Randy Vale (Darter)

Among the many obscure characters in Spider-Man: Homecoming, this one was pretty hard to find: among Adrian Toomes‘ employees who remain without a job when Damage Control steps in, there’s Randy Vale, portrayed by Christopher Berry. He’s the bearded guy who gives Toomes the idea of “changing career” by pointing out they’re still full of Chitauri equipment. He’s later arrested as Spider-Man webs him to the docks of the ferry during the deal with Mac Gargan. In the comics, not only Vale is a villain, but a supervillain as well, with costume and everything…albeit quite a minor one indeed, good only for being the goon the boss vents upon. Let’s see together.

Born and raised in New York City, Randy Vale was a Science student at Empire State University. During a normal day at university, he entered the abandoned lab of a deceased professor, Miles Warren (better known to the authorities as the murderous Jackal)…and he stumbled upon one of Warren’s clone casket, containing the semi-decayed cloned body of the professor himself. The undead clone, who named himself Carrion, came out of the tank in confusion, but he soon realised that his creator had to be dead; he took upon himself to continue Warren’s mission to get revenge on Spider-Man for Gwen Stacy‘s death, and he offered power to Vale if he helped him…and death if he didn’t. With not much of a choice, the student agreed to help the insane villain, and assisted him as he explored and mastered his powers, including the lethal Death Touch. When Carrion announced he was ready to start his attack on Spider-Man, he built for his assistant a suit that allowed him to fly and a powerful gun, telling him this was but a small fraction of what he had promised him, since he would have transferred Spider-Man’s powers to him. Even if he wasn’t exactly convinced, Vale followed Carrion’s plan and, dressed in the gliding suit and naming himself Darter, he started “stalking” another student of the EU, Peter Parker; he noticed that Parker was always followed by a masked vigilante, the White Tiger, that seemed to be his protector. He reported back to Carrion, and the mad scientist ordered him to attack White Tiger, while he would have taken care of Spider-Man himself.

Darter attacked the White Tiger landing on him from above, taking him by surprise, and later hitting him with his powerful stunning gun. With the “bodyguard” down, Dale gave Carrion green light to attack Spider-Man…but in that moment White Tiger came back to his senses and attacked his aggressor. The two continued their battled and reached the University’s gym, where Carrion and Spidey were already fighting; this time, Darter used all the gadgets in his suit to overpower his enemy, and he even set his gun from “stun” to “kill”. The battle prolonged itself until Darter tried to fly over White Tiger, who crouched at the right moment and had his foe hit Carrion instead: both villains fell into an empty pool, and Darter passed out. When he woke up, confused, he found the seemingly dead body of White Tiger at his side, and he assumed he had hit the right target…but he soon realised Carrion had abandoned him there, and he thought his “boss” wanted to break his promise. He flew to Carrion’s lab, wanting to force him to give Spider-Man’s powers to him…although he didn’t realise that a very alive White Tiger was following him. As he arrived in the lab, Dale found Carrion draining Spider-Man’s life and powers…and giving them to the artificial Spider-Amoeba (a clone of Vale himself) instead of him. Enraged and humiliated, Darter attacked Carrion (while White Tiger infiltrated the lab to free Spider-Man), but the clone threw some of his Red Death powder to his face. As the powder was eating Dale’s flesh, the student took away his mask trying to stop it, but in a matter of seconds he was reduced to a white skull. So much for the promise of power.

Randy Vale is a an ambitious young man, a university student who aims high in his life and career…unfortunately, he’s not smart enough not to believe easy promises from unreliable benefactors. As Darter, his suit allows him to glide for long distances, and several weapons are hidden in it, such as mini-laser guns on his fingertips; he also uses a powerful ray gun that can either stun or kill a human being depending on the setting. A third-rate villain with no future whatsoever, Darter is exactly like his suit: he can glide on strong winds, but he’ll never be able to fly on his own.

 

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