With Marvel's MCU Section four quickly approaching, it’s virtually shocking that it has taken this lengthy for the Taskmaster to indicate his skull-covered face. Taskmaster has been taking over numerous Marvel heroes since 1980 and has gone on to star in two miniseries whereas getting the occasional supporting character function. He’s on that border the place it was arduous to inform whether or not he’d present up within the films or get relegated to TV, exhibiting up as a villain on Brokers of SHIELD or one thing from the Defenders’ neck of the woods on Netflix. However now we all know he'll be the villain of the Black Widow film, and we obtained our first have a look at him within the trailer.
Taskmaster first appeared in Avengers #195, created by David Michelinie and George Perez, primarily as a cliffhanger villain to arrange his showcase within the subsequent challenge. A fifth-rate villain by the identify of Pernell Solomon had a quite inconsequential plot involving cloning himself that ended badly, principally as a result of it uncovered the Avengers to the existence of the Taskmaster and his secret villain faculty. You see, Taskmaster has a particular energy known as “photographic” reflexes. If he sees somebody carry out an motion – so long as it's a human motion – he can do the identical on command. He’s basically a best hits mixtape of each nice warrior within the Marvel Universe. That shot of him within the Black Widow trailer wielding a bow may inform us that he has encountered Hawkeye sooner or later, for instance.
However severely, he can’t do superhuman stuff. He as soon as tried to repeat the actions of residing cartoon character Slapstick and Bane’d himself.
At first he was going to change into a superhero, however he realized that being a villain is the place the cash’s at. Then he got here up with a fair higher and safer plan: preserve the mercenary a part of the job minimal and as a substitute generate income by educating goons struggle. When you’re becoming a member of Hydra or AIM and also you wish to know struggle, simply pay the man who is aware of precisely how Captain America throws his defend so nicely and may carry out Daredevil’s actual flips. He’d have the ability to make all that cash utilizing his abilities whereas refraining from taking over superheroes head-on.
In his first look, Taskmaster simply took down Scott Lang Ant-Man, Hank Pym, and Wasp. He was even in a position to tackle Captain America and Iron Man on the identical time. His downfall was when he obtained in a one-on-one with Jocasta, who had no human motion to play off of, plus she was straight-up out of his league when it comes to energy. The opposite Avengers caught up and Taskmaster barely escaped.
Within the years that adopted, he remained the famend villain coach whereas taking the occasional job if the cash was proper. Taskmaster was pushed by greed as he had no bother working for Crossbones or the US authorities in the event that they paid up. In the course of the memorable storyline the place Steve Rogers was stripped of his Captain America title, the federal government had Taskmaster prepare John Walker, the star-spangled alternative who would later go on to be US Agent.
Marvel was bizarre about Taskmaster’s identification. For the longest time, they by no means gave him an actual identify, however in addition they didn’t appear to thoughts exhibiting him unmasked sometimes. Like one time the Punisher almost killed him and Daredevil later visited him within the hospital. Apart from some bandages on his head, Taskmaster regarded like a totally common white dude, albeit with a historical past of cosmetic surgery. We might finally get some solutions on his backstory, however there can be some contradictions.
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Taskmaster appeared within the second challenge of Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness’ legendary Deadpool run the place Taskmaster kidnapped Deadpool’s sidekick/abused finest pal Weasel. The showdown was performed for laughs as Taskmaster, boasting about how he can learn anybody’s actions and may predict your assaults earlier than you even give it some thought, was utterly helpless in opposition to the unpredictable Deadpool. Initially, this was supposed to construct in the direction of Taskmaster as a significant nemesis for Deadpool throughout the Kelly run the place the plan was that he’d begin gaining the flexibility to inherit methods the identical means he inherits actions. That subplot was lower early on.
Regardless, Taskmaster remained a significant a part of Deadpool’s nook of the Marvel Universe and would seem in numerous runs. Whereas at instances Taskmaster can be focusing on Deadpool, different instances, he can be his long-suffering companion in crime. Certainly one of their extra memorable meet-ups had Taskmaster considered one of many employed weapons working for a mobster in opposition to Deadpool and Spider-Man. Taskmaster whispered to Deadpool that his coronary heart wasn’t actually in it and supplied to throw the struggle for outdated time’s sake.
It was by that Deadpool connection that we obtained the temporary “UDON Taskmaster” part within the early '00s. The artwork studio UDON was drawing the Gail Simone run of Deadpool whereas additionally caring for Ken Siu-Chong’s Taskmaster miniseries. The connecting tissue of this was primarily Sandi Brandenberg, a love curiosity to Taskmaster and secretary to Deadpool. But in addition, Taskmaster modified up his look, going from “albino Skeletor” to “street-wise Cranium Man.” He was extra gun-based than sword and defend.
The miniseries went deeper into his skills, exhibiting that he can keep in mind each second of his life with 100% readability. He also can amp up his powers by watching struggle footage in fast-forward, which makes him transfer at tremendous velocity at the price of his physique breaking down if he does it for too lengthy. There’s additionally a neat anecdote concerning the pitfalls of his powers, as when he was a child, he watched somebody carry out an ideal dive, copied it, after which virtually drowned as a result of he didn’t know swim.
Additionally, they lastly revealed that Taskmaster’s actual identify is Tony Masters. In fact it's.
The miniseries and the cancellation of Deadpool coned into a brand new collection known as Agent X, centered round a scarred-up amnesiac named Alex Hayden who had Deadpool’s powers and character and appeared months after Deadpool’s supposed loss of life. Taskmaster was a significant a part of the collection, taking time to be irritated by Hayden’s antics, pining for Sandi, and being an all-around badass.
learn extra: Agent X: The Unusual Historical past of the Different Deadpool
Whereas the UDON Taskmaster look confirmed up right here and there, he was again to his authentic look by the point he was going after Moon Knight. He ended up getting extra play thanks partly to Civil Struggle and its aftermath, going from a member of the federal government’s pro-registration pressure to coaching cadets in Avengers: The Initiative. It was there that he grew to become associates with considered one of his college students, Eric O’Grady, the Irredeemable Ant-Man.
As soon as Norman Osborn took over the superhero wing of the federal government, Taskmaster briefly joined Osborn’s inner-circle of high villains, in any other case often called the Cabal. Taskmaster finally hated being Osborn’s whipping boy and secretly labored in opposition to him, finally escaping and laughing when Osborn’s empire got here crumbling down.
In 2011, Fred Van Lente and Jefte Palo joined collectively to create one other Taskmaster miniseries, which was not solely implausible, nevertheless it added a number of twists and retcons to the character’s backstory. It confirmed that Taskmaster solutions to a better energy known as the Org that calls him and offers him orders. Additionally, Taskmaster has a psychological downside the place he can solely retain a lot information, so his mind tends to dump data that isn’t based mostly on bodily survival. In different phrases, he can struggle in numerous methods, however he can’t keep in mind who he's or actually something about his previous. Only a nagging feeling of unforgiveable guilt.
On this story, he protected a diner waitress named Mercedes from all kinds of assassins, solely to find that not solely is Mercedes his Org handler, however she’s additionally his spouse. Taskmaster is the truth is a SHIELD agent who took a particular sort of Tremendous Soldier Serum that gave him his powers, however forces him to continuously overlook the lady he loves. Therefore the limitless guilt.
There's additionally the factor that he is been unwittingly working for SHIELD all these years.
Whereas that tackle Taskmaster was finally forgotten about (how becoming), it did result in Avengers Academy member Finesse. Finesse is an Audrey Hepburn lookalike with powers precisely like Taskmaster’s who might or might not be his illegitimate daughter. When she tracked him down and fought him, it was heartbreaking to Taskmaster, as she solely fought with copied movesets and he’d by no means have the ability to keep in mind her for being her.
Since then, Taskmaster has proven up right here and there, often working alongside Black Ant, who's a robotic duplicate of the Eric O’Grady Ant-Man. He tends to pop up every time Marvel wants a throwaway villain they usually’re bored with calling within the Wrecking Crew.
Exterior of fundamental continuity, Taskmaster’s proven up in a handful of alternate universe tales. One factor I discover amusing is how there’s a What If challenge based mostly on the entire “John Walker as Captain America” storyline that has Taskmaster clarify his powers by claiming to be a mutant as a result of again then, no person at Marvel thought too arduous about how he obtained his abilities. Then there’s Home of M: Avengers, the place Taskmaster does the identical for the sake of becoming in with the high-status mutant group.
learn extra: Marvel Motion pictures Launch Schedule: Full MCU Timeline
Taskmaster solely confirmed up within the Final comics in the direction of the top of its run, however there wasn’t a lot to him. The one factor memorable was that they made him black.
The collection Deadpool MAX reimagined Taskmaster as a grizzled and attractive lady murderer who turned Wade Wilson right into a killing machine and groomed him within the sexual sense. It is most likely higher that they didn’t go together with this model of the character for the film.
Taskmaster has proven up on a number of cartoons and in some video video games. One of many extra memorable is the current Spider-Man for PlayStation four the place he acts as a bonus menace, serving an identical objective as Riddler within the Batman Arkham video games. In a glance that merged his basic look along with his UDON look, he stalked Spider-Man by town and got here off as extra of a knockoff of Deathstroke.
No marvel he and Deadpool preserve crossing paths.
Lastly, I can’t assist however point out Taskmaster’s look in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Not simply since you get to play as him and pull off candy strikes stolen from Hawkeye, Captain America, and Black Knight. Not only for his charming Brooklyn accent. As a substitute, it is for his rad-as-hell theme music.
Hopefully we'll hear this when he goes into motion in Black Widow. I’m pumped for something after listening to that music.
Gavin Jasper writes for solar and feels that if Taskmaster was extra life like, he’d be doing far more breakdancing. Learn Gavin’s different articles right here and comply with him on Twitter @Gavin4L