Grotesk was the lone surviving member of a race of Subterraneans
known as the Gortokians. He was thought to have killed Professor X when a piece of his equipment exploded, but it turned out the be Changeling
in disguise. Gor-Tok II was the only known son of King Krono, ruler of the Gor-tokian Subterraneans. He was the last descendant of a dynasty founder by Gor-Tok I and Thera 20,000 years before. His warlike race had built their own underground empire. Krono raised his son to be a warrior. Gor-Tok II married Princess Ingar.
At some point Krono summoned his people to their capital city. Announcing his plans for an invasion of the surface world. An invasion that Gor-Tok II would lead. But at that point an underground nuclear testing destroyed the city. Krono was killed along with most of the population. Gor-tok succeeded him and vowed to continue his father's plans. But the entire race was dying of radiation poisoning. Princess Ingar was the last Gor-Tokian to die of radiation poisoning. Dying in the arms of Gor-Tok. He became the sole survived of his ancient race. But was not destined to die. The radiation who had killed everyone else, simply mutated the prince. He started making his way to the surface. Vowing to destroy the cultures of the surface even it he dies in the process.
Grotesk was created by Roy Thomas
and Don Heck
in 1968 and first appeared in X-Men
Mayor Story Arcs
Gor-Tok's first opponents were the X-Men. He appeared in "X-Men" vol. 1 #41-42 (February, March, 1968). Gor-Tok attempted to claim possession of the Nuclear Oscillotron, a device able to create earthquakes. He was seemingly killed in an explosion. But not before taking the Changeling with him.
Versus Ms. Marvel
He resurfaced in "Ms. Marvel" vol. 1 #6 (June, 1977). He sought to lay claim to a Cavourite crystal. In the process starting a massive fire at a refinery in New Jersey. He was attacked by Ms. Marvel but proved a tough customer. He endured her best punches and retaliated with his own. Even managing to damage the circuitry of her costume. He was chocking Carol when she found a weak spot in his powerful body. She clapped his ears, probably shuttering his eardrums. He fell and was knocked out with a punch..
Carol thought him defeated. But he recovered in seconds and returned the favor. At that moment the fire caused a massive explosion. Burying them both under wreckage. Grotesk recovered first and crawled out. Escaping with the crystal. In #8 (August, 1977), fired at the Cavourite crystal with a laser cannon. He hoped that the energy released would be enough to destroy Earth. But Ms. Marvel had tracked him down using her "sevent sense". A rematch immediately begun.
The two opponents wrestled for a while. With none gaining a clear upper hand. Even when Grotesk knocked her out, Carol recovered in seconds. But they had once again forgotten about their surroundings. The energy released from Grotesk's experiment opened a gateway to another dimension which started attracting everything in its vicinity. Carol barely managed to escape. But Grotesk had vanished. She assumed the gateway had absorbed him.
Against the Avengers
According to "Avengers Annual" #20 (1991), Grotesk continued wandering alone until encountering the Lava Men. They had recently suffered many casualties and lost Cha'sa'dra, their patron deity/demon. They were leaderless and rejoiced to discover a new leader in Grotesk. He ruled peacefully for a while. But then Brutus led the Deviants to start the so-called "Subterranean Wars". The Deviants were warring against the various Subterranean groups in an attempt to reclaim the technology of their ancestors. Grotesk was forced to ally with Tyrannus, Mole Man and Kala in facing the common threat.
According to "Avengers West Coast Annual" #6 (1991), Grotesk had a secret motive. Brutus had his own version of the Oscillotron. Grotesk found out sought to claim it for himself. Still hoping to destroy planet Earth and every life on it. He rendered his Lava Men to ensure that they could not betray his plans to anyone else.
In the present portion of "Avengers Annual" #20, Grotesk, Tyrannus and Mole Man contacted the East Coast Avengers. They needed help against Brutus and these group of Avengers reluctantly responded. In "Iron Man Annual" #12 (1991), Kala contacted her old enemy Iron Man for help. In "Avengers West Coast Annual" #6, Iron Man arrived with the rest of the West Coast Avengers. Resulting in an Avengers line-up including Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye, Hercules, Iron Man, Living Lightning, Quasar, Rage, Sandman, Scarlet Witch, Sersi, She-Hulk, Spider-Woman/Julia Carpenter, USAgent, Vision and Wonder Man.
During the subsequent conflict, Grotesk managed to escape the attention of all sides. Only when Brutus fell, did the Avengers realize than one of their supposed allies was missing. Grotesk had recovered the Oscillatron and was about to use it to destroy the planet. Everything was working correctly. Until the Libing Lightning drained the Oscillatron of most of its energy. What was left was reportedly not enough to power a "toy boat". Grotesk was knocked out by the combined attacks of all present Avengers.
Grotesk resurfaced in "Thor" vol. 1 #481 (December, 1994). He still ruled the Lava Men. His new plot involved the Living Rock, a mystical menace which the Avengers had faced before. It was a piece of rock which was able to gain life and grow from tiny to giant size. Releasing powerful shock-waves in the process. Grotesk activated the Rock beneath Manhattan. But he also had a plot against Thor. At the time Thor and Donald Blake existed as separate individuals. Grotesk abducted Blake to use him against Thor.
Thor was lured to Subterranea in an attempt to rescue Blake. While the Living Rock continued to grow and was about to destroy Manhattan (at least). Grotesk was a poor match for Thor, as for once an opponent outclassed him. But the Lava Men were ready to protect their master and gave Thor trouble. At that point the God Pack to lend assistance. Riger managed to locate a vulnerable spot in the Living Rock and pointed it out to Thor. Thor threw Grotesk at said weak spot. The Rock imploded, shrinking from the size of a skyscraper to that of a miniature. But the implosion seemingly destroyed Grotesk.
In "X-Men: Manifest Destiny Nightcrawler" #1 (May, 2009), what happened to Grotesk was finally explained. The energies of the Living Rock had destroyed his body. But his disembodied spirit still lived. The Lava Men were able to transfer said spirit within armor impenetrable to mystic attacks. With his new body, Grotesk led his troops against the X-Men in San Francisco. Facing several opponents unfamiliar to him. Pixie reportedly attempted to teleport through his armor's force field and was almost killed.
Nightcrawler was a late arrival in the battle. But noted that his own powers were not mystical in nature. He easily teleported through Grotesk's force field and removed the helmet of the villain. With his armor opened, the spirit of Grotesk dissipated. It is uncertain if this is the end of Grotesk. His spirit could arguably be revived by a mystic.
Originally, Gor-Tok had the average abilities of a member of his species. Superhuman (or enhanced human) strength, and infra-red vision. Radiation mutated him. Granting him vast superhuman strength (able to lift c. 80 tons), high durability. His agility is that of a trained athlete, though this might be a result of training. His intellect was enhanced to the point of easily mastering advanced technology which is otherwise unfamiliar to him. His brain has built a natural resistance to telepathic attacks.