Mortimer Toynbee (Toad)

toadfilmNew pics from X-Men: Days of Future Past, and we finally see one of the remaining characters: Toad, portrayed by Evan Jonigkeit. In the movie, it appears he’ll be a comrade in arms of Alex “Havok” Summers, until he meets Magneto and/or Mystique and becomes a part of the Brotherhood of Mutants. The characters already appeared in the first X-Men movie portrayed by Ray Park: he was a core member of the Brotherhood, and fought the X-Men until the last, fatal battle with Storm, who electrocuted him. He also had a small cameo in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as one of the many young mutants prisoners of William Stryker‘s base. Now, let’s see who one of the ugliest mutants ever is in the comics.

The only thing we know about Toad’s early life is that he was born in YorkEngland. His name was Mortimer Toynbee, and his mutation was quite peculiar since his very childhood: misshapen, ugly, full of warts, the baby was abandoned by his parents shortly after his birth. Found on the streets, Mortimer was brought to an orphanage and raised there along with the other children. As it was easily forseeable, the other boys and girls continuously bullied Mortimer because of his ugly appearance, his deformed face and limbs, toadcomics1his short size. When Toynbee developed the ability to leap at great distances, this only brought the mockeries to a whole new level, and the children started calling him “Toad”. Feeling desperately lonely, Mortimer developed a submissive and obsequious personality, seeking for an affection that never came. Plus, his social problems obviously influenced his learning, and the teachers started to consider him mentally retarted: he actually had quite an intellect, but was afraid to show it. In a way or another, the boy grew up to become an adult, and left the orphanage with more than one scar on his mind. Always considered a freak and an abomination, he was sure he would have never been accepted anywhere.

In those years, Erik Lensherr was becoming the mutant terrorist Magneto, and was forming his first Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. He found Mortimer in England, and offered him a place in his team: he didn’t think Toynbee would have actually been useful in anyway, but a blindly loyal pawn had some utilities nevertheless. Mortimer joyfully accepted the offer, and started revering Magneto as some sort of father. He accepted any physical or toadcomics2psychological abuse from his new master and his teammates (Mastermind, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver), because he was now following the dream of conquering the human race who had so long despised him, hoping in a future role as ruler in the new mutant society. Because of his appearance and powers, Magneto confirmed for him the name “Toad”, telling Toynbee he would have used the same monicker they used to hurt him with to instill fear in humans’ hearts. Feeling accepted for the first time in his life, Toad happily worked with the Brotherhood, often fighting against the X-Men and even the Avengers; he also fell in love with Scarlet, but, of course, the feeling wasn’t mutual. He started changing his feelings towards his master when, captured by the alien Stranger along with Magneto, the latter escaped leaving him behind. Feeling abandoned once again, he became an angry loner, ready to uncharge decades of frustration and abuse on the one he formerly called “master”.

Mortimer Toynbee is a deeply frail individual, who desperately seeks for acceptance and approval from many figures, from Magneto to Spider-Man. Insecure and shy because of his appearance, he’s the first to think he deserves any kind of ill-treating he receives. As Toad, he possesses quite a vast array of powers: he has superhuman strength in his legs, which allows him to leap at great distances, and also superior agility, stamina and reflexes; he also has an accelerated healing factor, superior visual spectre and a flexible bone structure that makes him quite a contorsionist; he has an extremely long prehensile tongue and can emit a toxic, acidic and paralyzing saliva, plus some toxic pheromones. He’s also an expert hand-to-hand combatant and a good mechanic, and has shown in a couple of occasions some sort of control over amphibian life. Cursed by a disgusting appearance and by years of psychological abuse, Toad is actually quite a skilled and resourceful mutant…the main problem being he’s not aware of that.

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4 Comments

  1. […] between mutants and humans, we see Havok himself blasting a guy on the other side of the dorm, Toad using his versatile tongue to disarm another, and a bald guy using a tattoo on his hand to make […]

  2. […] Stryker, portrayed this time by Josh Helman. In the movie, he’ll be Havok‘s and Toad‘s superior officer, and arguably a sympathizer of Bolivar Trask. We already met him as an […]

  3. […] Jason joined the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants as Mastermind, and along with his teammates Toad, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch battled the X-Men more than once. Mastermind proved to be more […]

  4. […] The first mission for the new Brotherhood was to kill Senator Robert Kelly, a strong anti-mutant activist. A time-traveling mutant, Kate Pryde, arrived from the future to thwart the assassination, as Kelly’s murder would have started a chain reaction that eventually brought the robotic Sentinels to annihilate mutants and superumans, taking over the world. Pyro and the others didn’t care much for this warnings (they had their own future teller, after all), but the X-Men did: the two teams clashed, and eventually the Brotherhood was defeated and the Senator saved. Pyro was arrested, but the authorities made the mistake of putting all the mutant terrorists together in the same prison: as soon as they realised this, they put together their efforts to break out…or at least to try to, as the Avengers were called to face the emergency, and in the ensuing fight the Brotherhood was defeated once again. Pyro stayed imprisoned for months, until the US Government offered the members of the Brotherhood a deal: they would have served under them, in exchange of pardon for their past crimes (this was a chance for the Government to have a “public face” to their newly signed Mutant Registration Act, in the effort of making the law more popular). The Brotherhood accepted the offer, and they became Freedom Force, a law-abiding team used as an obedient puppet by the Government agents. During their first mission, Freedom Force faced the Avengers again, with the order of arresting America’s most popular (and powerful) heroes. Pyro accomplished several missions with Freedom Force, and proved pivotal in the arrest of Rusty Collins, a sailor with pyrokinetic powers: every time they battled, usually with groups like X-Factor, X-Terminators, the New Mutants or even the Mutant Liberation Front, Pyro used his powers to manipulate the fire created by Collins, turning it against him and his allies. He was fundumental even during the massive breakout in the Vault, where his pyrokinesis was the only thing able to keep at bay Venom. Eventually, FF was disbanded, and Pyro and Blob were abandoned in Kuwait after a disastrous mission: being betrayed like this wasn’t exactly what John had signed for, and after being a war prisoner, his feelings towards the Government were so friendly that he immediately decided to come back to the new Brotherhood, this time led by Toad. […]


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