Born in York, England, Mortimer Toynbee has always been less than handsome. His parents abandoned him almost immediately. He lived for a few years in an orphanage, where cruel boys teased and tormented him on account of his ugliness and misshapen body. Despite being rather intelligent, his appearance, extreme shyness and slight learning disability led most to believe him to be slow. Mortimer dropped out of the orphanage prematurely, opting to live on the streets and fend for himself rather than face the abuse from the other boys. The constant fear and hatred exhibited by everyone he knew caused him to develop a severe inferiority complex. This caused Mortimer early on to show almost absolute devotion to anyone who shows him the slightest amount of affection or respect.
Toad was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in The X-Men #4 (1964).
Major Story Arcs
Brotherhood of Evil Mutants
As Toad, he became a member of Magneto’s original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, along with Mastermind, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, whom Toad professes to love. This lead to a constant hostility between Toad and Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch’s overprotective brother. Toad was completely devoted to Magneto, presumably the only reason being Magneto took him in as a fellow mutant. However, Toad believes Magneto truly loves him, but in reality Magneto sees him as pitiful, stupid and nothing more than a pawn to be traded when necessary.
His Own Brotherhood
Eventually Toad started to mutate further, giving him an even more evil-looking appearance and a personality to boot. He started his very own group of Evil Mutants, with mutants such as Sauron, Blob and others. This made him come into contact with various superheroes, mostly with the mutant strike force known as X-Force. During one of these encounters, teammate Sauron seemingly fatally wounded X-Force member Cannonball. He however got better. After they where defeated, Toad remained a plague to humanity, fighting against humans where he could, and even apparently murdering someone. He encountered the young new mutants known as "Generation X" when he took the fight towards the Massachusetts Academy, which was home to the Generation X members at the time. Some months later, Toad left his terrorist ways behind, but was still a strong fighter against humanity in spirit.
The Stranger later attacked Toad in San Francisco, accusing him of wasting countless opportunities to better himself, such as an incident where Toad used some of the Stranger's technology to attack the Avengers. The Stranger then revealed himself to actually be Prosh, a sentient alien vessel that had previously been used by X-Factor. Prosh recruited Toad, alongside Jean Grey, Iceman, the Juggernaut and Mystique, to help save the universe. The mutants are sent to various points in history, including the period where Toad was happily running an amusement park, as well when he was imprisoned after having been beaten by the Avengers. Toad was eventually sent back to the period where he first joined the Brotherhood after being rescued by Magneto, and relived the physical and verbal abuse he suffered at the hands of his leader. The mutants eventually traveled back to a short time after Toad's birth, where it was revealed that Toad had been experimented on in a research facility run by Amanda Mueller. The threat to the universe was eventually revealed to be the real Stranger, and Toad was mortally wounded in the subsequent battle. Mystique attempted to heal Toad by using Prosh's medical technology, with Prosh believing that it would also unlock the genetic potential that had been squandered by the research done on Toad as an infant. Using Mystique as a manual conduit, Prosh's regeneration device healed Toad and gave him a more handsome appearance, as well as making him stronger and giving him a powerful prehensile tongue.
During the House of M event, Scarlet Witch has a complete mental breakdown and, losing her mind and control of her powers, alters all reality into an ideal fantasy world. She eventually changes it back, genetically altering almost all of the world’s mutant population. Most are depowered, in fact only an estimated 198 keep their powers (Toad is one of these 198). Soon after rescuing the mutant Lorelei from an anti-mutant mob, he leads her to the Xavier Institute which has become a sanctuary of sorts for all remaining mutants. He stayed on at the Institute, and found himself sharing a tent with Fever Pitch. He commonly voices his resentment of the Sentinel guards watching the mutants at the Institute.
Along with Caliban, Domino and Shatterstar, Toad led a group of mutants to break out of the 198 camp, and lead them to what they believed was an old abandoned nuclear bunker in the deserts of Nevada. The X-Men soon engaged the ONE outside the bunker. Meanwhile, General Lazer instructed mutant Johnny Dee to create havoc among the 198 escapees inside the bunker. Johnny took control of the mutant Outlaw and forced him to shoot at Domino. The mutants realized Outlaw’s possession in time, however, and Domino was able to use her power to cause a misfire. Toad took this opportunity to take Outlaw out so he could not harm anyone else. The escapees then discovered the ‘bunker’ was actually a chamber designed to contain the blast for powerful and experimental weapons. Someone activated the auto-destruct and Toad was trapped with the other escapees. The X-Men, along with Bishop, Iron Man, and Ms. Marvel, managed to find a way to free the trapped mutants and everyone, 198 included, left without injury.
During Utopia, many mutants moved, including Toad. He was seen in the city’s riots and was injured in the chaos. Trance and Dragoness are seen trying to carry him to safety, but are slowed when H.A.M.M.E.R. soldiers start chasing them. Gambit rescued the three from the soldiers.
After the events of Schism, Toad begged Wolverine to let him join with the group of mutants that was going to relocate to Westchester. Wolverine at first was reluctant to have Toad on board, but when Toad offered to 'even want to be the janitor', Logan took the Toad up on his offer. Now Toad became part of Jean Grey School for Higher Learning as the janitor. It was during this time that Toad's skin-color changed into a green-like color. Toad felt at his place in the institute, but still felled anger towards a large number of students and teachers, for the diminishing job he had received. Eventually Toad and fellow faculty member Page started to develop romantic feelings for one another.
As his name implies, Toad possesses almost all the traits and abilities of a toad, most notably his superhuman jumping and leaping abilities. When originally introduced, this is the only ability that is revealed to us, and quite possibly the only one he possessed. Because of this skill, Toad usually travels by jumping rather than walking, even when traveling short distances. The popularity of the more skilled version of Toad in the X-Men movie caused most versions of Toad to take on his other abilities and skilled combat as well. He has recently developed a style of combat all his own, incorporating his agility and leg strength. Before this, his only attacks were random strikes which usually missed their mark.
The most powerful muscles in Toad’s body are his legs and his tongue. Due to being upgraded by alien technology, Toad's tongue can be extended to a maximum of approximately 25 feet long. Toad uses his long, powerful tongue to lash out at high speeds or to constrict people like a boa constrictor. His tongue is strong enough to completely crush someone in a matter of seconds. On a slightly more disgusting note, Toad also uses his tongue’s whip-like abilities to catch flighted insects out of the air and eat them. Also, the tip of his tongue secretes a mind controlling pheromone that begins to work as soon as it contacts the skin.
Toad’s body also secretes a quick drying adhesive that he spits at his opponents. It wraps around them and dries instantly, incapacitating them unless they can break free. On command, his hands and feet can ooze a sticky solution that allows him to stick to and climb up walls and ceilings. The solution also doubles as a paralytic toxin that numbs or paralyzes a victim’s whole body. An awful side affect of his chemical-secreting talents is a chemical imbalance that leads to unstable, often just strange behavior. He has a habit of rarely bathing and this, plus his secretions, gives him a strong, foul smell, which does not help people look past his appearance.
Due to his most recent mutation, Toad has gained two abilities: the ability to control amphibians, and the lung power to create and blast oxygen from them with enough strength to knock someone down from several feet away. Unfortunately, these powers recently decreased and faded completely.
Earth-295: Age of Apocalypse
In the Age of Apocalypse reality Toad is a highly talented Shakespearean actor and master swordsman. He is a member of Forge’s outcast group, an small group of outsiders that travels in North America helping people and attacking small facilities of Apocalypse. Due to the great powers of Nate they were sensed by Shadow King so the Dark lord sent his most trusted bounty hunters. when they are attacked by Domino, Caliban and Grizzly on behalf of Apocalypse, Toad duels Caliban and kills him, but is killed almost immediately afterward by Grizzly.
This version of Toad has pale skin, bald and he seems disfigured.
1602 Toad: Earth-311
In the 1602 reality, Toad is a spy for Magneto who is the head of the. Magneto’s plot is to recruit all of the witchbreed (AKA mutants)
able to hide their mutations from the hatred of normal people. Some have noted that Toad would not have been included as he is deformed and always has a yard-long tongue sticking out of his mouth. He also retains his ability to cling to walls. When the Papacy discovers he is working for Magneto, he betrays Magneto in return for his life. Later, when Magneto’s group breaks free, they capture Toad and Magneto promises to kill him. Toad’s execution is postponed, however, as he is seen alive on the ship, though he does not appear in the climax of the story and may have been killed on the ship.
In Scarlet Witch’s House of M reality, Toad is a member of the Elite Red Guard Unit of SHIELD and wrote a best-selling book about his life. Toad was among the first group to welcome Wolverine when he arrives in the House of M.
Ultimate Toad or Earth-1610
As with the mainstream timeline, Toad first appears as a member of Magneto’s Brotherhood. Towards the beginning of the
Ultimate X-Men story, Cyclops fakes joining the Brotherhood and becomes roommates and close friends with Toad. They stay in touch throughout the series and Cyclops voices his belief that Toad is not evil, merely devoted to his wrong impression of Magneto and his cause.
After Xavier was killed by Cable (although it was later revealed he was only kidnapped), Cyclops and Jean Grey inherit control of the school and Toad becomes a member of the X-Men and even an instructor at the school Cyclops welcomes him, but Jean and a few others feel uncomfortable and do not pretend to trust or like Toad. Cyclops and Toad soon visit the Morlocks and offer to take any of them who desire back to the school, and tell them of its new operation. Sunder, the leader of the Morlocks, had previously taken in Nightcrawler, but sees the appearances of so many ‘surface dwellers’ as more than coincidence. He believes all three are working against the Morlocks and takes Toad and Nightcrawler captive. Cyclops, Jean, Rogue and Iceman free them soon after.
Ultimate Toad has a less pathetic personality, and appears more a spunky British punk than a compliant yes-man. His powers include his leaping, wall clinging and prehensile tongue from his introduction. He has been shown as a fairly skilled fighter in his appearances. He is reported to be dead after the Ultimatum story arc.
Toad was one of four Brotherhood members to appear in the 2000 X-Men movie (the others being Magneto, Mystique and Sabretooth). He is played by martial artist Ray Park. Toad possesses his leaping ability, wall clinging, increased agility, dexterity, reflexes, coordination, balance, and his trademark 13-foot prehensile tongue, as well as his sticky mucus with which he nearly suffocates Jean Grey. He is portrayed as a master combatant and uses a long metal pole as a weapon when battling the X-Men in the Statue of Liberty. He actually bests Jean and Cyclops, before Storm blows him off the platform. He grabs it with his tongue, but she electrocutes him, making the popular joke, “You know what happens to a toad when it’s struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else.” It is implied that he died from the electrocution or hitting the water.
Toad's name is listed in William Stryker's files on Lady Deathstrike's computer. Toad was initially planned to make a return in this film, but this didn't end up happening.
It has also been proposed that Toad appeared briefly. Near the end in Stryker’s island prison several mutant prisoners are seen. A few recognizable powers and appearances are seen, including one mutant with a greenish, muddy complexion and five feet of tongue sticking out of his mouth.
X-Men: Days of Future Past
A teenage version of Toad cameos in the 2014 prequel film. He first appears in 1973, where he is seen in Saigon as part of a group of mutants who had been drafted to fight in the Vietnam War. He and his fellow soldiers are nearly shipped off to be experimented on by Bolivar Trask, but are rescued by Mystique. Near the end of the film, Toad is seen working as a fry cook and watching a young Magneto give a speech about mutant dominance on the White House lawn. He nods in agreement with Magneto's words, foreshadowing his eventual time as a member of the Brotherhood. The young Toad was portrayed by Evan Jonigkeit.
Magneto hatches a plan to free all his fellow mutants and Toad was among them. He then fights Spider-Man and his friends.
Toad is a member of the Brotherhood of Evil terrorists. His teammates trick and deceive him many times. The Brotherhood steals a power circuit, and when the X-Men try to retrieve it, Toad blocked their path and faced Wolverine one on one. He was voiced by Frank Welker.
Toad is a member of the Children of the Shadow which is led by Solarr.
This Toad’s real name is Todd Tolansky, and is one of the most popular incarnations of Toad. They are very similar in powers, however, as with most of the characters, Toad is a teenager, he is not British, and he does not seem to know Magneto. He also is not the clingy, henchman type, rather the shiftless, self-interested, ratty looking typical teenager.
Todd is a 17 year old attendee of Bayville High and is the first member of Mystique’s brotherhood. He teams up with teen versions of Blob, Quicksilver, Avalanche (who is a field leader of sorts), and later Scarlet Witch. He hopelessly fell for Wanda and tried in many occasions to get her heart, there is even a full episode dedicated to this (The Toad, the Witch and the Wardrobe). From the first episode on he had a rivalry with Nightcrawler. When Apocalypse surfaces, all the Brotherhood refuses to join the battle except for Scarlet Witch, however they reluctantly followed out of concern for their teammates safety. He was voiced by Noel Fisher.
This Toad is often captured by the MRD, and even threatens the arresting officers that the Brotherhood will come to his rescue. They do so and rescue their bumbling teammate. When Rogue pretends to join the Brotherhood, she is irritated by Toad’s attitude and by his tongue constantly waving around, so she removes a glove and grabs it out of the air, temporarily absorbing his powers and knocking him out cold. Domino apologizes for Toad and says he is new to the team. This version of Toad is heavily based on his Ultimate incarnation. He was voiced by A.J. Buckley.
A.J. Buckley reprises his role as Toad in the episode "Hulk Talk Smack." There is a reference to his famous death in the first X-Men movie, when Toad says "Oh, so that is what happens to a toad when it is struck by lightning. What a let-down."
- Toad is an unlockable character in the video game X-Men: Mutant Academy.
- Toad is a regular character in X-Men: Mutant Academy 2.
- Toad is a playable character in the fighting game X-Men: Next Dimension.
- Toad makes an appearance as a mini-boss in the multiplayer action-RPG video game X-Men Legends voiced by Armin Shimerman. Like most of the other characters in that game, he has the physical appearance of his Ultimate version, but has the history and personality of the 616 version. The X-Men encounter him at a HAARP base and defeat him. He was imprisoned in their holding cell until Magneto later rescued him. Upon arrival on Asteroid M, Emma Frost took control of Toad's mind to open the entrance to Asteroid M.
- Armin Shimerman reprises his role of Toad who is a playable character in the sequel X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse. He has special dialogue with Stryfe and Blink (when she is rescued). He also has a crush on Magneto's daughter Scarlet Witch and often praises and compliments her.
- In the GBA version of X-Men: The Official Game (which fills in the gap between X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand), Toad appeared in a minor role.
- Toad was a supporting character in the Brotherhood in X-Men Destiny.
- Toad appears in Marvel Heroes.
- Toad was featured in ToyBiz's toyline for the first X-Men movie.
- Toad was featured in ToyBiz's action figure line for X-Men: Evolution.
- Toad was featured in ToyBiz's first ever series of Marvel Legends action figures from ToyBiz. The figure came with a swamp display base and a small frog.
- Toad was featured in the HeroClix figure game
- Bowen Designs produced a Toad bust.
- Eaglemoss Publications created a lead Toad figurine.
- Toad was featured in Hasbro's line for Wolverine and the X-Men.