Review: Taskmaster #1

Published on September 3rd, 2010

I was first introduced to Taskmaster through the Deadpool series and since then I’ve thought he was a pretty interesting character. He doesn’t really have any superpowers, he has a photographic memory that gives him the ability to copy any person’s fighting style just by watching them. What I like about Taskmaster is that instead of going out and defining himself as a super-villain he’s just out to make money with his God-given talents. He does that by training henchmen for all the guys that are wasting their time trying to take over the world. He’s worked for the good guys too, he trained USAgent and more recently spent some time training heroes for the Avengers Initiative. Unfortunately once Norman Osborne took over, Taskmaster went against his own advice and reached for the stars and sided with Norman 100%.

taskmaster1This picks up almost immediately where Siege left off with Taskmaster, at this point he’s had to go into hiding after Norman went insane (again) and went to prison. So now he’s sitting in some diner in the middle of nowhere at 2 o’clock in the morning and he’s trying to spark some memory by listening to the same song for three hours straight and eating the same chicken dinner that he had in that diner some time ago in an attempt to bring up that memory he has lost. A waitress comes up and starts asking him why he’s spending so much time in the diner, they talk for a while and then Taskmaster asks her for the recipe of the chicken dinner so he can make it at home. Then all Hell breaks loose when every super-villain outfit that has ever appeared in the Marvel universe, along with a few new ones, turn the diner into an all-out war zone. It’s pretty funny because it’s one of the worst cases of over-kill I have ever seen in a comic book, and at one point everyone just stops and nobody can find him.

Then Taskmaster appears for the first time in his costume and decides to give everyone a pass/fail exam and the only way to pass is to live. He starts fighting his way through everyone, while also making an escape route for the waitress inside. The next few pages are really cool, it shows Taskmaster just beating the snot out of everyone and there’s a series of panels where you see Taskmaster performing a fighting move but over him they show the character that he got that particular move from. We also learn that Taskmaster has filled up his brain with so many fighting techniques that they have replaced his actual memories. After the fight he considers leaving one person alive as a message and then decides that himself being alive is enough, he walks away from the diner pulling a pin from a grenade and leaving it, blowing the whole area to kingdom-come. He is also able to snag one of the Hydra agents’ communicators to figure out why everyone is after him.

The book cuts to the apartment of the waitress as she enters her home and finds a group of thugs calling themselves The Inquisition waiting to torture her for information. As they’re about to start ripping off her fingernails all three of them are shot through the head as Taskmaster comes in through the window. Apparently because she was seen fleeing the diner holding up a piece of paper (the chicken recipe) she has now been linked to Taskmaster’s one-billion dollar bounty that’s been put out on him by “The Org”  which is the head of the Top-Secret Villain Underground who believe that Taskmaster is working undercover for Steve Rogers and is now a traitor to all super-villains.

I’m really glad Marvel decided to do a Taskmaster mini-series, while Siege was going on I thought Taskmaster was one of the coolest characters to be featured. He didn’t care what horrible things Norman Osborne was doing, he wasn’t even on Norman’s side. He was just looking to be on the winning side, and this time he chose wrong. I also like how he’s not really a bad guy, he’s incredibly selfish and doesn’t have a problem killing anyone who tries to kill him, but he does everything with reason. He’s probably one of the most logical characters in the Marvel Universe, and I thought they showed his character pretty well in this book. When the big fight starts he kills about a dozen people just so the waitress can get out safely. The book in itself is really entertaining as well, the action sequences are pretty darn cool, and there’s a few funny jokes spread out through the story as well to make this a fun read. If you liked Taskmaster in Avengers Initiative you should pick up this comic.

Ken Zeider