Warning: this article contains important Black Widow (film) spoilers.

For years, Marvel comics have employed Taskmaster as an intimidating force against the likes of Spider-Man and Deadpool. With a skull mask and an impressive set of powers, Taskmaster creates excellent splash pages in the comics. However, the character has also made a big screen sensation in live action as one of the adversaries in Black widow.

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Taskmaster has frequently faced Black Widow in the comics, but the onscreen version of the character is a bit different. Some fans unfamiliar with the character’s comic book backstory may be left with more questions than answers after the events of the movie.

10 When did Taskmaster make his comic book debut?

Taskmaster first appears to challenge the Avengers in his comic number 195

Taskmaster’s first appearance in a comic actually appears at the end of a Avengers affair. In the 1980s Avengers # 195, Wasp is being held in what is supposed to be a psychiatric facility. She was captured after following a patient, who believed someone was chasing him.

It turns out that the institute is actually a training facility for supervillain lackeys, although some of those being trained are doing so against their will. Writer David Michelinie and artist George Pérez brought in Taskmaster as the reveal of who was in charge of the installation. The character’s story would unfold over the next several months, and he would eventually even get his own miniseries before being used in a heavy rotation on Spiderman Y dead Pool stories.

9 What was your occupation?

Black Widow and Nick Fury discuss Taskmaster's identity in SHIELD HQ in Marvel comics

Before Taskmaster started training villains for the best price, he had a different life. Named Anthony “Tony” Masters, he was one of SHIELD’s best agents.

Of course, the comics leave his identity more than a little ambiguous. It is quite possible that Tony Masters is not even his real name, but one of the many covers used over the years, and it is simply the name that sticks with him. Even while working as a Taskmaster, you have a SHIELD controller, although you are not always aware of that fact.

8 What exactly is your power set?

Black Widow's Foreman studying Hawkeye

While Taskmaster can use a variety of weapons, even as fans see in the Black widow movie, the character does not have to rely on weapons. That’s because it can exactly mimic the movements of the muscles after seeing another person in action. In short, he can perfectly mimic the fighting style and abilities of others, such as Black Widow’s most deadly moves.

However, his abilities are not only limited to fighting skills. Thanks to his ability, he can also imitate voices and learn tricks, such as diving, even before learning to swim as a child.

7 When did you first discover your abilities?

A comic panel shows a young foreman copying a lifeguard and a cowboy

Taskmaster first discovered his ability to mimic muscle movements as a child, although he did not know exactly what he was doing. Not only did he make a perfect dive in a community pool without knowing how to swim (and has to be rescued), but he also perfected a lasso technique just by watching jeans on TV.

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It is after the last thing that his mother became concerned and took him to a psychiatrist for help. However, as he grew older, he continued to imitate the abilities of others, acquiring many unique abilities.

6 What is a side effect of Taskmaster’s abilities?

SHIELD agent Tony Masters injects a super soldier serum during a mission in the Marvel comics

While their ability to imitate is impressive at a young age, a mission from SHIELD granted him the opportunity to make them even more impressive.

His abilities would be increased by taking a Super Soldier Serum while on a SHIELD mission to stop the Hydra scientists. The serum increased his ability to recall those abilities he observed, but as a side effect of keeping those memories permanently task-oriented, he would gradually forget his own personal memories.

That meant that while he could catalog hundreds of martial arts moves, eventually, he wouldn’t even remember that he was married. Most of his memories are shown through flashbacks in comics that he doesn’t even know about.

5 Who is a Marvel character that can easily beat him?

Deadpool and Taskmaster trade insults in the comics

One of the reasons Taskmaster is able to copy the abilities of others so easily and quickly, and combine them in a fight, is because of how formulaic they are. Those trained by SHIELD, for example, have a specific fighting style. Those who master specific forms of martial arts have easily telegraphed moves for someone like him.

The only character who doesn’t telegraph his movies in a fight, or stick to a style Taskmaster sees over and over again, is Deadpool. Deadpool does what he wants in a fight, partly because he knows that he will always heal from his injuries. It allows him to be reckless and unpredictable, keeping Taskmaster guessing and making it harder to mimic Deadpool’s style.

4 Is Taskmaster a villain?


Like most characters in the Marvel comics, Taskmaster often finds himself straddling good and evil. He begins his professional career as a SHIELD agent with a desire to do the right thing. However, he will eventually train anyone for a fee: villain or hero.

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That makes it seem more like a neutral party in the comics. You spend a lot of time just getting a paycheck instead of taking sides. However, he tends to play more villains than heroes, which will likely lead many comic book fans to classify Taskmaster as a villain.

3 How does Taskmaster relate to the organization?

A split image on a comic book panel reveals that Mercedes Merced is Taskmaster's wife and a SHIELD agent.

In the Marvel comics, The Org is thought of as an underground organization that acts to link all criminal enterprises to one another. In reality, it is a person who acts as an intermediary between different criminal groups, allowing them a neutral point of contact to facilitate transactions and alliances.

That person is Mercedes Merced. However, she is not actually a criminal. Instead, she is the SHIELD agent who teamed up with Tony Masters when he took the super soldier serum. She acts as his handler when his memory loss begins and he becomes a mercenary, often without his remembering her. Mercedes infiltrates as The Org to stay close to him and help guide him, often against orders from SHIELD. She is also the wife who does not remember.

two Has the character ever appeared in live action?

Black Widow's Foreman Sword Natasha

Taskmaster is a very popular comic book character for Marvel. Since his debut in 1980, he has appeared in a dozen alternate timeline / universe stories in addition to the main Marvel timeline. He has also appeared in even more video games and has had a few appearances in animated projects such as The last Spiderman Y United Avengers.

The MCU Black widow The film, however, marks Taskmaster’s first appearance on a live-action property. The character is never named as Taskmaster, but is referenced as part of the Taskmaster program as he is sent to fight the likes of Black Widow and Red Guardian, and has a major change compared to the comics.

1 How did the movie The Black Widow change Taskmaster?

Copy of Black Widow Natasha Taskmaster

Taskmaster’s identity was a mystery throughout the marketing of Black widow. Or rather, the identity of the actor who played Taskmaster was a mystery. Most fans assumed that Taskmaster would still be revealed as Tony Masters in the movie. That is not the case.

Instead, the person wearing Taskmaster’s gear is a woman Natasha Romanoff believed she killed as a child when she defected to SHIELD. This Taskmaster is not a natural copycat and is not reinforced by a super soldier serum, but is a seriously injured young woman, who has a computer chip that is used to enhance her abilities and is given a super suit to protect her.

The change serves to show audiences how far Black Widow has come since his days in the Red Room, understanding that the “collateral damage” he left behind was a real person, not just part of the outcome of a mission.

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