"So shall it be for all eternity, most exalted of Deviants!
- —Brother Tode and one of his Deviant sycophants.
One million years before our time, Earth was visited by godlike aliens known as the Celestials. They genetically modified the local dominant lifeform, early human being, and generated two subspecies of human: The superpowerful Eternals and the Deviants, who changed their physical and biological feature every generation due to a highly unstable genetic structure that also kept its population low. Although most Deviants lacked natural superpowers like the Eternals, they became the first civilization to develop technology, which they used to enslave the humanity and conquer nations from their homeland in the island-continent Lemuria, in the current Pacific Ocean.
When the Celestials returned c. 25.000 BC to check the progress of their experiment, the Deviants militarily attacked the Celestials. The Celestials, who found the Deviant progress detrimental to their own goals, reacted with a nuclear weapon that obliterated Lemuria along with the human civilizations. This cataclysm reverberated in worldwide mythologies. The surviving Deviants regrouped in pre-established underwater and underground cities, eventually gathering in greatest number in the City of Toads, their new capital in the sunken Lemuria.
During the following millennia, the Deviants devoted their effort to rebuild weapons, waiting for a chance to get revenge on the Celestials, and a small number of them even interacted with humans, motivating tales about monsters and demons or pretending to be exceptional people. The Deviant civilization was rebuilt along ruling monarchies along with aristocracy and a powerful priesthood that attempted to reduce the species' instability by executing the more grotesque subjects. For a time, there were several Deviant monarchies warring with each other, but in recent years, a single Deviant Empire with a lone leader was observed. This leader was Brother Tode, who was active from the City of Toads and was able to use advanced technology to destroy airplanes or any interlopers in his domain.
Bulky Tode sat on a throne, with minor retainers -including his queen Vira and his buffoon Broop- crawling in front of him, and only priviledged subordinates like Primer Minister Ragar and warlord Kro standing around or next to him. Whenever Tode moved (or was moved), Deviants stopped their activities to greet, and his cult was such that Deviants even swore by the "Head of Brother Tode". Tode rarely confided to anyone, but he considered Priest-Lord Ghaur his ally; Ghaur said he had assisted the birth of Tode's son Ranar, who killed his mother -not Vira- when being delivered.
The Coming of the Fourth Host
During the modern era, Deviants and Eternals competed to find a Celestial cosmic beacon that could be used to summon the Celestials back to Earth, something that Tode aimed to avoid but the Eternals intended to achieve. Tode sent Warlord Kro to find and destroy the beacon; Kro found the beacon in an Inca ruin, but Eternal Ikaris overtook him and activated the becaon, summoning the Celestials who came to Earth in its Fourth Host to judge humanity for half a century and then decided whether Earth was worthy of going on or not.
Kro returned in shame to Tode's throne room, where Tode punished him for his failure with public torture and disgrace. Finally Tode decided that Kro had suffered enough and released him. Kro knelt before Tode and presented his new plan to stop the Celestials. Although other Deviants criticized Kro's audacity, Tode made Kro go on. Kro wanted to urge the humans to attack the gods: Kro wanted to impersonate the Devil and attack New York City, claiming to be an alien from outer space. The humans would then believe that the oncoming colossal Celestials were in league with this person or related to him somehow, and would focus their efforts against them. Tode cheerfully approved Kro's plan.
Kro indeed attacked New York, shaking humanity's resolve, but he was confronted by the Eternals. Kro agreed a truce with the Eternal Thena, for who he had feelings; she wanted to unify the three species -Humans, Deviants and Eternals- to peacefully deal with the Celestials. Kro agreed only because he expected her to fail. Eternals and Deviants then publicly revealed their existence and the Celestials, first in academic environments.
Meanwhile, Tode attended to a gladiatorial duel where up-and-coming Deviant gladiator The Reject defeated at least five professional opponents. Tode, unfamiliar with the Reject but impressed at his performance, demanded to be shown the Reject's face, hidden behind a mask. The human-like Reject was repulsive to Deviant eyes, and several in Tode's entourage, including Queen Vira, demanded his execution. Tode refused this: following the Deviant custom, defeating an enemy was the most valued skill; thus the Reject would live until some other gladiator could overpower him. Due to this, Tode chose the most powerful warrior available for that purpose: Karkas the Mutate.
Kro took Thena to the City of Toads in official visit, taking her to deferentially greet Tode and explain Thena's diplomatic mission. Thena refused to bow to Tode; Kro apologized for her faux pas, and Tode accepted because of the upcoming festivity, while insisting that Kro and Thena join him at the Royal Combat Arena for the traditional gladiatorial games to remove their spurned individuals with a worthy death. They went there, and the match's overseer mentioned Great Tode before even quoting the fighters, and Tode, cup in hand, ordered the duel to start, dedicating it to Thena on the noteworthy event of her visit. Thena was disgusted at the fight's brutality, and Tode laughed at Thena's feelings being misused in a pariah.
Surprisingly, however, the Reject defeated Karkas and even jumped to attack the Royal Family - only to be stopped by a protective energy screen. Tode then ordered Kro to execute the Reject, as the later had committed a crime of treason. Just then, the city was attacked by Celestial Eson the Seeker, who destroyed the city's power source, thus shutting off the barrier, and then used a hand-held Universal Eye to learn as much as possible about Lemuria, wrecking havoc in the process. The city was flooded, and local security agencies sent extra help to protect Tode and his Family from any danger or even discomfort. The Reject meanwhile attacked the Deviant audience, who escaped. Thena confronted the Reject while Tode and most of the others ran away; and later she offered sanctuary to the Reject and Karkas, teleporting away with them.
After the destruction of the City of Toads and most of Lemuria, the Deviants went into hiding but some facilities were still available. Tode had ordered the building of a giant Energy-Bomb to be shot at the Celestials. It required three Deviant astronauts who were willing to be in a suicide mission and, at 500 miles of height, it would be activated, so that the pilots can speed the bomb and detonate it when they reached the orbiting Celestial ship. The explosion would also lay waste to several inhabited areas of the planet, killing millions of humans -something that Tode wished. Tode and Kro visited the facility, with protective gear due to the radiation; then Tode gave the mission its final thumbs-up. This mission nonetheless failed partly due to the interference of the Eternals Sprite and The Forgotten One; and because the leading Celestial, One Above All, manipulated the events, so that the Deviants were moved to a NASA ship that they crash-landed on Earth while the Forgotten One harmlessly sent the bomb to explode in outer space.
Tode's other plan to goad humanity against the Celestials also failed: Although initially the USSR sent a vain nuclear attack against the Celestial Nezarr the Calculator, the humans later decided to join the Eternals, with the US government agreeing to not openly fight the Celestials. Most Deviants however (except for rejects like Karkas) still had their hopes on Tode's leadership: Deviant Zakka was sure that Lemuria would ultimately conquer the humans.
During the following three years, the Deviants regrouped and built a new underground capital, hidden behind New York City and accessible through the underground station at Central Park. The Celestials remained in their base in the Inca ruins, a sealed area that few could enter or leave. Tode sent one of his agents there, Ereshkigal, a Deviant explorer, to find about the Celestial plans. Ereshkigal was defeated by the Asgardian god Thor, also in the area, and left behind, trapped in the Celestial city with its few inhabitants, and unable to report anything back to Tode.
Thena eventually discovered the new Deviant city and intended to go there in peace, along with her allies Karkas, the Reject, Ikaris and Ikaris' paramour Margo Damian. Kro and Tode detected their approach and captured them, except for Karkas, who escaped. Karkas went after the Eternal Sersi for reinforcements, finding her and Thor and their allies. When these three went back to rescue the prisoners, they also sprung a trap - but this time, they were ready for a surprise: Sersi pretended to be scared and ran away, but she really impersonated Thor using her illusion powers; Thor, meanwhile, returned to his Donald Blake persona and hid. Kro, holding Thor's Hammer -or what he believed to be so, really Blake's walking cane-, tied his prisoners with belts of bemusement before taking them in front of Tode; the king was satisfied and pardoned Kro from his past blunders, even if Kro was whispering at Thena that he could make Tode indulge her. Ikaris demanded to be heard and asked Tode to join humans and Eternals to prevent the Celestials from destroying Earth; but Tode rejected such an opprobrious alliance, instead trusting on the Deviants' own military power to confront the Celestials solo.
Tode then approached to the unusually breviloquent Thor, wishing to recruit him for his cause. Thor then revealed "he" was really Sersi in disguise and, as she was much less robust than Thor, her bonds were loose. The Deviants were surprised at the reveal, and Blake took his chance to jump on Kro and struggle for the stick; as soon as it collided with the floor, it became Thor's real hammer, and Blake himself became Thor. While Thor fought the Deviant guards and Sersi released the other prisoners, Tode asked for any available reinforcement while also reprimanding Kro for the new failure. Kro revealed he had a super-mutate prototype being, Metabo, that he released against the escapees.
But Tode noticed they were still against the ropes, and retreated along with Kro and Dragona, a Deviant warrior Tode held in personal esteem. Tode's escape route included a two-seat rocket; thus, Tode ordered Kro to activate the city's self-destruction via earthquake - then Tode boarded the rocket with Dragona and took off, without Kro. Tode believed that Kro would not survive the disaster, but he did, his loyalty to Tode unshaken. After the destruction of the city, the surviving Deviants regrouped somewhere else, and many of them studied their new enemy Thor.
Later, Tode sent Deviant bruiser Toro Rojo to defeat Eternal sportsman Vampiro -both of whom pretended to be human wrestlers-, humiliating him in front of the humans. Toro did so, but Thor saved Vampiro's life and defeated Toro.
Eventually, the Celestials gave their judgement on Earth and decided to leave it untouched, partly due to the intervention of the Eternals and of several pantheons of Earth's gods. Eternal leader Zuras was killed during this event. When leaving, the Celestials deleted all proof of their existence from any human mind, while also removing references to their open contact with Eternals and Deviants.
Brother Tode then proposed a plan to destroy the Eternals, in a meeting that Kro attended: Tode personally would lead the Deviant ruling class and a number of warriors to infiltrate the Eternal capital of Olympia just when the Eternals were ceremoniously bringing home Zuras' corpse. When the Eternals were returning, the Deviants sneakily incapacitated them, one by one, placing a brain-mine on each Eternal's head. The Eternals were then put on stasis.
Tode aimed to discover the secret of Eternal immortality so he designed a process to distill it from the Eternals by reducing Eternals to atoms or molecules that he could personally ingest. The process required the Eternal to be wakened, but imprisoned in a neuro-pressor beam, then tortured into a molecular disruptor, and lastly vaporized in an Abattoricon -a process that Tode made public, as torturing Eternals was reason to rejoice for his Deviants-, leaving only the particles that Tode breathed using a mask, in a process that Tode believed would make him immortal. Tode's right-hand man, Warlord Kro, was skeptic at this last point but, having expressed his opinion, he submitted to Tode's command. Tode, growingly mistrusting Kro, assigned several of his guards to secretly watch Kro so that, in case Kro ever suggested something treacherous, they'd kill Kro.
Captured Thena and not-so-inactive Zuras discreetly summoned the second Iron Man to Olympia to help them. Discovering the situation, Iron Man freed Thena. They were found by Kro, who slipped his tongue and attracted lethal attention from a guard, but Kro proved hardy enough to withstand the attack. However, Kro recaptured Thena and took her to Tode's torture chamber, in an attempt to rule out suspicions over him; satisfied with Kro's loyalty, Tode demanded that he execute Thena. Kro convinced Tode that Zuras's body was the likely security leak source and that they should destroy Zuras first. Meanwhile, however, Iron Man sabotaged the machinery with Zuras' help, making it explode and releasing the Eternals from stasis. Tode was initially angered at what he believed an uncomfortable delay, not understanding that he was facing his released enemies.
Thanks to Iron Man, the released Eternals attacked and quickly defeated the Deviants, with a green-cladded Eternal personally punching Tode's jaw. Tode's plan ended in a humiliating defeat, with Tode and the other invading Deviants having been imprisoned.
Then the Eternal Valkin, who counted Brother Tode amongst his personal enemies, demanded that the prisoner's atomic structures be rearranged into a giant block of stone that would be launched into space eventually. The motion was approved and the prisoners, apparently also including Tode's queen Vira but not Kro, whom Thena helped escape, were executed by molecular rearrangement, therefore dying as the process was irreversible. The Deviants became a huge block of compact stone-like substance that the Eternals stored behind Olympia's foundations, using it as an open stepping ground. Eventually, most Eternals formed a collective being called the Uni-Mind and left Earth, towing the Deviant block with them and later, midway between Earth and Luna, hurling it beyond the solar system to drift in the vacuum forever.
Without the monarch and the ruling class, there was a power vacuum in the Lemurian throne, although surprisingly the empty palace was calm and undisturbed but by some graffiti. Tode's son Ranar, by then a government officer, had restored the Deviant economy and city and, cheered by the population, demanded the official leadership; but priest-lord Ghaur instead publicly humiliated him, then murdered him. Kro also made his move to get the crown, but finally it was Ghaur himself who succeeded Brother Tode.
Later, Tode appeared in an apocalyptic dream of the Invisible Woman's that had been manipulated by the Watchers. His name was also remembered in Deviant culture: Kro expressed surprise by shouting "By the Tode!"
Powers and Abilities
Tode had an excellent leadership capability. His melee fighting abilities are slight, but his reaction time is superior and he is able to heal and recover from injury, disease and exhaustion sooner than would have been believed.
Tode has can lift his own (considerable) weight over his head.
Due to his oversized head, his personal mobility is hindered and frequently Tode must resort to servants to move him from one place to another. Tode can walk on his own at normal speed if needed, holding his own weight for some time, but his flexibility and coordination is subpar.
Tode's transportation is provided by the Deviant Empire as needed. He has been seen moving in a sedan chair that two Deviant minions carried. When moving under his own power, he can reach a top running speed of at least 40 kmph and keep it for at least one minute before being fatigued.
- Tode has a two-line entry in the appendix page of Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #2, and is later mentioned in the entry of the Deviants in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #3 and in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (Vol. 2) #3. He receives a dedicated, if posthumous, entry in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition #9, which fails to include his appearances in Thor as significant issues.
- Tode is mentioned in Rampaging Hulk #4 only in passing while describing the Toad Men, just to clarify there is no relation between the later and him.
- Tode's headquarters in the City of Toads was destroyed by the Celestials in Eternals #11, a cataclysm that devastated the whole continent of Lemuria as described in Thor #284. However, in Eternals #13, Tode visits an operational factory explicitly located in "the city of Lemuria", which should not be active - or alternatively, the city of Lemuria must have been far from the continent of Lemuria itself.
- 10 appearance(s) of Tode (Earth-616)
- 2 minor appearance(s) of Tode (Earth-616)
- 3 mention(s) of Tode (Earth-616)
- 10 image(s) of Tode (Earth-616)