||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (January 2016)|
|First appearance||The Avengers #195 (May 1980)|
|Created by||David Michelinie (writer)
George Pérez (artist)
|Alter ego||Anthony "Tony" Masters|
|Notable aliases||Contingency T|
|Abilities||Genius level intellect
Olympic level conditioning
Master hand-to-hand combatant and martial artist
Skilled swordsman and marksman
Physical movement prediction
Master of disguise
Taskmaster (Tony Masters) is a fictional supervillain, and sometimes an antihero, who appears in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in The Avengers vol. 1 #195 (May 1980), and was created by David Michelinie and George Pérez. Introduced as an enemy of the Avengers, Taskmaster went on to feature in numerous Marvel titles, most notably as an enemy/ally of Deadpool. He is often depicted as a mercenary hired as a training instructor by various criminal organizations. In Taskmaster vol. 2 #3 (2011), the character was revealed to be a sleeper agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. planted by Nick Fury to gather intelligence in the criminal underworld.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 The Org (Mercedes Merced)
- 4 Powers and abilities
- 5 Other versions
- 6 In other media
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The Taskmaster first appeared briefly in The Avengers #195 (May 1980), before making his full debut in Avengers #196 (June 1980). The character went onto appear as a supervillain and a villainous training instructor in Marvel Team-Up #103 (1981), Avengers vol. 1 #223 (1982), Marvel Team-Up #146 (1984), The Thing #26 (1985), Iron Man vol. 1 #254 (1990), Captain America vol. 1 #334, (1987), #394 (1991), #396 (1992), #403 (1992), Captain America Annual #11 (1992), The Amazing Spider-Man #366–367 (1992), Daredevil #292–293 (1991) and #317–318 (1993), Sensational She-Hulk vol. 1 #59 (1994), Elektra #5, #7 (1997), Hawkeye: Earth’s Mightiest Marksman #1 (1998), Avengers vol. 3 #26 (2000), #38 (2001), Captain America vol. 3 #44 (2001), Moon Knight vol. 3 #3–6 (2006), Spider-Woman: Origin #2–3 (2006), Civil War #3, #5–7 (2006–2007), Marvel Comics Presents vol. 2 #1–2 (2007), Siege: The Cabal #1 (2010), Siege #2–3 (2010), Captain America & Crossbones #1 (2011), Avengers Academy #9 (2011) and Daken: Dark Wolverine #12 (2011).
The Taskmaster has appeared as an enemy and a reluctant ally of Deadpool in Deadpool vol. 1 #2 (1997), #35 (1999), #39–40, #45 (2000), #67–69 (2002), Cable & Deadpool #36 (2007), Deadpool vol. 2 #9 (2009) Thunderbolts #131 (2009) and Deadpool vol. 2 #36 (2011).
The Taskmaster appeared in his own limited series Taskmaster vol. 1 #1–4 (2002) which was followed by a supporting role in Agent X #1–15 (2002–2003). The character went on to feature prominently in Avengers: The Initiative as a supporting character in #8–19 (2008–2009) and Avengers: The Initiative Annual #1 (2008) then later as a central character in #20–35 (2009–2010) during the Dark Reign and Siege storylines. Age of Heroes #3 (2010) provided the prologue for the Taskmaster's second limited series Taskmaster vol. 2 #1–4 (2010–2011). In 2011 Taskmaster got his first solo graphic novel collecting a four-issue story—Taskmaster: Unthinkable.
Fictional character biography
Taskmaster is a mysterious figure believed to have been born in Brooklyn, New York City. He has the ability to mimic the physical movements of anyone he witnesses; writers differ on whether this counts as a "super power". He claims that he has had this ability since childhood. He works as a combat instructor and trains others to become lackeys for other villains by utilizing the techniques he has learned from his observation of superheroes and participates in mercenary jobs from time to time. Initially portrayed as a villain, he has also been shown training U.S. Agent and other neophyte superheroes at the behest of the US government. A mercenary, he has no ideology except that of his employer. Due to his ability to imitate the techniques and armory of other heroes and villains, Taskmaster has occasionally been used to impersonate other characters.
Tony Masters first demonstrated unusual abilities during childhood. After watching a cowboy show on television, he found himself able to duplicate the sophisticated rope tricks he had just watched the cowboy perform. Psychiatrists, called in at the mother's request, determined that the boy had a form of photographic memory which they called "photographic reflexes". He employed his power several times during his youth for personal gain, most notably when he became a star quarterback of his high school football team after watching one pro football game. Upon graduation, he briefly considered a career as a crime fighter, but opted instead to be a professional criminal, which he perceived to be far more lucrative.
He then began a program of observing the fighting techniques of a large number of costumed heroes and villains (using archival television news broadcasts). He initially used his fighting skills to execute several successful grand larcenies, but he had not properly anticipated the dangers involved. He decided to use his stolen capital to establish a center for training aspiring criminals to turn into polished professionals. His goal was to become a supplier for criminal organizations around the world.
Designing a costume, he took the name "Taskmaster" and began to train a large number of thugs at criminal academies he had located around the United States. However, his existence was eventually revealed when the head of one of these academies, using the Solomon Institute for the Criminally Insane as a front, used the school's resources to create a clone of himself when requiring an organ donation due to possessing an extremely rare blood type; learning of his fate, the clone managed to contact the Avengers. Taskmaster captured Yellowjacket, the Wasp and Ant-Man when they invaded the premises; but the Avengers followed, exposing his front operation. While holding his own against Captain America and Iron Man, Taskmaster was subsequently forced to flee after a confrontation with Jocasta, since his lack of experience with her abilities made it impossible to predict the robot's next move. Taskmaster later established a new training academy in Manhattan, where he battled Spider-Man and Ant-Man, and then escaped. He later used a traveling carnival as a mobile base, where he battled Hawkeye and Ant-Man, and then escaped again. He next trained henchmen for the Black Abbott. Alongside Black Abbott, he battled Spider-Man and Nomad, and escaped yet again.
Deciding to further explore the use of a circus as a front for his academy, Taskmaster took over yet another small outfit, and used it for many months to great success. However, while it was playing a small town in Ohio, the Thing and Vance Astrovik (who would later take the name Justice) assisted a government agent in foiling Taskmaster's activities. While escaping, Taskmaster was captured by a group of U.S. Secret Service agents and taken into custody. There is reason to believe that the Red Skull was behind the Taskmaster's capture, since a group of normal men were able to capture him.
Through Douglas Rockwell, the head of the President's Commission on Superhuman Activities, "Mr. Smith" arranged for Taskmaster to train John Walker in order to make appear to be the real Captain America. In order to conceal Red Skull's involvement, Rockwell had the Commission work out a deal to have years taken off Taskmaster's sentence in return for training Walker. After Taskmaster successfully trained Walker, Red Skull arranged for him to escape from the Commission's detention center so he could continue training lackeys and Red Skull himself.[volume & issue needed]
Having escaped the authorities, he set up a base in a derelict graveyard in Brooklyn, where he battled Spider-Man and then escaped. Taskmaster then competed in a contest against Tombstone, where he battled Daredevil and the Punisher.
Taskmaster's more skilled, successful, and notable students include such characters as Crossbones and Cutthroat (both the Red Skull's henchmen), U.S. Agent, Hauptmann Deutschland, Diamondback (Captain America's one-time girlfriend), Spymaster, Spider-Woman, and Agent X. On the other hand, Taskmaster also trains many of his students to serve as low-rent henchmen and cannon fodder. In his early appearances, Taskmaster mentions putting intellect-reducing drugs in the diet of his students. He also routinely sent groups of his more disappointing students to serve as "sparring partners" for Red Skull routinely engaging several of them at a time, killing them all (Hauptmann Deutschland infiltrated the academy and used one such session as an opportunity to kidnap Red Skull). He has also employed other supervillains, such as when he hired Anaconda as his academy's calisthenics instructor.[volume & issue needed]
On another occasion, Taskmaster was hired by the Triune Understanding—a religious group secretly masterminding a smear campaign to paint the Avengers as being religiously and racially intolerant—to stage an attack on a Triune facility. Posing as Captain America, he contacted Warbird, Ant-Man, Silverclaw and Captain Marvel, claiming that he needed their help to destroy a Triune building containing a mind-control machine. Although they saw through his deception and subsequently defeated him—thanks to Captain Marvel transforming into Rick Jones mere milliseconds away from Taskmaster, thus causing a complete change of attack before Taskmaster could react—the building was destroyed in the ensuing battle and Taskmaster escaped, leaving the heroes lacking any evidence of their story.
Taskmaster continued to train numerous villains and thugs until the Avengers began to search out and shut down some of his academies across the United States. Taskmaster began to spend more time working as a mercenary in order to make up for the loss of profit. This led him to join Agency X at the behest of his love interest Sandi Brandenberg, in missions from time to time, while continuing to teach at his academies around the world. More recently, Taskmaster is once again seen as a hired mercenary, contracted by the Committee to kill Moon Knight (Marc Spector). Taskmaster was misled with information that Moon Knight was broken, desiring death and friendless. During the conflict these factors all proved to be false as Marc's ex-girlfriend and butler came to Spector's defense and found the will to fight back. Despite his superior fighting abilities, Taskmaster was defeated. Moon Knight then carved off part of Taskmaster's facemask, though left him alive.
Taskmaster also worked at training henchmen to copy fighting styles of specific heroes. Taskmaster unleashed Deathshield (trained to fight like Captain America), Jagged Bow (trained to fight like Hawkeye), and Blood Spider (trained to fight like Spider-Man) to face off against Spider-Man and Solo. The three were defeated, while Taskmaster escaped yet again.
When the Civil War broke out, Taskmaster was hired by the government and enrolled into a team of Thunderbolts and given temporary amnesty to take down the Secret Avengers. He later battles the Secret Avengers in New York. He attempts to kill Susan "Sue" Storm, only for Reed Richards to take the bullet. Enraged, Sue crushes him with an invisible telekinetic field, rendering him unconscious. He was sent to the Negative Zone Prison with the other "Major-League" members of the Thunderbolts army such as Lady Deathstrike,[volume & issue needed] but was apparently freed by Deadpool. In order to regain his own reputation as a mercenary, Deadpool frees Taskmaster from his imprisonment in order to have a showdown with him while potential merc contractors watched from their captive position in a nearby prison. Taskmaster is again referred to as "Tasky" by Deadpool, and a fight ensues between him and a manacled Deadpool. He mentions his professional ethics, but this simply comes down to deciding to simply maim his opponent rather than kill him. In the end, he is defeated by Deadpool who, in spite of the victory, fails to impress his captive audience. After being thanked for letting him win, Taskmaster tells Deadpool that he had not let him win, "The truth is... You're that good. You've always been that good. Which won't get you a cup of coffee until you figure out how to be a professional..."
Taskmaster was given a full presidential pardon for his efforts in testing the security of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, in which he was able to break in and place Deputy Director Maria Hill in his sights. Though he was allowed to leave, a threatening message left in Hill's private bathroom revealed that if he ever desired, infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. would be no difficult feat.[volume & issue needed]
Taskmaster replaces Gauntlet as Camp Hammond's drill instructor and is tasked with training registered superheroes for the Fifty States Initiative. Taskmaster would also be involved in the MVP cloning process inputting (via technology) the original MVP's move set and, for the Scarlet Spiders, the move set of Spider-Man.
Taskmaster is hired by Deadpool to help his old enemy and occasional friend defeat the Thunderbolts. Being disguised as Deadpool, he gets captured and is about to be beheaded when the real Deadpool saves him. Deadpool finally pays him, but he expresses annoyance at being paid from an ATM due to his major villain status.
During the Dark Reign storyline, Taskmaster is chosen to lead the Shadow Initiative after the Skrull invasion, with their first mission to take down Hardball's HYDRA cell in Madripoor. Along with Constrictor, Bengal, Typhoid Mary and Komodo, Taskmaster stealthily leads the group into the country, but they are soon discovered by HYDRA.
Norman Osborn appoints Taskmaster to train criminals for the new Initiative, to behave like heroes. His first task is to retrain Penance. Also, when Blastaar takes control of the Negative Zone prison 42, Taskmaster is ordered to lead a squad to take it back. Later, he gives Night Thrasher a severe bullet wound to the head, allowing Osborn to take Night Thrasher prisoner.
When Emma Frost and Namor have resigned from the Cabal, Taskmaster is offered membership. Taskmaster was present at a Cabal meeting when Osborn assembles them to discuss about Asgard. He is severely wounded at the meeting as a result of an attack by Doctor Doom. While recovering in a hospital, Taskmaster declined to join the Cabal. Osborn cut the oxygen tank next to Taskmaster's bed, reminding him that it was Osborn who plucked him from obscurity.
Taskmaster then agrees to join in the siege of Asgard. During the battle, he fights with both versions of Captain America (Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes). After Asgard falls, Taskmaster finds Constrictor and the two beat a hasty retreat, but not before Taskmaster taunts the Iron Patriot about how Taskmaster helped Deadpool. After Iron Patriot's defeat by Captain America and Iron Man, Taskmaster and Constrictor went back to mercenary work.
A false rumor is spread that Taskmaster is leaking information about the criminal underworld to Steve Rogers and his new 'heroic' regime. A bounty of $1,000,000,000 is placed on Taskmaster's head by the mysterious Org. The hordes of AIM, HYDRA, the Secret Empire, ULTIMATUM, the Cyber Ninjas, the Black Choppers, the Trenchcoat Mafia, the Legions of the Living Lightning, the Militiamen, the Sons of the Serpent, and the Inquisition take up the chase to claim the money. Taskmaster, ambushed in a small diner, manages to best his opponents. But the diner's waitress, Mercedes Merced, gets entangled in the saga and is included in the bounty. Taskmaster reveals to Mercedes that his powers cause him to lose his explicit memory, meaning that he cannot remember anything about his personal life, and the only way for the whole ordeal to be over is to re-discover Taskmaster's origins. Taskmaster and Mercedes' quest takes them to Mexico to battle the Don of the Dead, and then to Bolivia to the village where everyone is Hitler. Inside an exact replica of Himmler's Wewelsburg Castle, Taskmaster regains his memories. He remembers being S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Tony Masters that had been sent to Bolivia to terminate Horst Gorscht, the Nazi scientist responsible for a corrupted version of the super-soldier serum. Gorscht had developed a new serum that could unlock the mind's potential to absorb knowledge instantaneously. With Gorscht's serum and test notes destroyed, Masters injected the last of the serum into himself. Having regained these memories, Taskmaster recognizes Mercedes' voice as being the same as 'The Hub', a mysterious voice who works for the Org. Taskmaster shoots Mercedes in the shoulder and threatens to kill her if she doesn't start talking. Mercedes reveals that the Org is a S.H.I.E.L.D. front, and that she is not only an agent, but also Taskmaster's wife. Miles above the Wewelsburg castle in an airship, the Minions' International Liberation Front (a secret group composed of henchmen from all of the major terrorist organizations), led by Redshirt the Uber-Henchman, reveal their deception and plot to rule the criminal underground by using Taskmaster to lead them straight to the Org. Redshirt leads the Minions' International Liberation Front (or the acronym MILF for short) into battle against the Taskmaster and Mercedes. Mercedes convinces the Taskmaster to trust her and work together to fend off the forces of MILF. During the battle, Taskmaster regains his memories of Mercedes and how he fell in love with her. Before they can reconcile, Taskmaster is attacked from behind by Redshirt who has genetically altered his body and mastered superior fighting skills to those of Taskmaster. Redshirt gains the upper hand as the pair push each other to the limits. Mercedes tries to intervene to protect her husband, but is quickly and effortlessly cast to one side. Enraged, Taskmaster attacks Redshirt and delivers a killing blow using Redshirt's own fighting style (which causes Taskmaster to lose his memories once more). Taskmaster, not recognizing Mercedes or his reasons for being there, flees and leaves Mercedes alone once more.[volume & issue needed]
Avengers Academy student Finesse later seeks out Taskmaster, thinking that he may be her long-lost father. When she finds Taskmaster, Finesse ends up sparring with him. After much sparring, Taskmaster finally relents to tell Finesse that he very well might be her father, but that the powers to learn so much about others’ movements and techniques have caused him to forget important things in life. Knowing he likely won’t remember the conversation in a couple days, Taskmaster tells Finesse that he wanted to fight her so he might remember her.
In order for the Masters of Evil to obtain the Crown of Wolves for the Shadow Council, Max Fury hired Taskmaster to retrieve it only for Taskmaster to demand more money for the job and he hid in the Hole. The Secret Avengers went to the Hole in order to get the Crown of Wolves before Fury got his hands on it. This led to a fight between Taskmaster and Venom. However, Taskmaster escaped and returned the crown to Fury, only for Max to apparently kill Taskmaster when he asks for payment. When the crown's effects don't function for Max, Taskmaster takes the crown for himself, which saves his life by making him the Avatar for the Abyss. As the Abyss spreads, the Secret Avengers members Venom and Ant-Man are able to remove the crown and stop the spread, while Taskmaster and the Masters of Evil are left behind when the Avengers leave with Max in their custody.
The criminals of Bagalia imprison Taskmaster and are preparing to offer him up to the highest bidder. S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Secret Avengers come to rescue him and offer him a position. As their inside man, Taskmaster is part of the new High Council of A.I.M. as the Minister of Defense. Mockingbird later goes to A.I.M. Island to assist Taskmaster in helping make contact between the rogue A.I. drones and James Rhodes. After the mission goes south and Mockingbird is left stranded on AIM Island,[volume & issue needed] Taskmaster works undercover to free her.[volume & issue needed] But when he gets the chance to get her off the island, she doesn't respond to anything he says until both are captured. While being interrogated, Taskmaster is shot and seemingly killed by Mockingbird apparently under the control of Scientist Supreme Andrew Forson. However, Mentallo discovered that Mockingbird purposely missed any vitals and Taskmaster survived.
The Org (Mercedes Merced)
The Org is the secret criminal underground that links all criminal and terrorist organizations. In reality, Mercedes Merced is the Taskmaster’s S.H.I.E.L.D. handler, posing as the Org and the Hub (the voice of the Org), to guide him through his memory loss and gather intelligence on the criminal underworld. Mercedes is also the Taskmaster's wife, having been happily married while they were both agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. As a result of the Taskmaster's powers, his explicit memories of Mercedes were lost, and had no recollection of being married.
When S.H.I.E.L.D. was shut down by Norman Osborn, Mercedes went rogue and continued her role as her husband's handler. However, when a billion-dollar bounty was placed on the Taskmaster's head by someone claiming to be the Org, Mercedes was forced to break her cover and battle alongside her husband against Redshirt and the Minions' International Liberation Front. Once their enemies were beaten, and the Taskmaster once again forgot who she was, Mercedes mournfully returned to her previous role.
Powers and abilities
Taskmaster injected himself with SS-Hauptsturmführer Horst Gorscht’s primer, an elaborate modification of the adrenal steroid cortisol designed to unlock the mind’s procedural memory potential. The Taskmaster thus gained the ability to absorb knowledge instantaneously. This ability is linked to his muscle memory, allowing the Taskmaster to instantly replicate the physical movement of peak-level humans. Using these "photographic reflexes", the Taskmaster is highly skilled in various forms of combat, as an exceptional martial artist (mimicking Elektra, Iron Fist, Shang-Chi), a skilled swordsman (Black Knight, Silver Samurai, Swordsman), a deadly accurate marksman (Captain America with a shield, Hawkeye with a bow and arrow, Punisher with firearms, and Bullseye with various projectiles) as well as displaying a strenuously honed athletic ability (Black Panther, Daredevil). Once the Taskmaster has mastered an opponent's physical movements, he can then predict his opponent's next attack. The only person shown capable of negating Taskmaster's abilities is Deadpool, whose manic personality makes him nearly impossible to predict. A side effect of the primer is severe declarative memory loss. The more implicit memories (i.e. knowledge and abilities) he learns, the more explicit memories (i.e. personal experience) he loses. Because of his explicit memory loss, the Org (Mercedes Merced) has acted as Taskmaster's surrogate memory, his banker, and his handler for his entire criminal career.
By viewing a video in fast-forward, the Taskmaster can learn to replicate human movement at near-superhuman speed. However, this puts his body under intense strain and can only be used for short periods of time. He also has the ability to manipulate his vocal cords to mimic the voices of others. The Taskmaster was once shown to have aquaphobia (the fear of water), but later overcame his fears.
As he is able to replicate numerous fighting techniques, the Taskmaster carries an extensive arsenal of weapons on his person, most commonly using a sword and a replica of Captain America's shield. He also carries a bow and a quiver of arrows, a billy club, a lasso, nunchaku, throwing darts, and various firearms. The Taskmaster once used a stolen S.H.I.E.L.D. device that was able to create various forms of weaponry (such as arrows and shields) using solid energy.
Alternative versions of the Taskmaster have appeared in various Marvel titles in minor roles.
In a What If? storyline What if... Steve Rogers had refused to give up being Captain America? vol. 2 #3 (1989), the Taskmaster trained the Super-Patriot and the Buckies to replace Captain America.
Covenant of the Shield
An alternate version of the Taskmaster appears in Avataars: Covenant of the Shield #1 (2000) where the Marvel Universe is re-imagined in a fantasy setting. In this reality, the Taskmaster is an assassin known as the Deathmaster.
Marvel Universe Millennial Visions 2001
In the Marvel Universe Millennial Visions 2001 (2002) storyline Thunderbolts: Give a Guy a Break, Hawkeye takes it upon himself to force supervillains to seek redemption. The Taskmaster is among the supervillains hypnotized by the Ringmaster and forced to become a member of the Thunderbolts.
In JLA/Avengers #4 (2004), part of the Marvel/DC co-published crossover series, the Taskmaster is among the supervillains to confront Batman, Black Panther, Black Widow and Huntress in the final battle with Krona.
A primate version of the Taskmaster appears in the Marvel Apes titles Marvel Apes: Evolution Starts Here #1 (2009), Marvel: Apes: Speedball Special #1 (2009) and Marvel Apes: Grunt Line Special #1 (2009).
Marvel Universe Vs. The Punisher
House of M
In the House of M reality, the Taskmaster appeared as a member of the strike force known as the Brotherhood. Although not a mutant, he used his abilities to pass as one, since humans (even super-powered humans) were treated as second-class citizens. However, after he was beaten by Luke Cage for the murder of Tigra, he was found to be a human masquerading as a mutant.
Marvel vs. Capcom
Age of Ultron
In the Age of Ultron story the Taskmaster is depicted as working with the Black Panther and the Red Hulk in Chicago attempting to capture Ultron Sentinel technology. Successful in doing so, Red Hulk holds off the Ultron minions to allow Taskmaster and Black Panther to escape. When Taskmaster tries to run away with one of the Ultron Sentinels, Red Hulk tells him he doesn't trust him, and then kills him.
The Ultimate Marvel version of the Taskmaster is an African-American mercenary hired by Phillip R. Roxxon to capture Cloak & Dagger. During his mission, he confronts Spider-Man, Spider-Woman and Bombshell, and displays the ability to absorb and re-channel energy-based superpowers. Taskmaster is eventually defeated by the young amateur superheroes.
In other media
- Taskmaster makes his animated debut in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Clancy Brown. A former agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. that once knew Nick Fury, this version is depicted as a deadly criminal mercenary who has the ability to duplicate and predict anyone's moves just by looking at them. His first attire (in season one) resembles his original costume albeit from minor differences, and his second attire (for subsequent appearances) is a modified version of his secondary look.[clarification needed] In season one's "Why I Hate the Gym", he is hired by Doctor Octopus to find Spider-Man. When Taskmaster disguises himself as a substitute gym teacher to infiltrate Midtown High School, Peter Parker 'fails' the special gym course, however, Flash Thompson and Harry Osborn are among the mercenary's suspects. Taskmaster later confront Spider-Man and White Tiger. Initially victorious, Taskmaster ends up defeated when the web-slinger and White Tiger switch fighting techniques. His secret identity theory is also proven wrong when Thompson and Osborn are alongside Spider-Man before managing to escape. In season two's "Ultimate Deadpool", Taskmaster leads his own team of acolytes and has stolen encrypted S.H.I.E.L.D. information about secret identities of many superheroes. After his army of ninjas are defeated, Taskmaster tries to fight Deadpool but to no avail due to Deadpool's unpredictable nature. Spider-Man eventually discovers that Taskmaster actually stole the S.H.I.E.L.D. list from Deadpool. Taskmaster also appears in Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors during the "New Warriors" story arc. Equipped with his signature shield and a laser-sword, he strives to recruit fledgling young superheroes for his own sinister purposes, thus having regular conflict with Spider-Man. Taskmaster first enlists the Beetle to retrieve a sample of the mass-produced Venom symbiote, leading to a showdown with Spider-Man and Agent Venom. Although Beetle gets defeated by Spider-Man and Agent Venom, Taskmaster escapes and later hacks the S.H.I.E.L.D. information on different young heroes. However, Taskmaster successfully manipulates Cloak & Dagger into his own training program. When he next tries to steal the Iron Spider armor and recruit Amadeus Cho into his own cause, Taskmaster fights Spider-Man but loses the armor to Cho. Taskmaster eventually is defeated by Spider-Man and Cho. After obtaining some of Doctor Octopus's notes, Taskmaster manipulates the Vulture (Adrian Toomes) onto his side. Taskmaster then tries to recruit Ka-Zar while Kraven the Hunter wants to sacrifice Zabu for immortality but both are foiled by Spider-Man and Wolverine. After months of planning, Taskmaster leads his team to infiltrate the S.H.I.E.L.D. Tri-Carrier. After he has Cloak to 'thin the herd' of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Trainees, Taskmaster's team fights the New Warriors, manipulating Agent Venom and Iron Spider to free several supervillains led by the Green Goblin; Taskmaster is revealed to have been under the Goblin's employ for a break out. During another fight between Taskmaster's team and the New Warriors, Cloak & Dagger are left for dead by Taskmaster and the Goblin while Vulture remains. While the escaped supervillains fight the New Warriors and the Goblin retrieves the Siege Perilous, Taskmaster personally fights Spider-Man one-on-one but eventually defeated by the web-slinger. Taskmaster later makes a non-voiced cameo appearance in "Contest of Champions" [Pt. 1] as one of the Grandmaster's many collected villains for the contest against Spider-Man and the Collector.
- Taskmaster appears in Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher.
- Taskmaster appears in the 2014 animated movie Heroes United: Iron Man and Captain America, voiced again by Clancy Brown. He is hired by the Red Skull to fight Captain America and Iron Man.
- Taskmaster is featured as a playable character in the crossover fighting games Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, voiced by Steven Blum.
- Taskmaster is featured as a playable character in Marvel Heroes, with Steven Blum reprising his role.
- Taskmaster appears in the iOS game Avengers Initiative, as one of Captain America's enemies.
- Taskmaster appears as one of the villains in the Marvel: Avengers Alliance special operations 11. He has subsequently been released as an unlockable character.
- Taskmaster appears in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, voiced again by Steven Blum.
- Taskmaster is an unlockable character in Marvel Avengers Alliance Tactics (a spin-off of Marvel: Avengers Alliance).
- Taskmaster appears in Captain America: The Winter Soldier - The Official Game, voiced by Crispin Freeman.
- Taskmaster appears in the mobile game Marvel Avengers Academy, voiced by Adam Montoya.
- Taskmaster is a playable character in Lego Marvel's Avengers.
- Taskmaster is the 104th figurine in The Classic Marvel Figurine Collection.
- Taskmaster is the 124th figurine in the "Marvel Pop!" line made by Funko.
- A figure of Taskmaster was released in series 11 (Legendary Rider Series) of Toy Biz's 6" Marvel Legends line.
- A figure of Taskmaster was released as part of the exclusive 2007 series of the Marvel Minimates line.
- A figure of Taskmaster was released in wave 20 of the Marvel Super Hero Squad line, packed with Deadpool.
- A figure of Taskmaster was released in a two-pack of Marvel Universe figures, part of the series "Marvel's Greatest Battles". Taskmaster comes packaged with Deadpool and a reprinted copy of Cable & Deadpool #36.
- A figure of the Taskmaster was released in the 2014 Lego Marvel Super Heroes set 76018 Hulk Lab Smash.
- Hasbro released a figure of Taskmaster, based on his second design in Ultimate Spider-Man, in their Red Onslaught Build-A-Figure line, marketed under the banner "Mercenaries of Mayhem".
- Taskmaster vol. 2 #3
- DeFalco, Tom; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1980s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. Dorling Kindersley. p. 197. ISBN 978-0756641238.
Created by writer David Michelinie and artist George Pérez, Taskmaster could mimic any physical skill he had ever seen.
- Avengers #196
- Avengers #195
- Marvel Team-Up #103
- Avengers #223
- Marvel Team-Up #146
- The Thing #26
- Captain America #334
- The Amazing Spider-Man #308
- Daredevil #292–293
- Avengers vol. 3 #26
- Moon Knight #3 (2006)
- The Amazing Spider-Man #367
- Civil War #4
- Civil War #7
- Cable and Deadpool #36
- Cable & Deadpool #36
- Avengers: The Initiative Annual #1
- Deadpool vol. 3 #9
- Avengers: The Initiative #20
- Avengers: The Initiative #23
- Avengers: The Initiative #25
- Avengers: The Initiative #26
- Avengers: The Initiative #28
- Avengers: The Initiative #31
- Brian Michael Bendis (w), Michael Lark (p), Stefano Gaudiano (i), Siege: The Cabal #1 (December 3, 2009), New York, NY: Marvel Comics
- Richards, Dave (December 4, 2009). "STORMING HEAVEN: "Siege: The Cabal"". Comic Book Resources News. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
- Avengers: The Initiative #34
- Avengers: The Initiative #35
- Taskmaster vol. 2 #1
- Taskmaster vol. 2 #2
- Avengers Academy #9
- Alpha Flight vol. 4 #5
- Secret Avengers #30
- Secret Avengers #31
- Secret Avengers #32–33
- Secret Avengers Vol. 2 #2
- Secret Avengers vol. 2 #6
- Secret Avengers Vol. 2 #13
- Secret Avengers Vol. 2 #16
- Taskmaster vol. 2 #4
- Taskmaster vol. 2 #1–4 (2010–2011)
- Deadpool vol. 2 #2
- Taskmaster vol. 1 #1–4 (2002)
- Taskmaster vol. 1 #1 (2002)
- What If...? vol. 2 #3 (1989)
- Avataars: Covenant of the Shield #1 (2000)
- Marvel Universe Millennial Visions 2001 (2002)
- JLA/Avengers #4 (2004)
- Marvel Apes: Evolution Starts Here #1 (2009)
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