Taskmaster is one of the most feared mercenaries in the Marvel Universe, but he’s terrified when he finds out he’s the target of one hero.
Warning: spoilers for Taskmaster #1 ahead!
Marvel’s Taskmaster is one of the greatest assassins in the Marvel Universe, but now fans have learned the one hero he truly fears. In the first issue of his solo title, writer Jed MacKay (Black Cat), artist Alessandro Vitti (Iceman) and colorist Guru-eFx (Thunderbolts) put the Taskmaster through his paces and reveal the one hero he truly fears: the Black Widow!
Taskmaster first appeared in Avengers #195 in 1980. Created by writer David Micheline (Iron Man) and artist George Perez (Wonder Woman), Taskmaster is one of the most feared assassins in the world. He is able to mimic the fighting style of any opponent, leading to his famous catchphrase: “Anything you can do, I can do better.” Taskmaster is able to accomplish this through a superior photographic memory. He also possesses a genius-level intellect and is an excellent tactician, as well as a master of many different weapons and combat styles. The villain of Marvel’s upcoming Black Widow movie, the Marvel Comics Taskmaster is a tragic figure whose super-human memory powers actually rob him of his personal memories, meaning that while he’s usually a villain, he’s also found himself on the side of the angels – sometimes without realizing it.
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In Taskmaster #1, Taskmaster is helping a client at a golf tournament – this time tutoring sport rather than combat. Taskmaster receives a phone call from someone later revealed to be Nick Fury, and they then come under fire from snipers. As the Taskmaster flees in a hail of gunfire, Fury finds him and informs him he has been framed for a murder, and when Fury reveals that the Black Widow has been sent to retrieve the Taskmaster, he becomes visibly distressed, and truly fears for his life. Fury takes Taskmaster to a secret hideout, and the two begin work to clear the Taskmaster’s name – hopefully before Black Widow finds him.
The Taskmaster fears no one except the Black Widow. A master assassin herself, she is his equal in every way. Pitting him against her shows the skill level of both characters, and having it be a race against time makes it even more compelling. Taskmaster knows Widow and what she is capable of, and it scares even him, with Fury confirming she is the superior of almost every other known Marvel assassin. Taskmaster has been popular among fans since his introduction, so seeing him step into the spotlight here is a treat, and MacKay, Vitti and Guru are ready to put the deadly mercenary through a gauntlet. No doubt Black Widow will eventually learn of Taskmaster’s innocence, but watching him trying to clear his name while staring down the barrel of a gun will make for an intense read, and it’s fascinating to see one of Marvel’s deadliest heroes as her enemies see her – as an almost guaranteed death sentence.
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