- "I adhere to the law of the jungle. Kill or be killed, eat or be eaten. Either you're dining or you're dinner."
- —Tobias Whale to Kwame Parker[src]
Tobias Whale (born April 20, 1946) is the most notorious crime boss in Freeland as well as the archnemesis of Black Lightning. Powered by a serum that grants him enhanced strength and longevity, which has given him decades of experience, Tobias is one of the most dangerous criminals alive.
Fueled by anger due to the abuse he received for being an albino in an African-American community, by his father in particular, he worked his way to the top of the city’s criminal underworld as the leader of his gang The 100 as well as a high-ranking position in the city council. However, Alvin Pierce exposed him as a corrupt politician, for which Tobias killed Alvin in front of his son, who would grow up to battle Tobias as Black Lightning.
Tobias was born on April 20, 1946, to Eldridge and an unnamed woman. They also gave birth to a younger sister, Tori. The woman left the family at some point, leaving Tobias and his sister to be raised by their father. However, their father was constantly abusive towards them, especially Tobias due to his albinism.
Many years later, Tobias began working as a member of Freeland's city council, but eventually lost his position, going underground and pursuing a criminal career, eventually being given leadership over The 100. Having a newspaper article about his corruption written by Alvin Pierce, he approached Alvin in his home, having him held down and stuffing his mouth with shredded bits of his article, killing him. He was wanted by the police for the murder.
The return of Black Lightning
Over nine years later, Tobias was the leader of The 100. He had an underling killed by feeding him to carnivorous fish. He then proceeded to watch a news report regarding the possible return of Black Lightning. Shortly following, after Lala antagonized the vigilante, Tobias had Lala brought to him, injuring him and threatening death.
Wishing to extinguish the "bootleg Black Lightning," Tobias ordered some of his people to up their security around the town. Wishing to punish Lala, he had him gagged. Later on, after Lala was arrested for the murder of Lawanda White, Tobias entered his jail cell with the help of some corrupt police officers. Tobias refused Lala the chance of ratting him out and promptly strangled him in his cell.
Sometime later, Tobias visited Lady Eve at Blackbird Funeral Parlor, bringing money as an apology for Lala's actions. Lady Eve informed him that Reverend Jeremiah Holt had organized a rally throughout Freeland as a protest against The 100, and asked him to take him out. Tobias appointed a gunman, stabbing him in the hand to assert fear over him. Although, his attempt failed when Black Lightning interrupted the shooting. Tobias quickly discovered Black Lightning to be alive, having his henchwoman shoot for the vigilante, instead of the bullet reaching the vigilante, it hit the reverend and Khalil Payne.
Shortly following, Tobias visited Lady Eve again, who reminded him that his reputation was built upon him having killed Black Lightning, a fact which now meant it was dwindling. Soon after, Tobias' sister Tori came into town, greeting his brother. They hatch a plan to get rid of Black Lightning, with Tobias taking a visit to Khalil Payne's hospital room, assuring him that his paraplegia was due to the vigilante.
Tobias visited Gambi's Custom Tailoring, hoping to gain the identity of Black Lightning from Peter Gambi, but was unsuccessful. He returned home, revealing to Tori that he'd gone to see Gambi. His sister scolded him, before revealing that she'd found his first enemy, Eldridge. They went to pay him a visit. Initially, Tobias called his father out for being a terrible father but appeared to come round. The two embraced, before Tobias, however, crushed his father's back, allowing him to die slowly. Not long after, Tobias was sent an envelope full of dust, calling back to a prior conversation with Lady Eve and her references to ritualistic grinding up of albinos.
Because of the threat, Tobias had a protection team tail Tori. Shortly following, Joey Toledo returned, explaining that he'd come face to face with Black Lightning but let him go. This angered Tobias, holding him up by his neck, but when he explained that he'd tipped off the police, Tobias let him down, mildly annoyed. A couple days later, Tobias was called in by his doctor, Henry Mayfield, who wished to test him for psoriasis. Later that night, Tobias rode in a car with Syonide and Khalil Payne, assuring Khalil that he would help him walk again, despite being paralyzed.
Joey organized a fight for him. Taking longer than usual, he finally knocked him out, the pair discovers that the man was high on Green Light. Two days later, Tori broke the news of Joey Toledo's death to Tobias, having found a box of albino dust along with his body. Later that night, Tobias attended 555. He and his crew were ambushed by Black Lightning, but before Tobias could fight him, he was shot with a blast of lightning. As they attempted to escape, Tori was shot, with the bullet also penetrating Tobias, escaping without his sister.
Tobias was later healed by the A.S.A. Martin Proctor, the leader of the A.S.A. of the Freeland area, asked him to pay him back by bringing him Black Lightning alive. Tobias accepts the mission. After his return, Tobias killed Dwayne, the man who saved him during the shootout at 555 because he did not save Tori. Tobias attacked Garfield High School with Syonide, Khalil Payne, who can then walk with a technology A.S.A. provided. They lured in Black Lightning to Garfield and killed him.
Tobias decides to kill Martin Proctor. He brings in Lala, who was revealed to be resurrected by him. He made Lala docile with the phrase, "The devil deals the card" and sent him to Proctor by implanting a bomb in him. Tobias comes to know, Martin survives the explosion and breaches the A.S.A. headquarters along with Khalil and Syonide. He could not kill Martin but he retrieved his briefcase. Meanwhile, Peter Gambi kills Martin Proctor. With the death of Lady Eve and Martin, Tobias is now the most powerful person in Freeland.
Kara Fowdy breaks into his office in an attempt to kill him and secure the briefcase. Tobias, angered by Synonide's murder, shoots Kara in the stomach with a harpoon and pulls her towards him. Kara manages to cut herself loose and throws herself out of a window to safety.
Tobias eventually gets arrested by the Freeland Police Department after an anonymous tip.
During the Anti-Monitor Crisis, Tobias as well as everyone in the multiverse except for the seven Paragons, was killed in an antimatter wave by the Anti-Monitor on December 10, 2019, only to be restored a month later, after the Paragons and the Spectre created a new universe.
- "That's why I hate these church-going Negroes. Always praying and singing, singing and praying. They all wanna go to heaven, but don't none of them wanna die."
- —Tobias Whale to Syonide[src]
Tobias is shown to be ruthless and has little tolerance for failure. He is clever in doing business and would kill anyone who would come in front of it. Although he does have one exception to killing people: mothers, to the point that he calls it “a no mamas rule.”. Although being ruthless and merciless, Tobias is shown to have a caring attitude towards Tori. He was also generous enough to take in Syonide and raise her as his own.
However, he seems to display a strong hatred of other African-Americans with few exceptions. He often refers to them with stereotypes and racial slurs.
Powers and abilities
- "He takes a kind of a serum which is like a super steroid. It makes him age slower and get stronger over time. At this point, he's got the strength of three men."
- —Peter Gambi to Jennifer Pierce[src]
- Meta-human physiology: Through the usage of an anti-aging serum, Tobias's DNA and cells are augmented, pushing his physical parameters well-beyond normal humans.
- Enhanced longevity: The serum granted Tobias lifespan that seemingly never ends nor causes him to show any signs of physically aging. While in his physical prime thirty years ago, he remains looking exactly the same while likewise retains the same health and vitality.
- Enhanced strength: Another benefit of the serum is granting Tobias a tremendous boost in raw strength, which from regular usage will gradually increase. After thirty years of regular dosages, according to Gambi, Tobias has gained the strength of at least three men. With said strength, it enables him to strangle and lift into the air a full-grown man with a single hand, as well as snap and break a man's back from the sheer pressure of his hug. This strength also greatly augments his endurance, able to withstand most blows from other physically augmented foes with little to no damage.
- Abilities via meta booster: After taking Lynn Stewart's meta booster serum, Tobias could grant himself powers.
- Invisibility: Tobias was able to turn invisible for an hour.
- Master hand-to-hand combatant: Tobias is shown to be a highly proficient barehanded fighter. Against a massive man with an extensive fighting history, Tobias was able to defeat him with relative ease, even when it was revealed that he was boosted on Green Light. He defeated Kali Payne in a fist-fight before his resurrection and further training. He was even able to fight against Black Lightning, though the latter was able to gain the upper hand and only defeated him with Painkiller's help.
- Expert marksman: Tobias is a very skilled shooter, shooting Lala from a distance with a harpoon and gunning down many victims with his handgun.
- Master strageist/Tactician/Manipulator:
- Leadership skills: Tobias has demonstrated leadership both in the political and organized crime fields. Tobias is a rather shrewd, calculating ruthless leader especially when it comes to his duty as the crime lord and leader of The 100.
- IMI Desert Eagle Mark XIX: Tobias uses this handgun as his main weapon. Using it to kill many of his victims.
- Harpoon gun: Tobias used this harpoon gun against Lala. He later used this harpoon gun to fatally wound Karar Fowdy in the stomach, which ultimately lead to her death.
- Electric proof undersuit: Tobias wore this under his suit when fighting Black Lighting at the high school, which rendered him immune to his opponent's electrical attacks.
- Power-dampening tech: The A.S.A. invented power-dampening collars to dampen meta-humans’ powers.
- Serum withdrawal: Beneficial as the serum is, its effects wear off after a certain period of time, requiring Tobias to take more of it regularly. Without the serum for long enough, Tobias' body will revert to its natural age and health. Even more, the sudden withdrawal will ravage his body, leaving him sickly. At the same time, sudden exposure to the serum will instantly restore him to his physical peak.
- Sunlight: Due to his albinism, Tobias’ skin is severely lacking in melanin, to the extent that concentrated UV radiation burns him in one minute as it would a normal person in one hour.
- Tobias appears to be an atheist, as when asked by Lady Eve if he was a churchgoer, he responded that his life hadn't led him down a "spiritual path."
- According to Jefferson, Tobias is 6 feet tall.
- Tobias likes Jazz music, and also considers it to be "One of the only things brothers got right."
- Tobias enjoys Pool, considering it to be "a beautiful game of symmetry and geometry."
Behind the scenes
- He is based on the DC Comics character Tobias Whale. However, his use of the anti-aging serum is unique to the show; in other media, he is always depicted as an ordinary man, albeit uncommonly large and muscular.
- Tobias served as the main antagonist of Season 2 of Black Lightning, as well as the first arc of Season 1.