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Toad (Joint Venture)
Toad-JV
Real Name Mortimer Todd
Current Alias Toad
Alias(es) Mortimer Toynbee, "Mort," "Frog-Legs" "Wart", "Slimy", "Frog", "Pond-Hopper"
Relatives Ernest Todd (legal guardian, deceased)
Affiliation X-Men
Base Of Operations 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center, New York
Alignment Chaotic Good
Universe Joint Venture Universe
Gender Male
Eyes Yellow with black sclera
Hair Green
Unusual Features Green skin, often covered in a thin layer of mucus.
Toad is a mutant, often a supervillain and an antagonist to the X-Men. This is the Joint Venture Universe version of the character.

History

Early life

While there wasn't anything obviously mutant about him as a child, it was clear from the start that Mortimer Toynbee was 'born wrong'. From birth, he knew he was clearly unwanted; beaten and cowed into submission by his wealthy, cruel father, and ignored by his negligent socialite mother. so often that as soon as he was able, he ran away from home, and began making it on the streets of London on his own.

The Mechanic and the Whistleblower

He wasn't alone for long. A good-natured mechanic named Ernest Todd took the runaway in after a few weeks. Discovering that Mortimer had a natural aptitude for machinery, Ernest took the boy on as his ward and apprentice, and Mortimer added another marketable skill to his repertoire, studying mechanics under Ernest even as Ernest helped him get through school. Mortimer's fondest memory of that time was creating a hydraulically-powered automatic tire inflator for his eighth-grade science fair.

Mortimer was always naturally agile, even though the rest of his physical education was lacking. He used this behind Ernest's back to become an excellent thief and eavesdropper, often using cobbled-together spy devices to learn dirty political or financial secrets from Britain's elite, which he intended to sell to the highest bidder. After discovering a human trafficking ring by mistake, however, his outlook changed. Mortimer instead began operating as a whistle-blower in secret, gathering passing information along to the press or the authorities, whomever seemed appropriate to deal with the corruption and cruelty he found in the dark corners of London. Once, he even worked alongside Captain Britain himself to take down a group of supremacist terrorists who had kidnapped one of Mortimer's schoolmates. He tried to keep his vigilante activities secret from his benefactor, Ernest, with varying degrees of success.

Because of his then-unassuming appearance, everyone simply assumed Mortimer was just another rebellious teen, a Billy Idol wannabe in the sea of interchangeable, loud, leather-clad London youths in the 1980s. He used this to his advantage, adopting brusque, tough "Cockney" mannerisms to hide his true intelligence, never letting on how sharp he really was. Only Ernest recognized his ward's natural intellect, and while he suspected Mortimer was operating outside the law, he said nothing, especially after seeing that Mortimer's actions came from the best of intentions.

By the time he was out of secondary school, Mortimer, now going by Ernest's surname of Todd, was a 16-year-old spymaster, a hero working from the shadows to make London a better place.

Mutation and Stigmatization

After graduating secondary school, Mortimer was preparing himself for college, ready to study business and communciations at Ernest's urging. He wanted to be a mechanic like the man who had raised him, but Ernest knew there were much brighter things in store for him. Unfortunately, this vision of the future would soon be shattered.

Mortimer's mutations happened gradually. First, he started to sweat profusely, on a constant basis. Then, his skin began secreting mucus. His salivary glands and tongue transformed next, forcing Mortimer to constantly be aware of his own mouth, lest his now-extendable tongue lash out unintentionally. When Mortimer went to Ernest, frightened of these changes, Ernest had him see a doctor, who could find nothing wrong with him. It was generally assumed that Mortimer was just going through a very unusual puberty.

Finally, the change came that was impossible to hide: his skin and hair turned sickly shades of green, and his eyes changed color, turning a bright, glowing yellow, with the whites going jet black. By this time, the news across the world was talking about the emergence of mutants within the population of Earth. Mortimer and Ernest were both too intelligent not to figure out what was happening, and Mortimer prepared to leave home for a second time, frightened that Ernest would turn against him, as his parents had been against him from the day he was born. To Mortimer's surprise and joy, Ernest did no such thing; instead, the mechanic supported his ward, just as he had always done. Mortimer had been the son that Ernest had never had, and he was proud to be his guardian. Whatever the future borught, Ernest would not let Mortimer face it alone.

Sadly, this promise would be forcibly broken soon after. Mortimer had been instrumental in the ruin of so many corrupt and powerful people in London that it was inevitable someone would seek revenge. That revenge would come from Sir James Jaspers, a member of Parliament who had been in line to become Prime Minister before Mortimer had exposed several underhanded business dealings, particularly an arms deal with the then-notorious weapons-manufacturing corporation Stark International. In disgrace and desperate to make a comeback, Jaspers re-entered the political arena, taking a public stance against superhumans of all kinds, but specifically mutants.

Losing a Father Figure, Gaining a Team

Jaspers' rhetoric whipped up his bigoted supporters into a frenzy, and they began going after anyone with an obvious mutation, or who displayed their powers publicly, by intent or accident. Mortimer's skin, eyes, and now-freakishly-long tongue made him a prime target. One group of particularly malicious thugs followed Mortimer home and began wrecking Ernest's shop. Ernest called the police and tried to stop them, but they simply started picking up his own tools and beating him with them. Mortimer, using his powers consciously and offensively for the first time, fought the thugs off, but the damage had been done. The police got to the auto shop first, and assumed the worst, opening fire on the green-skinned mutant and driving him away from the only place he had ever really called 'home'. Ernest never saw Mortimer again; he died of his injuries en route to the hospital,

Mortimer was alone again, run to ground in the sewers beneath London and bereft of all hope for his survival, never mind his future. Unbeknownst to him, however, his battle against the hoodlums who had ruined his life had produced a powerful enough mutant signature to register on Cerebro, halfway around the world. Professor Charles Xavier sensed the young man's distress and personally went to rescue him. When he and his pupil Storm arrived in London, Mortimer's situation looked darker than ever: the media had attempted to pin Ernest's death on him, dubbing him "The Terrible Toad", and he was cornered by police and a mob of angry Jaspers supporters, who couldn't have cared less if he were guilty or innocent -- they just wanted the blood of the green-skinned freak in front of them. Storm disoriented the growd with fog (common in London) and thunder (considerably less so), and Xavier mentally cloaked himself and Mortimer long enough to get him out of the country. Flying to America, Xavier introduced himself, and presented Storm as leader of the X-Men, a team of mutants who wanted to make the world safer for mutants, especially mutants like him, who had been stigmatized through no fault of their own. Though wary, Mortimer agreed, and joined the team, keeping the nickname "Toad", as that, at least, had grown on him. When he saw the sheer number of vehicles the X-Men had -- including their SR-71 Blackbird Jet -- Mortimer volunteered to be the team's mechanic and engineer. Mortimer had had one life destroyed, but now, as Toad, he had a chance to build another.

Powers

Toad is a mutant whose powers seem based on amphibious traits, like those possessed by varying species of frogs and his namesake, toads.

Amphibian Physicality: Mortimer's body has mutated in such a way as to grant him the physical attributes of an amphibious creature.

  • Superhuman Agility: The first power he ever exhibited, and arguably the one he uses most often. is the ability to leap to heights and distances far greater than that of an ordinary human. He possesses a degree of superhuman strength, particularly in his back and legs, which grants him his superior leaping abilities. He can easily reach heights of 40 feet in a vertical leap and 25 feet in a broad jump, and propel himself forward in a jump at a momentum of roughly 80 mph, as well as deliver kicks with superhuman force, aided by his velocity. Toad possesses bodily coordination, mobility, reflexes, and balance exceeding that of most Olympic athletes.
  • Flexible Bone Structure: Toad's bone structure enables him great flexibility. He can remain in a crouching position for long periods of time, squeeze into and out of incredibly tight spaces, and perform highly contortionist feats without causing any damage to his bones. Although Toad usually does assume a crouching position, he can stand erect if he wishes.
  • Regenerative Healing Factor: Toad has a healing factor that allows him to recover from injuries and ailments at an accelerated rate. He can recover from minor wounds, such as cuts and scrapes, within a few minutes. Larger, more damaging injuries, such as broken bones, heal within a matter of hours. He is potentially able to regenerate severed body parts, but this has never been tested.
  • Enhanced Vision: Mortimer possesses a degree of heightened night vision, and can see into the infrared or ultraviolet spectrums.
  • Prehensile Tongue: Toad has the ability to extend his tongue up to 30 feet in length and use it as a whip to ensnare objects and people. He can also retract it within his mouth and throat until it is the size of a normal person's tongue. In addition, his tongue is superhumanly strong, capable of lifting and crushing an average-sized human male to death.
  • Amphibian Respiration: Toad can breathe air or water with equal ease, and survive in both mediums indefinitely.
  • Superhuman Swimming Speed: In much the same way as his enhanced legs make him an exceptional acrobat, Toad is also able to swim far faster than even an Olympic-caliber human athlete.

Superhuman Secretions: Toad's pores and salivary glands can secrete a number of substances and chemicals, seemingly affected by either his emotional state or conscious direction, in whatever quantity he requires. He can only secrete one of these substances at any given time.

  • Oil: Toad's "default" porous secretion is a kind of natural oil that acts as lubricant. It is non-flammable and makes him "slippery", reducing surface friction considerably. He can use this to slip through narrow spaces or evade physical grapples with relative ease. In addition, he can secrete or spit enough of this that he can create "oil slicks" at will. He often also uses this oil in his capacity as a mechanic, to serve as a flame-retardant lubricant for most of the machinery he maintains.
  • Acid: Toad can make his saliva or porous secretions highly acidic, able to quickly dissolve most corrodable materials with ease. His acid, like most acids, cannot dissolve glass.
  • Blinding: Usually only done with his saliva, but Toad can secrete or spit a toxin that, when it gets in someone's eyes, can render them temporarily blind.
  • Adhesive: Toad can secrete or spit an adhesive resin that sticks to any surface that comes into contact with it. He often secretes this from his hands, to adhere to walls and ceilings, or spits it at enemies to entangle them.
  • Ossifying: Toad's saliva and porous secretions can also be made to harden, becoming a material not unlike amber. He often spits projectiles of ossifying mucus at enemies, or secretes this to entrap people in resinous shackles.
  • Paralytic: Finally, Toad can imbue his secretions with a neurotoxin that can paralyze the nervous systems of any living organism that comes into contact with it. This ability seems chemical in nature, rather than psionic, as he can paralyze even powerful telepaths, but people with enhanced healing factors like his own (or that of his teammate, Beast) will recover from the paralysis more quickly.

Natural Immunity: Toad is immune to the debilitating neurological effects of his own saliva or secretions. His own acid spit will not burn him, nor will his own paralytic or blinding toxins disable him.

Expert Machinist: Thanks in part to his apprenticeship under Ernest Todd, and in part to his own studies, Toad has a great knowledge of most forms of conventional and advanced technology. He maintains and repairs most of the vehicles owned and operated by the X-Men, including Cyclops' Harley-Davidson, Charles Xavier's Rolls-Royce, and even the X-Men's SR-71 Blackbird.

Weaknesses

Mental Illness: Due to the losses and indignities heaped upon him in his youth, Toad possesses a fragile psyche. Aside from cripplingly low self-esteem, Toad also suffers from depression and severe anger management issues. The former can demoralize him and render him incapable of being productive, while the latter can sometimes lead him to lash out in a destructive fury. He is currently addressing these problems with counseling from Professor Xavier, but his temperament is unstable and prone to shifting very easily.

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