Art by Trevor Von Eeden.
|First appearance||Black Lightning #1|
|Created by||Tony Isabella|
Trevor Von Eeden
|Alter ego||Tobias Whale|
|Place of origin||New Earth|
|Team affiliations||The 100|
|Notable aliases||The Great White Whale|
Advanced Hand-to-Hand Combatant
Fictional character biography
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December 2009)
Tobias Whale is an African American albino kingpin, who worked his way up from the rackets to head the Metropolis branch of the 100. A school teacher named Jefferson Pierce spoke out against the 100's drug trafficking, and so they made an example of one of his students named Earl Clifford when Joey Toledo led his men into attacking Earl, which ended with Earl being hit by a car. Seeking to avenge the murdered student and receiving help from his tailor friend Peter Gambi, Pierce becomes Black Lightning and attacks Joey and his men. After defeating his henchmen, Joey Toledo is grabbed by Black Lightning who arranges for Toledo to meet him at Garfield High School's gymnasium to inform on the 100 to him.
When Black Lightning meets with Joey Toledo, Merlyn also appears after being hired by Toledo to kill Black Lightning. Their fight is crashed by Talia al Ghul and the League of Assassins who are after Merlyn since he left the group after failing to kill Batman. The resulting battle ended with Joey Toledo being killed by a League of Assassins operative. Afterwards, Pierce is so successful in avenging Earl's death that Tobias is sent to jail.
When he breaks out of prison some months later, he teams up with Syonide II in order to distribute a new highly addictive drug. The drug's formula was supposedly in the possession of a woman named Violet Harper. Tobias sends Syonide to retrieve the formula. Unable to gain any information or find any trace of the formula, Syonide kills Harper. Violet Harper later comes back to life when an Aurakle possesses her lifeless body; this new being called herself Halo. Once he learned of Harper's resurrection, Tobias assumed that she must have memorized the formula. But since Harper has no memories from before her death, a frustrated Syonide killed her parents during the Outsiders' fight with Tobias Whale's henchmen.
Often called "the Great White Whale" behind his back, Tobias Whale weighs close to 400 lbs. However, most of his considerable bulk is muscle.
It is unknown whether Tobias ever was associated with the 100's successor group, the 1000.
Whale returned in the limited series Gotham Underground and has moved to Gotham City where he is attempting to become the Capo di tutti capi boss of bosses, following the death of the Black Mask. After taking over both the Galante and Odessa crime families, he ends up in a gang war with Intergang. They buy him out and make him the CEO of Kord Enterprises which has become a front for Intergang's criminal activities.
In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, Tobias Whale is re-introduced when he gets word that a drug deal done by his representatives was disrupted by both Black Lightning and Blue Devil. He decides to have them hunted down in order to get revenge on them.
In "DC Rebirth," the real Tobias Whale was seen in the pages of "Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands." This version wasn't an albino and that the Tobias Whale that encountered Black Lightning and Blue Devil was his unnamed nephew who used his identity during his reign in the Los Angeles criminal underworld. Tobias respected his nephew enough as a blood relative to kill him personally. Tobias later told his unnamed sister that her son was dead for using his name for his "half-assed" ventures and that he was an idiot.
During the 2015 "Convergence" storyline, the pre-Zero-Hour version of Tobias Whale has been trapped in his Metropolis for a full year. He has taken over the criminal underground. He struggles to gain influence over the mysterious food deliveries as this is something the city values. Tobias Whale is opposed by the vigilante Jean-Paul Valley and the stranded playboy Bruce Wayne. Whale is unaware that Wayne is secretly Batman.
In other media
- Tobias Whale appears in Beware the Batman, voiced by Michael-Leon Wooley. This depiction is Gotham City's leading crime lord and has employed criminals like his lawyer/enforcer Phosphorus Rex. In addition, Humphry Dumpler used to work as his accountant, which leads him to target Whale and James Gordon for revenge. Tobias can be reasonable with Batman at times, as the two have worked together twice, though Tobias betrays him once after siding with Ra's al Ghul.
- Tobias Whale makes his live-action debut in the television series Black Lightning, portrayed by Marvin "Krondon" Jones III. This depiction received his anti-aging serum from Dr. Helga Jace and is a former politician who rose through the ranks of Freeland's local government through corruption, but was brought down by the titular character's father, Alvin. After killing him, Tobias was removing from the government and became the leader of the 100 upon receiving ownership from crime boss Lady Eve. He is aided by enforcers Joey Toledo and Syonide and sister Tori (portrayed by Edwina Findley). Over the course of season one, Tobias battles Black Lightning, loses Tori, and gains young enforcer Painkiller. In season two, he is arrested for Alvin Pierce's murder, but is quickly released from police custody. When he sends Painkiller to eliminate a target for refusing to comply with his demands, the enforcer fails to do so, forcing Tobias to kill him and hire the assassin Giselle Cutter to replace him. He later deduces Black Lightning's identity before reuniting with Jace to kidnap the A.S.A.'s metahumans and recruit the Masters of Disaster into his ranks. Tobias sends them and the 100 to attack Freeland, but Black Lightning, Thunder, and former 100 member Lala defeat them while Lightning confronts Tobias himself and nearly kills him before Black Lightning talks her down. Together, they defeat Tobias, who is remanded to metahuman prison, the "Pit". In season three, the A.S.A. use his bone marrow for their experiments before Lynn Stewart and Gardner Grayle sneak him out of the Pit, only to be subdued by a Markovian operative and taken prisoner. While in the Markovians' custody, Tobias is subjected to experiments conducted by A.S.A. double-agent Nurse Michael Allen until Black Lightning and his allies rescue Lynn, during which Tobias escapes to take revenge on Allen, locate Markovia's metahumans, and plan his return to Freeland.
Tobias Whale appears in Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay, voiced by Dave Fennoy, depicted as a crime lord and underboss in the Black Mask Mob. He had a flash drive containing leaked information in his possession which Amanda Waller sent Task Force X (consisting of Deadshot, Black Manta, Count Vertigo, and Punch and Jewelee) to recover. He subdues Vertigo and Deadshot in a fight, but is killed when Count Vertigo uses his "Vertigo Effect" to weaken him and Punch uses his sting string to force him into shooting himself in his head.
- "Interview: Tony Isabella and Black Lightning". Back Issue. TwoMorrows Publishing (114): 47–49. August 2019.
- Rovin, Jeff (1987). The Encyclopedia of Supervillains. New York: Facts on File. pp. 347–348. ISBN 0-8160-1356-X.
- Black Lightning#1
- Black Lightning #2-3
- Batman and the Outsiders #20. DC Comics.
- "Gotham Underground" #1-8 (December 2007 to August 2008). DC Comics.
- DC Universe Presents #13. DC Comics.
- Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1. DC Comics.
- Batman: Shadow Of The Bat #1 (April 2015). DC Comics.
- Ramos, Dino-Ray (August 10, 2017). "'Black Lightning' Adds Marvin "Krondon" Jones III As Villain Tobias Whale". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
- Tobias Whale at the DCU Guide