All Things Taskmaster
“I got this…memory thing. I pick up anyone's moves just by seein' 'em. That's a lotta data. More'n my brain's got room for, I guess. So I…forget things. Things that ain't about combat, about survival. People, places…I can't remember what I did last week. By Monday, I probably won't remember this conversation. I wanted ta fight you 'cause…I thought if I remembered your moves, I might remember you.”
Greetings from the surf and turf of Del Mar, CA fellow CBSI members. There’s been strong rumors and chatter lately about The Taskmaster hitting the silver screen very soon in the upcoming Black Widow movie, or something else within the MCU. This is great news if it indeed comes to fruition as Tony Masters has a unique set of skills that would be great to see play out in a flick. I don’t believe there has been too much talk about this character within the CBSI files, so there is no time like the present to flush out key books, storylines, and covers to get everyone on the same page. Let’s get started, shall we?
Taskmaster was brought to life by David Michelinie and George Perez. An assassin by trade, Taskmaster isn't a villain with an incredible powerset. He is a hyper-intellectual with a photographic memory and an uncanny ability to predict the moves of those he engages in battle.
His first cameo appearance came in
His first full appearance was in the next issue
Alright before we dive into key issues and storylines, I felt it was important to understand his origin and where these skills came from in his life. Tony Masters discovered his unusual abilities in childhood when, after watching a cowboy television program, he found he could duplicate the rope tricks he had seen the actors perform. Growing to understand his ability, he saw a man perform a difficult backwards leap from a diving board; he duplicated the dive, but nearly drowned because he didn’t know how to swim. Afterwards, his mother called in psychiatrists who studied his ability, terming it “photographic reflexes.”
This backstory / origin was shown within the panels of Taskmaster Vol 1# 4 Please see below…
As an adult, Tony joined S.H.I.E.L.D. and became an agent. During a mission, Tony found an elderly scientist, shot in the chest and slowly dying Before the scientist died, he gave Tony a syringe containing an experimental Nazi version of the Super-Soldier Serum to enhance the abilities gained through his photographic reflexes. After Tony injected himself with the Nazi Super-Soldier Serum, he began to develop additional powers, set back by the fact that the memories he gained by watching others
overwrote his personal memories.
This occurred in Taskmaster Vol 2 # 3
Now to put this all in perspective, and see some of this in action, a key issue is
Okay, with a better idea of just who Taskmaster is and his abilities, let’s take a closer look at some
Key covers and storylines.
*Issues of real interest towards the character are provided a synopsis as well
Marvel Team Up # 103 After an old friend is killed, Scott Lang goes looking for his killer. Jameson sends Parker on a mission to find out why criminals are disappearing in one part of the city. The new Ant-Man and Spider-Man wind up in the same place and must face down the Taskmaster.
Amazing Spider-Man # 308 Mary Jane is missing! And the web-slinger finds more than he bargained for when his hunt for his wife leads him smack into the Taskmaster!
Amazing Spider-Man # 366 Peter Parker, meet your parents! Peter must confront his past when his parents arrive at Aunt May’s home after years of being believed dead. But will Richard and Mary Parker’s story check out? And why is Spider-Man tracking down Red Skull for answers?
Daredevil # 292 DD tries to find out who murdered a local martial arts master and all fingers point to the Taskmaster. When he tracks the villain down, he finds that Taskmaster and Tombstone have been competing in a twisted hit-man contest with each other.
Daredevil # 293 Daredevil tries to take on Taskmaster and Tombstone while simultaneously trying to keep the Punisher from killing the two villains.
Deadpool # 68 The Taskmaster stops by as Deadpool faces his most deadly adversary ever — his own head! Will Deadpool's own insanity lead to his undoing? Plus: The Taskmaster stops by for a visit, and a warning, about ‘Pool's newest archenemy, the Black Swan! But who could possibly scare the pants off of two of Marvel's most deadly assassins? [per solicitation]
Deadpool # 69 Deadpool faces off against his hated enemy, the Black Swan — but will he escape with his life? Can Deadpool keep his mind intact long enough to destroy the man responsible for his decaying brain — or will he only cause more pain to himself and his friends?
*Issues # 1- # 15 are all are great storyline Sandi discovers an amnesiac Alex Hayden and trains him, with the help of Outlaw and Taskmaster, to be a mercenary.
Cable and Deadpool # 36 DeadPool has decided to face the skeletons in his closet, dive deep into that dark void he calls a soul, and rattle things up a bit. First order of business: Taskmaster
Taskmaster # 1 – # 4 (2010)
Well, there you have it. A detailed look into Taskmaster including 1sts, origins, key storylines, and covers involving Tony Masters. In closing there are a few items of interest that involved his life. At one time he was married to Mercedes Merced. She was the Taskmasters S.H.I.E.L.D. handler, helping him thru his memory loss. In addition, she was his wife at one point and he shows no recollection of this whatsoever. It would be a cool dynamic if she were to play some kind of role in his screen debut.
Here is her 1st appearance and a few key panels from that issue.
Finally, a few of his notable students include the following:
Diamondback (Rachel Leighton)
One for the road…
This is one of the least known covers with Taskmaster that goes back to the Mid 90s at was a variant cover.
If you happen to have one of those buried in a long box and your name is not Topher, kudos to you as that is a book you don’t see everyday!
As always, I appreciate you reading each week. Please feel free to drop a comment or a suggestion for a future article.