CTG Villains Month: Toad

by Tori B. on September 30, 2013

On the subject of villains this month (or as we wrap up the end of the month, really), let’s go a little ways back to 1963, Uncanny X-Men #4 where not only do the X-Men finally battle face to face with Magneto himself (one of Marvel’s most notorious villains) we also catch a glimpse of the less than notorious (but well known anyways) villain, who’s very good at finding himself being kicked around, Toad. Yes, you read right.
If there were ever a villain who was in need of some fresh zest, it would be Toad. This guy has been around since the sixties and while his fearless leader of the Brotherhood, Magneto has been through some interesting character arcs, this poor sod has yet to be treated in any similar fashion. There’s a lot of good potential for Toad here, and yet no one wants to tap into it and finally turn this guy into the cool villain he can be.
It’s hard to imagine, we’ve spent years seeing Toad as this loser who is constantly bullied around by others and not just by the Brotherhood, but by the X-Men as well as he joined Wolverine’s Jean Grey Academy. Sure throughout his career he’s been given chances to show his villainy and yet none have been all too successful.
His depression is cause for some of his failures, and yet we don’t get a lot of backstory for him. A backstory done for Toad could offer more sympathy for him as a character or maybe turn him into something more twisted and villainous if we wanted to take a darker route. He suffers from depression and is needy for attention often seeking approval from those he looks up to. An exploration of Toad’s origins doesn’t even have to be original, like any mutant, he’s ostracized for being different, bullied and unloved which is cause for his depression so he turns to Magneto and his Brotherhood, thinking that at least someone will be on his side—he’s clearly in need of attention seeing as now they’re trying to progress his character not on his own but through a love interest (my abandoned child wasn’t loved enough growing up senses are tingling) or you know, that’s one possibility of an origin story to help bring more sympathy to the character.   As of now, he doesn’t evoke any emotion and it’s just so much wasted potential.

We’ve seen some possibilities for different versions of Toad, all which showcase what Toad could become, and yet nothing in the current 616 universe is a reflection of any of this. There’s been a little influence from the X-Men films making him less of a hunchbacked loser following the big bads like a little puppy trying to please them, and a little more toad-like (and with enhanced “toad-like” abilities), which was a noble start into changing his character. Too bad they ran out of steam on that train. It’s not much going by alternate versions coming from House of M, seeing as a lot of that universe was created by everyone’s desires, but he had it in him to be a SHIELD agent, which is something. Then in Earth X, Toad actually becomes king and humiliates Magneto. Alternate universe Toad clearly has some backbone.  Not to mention Ultimate Toad happens to be more vicious and snarky and can clearly hold his own, and definitely one of the better versions of Toad that exist which is a shame that he isn’t even around all that much in the Ultimate universe either. A personal favourite version of Toad actually comes from the X-Men Destiny video game in which Toad is a cockney punk, snarky, and has honed his mutations in a way that actually makes him seem cool.  



 What could have been an origin story that propels Toad into an amalgamation of Ultimate and X-Men Destiny Toad never  happened and instead we’re still getting this poor guy who’s working as a janitor no matter what school he defects to and the only courage he’s shown recently is in defense of a girl he loves who happened to have gone crazy. The fact that the only momentum his character has gotten recently is a love interest is vaguely weak at best. This is a character that has been around since the beginning and deserves his time to finally come off as a cool villain.



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