Identical quintuplets from a Chinese farming family, the brothers Tao-Yu were taken into government custody for study after their mutant nature manifested. The brothers were trained to control their power and became government agents as the Collective Man. The brothers were among the heroes of Earth gathered to partake in a “contest of champions” between the Grandmaster and Death itself. As an unwitting agent of Death, the Collective Man exhausted himself defeating Sasquatch, and they were returned to Earth after the encounter.
The brothers later learned that their mother was dying. Determined to visit her, they took a helicopter, forcing the government to send Ho Ti, the Chinese God of Happiness, to reclaim them. The brothers opposed Ho Ti, who relented after sensing the happiness that the brothers’ mother felt on seeing her sons for the first time in twenty years before she died.
The brothers subsequently returned to government service; however, their growing disdain over the government’s mistreatment of other mutants led them to join the Jade Dragon and Nuwa in forming 3-Peace. Allying themselves with Reignfire’s Mutant Liberation Front to free captive Chinese mutants, 3-Peace was ultimately betrayed by Reignfire to the government-sponsored China Force team, although they were able to escape.
The brothers were then unwittingly drawn into a plot by the fallen god Marduk, who boosted their power to enable them to permanently absorb their countrymen’s collective life force and transfer it into the Genesis Well, thus allowing Marduk to re-empower himself. Opposed by Citizen V and the V-Battalion, the brothers combined and grew to giant size, liquefying the V-Battalion's council member Goldfire with a simple turn of their head. The brothers were seemingly killed when Citizen V used his Adamantium-coated sword to burst their engorged form, after which the V-Battalion gathered their remains in order to reverse-engineer their powers, allowing them to put the entire population of Rumekistan into a slumber so as to oppose Marduk’s plan.
As a byproduct of their enhanced power, the brothers were eventually able to reform and returned to serving the Chinese government. When the X-Men traveled to China to investigate the mutant Shen Xorn, they were confronted by the brothers, who used their increased power to create a veritable army of Collective Men to oppose them.
After the events of House of M|M-Day, many mutants all over the world lost their powers, but the Collective Man brothers, however, were one of the few mutants who retained theirs. The Collective Man was last seen on the Xavier Compound with other mutants.