In the Deadpool MAX series, a future MCU villain had an important relationship with Wade that was the basis for Merc With a Mouth.
The mercenaries Deadpool and Taskmaster have maintained an adversarial relationship and have clashed repeatedly over the years. While Taskmaster has proven to be very formidable, Deadpool remains one of his toughest opponents due to the fact that he cannot predict or counter Wade’s unstable mind. While he has a personal vendetta for being the one to finally end Deadpool’s regenerative fortunes, there have been many occasions where he has helped Wade, to the point where he believes they are close friends.
In Marvel’s adults-only series Deadpool max, Taskmaster takes on a new role in Wade Wilson’s education and redefines their relationship. Creators David Lapham and Kyle Baker introduced a female version of Taskmaster who ends up becoming Wade’s surrogate mother. He met her as a child and credits her for helping him become the man he is today. That is, until she tried to change her dynamic in a creepy Oedipal way.
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Making his first appearance in Deadpool MAX # 5, she becomes the last target that Deadpool and his handler Bob must take down before she can assassinate a senator. It’s the first time that Deadpool doesn’t seem to be thrilled with the target, even as Bob explains that she worked for Hydra, Deadpool’s most hated enemy. As he approaches a complete mental breakdown, he explains to Bob that Taskmaster is his mother, or at least the closest he’s ever had to one. He met her during a trip with his Musk Rats, a kind of Boy Scout, after she killed his troop leader and took over the group to train the boys. One by one, they disappear outside the panel as she challenges them to earn colorful merit badges for walking through fire or fighting a badger in a well. The only one who seems ready for anything is Wade, who wins the offered badges until she tries to ‘turn him into a man’ to earn her final badge. Distraught, he ran away and grew up in an orphanage until Blind Al came to recruit him for his Deadpool show.
Deadpool and Bob fail to prevent her from assassinating the senator, though Deadpool and Taskmaster go head-on, where she explains that he was her best student and that she couldn’t be prouder. After her escape, she continued to make a few appearances throughout the series, and at one point became the leader of the newly established Hydra. After getting his hands on poison gas, he heads to Cincinnati to free him with Deadpool and Bob foiling his attempts. Unfortunately, everyone realizes they were pawns in Blind Al’s game, with Bob being framed for the terrorist attack when the gas goes off in Cincinnati. As Taskmaster disappears into the shadows, the pair run off trying to figure out how to clear Bob’s name.
In Deadpool MAX II, appears again, as the leader of Hydra who takes a church hostage and leads Deadpool and Bob from hiding. After everything goes sideways, she is not seen again until the last issue of the series, where Bob, Deadpool, Taskmaster, Cable, and Colleen come up with a plan to take down Blind Al and the Deadpool show. Unfortunately for Deadpool, Bob and Taskmaster are betrayed by Cable and Colleen and are forced to continue working as operatives for The Deadpool show. In the end, Deadpool takes revenge by taking Colleen and Blind Al using the recently deceased Cable as a bomb.
It was a refreshing take on the general dynamics of Deadpool and Taskmaster, but it is unlikely that we will see this iteration beyond the pages of the MAX Serie. In the main Marvel Universe, the two have been at odds since Deadpool # 2 by Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness. They have continually back and forth between being allies and enemies ever since, with Wade asking for Taskmaster’s help over and over again.
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