Tobias Messenger was born in 1859, and because he was deaf and mute since birth, lived a solitary life until he was 19 years old, at which point his telepathic powers emerged. By the age of 30, Messenger began traveling the world looking for other mutants like himself. He succeeded in finding a few mutant allies, none of whom were very powerful compared to the X-Men and their contemporaries (a difference that Messenger attributed to the dawn of atomic power during the 20th century). Nevertheless, Messenger and his allies were able to influence world events through their concerted efforts, and Messenger credits his group with bringing about a quicker end to the first World War. Eventually his allies died or moved on, leaving Messenger alone again, and he decided to place himself in suspended animation. Emerging once every ten years, he sought out new mutants to join his cause.
Messenger formed the Promise during the 1930s to 40s in an attempt to protect mutants from prejudiced humans.  He believed that war between mutants and baseline humans was inevitable, and although mutants were certain to emerge victorious in the conflict, the result would be chaos as various mutant factions fought each other. Messenger planned to take a leadership position in post-war, mutant-run world.
The Promise eventually came into a conflict with the original team of X-Men when they abducted Lorna Dane, Havok, and the Angel, placing them in stasis tubes along with themselves as they began their next ten-year sleep. However, Promise member Lucy Robinson tampered with her own stasis tube and Angel's, allowing them to escape and free the others. Robinson, blaming Messenger for robbing her of her life and family, killed him after helping the X-Men escape.
Powers and Abilities
Tobias could not speak and relied on his telepathy to communicate.
- Suspended animation tubes
- Tobias Messenger's telepathy was uncomfortably "loud" to those receiving it, and Promise members said they had had to get used to it over time.