Real Name: Tad Carter
Occupation: Adventurer; former student
Group Membership: The Promise (Gene Bitner, Craig Farnsworth, Simon Lestron, Tobias
Messenger, Lucy Robinson, Ernest Scope, Gracie Smith)
Affiliations: Professor Filbert, Professor Charles Xavier
Enemies: Formerly X-Men (Angel/Warren Worthington III, Beast/Henry "Hank" McCoy, Cyclops/Scott Summers, Havok/Alex Summers, Iceman/Bobby Drake, Marvel Girl/Jean Grey, Polaris/Lorna Dane)
Known Relatives: Brad Carter (father, presumably
deceased), unidentified mother (presumably deceased)
Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
formerly Promise Headquarters, New York City, New York, USA;
formerly the Carter family home, New York, USA
First Appearance: Amazing Adult Fantasy I#14 (July, 1962)
Powers/Abilities: Tad Carter was a potent psionic,
gifted with considerable telepathic and telekinetic talents. He could
communicate telepathically over long distances, read minds, lift several
people at once and even fly using his telekinesis.
History: (Amazing Adult Fantasy I#14) - Tad Carter was born to
atomic scientist Brad Carter. Because of his father's exposure to
radioactive materials, Tad developed mutant abilities. The advent of his
psi-talent surprised Tad one day when he sat in Professor Filbert's
class and realized all the answers to his questions simply entered his
mind. At first, Tad kept his powers to himself but he soon found a need
to show off. He read his classmates' minds to prove to them he did indeed
possess superhuman abilities. The boys didn't take kindly to Tad looking
around in their heads and were ready to hit him. Tad instinctively used
his telekinesis to lift up his would-be attacker. This caused an even
bigger mob to form around Tad. Before any harm could befall him, he was
mentally contacted by Tobias Messenger, a powerful telepath who had
sensed Carter's growing mental abilities. Messenger helped Tad escape
the angry mob by taking control of his telekinesis and using it to fly
away. As Messenger guided the awestruck Tad towards the Promise's
headquarters, he assured the boy he was part of the future of mankind.
(X-Men: The Hidden Years I#19 (fb) - BTS) - Tad agreed to become a member of the Promise. After he joined, four additional ten year cycles went by.
(X-Men: The Hidden Years I#15 - BTS) - Waking up in the modern era after their latest decade-long snooze, the Promise learned of the existence of the X-Men, Professor Xavier, Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Though he saw a lot of potential recruits, Messenger feared that the X-Men and Brotherhood members might already be too indoctrinated by Xavier and Magneto. He figured that recent X-Men recruits Havok and Polaris were the best bets for membership and sent Tad out to make contact with Lorna.
(X-Men: The Hidden Years I#15) - Tad located Lorna when
she was out shopping in Salem Center, hiding her green hair under a wig.
He "accidentally" bumped into her and struck up a conversation,
admitting he had been asking around about her. Thanks to some subtle
mental coercion from Tad and the other Promise members who were hiding
in a nearby corner, Lorna was pleasantly surprised and charmed by this,
rather than alarmed. Tad and Lorna spent the rest of the afternoon
talking before he said good bye, having completed phase one of the
(X-Men: The Hidden Years I#17) - A day after he made initial contact with Lorna, Tad complained to Messenger and the other Promise members that they should really make their next move. Messenger told him to be patient, as the plans they had for Polaris required very specific timing. Messenger later broke up an argument between Tad and Simon when the latter suggested Carter had fallen for their prospective recruit. Messenger made it very clear that any such feelings should in no way affect their plans. Using a telepathic summons, Messenger forced Polaris to slip into a hypnotic coma and fly off to the Promise headquarters.
(X-Men: The Hidden Years I#18) - Lorna later regained control of her faculties in the underground headquarters of the Promise, where she was met by Tad, who continued to be charming and inviting. Initially shocked to "hear" Messenger's uncomfortably loud voice, she soon listened to the group's history and pitch about surviving the imminent armageddon and helping rebuild the world for mutants. Lorna was then shocked to learn Tad was about 40 years older than he looked. Leaving Lorna alone for a while to mull over her decision, Tad used his powers in concert with the other Promise members to hold the captive X-Men, who had been defeated by Promise members Gracie and Craig Farnsworth after being called in by the Angel when he spotted the catatonic Polaris floating towards New York, while they were reviewed for their potential usefulness. After some discussion and a friendly suggestion by Promise member Lucy Robinson, they agreed to add both Havok and Angel to their ranks. They then started preparations to return to suspended animation. The Promise planned to awaken "at the dawn of a new century."
(X-Men: The Hidden Years I#21/X-Men: The Hidden Years I#22 - BTS) -
Angel, his status pod having been rigged by the secretly vengeful
Promise member Lucy Robinson, was prematurely released from his
hibernation cycle and eventually regained control of his own mind,
dragging the also-freed Lucy back to the Promise's headquarters to free
his teammates. With some long distance telepathic assistance from
Professor Xavier, Angel found a way to release Havok and Polaris. In
the end, they decided to wake up the remaining Promise members as well.
They were stunned to find Tobias Messenger had died, unaware hehad been killed by the vengeful Lucy, who'd suggested he was better off dead.
Without a leader and realizing Messenger's method of simply waiting for
others to fix their problems would never work, Tad and the others decided
to disband the Promise. Xavier offered to help Tad in any way he could,
even inviting him to stay with the X-Men while he found his way in the
world. Carter politely refused, preferring instead to spend some time on
his own (see comments).
Comments: Created by Stan Lee (writer) and Steve Ditko (pencils & inks).
Tad Carter has the dubious honor of being the first ever
mutant created by Stan Lee. His origin story in July 1962's Amazing
Adult Fantasy I#14 is considered by many to be a "demo" for X-Men, which would debut in
September, 1963, which makes sense. After all, a story about a young
mutant hated for being different who is guided to a safe haven by an
older, telepathic teacher who dreams of a world where mutants can live
in peace does sound rather familiar, doesn't it?
When John Byrne brought Tad back, he established that Tad had been a Promise member for forty years, placing the events seen in his origin story well before the modern era. In doing so, Byrne cleverly avoided mentioning any topical historic events that could complicate Carter's timeline. However, Tad's fellow Promise member Lucy Robinson messed up this otherwise elegant construction by joining ten years after Tad and having a son that died during the Vietnam War.
Tad's final fate remains unrevealed and it's unclear if he retained his powers following M-Day. He's managed to keep an exceedingly low profile, even escaping the attention of Tony Stark and the Initiative... and they even eyed the likes of the Phone Ranger!
Due to a gaff during coloring, Tad sports black hair in X-Men: The Hidden Years I#22.
Profile by Norvo.
Tad Carter should not be confused with
images: (without ads)
Amazing Adult Fantasy I#14, p1, pan1 (main image)
Amazing Adult Fantasy I#14, p2, pans3&4 (as infant)
X-Men The Hidden Years I#18, p4, pan4 (closeup)
X-Men The Hidden Years I#22, p17, pan2 (decides to go his own way)
Amazing Adult Fantasy#14 (July, 1962) - Stan Lee (writer, editor), Steve Ditko (pencils & inks)
X-Men: The Hidden Years I#15 (February, 2001) - John Byrne (writer, pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Jason Leibig (editor)
X-Men: The Hidden Years I#17 (April, 2001) - John Byrne (writer, pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Jason Leibig (editor)
X-Men: The Hidden Years I#18 (May, 2001) - John Byrne (writer, pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Jason Leibig (editor)
X-Men: The Hidden Years I#19 (June, 2001) - John Byrne (writer, pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Jason Leibig (editor)
X-Men: The Hidden Years I#21 (August, 2001) - John Byrne (writer, pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Jason Leibig (editor)
X-Men: The Hidden Years I#22 (September, 2001) - John Byrne (writer, pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Jason Leibig (editor)
First Posted: 07/24/2015
Last updated: 02/15/2022
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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