Anthony "Tony" Masters Taskmaster
Anthony “Tony” Masters realizes at a young age that he has photographic reflexes and grows up to become a career criminal, able to replicate Super Hero moves. He makes quite a bundle training and distributing hired help to the Super-Villain trade, and when he’s not a hired combat instructor, he’s a covert operative for government agencies.
The man who would become the Taskmaster is born a prodigious savant of mnemonic talents in the Bronx, a borough of New York City to an unidentified mother. He discovers his unusual abilities in childhood when, after watching a cowboy television program, he finds he can duplicate the actor’s rope tricks. Growing to understand his ability, he sees a man perform a difficult backwards leap from a diving board; he duplicates the dive, but nearly drowns because he does not know how to swim. Afterwards, his mother calls in psychiatrists who study his ability, terming it “photographic reflexes.” He revels in his abilities in his youth, even becoming his high school football team’s quarterback after watching one professional football game. After graduating high school he contemplates becoming a Super Hero, but decides crime would be more lucrative.
He studies television footage of various Super Heroes and their techniques to expand his combat repertoire. Initially committing several grand larcenies, he decides it smarter to avoid risking direct confrontation with law enforcers, and uses his stolen capital to establish himself as a combat trainer for aspiring professional criminals—specializing in producing henchmen for Super Villains and criminal organizations around the world; one unidentified early graduate of his criminal academy would become espionage legend Spymaster. Designing a costume, he takes the moniker “Taskmaster”.
Taskmaster then sets up the Solomon Institute for the Criminally Insane as a front for one of his training academies, but its administrator Dr. Parnell Solomon develops heart problems and has Taskmaster’s science staff grow him a clone, Selbe, to harvest for a replacement organ; though Selbe escapes and runs to the Avengers, who expose the operation with the aid of their ally Scott Lang, AKA Ant-Man. Taskmaster single-handedly holds his own against both Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, and Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man in combat; while tempted to test himself against all the Avengers, he realizes that he would not be able to run his business from jail and ends up fleeing after the unfamiliar abilities of obscure robotic Avengers associate, Jocasta, throws him off balance
Taskmaster’s “photographic reflexes” enable him to watch another person’s physical movements and duplicate them without practice, no matter how unique or complex these movements might be. He cannot duplicate feats that require superhuman strength or other superhuman attributes. By reviewing recordings of movements periodically, Taskmaster can retain duplicated moves indefinitely. When facing an opponent he has already studied, Taskmaster can virtually predict his enemy’s attacks, and he can see through disguises of anyone he has studied by recognizing their unique body language, making it virtually impossible to conceal any identity from him. He can also use his ability to mimic the voices of others and to learn new languages. For a time, Taskmaster could double his speed and reflexes to the point where he could grab bullets mid-flight, but he could only maintain his heightened state for minutes before risking permanent physical damage to his body. Taskmaster also briefly gained the power to duplicate others’ superhuman abilities by watching them use their powers. These latter two powers, gained during Albino’s experiments, have apparently worn off.
A naturally gifted athlete, Taskmaster has trained himself into superb physical condition. His physical skills include multiple martial arts (modern and historical styles), boxing, wrestling, swordsmanship, archery, marksmanship, juggling, gymnastics, aerial acrobatics and sleight of hand. He is also trained in meditation, including a technique that enables him to conserve breath. Taskmaster has duplicated the fighting abilities of countless martial artists through watching movies, as well as the combat styles of Super Heroes and Super Villains including Ant-Man, Dane Whitman, AKA Black Knight, Boomerang, Lester, AKA Bullseye, Captain America, Shen Kuei, AKA Cat, Constrictor, Daredevil, Deadpool, Elektra, Hawkeye, Danny Rand, AKA Iron Fist, Iron Man, Moon Knight, Oddball, Puma, Punisher, Silver Samurai, Spider-Man, Thor, Logan/James Howlett, AKA Wolverine, Zaran and many others. His abilities also enable him to cheat at gambling, excel at professional sports and duplicate cooking techniques.
Taskmaster has access to a massive arsenal of weaponry which his hired scientists customize according to his needs, generally modeled after those whose abilities he mimics, though usually not as high quality as the originals. He often carries a concave, disc-shaped shield, 2.5 feet in diameter and weighing twelve pounds composed of a metal alloy that he wields in Captain America’s style. The shield serves as both protection and a hurling weapon, its unique composition allowing it to move through the air with minimal wind resistance and rebound from solid objects with little loss of angular momentum; a billy club that he wields in Daredevil’s style; a pair of .45 colt automatic handguns modeled after the Punisher’s; wrist web shooters based on Spider-Man’s; a bow and several trick arrows based on Hawkeye’s gear; Pym Particles used in Ant-Man’s fashion; various European and Japanese swords modeled after Black Knight and Silver Samurai; and throwing darts, knives, sais, a lariat, grenade launchers, sniper rifles, crossbows, and a variety of explosives. His costume is composed of lightweight bulletproof Kevlar and has a utility belt for holding weaponry and devices, including a communications device. An image inducer concealed on his person enables him to project a hologram of himself in civilian clothes, as well as disguise his face and impersonate others. It is not known how long Taskmaster has been using the image inducer, or what his present facial features look like. He can also rig the inducer to project a hologram of himself as a decoy to confuse opponents. Taskmaster’s mercenary costume is composed of lightweight high- tenacity ballistic aramid fiber plates and mask and equipped with a Kevlar mesh lining. Taskmaster briefly used an energy generator housed in his glove that could transform into an energy shield equipped to absorb and redirect kinetic energy, emit energy webbing, form into claws based on Wolverine, and other weapons.
Taskmaster briefly employed a group of androids modeled after various Avengers, but all have been destroyed.
After he injects himself with a Nazi-made Super-Soldier Serum imitation, his brain instantaneously absorbs knowledge and retains it, but also impacts his long- and short-term memory negatively.
Since Taskmaster makes a name for himself as a career criminal that trains villains in the art of heroic moves, he bases all his teachings off of watching Super Heroes like Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, Matt Murdoch, AKA Daredevil and Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man, and the Avengers to name a few. While their movements are informative, Taskmaster still battles the vigilantes when he has to do so.
Criminal and Not-So-Criminal Colleagues
While Taskmaster goes in and out of training criminal operatives to become Super Villains, he joins with others typically as a hired blunt instrument. He joins the Frightful Four to go up against the heroic Fantastic Four but his membership is short-lived.
After recruiting criminals for Black Abbott, Taskmaster is arrested, but for a reduced sentence he is instructed to train others in the fighting style of Captain America—through the manipulative actions of Joann Shmidt, AKA Red Skull so that he could defeat the trainees in his own battle simulations. Red Skull also coordinated Taskmaster’s escape and resumed operations.
Taskmaster hires a mutagenics specialist, Augusta Seger, AKA Albino, to help him duplicate the Avengers’ members superpowers. He pits his recruits against the Avengers to study them and with the specialists help, he duplicates some of them but only briefly before the Super Heroes defeated him.
Taskmaster also assists Agency X after the Four Winds crime family clashes over the agency’s property. He teams up with Agent X, Inez Temple, AKA Outlaw, Wade Wilson, AKA Deadpool, Deadpool’s assistant Sandi Brandenberg, former love interest of Taskmaster, and the East Wind against Taskmaster’s former ally Black Swan who double-crosses them. Later, Taskmaster and Deadpool go up against one another with the latter defeating the former, but when money’s involved, Taskmaster will accept payment to help Deadpool.
When Taskmaster is arrested, the government assigns him to the Thunderbolts for a time. After receiving a full pardon from S.H.I.E.L.D., Taskmaster is recruited to the 50-State Initiative as a drill instructor where he teaches MVP clones Spider-Man’s moves. He is later recruited into the Shadow Initiative by Norman Osborn, AKA Green Goblin, where he is promoted to lead alongside Parker Robbins, AKA Hood.
While working with S.H.I.E.L.D., he injects himself with serum that enhances his knowledge absorption and retention but also causes memory loss so he doesn’t realize he works for the government agency and thinks himself a Super Villain; he also doesn’t remember that he marries, Mercedes Merced a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and his handler.
The Taskmaster’s Criminal Record
Along with skull-crushing Canadian mercenary Tyrell Farsa and telepathic mind-altering assassin Black Swan, Taskmaster was hired to kill a militant group trying to maintain control of an airstrip in the third world country Zaire. Upon completion of the mission, Farsa disrespected the cultured Black Swan by using his silk handkerchief; Taskmaster assisted Farsa when the Swan attacked, but Swan defeated them both.
Taskmaster briefly joined the criminal Frightful Four team with Bentley Wittman, AKA Wizard, Wade Wilson, AKA Deadpool and Constrictor to battle the Fantastic Four, but when Deadpool went after Franklin Richards, the rest of the team left him to face the FF alone. This Frightful Four grouping broke up soon after. Afterwards, Taskmaster went back to training others, including Brock Rumlow (later Crossbones), Rachel Leighton (later Diamondback) and Sheoke Sanada (later Snapdragon).>
Spider-Man and Ant-Man soon discovered another of Taskmaster’s schools and battled him, preventing his theft of nuclear material. Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye and Ant-Man later exposed and halted Taskmaster’s use of the Carson Carnival of Traveling Wonders as a mobile recruiting center, and Spider-Man and Jack Monroe, AKA Nomad disrupted his recruiting street gangs for Black Abbott. After battling Benjamin Grimm, AKA The Thing, and Vance Astrovik (later Justice) in Ohio, Taskmaster was captured by FBI agents and taken into custody.
Under the guise of John Smith, the Red Skull manipulated the Commission on Superhuman Activities (CSA) head Douglas Rockwell into reducing Taskmaster’s sentence in return for training John Walker (later USAgent) as the next Captain America using Rogers’ fighting style. After completing this assignment, the Red Skull arranged for the Taskmaster’s escape so he could resume his operations. The Skull funded Taskmaster’s activities, and Taskmaster tutored multiple students in Captain America’s fighting style so that the Red Skull could kill them in his own training exercises.
Later, Taskmaster set up a new academy in a Brooklyn, New York mausoleum where he battled Spider-Man, who believed Taskmaster had kidnapped his wife, Mary Jane Watson-Parker; using a magnesium flare, Taskmaster escaped both capture and Spider-Man’s wrath. When the Spymaster was believed slain, unscrupulous industrialist Justin Hammer hired Taskmaster to train a replacement; Taskmaster’s lethal elimination tests whittled the candidates down to one winner, Nathan Lemon.
Taskmaster briefly put his operations on hold when a faction of the Hand ninja cult created an assassination contest between Taskmaster and Tombstone to see who could kill the most targets. This led to a battle with vigilantes Matt Murdock, AKA Daredevil, and Frank Castle, AKA Punisher; Taskmaster wound up with the Punisher’s knife in his stomach and spent some time in a prison hospital recuperating.
Taskmaster later resumed operations for the Red Skull and attended an assemblage of Red Skull’s division chiefs, which included Watchdog Prime, Sin, Arnim Zola, Minister Blood, Curtiss Jackson, AKA Power Broker, a Scourge of the Underworld, the Resistants’ Byron Calleym AKA Crucible, the Secret Empire’s Number Seven and Hydra’s Baron Strucker. When Crossbones took a leave of absence from the Skeleton Crew, Mother Night, claiming Red Skull requested the training, had Taskmaster train Cutthroat as his replacement. Hired by the Red Skull to kill Spider-Man, Taskmaster took this opportunity to try out new graduates Michael Bingham, AKA Blood Spider, Timothy Karlskin, AKA Death-Shield, and Joe Emberlin, AKA Jagged Bow, whom he had trained to be criminal versions of Spider-Man, Captain America and Hawkeye. Spider-Man and the anti-terrorist James Bourne, AKA Solo, defeated the trio as Taskmaster escaped capture once again.
Afterwards, Taskmaster battled the Sam Wilson, AKA Falcon, when he helped Tyrone McQuaid escape from one of Taskmaster’s academies; attended Robert Brasman’s, AKA Brass Bishop criminal auction in Canada, where he fought Spider-Man and Alpha Flight; crossed swords with Daredevil, Wilbur Day, AKA Stilt-Man, Tatterdemalion and the Wild Boys over restaurant grease believed to be worth half a million dollars; took on Spider-Man and Felicia Hardy, AKA Black Cat, during a bank robbery training session; and testified as a character witness when super-criminal Peter Petruski, AKA Trapster tried to sue the criminal mechanic Tinkerer for faulty equipment. When the amnesiac Earth-93060 (“Ultraverse”) heroine Jennifer Pearson, AKA Siren, was teleported into one of the academies, Taskmaster gave her an audition to join and eventually developed a relationship with her. Taskmaster also discovered that Diamondback, who had joined under the ruse that she desired more training, had double-crossed him by planting explosives around the academy. When the young mutant Kyi, AKA Jolt, who desired to join Taskmaster’s academy, accidentally triggered one of the explosive devices, Taskmaster had Jolt open a portal large enough for Siren, Jolt and himself to escape. During the journey through the portal, Siren was sent back to her own dimension, Jolt teleported to an unrevealed location, and Taskmaster was pulled forward in time by a dimension-hopping madman as one of many criminals pitted against the Avengers and a distant cosmos’ heroes before being returned to his own time.
Taskmaster later kidnapped computer hacker and arms supplier Jack Hammer, AKA Weasel, to retain his services, but after Deadpool defeated Taskmaster, Weasel declined this offer, though he offered his services in the future. Seeking his own death, the mysterious Architect, last of the Shining Ones, arranged a contest involving Mark Scarlotti, AKA Blacklash, Boomerang, the mercenary Bullet, Carl Burbank, AKA Bushwacker, Elektra Natchios, AKA Elektra, Fatale, Alfonso Lopez, AKA Machete, Douglas Scott, AKA Razor-Fist, Shatterhead and Maximillian Zaran to see which was fit to kill him. During the contest, Taskmaster overpowered Elektra using Daredevil’s fighting style, but she later returned and defeated him.
Later, Taskmaster hired Augusta Seger, AKA Albino, a world renowned biologist specializing in mutagenics (the study of effects of human mutations), to help him duplicate superpowers. Taskmaster employed Batroc (Georges Batroc), Machete (Ferdinand Lopez, Alfonso’s brother), Zaran and Elton Healey, AKA Oddball, along with androids of Henry McCoy, AKA Beast, T’Challa, AKA Black Panther, Captain America, Hank Pym, AKA Goliath, Bruce Banner, AKA Hulk, Iron Man, Quicksilver, Namor, Thor Odinson, and “Victor Shade”, AKA Vision, to analyze the Avengers’ powers, pitting his operatives against several Avengers members.
Taskmaster briefly duplicated the powers of the Avengers Firestar and Justice using Albino’s technology, but he was defeated by the duo and Hawkeye, and his new powers apparently faded. When the Avengers began using proactive tactics, they targeted Taskmaster’s numerous academies, briefly putting a stop to his operations and denying criminals, terrorists and super villains a valuable resource; however, Taskmaster continued to elude them. Taskmaster briefly employed Constrictor, Copycat (disguised as Titania/Mary MacPherran) and the “Deadpool Interns”—Deadair, Deadend, and Deadweight—to seek revenge on Deadpool. Afterwards, Taskmaster entered Madripoor’s Bloodsport tournament to help boost his price in training super villains, but was defeated by the telepathic mass murderer Mr. X.
Trying to make up for the lost profit, Taskmaster returned to mercenary assignments and accepted Sunset Bain’s commission to sabotage a semiconductor being built by Tony Stark. Taskmaster completed the assignment, but when Bain tried to have him killed, he tricked Triads gangs into attacking her, ultimately harming her organization enough that she finally called off her hit. During this time he became involved with Sandi Brandenberg, but eventually broke it off; while they remained friends, he found it difficult to give her up. When Deadpool employed Sandi as a secretary, she brought Taskmaster in to aid him against the Black Swan. Taskmaster helped set Deadpool on the path to facing the Black Swan, and he also found time to execute Sandi’s then-boyfriend when he learned he had beaten her. When Deadpool seemingly died in an explosion battling the Black Swan, Sandi believed the amnesiac Alex Hayden, AKA Agent X, was Deadpool, and Taskmaster trained him on Sandi’s behalf, then aided Agent X and Outlaw, when the Four Winds crime family clashed over Agency X’s property. Discovering Agent X was an amalgam of Black Swan's agent Nijo, Deadpool, and Black Swan, they arranged to restore themselves to normal, but when the Black Swan tried to double-cross them, Taskmaster, Outlaw, Sandi and the Eastern Wind helped Deadpool and Agent X defeat Black Swan.
The Committee, a cartel of financiers ostensibly dedicated to reviving the US economy through illegal activities, hired Taskmaster to assassinate vigilante Marc Spector, AKA Moon Knight, who had been instrumental in defeating them in the past, after their agent the Profile determined that Moon Knight was without friends or determination. Taskmaster found that this was not the case, as Moon Knight’s friends came to aid him, and he tried to get out of his Committee deal, but Moon Knight pursued him to the Committee’s base and defeated him in battle.
Arrested and imprisoned under unrevealed circumstances, Taskmaster was recruited for government service by the CSA during the “Civil War” between US super heroes following passage of the Superhuman Registration Act (SHRA). Assigned to the Thunderbolts, Taskmaster joined other superhuman criminals in attacking Captain America’s anti-SHRA forces. Following Cap’s surrender, Taskmaster was rearrested, but before being transferred to the Negative Zone prison 42 he was quickly released by Deadpool, who had hoped to re-establish his reputation by defeating Taskmaster in a public display of combat.
S.H.I.E.L.D. Commander Maria Hill gave Taskmaster a full presidential pardon after he helped test the defenses of a S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. The CSA then recruited him to train three clones of accidentally slain 50-State Initiative cadet Michael Van Patrick, AKA MVP, in Spider-Man’s fighting style so they could become Initiative agents as the Scarlet Spiders. Afterwards, Taskmaster was assigned to Camp Hammond as the Fifty State Initiative recruit drill instructor, where his many students included Ant-Man’s successor, Eric O’Grady, Bengal, Abigail Boylen, AKA Cloud Nine, Z’reg, AKA Crusader, Tako Shamara, AKA Dragon Lord, Geiger, Melati Kusama, AKA Komodo, Melee, Rage, Red 9, Speedball (Earth-8101’s simian Robbie Baldwin), Cassie Lang, AKA Stature, Triathlon and Ultragirl.
Later, super-criminals Russ Broxtel, AKA Firebrand, Klaus Voorhees, AKA King Cobra, Brendan Doyle, AKA Mauler, and Calvin Zabo, AKA Mr. Hyde made a failed attempt to kill the Taskmaster for joining the Initiative. When inept Initiative recruit Butterball was sent home, Taskmaster and Constrictor felt sorry for him and arranged a photo where it looked like Butterball defeated the pair in combat.
After the Skrull invasion, the Initiative fell under the control of corrupt, unstable tycoon Norman Osborn, AKA Green Goblin; he restructured it, assigned Taskmaster to the Shadow Initiative along with Bengal, Constrictor, Komodo and Mutant Zero, Mary Walker/Typhoid Mary, and sent them to Madripoor to apprehend Initiative defector Roger Brokeridge, AKA Hardball, who had joined Hydra. Completing the mission, the Shadow Initiative returned home to find Osborn replacing Camp Hammond with his new Camp HAMMER. Osborn placed Taskmaster and supernatural crime boss Parker Robbins, AKA Hood, in charge of the Initiative and began welcoming many active super criminals into the organization. These new recruits were supposedly reformed, but Osborn would allow them to continue their criminal careers in secret as long as they posed as heroes in public, so Taskmaster and Hood trained many of these criminals in how to fake heroic behavior. Meanwhile, Taskmaster secretly helped Deadpool battle Osborn’s Thunderbolts as payback for Deadpool previously having helped Taskmaster escape prison.
After a rumor starts that Taskmaster turned traitor, working for Captain America, a bounty is placed on his head by The Org, a secret criminal organization. Hordes of villains, including his psychopathic students go after him. Suffering from memory loss, and trying to discern who framed him, Taskmaster is required to look deep into his past at who he really is. Teaming up with involuntary sidekick/love interest Mercedes Merced, their hunt for the truth meant engaging Don of the Dead and a town full of Adolf Hitlers. A fight breaks out and Taskmaster with Mercedes ended up in an underground tunnel that led to a room all too familiar to Taskmaster. He recalled the last time he was there, while working under S.H.I.E.L.D. he discovered Primer, a Super-Soldier Serum imitation, and with his desire to be the best, he injected himself with it--which caused his lapse in memory. As his memories flooded back, he recognized Mercedes voice and shot her only to discover that she was and still is his wife<.
When the Secret Avengers sought Mercedes, a former L-3 S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, it is revealed that she and him together run The Org, which is technically a S.H.I.E.L.D. front. But his memory issue returned and he left Mercedes after defeating the Red Shirt, a villain who forged the bounty and sought the Org’s true identities. Mercedes escaped as well but not before leaving an audio recording for Captain America explaining that her operation with Taskmaster had a 20 percent success rate according to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s director, and that every time Taskmaster loses his memory, he thinks he’s a villain.
- Marvel Universe
- Captain America, Contingency T, Tony Masters
- High School
Place of Origin
- Bronx, New York City, New York
- Unidentified mother
- Frightful Four
- Secret Avengers
- Ravencroft Institute
- Advanced Idea Mechanics Board of Directors (Earth-616)/Members
- Hydra (Earth-616)/Members
- Avengers (Hydra) (Earth-616)/Members
- High Council of Hydra (Earth-616)/Members
- Secret Avengers (S.H.I.E.L.D.) (Earth-616)/Members
- Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division (Earth-616)/Members
- Advanced Idea Mechanics (Earth-616)/Members
- Cabal (Dark Illuminati) (Earth-616)/Members
- 50-State Initiative (Earth-616)/Members
- Shadow Initiative (Earth-616)/Members
- Committee (Earth-616)/Members
- Secret Empire (Earth-616)/Members
- Underground Liberated Totally Integrated Mobile Army To Unite Mankind (Earth-616)/Members
- Si-Fan Cyber-Ninja (Earth-616)/Members
- Lords of the Living Lightning (Earth-616)/Members
- Sons of the Serpent (Earth-616)/Members
- Black Choppers (Earth-616)/Members
- Trenchcoat Mafia (Earth-616)/Members
- Militiamen (Earth-616)/Members
- Inquisition (Terrorists) (Earth-616)/Members
- Agency X (Earth-616)/Members
- Frightful Four (Earth-616)/Members
- Male Characters
- Humans (Homo sapiens)
- Secret Identity Characters
- David Michelinie/Creator
- George Pérez/Creator
- Married Characters
- Height 6 ft. 2 in. (1.88 m)
- Weight 220-239 lbs (99.79-108.86 kg)
- Living Characters
- Body Guards
- 1980 Character Debuts
- Pages using Timeline
- Anthony Masters (Earth-616)/Quotes
- Power Grid Added
- Power Grid/Intelligence/Gifted
- Power Grid/Strength/Peak Human
- Power Grid/Speed/Normal
- Power Grid/Durability/Normal
- Power Grid/Energy Projection/None
- Power Grid/Fighting Skills/Master: All Forms of Combat
- Power Grid Complete
- Martial Arts
- Shield Fighting
- Superhuman Reflexes
- Photographic Memory
- Ministers of Defense
- Below Class 50
- Weapons Expert
- H.A.M.M.E.R. Security Clearance Level 4
- Memory Disorders
- Thrown Weapon Mastery
- Camp Hammond Staff
- Superhuman Speed
- Interdimensional Travelers
- Superhuman Agility
- Ravencroft Institute Faculty
Anthony Masters (Earth-616)
Tony Masters is a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent turned mercenary and assassin, better known as Taskmaster .  He possess the ability to replicate the physical skills, be it combat or athletic, of anyone he observes thanks to his photographic reflexes.  Overtime due to the growing number of super heroes he decided to put his skills to better use, becoming a teacher based out of the Taskmaster's Academy to train government agents, villains, heroes and henchmen alike. 
- 1.1 Early Life
- 1.2 S.H.I.E.L.D.
- 1.3 Taskmaster
- 1.4 New Taskmaster
- 1.5 Initiative
- 1.6 Dark Reign and Siege
- 1.7 Discovering His Past
- 1.8 Secret Avengers
- 1.9 Secret Empire
- 1.10 Hunted
- 2.2 Abilities
- 2.3 Weaknesses
- 3.1 Equipment
- 3.2 Weapons
- 3.3 Transportation
- 7.1 References
Tony in his early childhood
Tony Masters was born with the ability to duplicate the movements of others through brief observation.  At the age of 8, he continued to discover his photographic reflexes to immediately copy other skills like learning to dive in a swimming pool when he saw someone else having performed a dive, learning special techniques from the best NBA basketball players, and learning to twirl a lasso by watching cowboys on T.V. 
Tony injecting himself with the modified Super-Soldier Serum
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.  As a result, Tony forgot his wife and field agent partner, Mercedes Masters , as well as his own history with S.H.I.E.L.D.  Mercedes crafted an elaborate set-up to help control and guide Tony in his new guise as "Taskmaster". Using a series of muscle memory and reflexive tasks, she linked Taskmaster to "the Org": his "handler" between jobs and a constant to keep him on task despite his frequently overwritten memory. The Org was actually Mercedes herself, gathering intelligence and feeding it back to S.H.I.E.L.D. thanks to Taskmaster's reports. Tony, therefore, became the ultimate double agent in the super villain underground -- one who didn't even know what he was. 
Tony decided to use his stolen capital to establish a base of operations to train criminals known as the Taskmaster's Academy . He took the name Taskmaster and began training anyone that could pay. One of the first men he trained was Don of the Dead , a crime lord and also the governor of Michoacán in western Mexico. To show solidarity to the Don and his men, Tony donned a skull-inspired mask as an homage to the Santa Muerte , a Catholic personification of Death . 
When Dr. Pernell Solomon used the Solomon Institute for the Criminally Insane as a front, he used Taskmaster's school's resources to create a clone of himself called Selbe . When Dr. Solomon required an organ donation due to possessing an extremely rare blood type, the clone, learning of his fate, contacted the Avengers . Taskmaster captured Yellowjacket , the Wasp , and Ant-Man when they attacked the site. Taskmaster battled the Avengers, who exposed his front operation. He was defeated and fled after a fight with the Avengers' newest member, the robot Jocasta , whose lack of body language expression made it impossible for Taskmaster to predict her next move. 
In addition to his training academies, Taskmaster also lent himself out as a mercenary or private instructor. He trained John Walker to be the new Captain America for the Commission on Superhuman Activities ,  then trained Cutthroat to fight Captain America on behalf of the Red Skull . 
Eventually, the Taskmaster considerably changed his appearance. He wore a costume apparently modeled after tactical body armor, replacing his previous pirate-themed garb. The Taskmaster also ceased carrying an arsenal of duplicate weapons. Taskmaster began operating as a more traditional mercenary instead of as an instructor. He first met Sandi Brandenberg after beginning this mercenary M.O. 
Taskmaster vs Iron Man
Taskmaster spent some time around Wade Wilson after Deadpool became famous for the Four Winds hit and hired Sandi as his personal assistant. Wilson was not responsible for the hit, however, and the real assassin Black Swan came after him and his friends. Wilson and the Swan were seemingly killed in an explosion. 
When Sandi found a stray amnesiac with super-healing powers, she brought him home because she thought he must be Mr. Wilson. Taskmaster reluctantly helped train " Alex Hayden " at Sandi's request, but thought such an inexperienced merc would just get her into more trouble. He tried to have Alex killed by setting him up on a job to steal the Punisher 's .45s, and later reported to the surviving Four Winds that Hayden was Wilson. When Sandi was put in danger by this last act, though, Taskmaster chose to stand side-by-side with Hayden and his friend Outlaw against the Four Winds. 
Deadpool making fun of Taskmaster's mask and name.
Alex and Sandi eventually slept together, which nearly drove Taskmaster nuts. Things got even more complicated when both Deadpool and Black Swan returned. In the end, Taskmaster and Sandi seemingly ended up together with Hayden and Outlaw reunited, and the entire group stayed together for a time as Agency X . 
Taskmaster was eventually hired by the Committee to take out Moon Knight . He raided Spector's apartment but was unable to kill him. Spector piloted his Mooncopter to the Committee's Manhattan headquarters and flew it directly into their office. Miraculously, all of the Committee members survived the attack. 
After earning a presidential pardon by way of Maria Hill for proving the security problems on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier ,  he was briefly one of the Thunderbolts ' detainees, later being released and assigned to Camp Hammond to serve as a trainer for Initiative recruits while their former drill instructor, Gauntlet , recuperated from injuries sustained from one of his trainees . During this time, a formerly deceased Initiative member, Michael Van Patrick acquired a weapon called the Tactigon and began assaulting everyone at the camp. The Taskmaster had little interest in participating in the fight, preferring instead to sit on the sidelines with one of his charges, Ant-Man . 
Dark Reign and Siege
Taskmaster fighting Thor in Siege.
After Norman Osborn 's power grab , Taskmaster took over training for the entire Initiative and participated in the siege of Asgard . He joined in the fight against Thor since it would help his reputation as an assassin. He fought both Captain Americas at the same time with unexpected success. Able to see that his side was not winning the fight, Taskmaster fled with the Constrictor to return to mercenary work. He taunted Norman Osborn with the knowledge that he had earlier assisted Deadpool. 
Discovering His Past
After losing his weapons in Tokyo ,  Tony began a quest to remember some of the things he had been forgetting. On this quest, his former handler, The Org, seemed to put out a billion-dollar bounty on his head.  Many of the teams he formerly trained, including A.I.M. and Hydra , attempted to collect the bounty by killing him, but only succeeded in tracking him on his quest. It was during this memory quest that Tony temporarily learned his true past, that of a married former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who mistakenly took a Nazi serum that granted him his extraordinary abilities. He also briefly met his wife and handler, Mercedes Merced. Ultimately, he was forced to learn the new fighting skill of Redshirt , the man who put out the fake bounty, which erased all of his knowledge regarding his past. Apparently, this had happened repeatedly in the past. 
Taskmaster was asked to become a member of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Secret Avengers team after being rescued by Nick Fury Jr. from the criminal nation of Bagalia . His first mission was to join A.I.M.'s High Council as a double-agent, taking the role of Minister of Defense. 
When he tried to free Mockingbird from A.I.M. captivity, he was attacked from behind by the TESS-One , and shot in the head by Mockingbird who had been brainwashed by A.I.M.  However, Mockingbird purposely missed any vitals and Taskmaster was revealed to be alive but left in a vegetative state. As they thought he was dead, the Secret Avengers left him behind, but his survival was discovered by Mentallo , who had developed a friendship with him. Mentallo kept his survival a secret and sought to cure him with his nanobots. 
After briefly becoming a part of Baron Zemo 's Hydra,  Taskmaster moved his base of operations to Bagalia, becoming the sheriff of the small lawless country.  Around this time, Captain America had been secretly supplanted by an evil version of himself from an alternate timeline . He was involved in an operation in Bagalia,  and Taskmaster managed to obtain a recording of him showing his loyalty for Hydra. Taskmaster and Black Ant attempted to sell the recording to Maria Hill . However, Elisa Sinclair , an ally of the evil Captain America, intercepted them  and forced them to become her new bodyguards. 
By the time Hydra rose to power and conquered the United States, the duo had become members of Hydra's own Avengers .  Both Taskmaster and Black Ant decided to switch allegiances during the final battle between Hydra and the resistance as soon as Hydra started losing. They freed some of Hydra's prisoners, namely the Champions , in hopes that the young heroes would later put in a good word for them.  Following Hydra's fall and the return to normalcy, Taskmaster returned to operating as a mercenary. 
Kraven hired Taskmaster and Black Ant to capture all animal-inspired criminals to be imprisoned in Central Park for him, to fight against poachers, so that everyone he thought acted dishonorably would annihilate each other.  Ants are also animals, so Kraven convinced Taskmaster to betray Black Ant, paying more for him than other prey. 
Tony felt guilty for cheating his best friend, and shortly thereafter he was forced through blackmail by the Lizard to pretend to catch him and take him to Kraven, so that Curt could find his son , who was one of the many to have been kidnapped.  When the force field collapsed, some prisoners tried to take revenge on Black Ant, but Taskmaster prevented it and took Eric to safety, consolidating their friendship. 
Artificially Enhanced Physiology: Tony was born with the ability to duplicate other abilities that he either saw someone else performed or watched on T.V.  After injecting himself with a experimental Nazi version of the Super-Soldier Serum , his brain capacity begin to absorb knowledge instantaneously.  The serum also altered his brain chemistry to make him hypercognitive in the area of skill observation and retention.  This particular serum was an elaborate modification of the adrenal steroid cortisol, which even enhanced Tony's short-term memory. 
- Physical Movement Prediction: Tony can also do things such as figuring out the sleight of hand techniques of a master poker cheater simply by watching them.  He has often shown the ability to actually predict an opponent's next move before they make it if he has studied their fighting style enough.  Opponents who are skilled at improvisational fighting styles, or who have a more random unpredictable style are less likely to have their moves predicted by Taskmaster. 
- Superhuman Agility: Due to his photographic reflexes, Tony can push his body past it's natural limits, allowing his agility to match that of Spider-Man and Daredevil 's superhuman agility. 
- Superhuman Reflexes: Due to Tony's photographic reflexes, his reaction speed is greater than that of a normal human. He easily caught a crescent blade thrown at him from behind by Moon Knight, without even looking.  He was also able to deflect bullets with a chain,  and even catch a bullet that was shot at him. 
- Superhuman Speed: Due to his photographic reflexes, Tony can push his body past it's natural limits, allowing him to temporarily move at speeds twice as fast as a normal human.  He has discovered that after watching martial arts movies in double speed, he can briefly duplicate the moves at double speed, effectively giving him a limited form of superhuman speed.  However, he can only maintain his heightened state for minutes before risking temporarily physical damage to his body. 
Master Martial Artist : Taskmaster is easily known as one of the greatest formidable armed and unarmed combatants in the Marvel Universe .  He truly mastered all forms of martial arts including modern and historical styles, boxing, wrestling, swordsmanship, archery, marksmanship, juggling, gymnastics, aerial acrobatics, and sleight of hand. Taskmaster learned the personal fighting styles of countless individuals,  such as: Ant-Man ,  Batroc the Leaper ,  Black Crow ,  Black Knight ,  Black Widow ,  Blazing Skull ,  Boomerang , Bushwacker , Black Panther , Captain America ,    Cat ,  Constrictor ,  Daredevil ,  Deadpool ,  The Destroyer ,  Elektra ,  Falcon ,  Hawkeye ,   Iron Fist ,  Iron Man ,  Moon Knight ,  MVP ,  Nomad ,  Oddball ,  Punisher ,  Silver Samurai ,  Redshirt ,  Shang Chi ,  Solo ,  Spider-Man ,   Swordsman ,  Tigra ,  Tombstone ,  Tumbler , [ citation needed ] US Agent , [ citation needed ] Warbird , [ citation needed ] Winter Soldier ,  Wolverine ,  Zaran ,  and many others.  During the Siege on Asgard , Taskmaster's combat skills were shown to be so advanced that he easily defeated two Asgardian soldiers by outwitting them in both armed and unarmed combat.  He has trained numerous of criminals in basic hand to hand combat. 
- Advanced Pedagogy Given the number of students that he's taught, Taskmaster is adroit in training students in any of the many styles that he knows.
Master Tactician: Tony is a master strategist and tactician (seen particularly in combat with Iron Man  and against both Captain Americas during the Siege of Asgard ). 
Weapon Mastery: Due to his powers and his use of different peoples' fighting styles, Tony has become a master in all melee weaponry, including swordsmanship from Black Knight and Silver Samurai . He has displayed skill with billy clubs from observing Daredevil ,  as well as knife fighting from Winter Soldier . 
Master Marksman: Tony is a master in the fields of marksman. He has the marksmanship of Hawkeye, Punisher, and Bullseye. Tony also has self-marksman skills, making him extremely proficient with throwing projectile weapons, archery, and firearms.
Master Assassin: Tony is a master deadly assassin. Captain America has stated that Tony is considered to be one of the most dangerous men alive. 
Meditation: Tony learned meditation techniques in Tibet that allow him to slow his breathing and heart rate and survive for extended periods of time without air, this also means that to the untrained eye he will appear to be dead.  He also claims to have learned forensic methods from CIA Agents and Mossad Operatives. [ citation needed ]
- The Taskmaster is not capable of duplicating a physical feat if the effort to do so requires superhuman effort. For instance, while he could view an opponent lifting a car, he could not do so because his body can't duplicate the superhuman strength required to do so. In the same way, he cannot duplicate any energy manipulating or projecting capabilities for the same reasons.  
- He is unable to copy Deadpool 's moves due to his unpredictable nature and fractured mind. Deadpool has defeated him in one on one combat numerous times.  
- Taskmaster was unable to copy the moves of Alex Hayden for unknown reasons. 
- For example, he is only able to retain a total of eight languages. [ citation needed ]
- For example, he can recognize a place or landscape from a photo or painting, but cannot recall if he actually visited said place.
- In extreme situations, he can even forget who he is, what he is doing or why he is doing it. This also results in him forgetting about people he met, although he can recognize them.
- He has also been shown sticking to walls, suggesting that he has special gloves and perhaps boots which can approximate Spider-Man's wall-crawling ability. [ citation needed ]
- Taskmaster's Mask: Tony wears a protective skull mask that also serves for identity concealment. The mask also has technology built into it that allows Tony to resist telepathic and psychic attacks. 
- Image Inducer : Used to project a holographic appearance to aid him in sabotage, spying and escape. 
- Taskmaster often kept DVDs and tapes of individuals he wished to mimic and would also acquire new ones to study to help him learn new skills to complete difficult tasks.  
Taskmaster used a number of weapons, often determined by the abilities he was using. - Known weapons include:
- Energy Shield : Tony has at times been known to use a wrist device stolen from S.H.I.E.L.D. which created weapons out of pure energy. These weapons apparently had substance even after he let go of them, at least for a short time.  
- Energy Claws (to mimic Wolverine's) [ citation needed ]
- Energy Webbing (to mimic Spider-Man's), 
- Shield (to mimic Captain America's) [ citation needed ]
- Katana ,  
- Bow & Trick Arrows (sometimes using "trick" arrows like Hawkeye) [ citation needed ]
- Sword , [ citation needed ]
- Moon-Shaped Shuriken (to mimic Moon Knight) [ citation needed ]
- Billy Club (to mimic Daredevil). [ citation needed ]
- Firearms (most often a pair of .45s), 
Customized Quinjet , van. 
- The Taskmaster's character was considerably revised in a 2002 UDON-created miniseries .
- Although Taskmaster's real name has been hypothesized being "Anthony Masters", Marcus Johnson dismissed it as probably not being his real name. 
- Tony doesn't remember that he was married. 
- While being Initiative Commander under the H.A.M.M.E.R. , he was granted Security Level 4. 
- It was hinted during the Siege on Asgard that he was below Class 50 threat. 
- Daredevil once saved Taskmaster's life when the Punisher threw a knife at his heart. Daredevil deflected it with a shot from a pistol, then applied pressure to his wound until help arrived, one of the few times the hero has ever picked up and used a firearm. 
- Taskmaster wore a skull mask as inspired by Santa Muerte, Saint Death "The Lady of Shadows" in honor of her solidarity. He picked up this mask on his first mission for Org while re-training Mexican Special Forces . 
- Taskmaster has a good friendship with Black Ant . 
- 286 appearance(s) of Anthony Masters (Earth-616)
- 15 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Anthony Masters (Earth-616)
- 24 minor appearance(s) of Anthony Masters (Earth-616)
- 35 mention(s) of Anthony Masters (Earth-616)
- 8 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Anthony Masters (Earth-616)
- 218 image(s) of Anthony Masters (Earth-616)
- 28 quotation(s) by or about Anthony Masters (Earth-616)
- 2 victim(s) killed by Anthony Masters (Earth-616)
- 5 item(s) used/owned by Anthony Masters (Earth-616)
Links and References
- Anthony Masters on Marvel.com
- Anthony Masters on Wikipedia.org
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 Taskmaster Vol 2 #3
- ↑ King in Black: Thunderbolts #2
- ↑ Deadpool Vol 3 #39
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Moon Knight Vol 5 #5
- ↑ Avengers Vol 3 #26
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Marvel Comics Presents Vol 2 #2
- ↑ 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 Taskmaster Vol 2 #1
- ↑ 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 Taskmaster #4
- ↑ 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15 9.16 9.17 All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #11
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Taskmaster Vol 2 #4
- ↑ Taskmaster #3
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 Taskmaster Vol 2 #2
- ↑ Avengers #194 - 196
- ↑ Captain America #334
- ↑ Captain America #396
- ↑ Taskmaster #1 - 4
- ↑ Deadpool Vol 3 #69
- ↑ Agent X #1 - 6
- ↑ Agent X #13 - 15
- ↑ Moon Knight (Vol. 5) #3 - 6
- ↑ Avengers: The Initiative #9 - 10
- ↑ Avengers: The Initiative #35
- ↑ Age of Heroes #3
- ↑ Secret Avengers Vol 2 #2
- ↑ Secret Avengers Vol 2 #13
- ↑ Secret Avengers Vol 2 #16
- ↑ All-New Captain America #1
- ↑ Captain America: Steve Rogers #3
- ↑ Captain America: Steve Rogers #1
- ↑ Captain America: Steve Rogers #12
- ↑ Captain America: Steve Rogers #14
- ↑ Secret Empire #1
- ↑ Secret Empire #8
- ↑ Spider-Men II #1
- ↑ Amazing Spider-Man Vol 5 #20
- ↑ Amazing Spider-Man Vol 5 #18
- ↑ Amazing Spider-Man Vol 5 #19
- ↑ 38.0 38.1 Amazing Spider-Man Vol 5 #23
- ↑ Taskmaster (Vol. 2) #1 - 4
- ↑ 40.0 40.1 40.2 40.3 Avengers #196
- ↑ Taskmaster #1 - 2
- ↑ 42.0 42.1 42.2 42.3 42.4 Taskmaster #1
- ↑ 43.0 43.1 43.2 Deadpool Vol 3 #2
- ↑ 44.0 44.1 Thunderbolts #131
- ↑ 45.0 45.1 Marvel Team-Up #103
- ↑ Taskmaster Vol 3 #4
- ↑ 47.0 47.1 Civil War #7
- ↑ 48.0 48.1 48.2 48.3 48.4 48.5 48.6 Avengers #223
- ↑ Captain America Vol 3 #44
- ↑ 50.0 50.1 Captain America Vol 9 #4
- ↑ 51.0 51.1 Wolverine Vol 2 #167
- ↑ 52.0 52.1 Daredevil #293
- ↑ Elektra Vol 2 #7
- ↑ Moon Knight Vol 5 #4 - 5
- ↑ Avengers: The Initiative Annual #1
- ↑ 56.0 56.1 56.2 56.3 Taskmaster Vol 3 #3
- ↑ 57.0 57.1 57.2 57.3 Avengers: The Initiative #32
- ↑ Siege: Captain America #1
- ↑ Hawkeye: Earth's Mightiest Marksman #1
- ↑ Cable & Deadpool #36
- ↑ 61.0 61.1 Agent X #1
- ↑ Avengers #195
- ↑ 63.0 63.1 63.2 Taskmaster #2
- ↑ Battle Scars #2
- ↑ All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #11
- ↑ Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z Vol 1 11
- 1 Peter Parker (Earth-616)
- 2 Nathaniel Richards (Kang) (Earth-6311)
- 3 Earth-616
- Sword Users
- Male Characters
- Martial Artists
- Weapon Masters
- Comicbook Characters
- Super Soldiers
- Shield Users
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- Unknown Tier
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- Enhanced Senses Users
- Precognition Users
Tony Masters is a man who has the ability to mimic and copy physical actions. He considered a career as a crime fighter but decided to become a professional criminal. After using his skills to complete a series of jobs, he used the capital to start an academy with the goal of training aspiring professional criminals around the world. Eventually, his operations were discovered and shut down the Avengers. Since then Taskmaster has worked as a spy, a mercenary and still acts as a teacher to certain individuals, all for the sake of profit.
Some of his more successful students include Crossbones , Cutthroat (both henchmen of the Red Skull ), Diamondback, Spymaster, Spider-Woman and Agent X.
Powers and Stats
Tier : At least 9-A , Unknown with weapons
Name: Tony Masters
Origin: Marvel Comics
Classification: Human, Spy, Mercenary, Martial Artist
Powers and abilities: Superhuman Physical Characteristics , Expert Tactician, Exceptional Athlete , Master Martial Artist , Skilled Swordsman and Marksman , Photographic Reflexes (Enable him to perfectly replicate any movement or action he sees within his physical capabilities), Precognition , Master of Disguise, Voice Mimicry
Attack Potency : At least Small Building Level (Comparable to Captain America ), Unknown with weapons ( He was able to damage Iron Man's suit with his energy device . He also possesses trick arrows and explosive arrows like Hawkeye , although it is unclear if they are as powerful as Hawkeye's arrows)
Speed : Massively Hypersonic+ combat speed (Comparable to Captain America. He has also blitzed a room full of guards before they could react. He was able to blitz a man capable of catching bullets as well as able to react and dodge them, and has demonstrated bullet timing on numerous occasions )
Lifting Strength : Class 1 ( Was able to Judo throw Iron Man across a room )
Striking Strength : Small Building Class
Durability : At least Small Building Level ( Was fine after getting thrown into a speeding car and could fight after getting shot. His shield can also block hits from rockets and metahumans)
Stamina : At least peak human
Range : Melee Range, Dozens of meters with arrows, hundreds of meters with shield throw and guns.
Standard Equipment : Sword, Shield, Bow and various trick arrows, Various Firearms, Billy Club, Claws, Lasso, Bolas, Nunchucks, Throwing Darts, Web-shooters, Crossbow, Claws, Image-Inducer (allows him to take the appearance of anyone he sees), S.H.I.E.L.D Energy Weapon (device capable of forming solid energy constructs). He has also been shown sticking to walls suggesting that he has special gloves and perhaps boots which can approximate Spider-Man's wall-crawling ability.
Intelligence : Gifted. Taskmaster can duplicate almost any physical activity he sees after seeing it done by someone else only once and copy the subtle muscle movements of others so precisely that he can at times do things such as copying another person's voice so precisely as to fool voice recognition software.
Weaknesses: Although he can copy physical actions, Taskmaster can't copy physical stats, hax abilities, or even a physical feat that requires superhuman effort and whenever he copies something new, it pushes old memories out of his brain in a form of amnesia. He also can't copy the meaning behind the actions (for example, he might be able to play an instrument like a master after watching a virtuoso play, but that doesn't mean he can read music). Taskmaster also has limits on his copying speed (though the latter tends to fluctuate due to plot convenience) and he doesn't do well against unpredictable opponents, like Deadpool.
- Sent Bullseye flying with a single punch
- Can chop through Spider-Man's webbing with a shield throw
- Sent three men flying with a single shield toss
- Can block hits from low ranking Asgardians
- Penetrated 2 Asgardians with his sword
- Was able to evade and dance around Iron Man
- Weaved through a laser grid
- Disarmed two men and took their guns before they hit the ground
- Caught a boomerang from behind
- Can fight Captain America while simultaneously blocking bullets
- Caught Captain America's Shield
- Jumped over a bullet
- Blocked bullets with chains
- Shot a room full of guards dead before they could react
- Tanked a hit from lightning
- Got shot in the arm and didn't even notice
- Took a punch from an enraged Spider-Man and got back up
- Was only briefly stunned by Spider-Woman's Venom Blast
- Was crushed though concrete by the Invisible Woman and was only knocked out
- Landed a triple headshot
- Killed a man with two pens
- Plugged a bolt into a gun barrel
- Ricocheted a billy club off several walls and hit Spider-Man in the back of the head
- Took down four giants with one shield toss
- Hit Moon Knight with a Billy club
- Hit Ant-Man while he was shrunk with his bola
- Beat Spider-Woman with one punch to the gut
- Won a fight against seven different metahumans at the same time without being touched once
- Very nearly won a fight against 5 different superheroes (including Captain America)
- Beat up Cat (Shen Kuei), a man consistently portrayed on the same level as Shang-Chi
- Effortlessly defeated the daughters of both Batroc the Leaper and the Tarantula
- Beat Electra with his eyes closed
- Held his own against the 1990s lineup of the Avengers (including Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel)
- Held his own against Captain America and Iron Man at the same time
- Fought against several low-ranking Asgardians during The Siege
- Beat Typhoid Mary
- Defeated Black Widow
- Broke into S.H.I.E.L.D HQ and implied he could have killed Maria Hill whenever he wanted
- Fought with Hawkeye until he got bored
- Beat hit squads sent by seven different organisations at the same time that he trained
- Took down Venom with some preparation time
- Snuck up on Deadpool
Photographic Reflexes: Taskmaster's primary power and the main source of virtually all his other abilities. Taskmaster has the ability to perfectly replicate the physical movements of peak level humans through simple observation. This ability isn't just limited to seeing the original user perform the action in the flesh, it works equally well by watching video recordings. Early in his career Taskmaster learned a great deal of skills simply by watching news footage and recordings of several members of the Avengers in action . By watching a video recording of an action in fast forward he can move at superhuman speeds, but doing so places extremely high levels of strain on his body and can only be used in shorts bursts. A side effect of this power is memory loss, the more knowledge and abilities that he learns, the more of his personal memories he losses.
Martial Arts Mastery: Taskmaster is arguably one of the best hand to hand combatants in the Marvel Universe. He has perfectly replicated the fighting styles of several of the most skilled martial artists in his verse including Electra, Iron Fist , Shang-Chi, Captain America and Wolverine . He even proved skilled enough to teach Captain America's fighting style. What makes Taskmaster so formidable is the fact that once he has mastered any fighting style he can recall it at any time he wants, as a result, he is capable of cycling through multiple high-level techniques in rapid succession, which makes him hard to read during a fight. Spider-Man even stated that fighting Taskmaster was like fighting 7 of the Avengers at the same time. Taskmaster is also extremely knowledgeable of pressure points, even being able to subdue a giant with this skill. He also likely has some knowledge of chi, he claimed to have mastered the art of chi during a fight with a chi user and has fought against various martial artists with chi abilities.
Skilled Swordsman: Taskmaster is a highly skilled swordsman after having copied the abilities of the Black Knight, Silver Samurai, and the Swordsman. He frequently carries a sword into battle and has proven skilled enough to fight lesser ranking Asgardians in battle with his sword skills and to blitz an entire room full of people.
Master Marksman: Taskmaster is a deadly accurate marksman with a huge variety of projectile weapons. Through observation of the Punisher , he is a master with various firearms. By copying Hawkeye he is a Master Archer, who capable of pulling off trick shots equal to the original. By mimicking Bullseye, he is a master at the use of various improvised projectiles as weapons, and like Bullseye he has near perfect accuracy and the ability to turn virtually any object into a lethal weapon.
Exceptional Agility and Athletic Ability: Through observation of several more agile superheroes, Taskmaster is an exceptional athlete. He is capable of flawlessly performing complex acrobatic movements by having copied the likes of Daredevil , Black Panther and even Spider-Man . Taskmaster also uses web-shooters like Spider-Man to better duplicate Spider-Man's style of movement, however, he cannot flawlessly replicate Spidey, due to him being physically inferior.
Physical Movement Prediction: Once Taskmaster has learned and mastered opponents movements, he is capable of predicting their movements and countering accordingly. The only individual who is shown to be capable of negating this ability is Deadpool , as his manic nature makes him nearly impossible to predict.
Voice Mimicry: Separate from his Photographic Reflexes, Taskmaster can alter his vocal cords in order to copy and mimic the voice of other people. Coupled with his device that enables him to duplicate the appearance of anyone he sees makes him a master of disguise.
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- 1 Tiering System
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Prime marvel universe, taskmaster's powers and abilities, photographic reflexes, limited superhuman speed, physical movement prediction, superhuman reflexes, olympic-level conditioning, master martial artist, expert tactician, fighting styles studied characters, other skills.
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The Superhero Database Classification number, or SHDB Class, is a number that represents the overall 'power' of a character. All traits of a character are used for calculating the Classification.
What it DOESN'T mean
This doesn't mean that a higher class would always beat a lower class character. But the bigger the difference in Class is, the more obvious it is who'll win in a fight.
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Super power score and level.
Every Super Power has a score (SPS) that is used to calculate the Class. Each Super Power also has 3 levels (SPL). The level is set when connecting that Super Power to a character. The level determines the final score, of the Super Power, being used in the calculation.
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Black Widow: Who is Marvel Comics' Taskmaster and what are his powers?
Get to know Marvel Comics' Taskmaster and what it may mean for the character's future in the MCU
If you haven't seen Marvel Studios' Black Widow yet, it's now streaming for all Disney Plus subscribers - meaning that it's the perfect time to get to know Taskmaster, the mysterious villain whose identity is part of the film's plot.
Fittingly, Taskmaster is one of Marvel Comics' most enigmatic villains (and sometimes anti-hero). Like his MCU counterpart, the comic book Taskmaster has the power to mimic the fighting styles and mastery of weapons of anyone he can simply observe - even superheroes. Often using this unique talent to train Marvel villains and their endless supply of henchmen and henchwomen, Taskmaster has made his bones as a long-time and usually very effective adversary of the Avengers - although much of his real history and true identity remains ambiguous.
But the nature and identity of the MCU Taskmaster have remained even greater question marks ... until now, that is ... right down to what actor is actually behind the mask.
Now that we know the answer to those questions, Newsarama will break down everything you need to know about Taskmaster's comic book history, how it compares and contrasts to the MCU version, and what it may mean for the MCU moving forward.
Who is Taskmaster?
The man known almost exclusively as Taskmaster (and occasionally by the pseudonym Tony Masters) is one of Marvel's foremost mercenaries, henchmen, and soldiers of fortune.
Though he's occasionally used his formidable skills on the side of the angels, more often than not, Taskmaster's role in the Marvel Universe usually consists of either training elite henchmen for villains to fight superheroes, or fighting superheroes himself.
Partially because of his reputation and vocation, Taskmaster is a man of great mystery in the Marvel Universe. But more than his own subterfuge, some of the murkiness around Taskmaster's past and identity is a byproduct of his formidable powers.
Sometimes classified as simply a natural ingrained talent closer to what some savants experience in the real world, Taskmaster is gifted with the power of so-called 'photographic reflexes,' which allow him to recreate any movement or fighting style he sees performed – including those of superheroes. He can also briefly push his body beyond normal human limits to mimic the actions of heroes with enhanced strength and speed, though this sometimes takes a great physical toll on him.
Unfortunately, as a side-effect of his abilities, his personal memories are often lost in a form of amnesia that comes from his brain internalizing the moves and fighting styles he memorizes.
As a result, Taskmaster's early origins remain shrouded in memory lapses. The most common version of Taskmaster's origin has his powers developing in his childhood in the Bronx, in New York City. Initially Emulating the movements of characters and athletes he saw on TV, Taskmaster/Tony Masters initially considered pursuing an athletic career, utilizing his ability to mimic the movements and plays of the best competitors of nearly every sport imaginable.
However, he quickly decided that being a supervillain would be more lucrative, and began his career training soldiers, crooks, and goons to fight Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
How does Taskmaster fit into the Marvel Universe?
First introduced in 1980's Avengers #195 (opens in new tab) , the team confronted Taskmaster while he was training henchmen for a mad scientist. Taskmaster managed to take on Iron Man, Captain America, Scott Lang, Hank Pym, and Wasp single-handedly before the android Jocasta overpowered him.
Taskmaster has subsequently gone up against the Avengers and other Marvel heroes numerous times over the years, though his trainees in the art of super-combat include both heroes and villains. Graduates of Taskmaster's combat training include villains such Crossbones, Cutthroat, and (sometimes) Diamondback, as well as heroes such as Spider-Woman, U.S. Agent, and Agent X/Maverick of the Weapon X program.
Despite his usual occupation as a villain, Taskmaster's personal morality only goes so far as the goals of whoever is paying him (though some would say working for the Red Skull in the first place is a moral indicator all its own). He's been on all sides of the Marvel Universe, even briefly joining the Secret Avengers (opens in new tab) .
Along with the trademark skull mask that has almost always defined Taskmaster's eclectic costume, he's seldom without an arsenal of weapons based on the weapons of the Avengers, from Captain America's shield to Hawkeye's bow, to non-powered versions of Thor's Mjolnir and Black Knight's Ebony Blade, and he's even employed other gear like Black Panther's claws, Spider-Man's web-shooters, and more.
Taskmaster may also have a daughter – Avengers Academy (opens in new tab) student Finesse, who possesses similar abilities, and confronted Taskmaster believing he could be her father. Though Taskmaster conceded it could be true, he also confessed that his memories are so skewed by his abilities that he has no memory of having a child. However, in what might amount to the highest form of affection Taskmaster can show, he fought Finesse to a standstill in an attempt to remember her by her fighting style.
Most recently, in a limited series, Taskmaster (opens in new tab) has been accused of the murder of Maria Hill (played by Cobie Smulders in the MCU) and sending the Marvel Universe's world of espionage into disarray – although the gaps in his memory (and the memories he does have) call that into question, with Taskmaster on the run from the authorities, trying to prove his innocence.
Taskmaster in the MCU - spoilers ahead for Black Widow
Taskmaster has finally debuted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while Marvel Studios is generally faithful to its comic book roots, this time the adaptation has little in common with its comics inspiration.
Black Widow reveals Taskmaster is Antonia Dreykov , the daughter of the film's main villain General Dreykov played by Ray Winstone. Slyly namechecked by Loki in Marvel's The Avengers in the iconic interrogation scene with Natasha, Antonia was seemingly killed by Nat while she was targeting Dreykov in a revenge assassination.
And on purpose. Antonia wasn't just accidental collateral damage. It's a significant part of the red on Natasha's ledger.
Played (very briefly) by former James Bond Ukrainian-French actor Olga Kurylenko with heavy facial prosthetics, like Dreykov himself, Antonia survived the blast unbeknownst to Nat and has significant scarring.
Her mimic powers aren't really explained other than she has a computer chip in the back of her neck, and like most other women in Dreykov's circle, she's significantly mind-controlled by him and is completely silent the entire film.
She's both seemingly the head trainer of all the other Widow's and the program's most effective field agent, with shades of Sebastian Stan's early MCU appearances as the Winter Soldier.
And like Bucky, she may have a future in the MCU, which is likely considering Marvel Studios chose a name actor to portray her despite never uttering a word and only being seen without her mask for mere minutes.
General Dreykov is defeated at the end of Black Widow, of course, and seemingly all the Widows under his mind-control are freed, including Antonia/Taskmaster.
After a remorseful Nat frees her so she won't die with the Red Room's destruction, Yelena, Melina, Red Guardian, and the remaining Widows all act protective of her, and they all flee together in the final scene while Natasha stays behind to confront Secretary Ross.
While she isn't referenced in the film's post-credits scene with Yelena and Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (yes, she's back!) it is unlikely Marvel is going to one-off such a prominent villain in its pantheon.
Given her lack of inner life and her powers to mimic anyone, she's instantly a prime candidate to be recruited on a team like the Thunderbolts or Dark Avengers along with Yelena and John Walker/US Agent . And while ultimately portrayed as a victim of both Natasha's checkered past and her father's cruel manipulation and seen in a sympathetic light at the end of Black Widow, her tragic 'origin' lends itself to her going in any number of directions - villain, hero, or something in-between.
So while we don't know where or when we'll see the MCU's Taskmaster again, you can probably bank on her eventual return.
Yes, of course, Taskmaster is one of the greatest Avengers villains of all time .
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I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)
Black widow: how taskmaster's powers work.
Taskmaster proved to be a formidable foe in Black Widow, and the details regarding how her powers and suit work reveal something unique to the MCU.
Black Widow introduced Taskmaster, the antagonist with deep-rooted connections to Natasha Romanoff , and her powers are quite unique in how they work. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had a plethora of scheming villains, but rarely have they been able to fight any of the Avengers on equal footing. While Taskmaster was a less of a traditional adversary, her abilities proved to be rather effective when facing off with Black Widow and Yelena Belova.
Taskmaster — whose true identity was revealed as Antonia, Drekyov’s daughter, who was caught in the middle of Black Widow’s assassination attempt on Dreykov’s life — can copy others’ defensive capabilities when fighting. She can also predict every move someone will make, which aids in her abilities to set up her next action based on something she’s seen and studied before. Taskmaster has enhanced strength and photographic reflexes, which means she can retain all the information she absorbs from her various opponents and then use the exact same skills they have to attack. It makes her a formidable foe when confronting others in battle. She is able to mimic their every move without training.
Related: Black Widow Forgets To Answer Red Skull's Endgame Mystery
Taskmaster’s fighting and mimicry abilities stem from Dreykov implanting a chip in her neck, which acts as an enhancer for everything she’s able to do. Her suit is especially designed for her abilities as well; it assists Taskmaster in all of her fights as it virtually analyzes everything she needs to know to facilitate her next move. The helmet’s internal display shows her all of the data about Antonia's opponents , such as behavioral patterns from previous battles. What’s more, Taskmaster’s helmet also provides information that helps her own battle skills — adjusting her aim to better angle an arrow for maximum damage at precisely the right moment is something the antagonist puts to good use against her foes. In short, Taskmaster studies the information given and, with the addition of photographic memory, can recognize anyone’s body language in battle, utilizing their skills and using it against them whenever necessary.
Black Widow implies Antonia was also forced to attend the Red Room , the facility where women are brainwashed and trained as spies and assassins. This would explain why Taskmaster is capable of executing physical prowess with such ease, though her abilities make it so she can mimic physical movements regardless of what it is. While Taskmaster can copy reflexes and fighting styles, she can’t replicate superpowers beyond strength. She can certainly go head to head with Captain America in a fight, but she won’t have the advantage of his mighty shield. Similarly, if Antonia were to ever battle the Hulk, she wouldn’t be able to lift anything that requires superhuman strength to do so.
Much of what Taskmaster can do in the film echoes the character’s attributes from the comics, though Black Widow merely brushed the surface of Antonia’s full capabilities. There is much more to explore of the character, her history, and powers, and it’s possible Taskmaster could return in a future MCU film. Now that she’s free of Dreykov’s control, Antonia could use her abilities for the greater good instead. Whether she will appear again remains to be seen, but Black Widow is proof enough that Taskmaster is not to be messed with in battle.
Next: Black Widow Post-Credits Highlights Endgame’s Iron Man Tribute Problem
Key Release Dates
Shang-chi and the legend of the ten rings, doctor strange in the multiverse of madness, thor: love and thunder, black panther: wakanda forever, captain marvel 2, ant-man and the wasp: quantumania, guardians of the galaxy vol. 3.
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