the events of the film, but he never actually appeared on the big screen, this movie marking his debut. Now, let’s take a look at the original guy, one of the few non-psychopathic villains Spidey is used to face.
Herman Schultz was born in New York City from a low-income family. He excelled in studies, especially in scientific subjects, but when he was in high school both his parents died, and he was the only one who could take care of his younger brother, Marty Schultz. Needing fast money to make a living for both himself and Marty, Herman became a thief, and used his impressive intellect to become the (self-proclaimed) best safe-cracker in the city. With time, Marty learnt to take care of himself and moved away, but Herman didn’t stop his criminal career, since it was by now the only thing he was actually able to do. He wasn’t exactly satisfied with his life, but it paid the bills. Eventually, however, he was caught, and sent to prison for robbery: Herman quickly realised that in a world full of superheroes normal thieves like him had no chance in the world to continue with their “job”…but instead of changing life starting from this realisation, he decided to raise the biddings for himself, and he spent his first years in jail studying mechanical engineering, becoming quite an accomplished professionist. Instead of using his newfound knowledge to find a regular job, of course, he built for himself a pair of experimental gauntlets, able to vibrate air at an intense frequence and to blast it against a determined target, with a highly destructive power. The vibration, however, was so powerful that Schultz would have broken all his bones, or even killed himself, if he had used the gauntlets without protection: he tailored a special costume made of yellow quilt patches designed to absorb the shock and protect him from the lethal side effects. With his new equipment, he created the masked identity of Shocker, a new supervillain who could stand on par with the empowered law enforcers around…well, at least theoretically.
Using his gauntlets to open safes even quicker than before, Shocker made his debut robbing a bank…and running into Spider-Man, who tried to stop him. Surprisingly enough, Shocker managed to defeat the hero, leaving him half-dead on the streets (actually, Spidey was severely wounded due to a previous fight with The Lizard). Growing cocky over his first victory, Shocker attacked another bank soon after, confronting Spider-Man yet another time…but this time the hero didn’t have a broken arm, and he easily knocked him down after blocking his thumbs so that he could not activate his gauntlets. He easily escaped, and after a brief mission on Silvermane‘s account, he decided to blackmail the entire New York City, using his abilities to black out several blocks (so that the remaining illuminated ones spelled “Shocker”…) and asking a million dollars for restoring the power. When this odd plan failed, he actually obtained the million he was looking for in a much simpler way, by threatening a broker. Finally obtaining some fame, he was recruited by Eggman in his new version of the Masters of Evil, and they managed to incriminate Hank Pym for treason…but the remaining Avengers exposed them and defeated them in battle. Despite the defeat, Shocker found out that working for others was much more rewarding and less stressful than going solo, so he presented himself as a mercenary and, if necessary, a killer for hire. He was hired by Baron Von Lundt to kill the adventurer Dominic Fortune, and he received an upgrade to complete the task…a task that he failed nevertheless. He ended up in prison once again when Spider-Man caught him trying to steal charity money from a celebrity fund raiser, and while he was in prison he developed some serious problems of lack of confidence and paranoia: during the time he had spent in jail, some brutal vigilantes such as the Scourge of the Underworld or The Punisher had started killing criminals like him, and he was terrified by them. His cellmate Fred “Boomerang” Myers convinced him not to abandon the activity, and Shocker came back on the scene…but now he surely got things in perspective.
Herman Schultz is a smart man who tries to make a living with the only job he knows: robbery. Sometimes a coward, sometimes frustrated with how his life turned out to be, he’s a professional criminal who truly sees his activity only like a (crappy) job he has to do to make ends meet. As the Shocker, he has designed a pair of gauntlets that allow him to shoot powerful blasts of air, as well as make solid objects (people included) vibrate to the breaking point, to create a “vibrational shield” protecting him from arm, and even to perform giant leaps by directing the blast to the ground and letting the vibrated air sustain him; his suit is designed to protect him from the deadly recoil of the gauntlets, and without it he wouldn’t be able to use his weapons without killing himself. Essentially an “office worker of crime”, Shocker doesn’t care about vengeance, idealistic crusades, personal vendettas or world domination plans: he’s not in league with most of the other superpowered beings, and he knows it, so he keeps a low profile to earn as much money as he can from his job.