Review: Taskmaster # 4

Published on December 7th, 2010

Well Comic Impact friends it’s the first week of December, the Holidays are coming and that can always be stressful, but we always have comic books to ease the pain. Sadly this week was one of the smallest I’ve seen for comics in quite some time. Probably has something to do with it being a five week month, gotta spread the comics out. Don’t worry yourselves because it’s quality not quantity of books, and I read a pretty good book today, Taskmaster #4. It’s the last issue of this mini-series that I have thoroughly enjoyed, and I gotta say it started off quite strong and I think it finished with flying colors.

The book starts off with Commander Steve and The Secret Avengers flying off to capture Taskmaster and Mercedes. Remember the waitress from the first issue? Turns out she’s ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. and Taskmaster’s wife/handler that he can’t remember as a side effect of a serum he took that gave him the ability to learn any fighting technique he sees. She’s been working for Nick Fury and sending him info that Taskmaster gathers, now that Steve is aware of this he’s decided to shut the operation down and bring the two rogue agents in.

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So Taskmaster and Mercedes have made it to another safe house used to spark his memories, Mercedes tries to explain the “The Org” is a front for S.H.I.E.L.D. used to get him his missions and that he’s actually a good guy. Meanwhile Taskmaster’s belt has been transmitting to every henchman in the Marvel Universe who have come together in the new group, Minions’ International Liberation Front, AKA M.I.L.F. and the Redshirt Men! By the way, I love the name. So now M.I.L.F. are heading to the safe house and Taskmaster has to decide whether or not he can trust Mercedes, after realizing he’s got nobody else Taskmaster agrees and the action proceeds.

Using every fighting style at his disposal Taskmaster is able to make short work of these guys and fighting alongside Mercedes brings back his memories and he is able to remember who he is. Then the head of the Redshirts comes in with a Shi’ar fighting style that Taskmaster can’t counter. His only choice is to absorb the fighting style which would cause him to forget his life again or take the beating. Taskmaster goes in with every fighting style he knows at once, but to save Mercedes he has to use the Shi’ar fighting style to break his opponent’s neck. Mercedes tries to bring her husband back, but after the fight he can only stare at her with a blank expression and run away.

By the time Steve and his crew show up the Safe House has been cleared except for a voice recorder with a message from Mercedes. She goes on to say that she is going to keep up her operation to help her husband and continue to send information to Steve and he can do with it what he wants. We then leave the book with Taskmaster walking up to a pay phone and dialing the only number he knows which brings him back to Mercedes pretending to be the head of The Org.

I enjoyed the Hell out of this mini-series, I may even pick up the trade when it comes out. I don’t think it lined up 100% with previous Taskmaster stories, it did feel a little off. Once I got past that I found this book to be a lot of fun. I thought that Van Lente did a great job of mixing humor with action, and once I got to the end it was actually a very touching story. Combining all those elements can very tricky, but I think it was pulled off well. On a side note, the couple of scenes with Ant-Man were pretty funny and if they ever give Eric O’Grady another ongoing series Van Lente would be a good writer for it. I really liked Jefte Palo’s art in the series, it’s that gritty art style, but even when things get goofy it fits very well. Like I said before this was a small week for comics, and if you’re looking for something extra to read I would recommend picking up these four issues.

Ken Zeider
Ken@ComicImpact.com