The DC hero known as Human Target shares many similarities with a mercenary that exists in both the MCU and Marvel Comics, Taskmaster.
In light of a new comic book series, now is the perfect time to revisit Christopher Chance, aka Human Target. Chance is a hired private detective and bodyguard who has the ability to impersonate anyone whose life is in danger. It impersonates them so thoroughly that it is almost impossible to distinguish between the false and the true target. Unfortunately, this has also left Christopher with a very shaky understanding of his own identity, much like Taskmaster from the Marvel Universe.
First debuting in Action comics # 419 by Len Wein, Carmine Infantino and Dick Giordano, Christopher Chance gained a reason to fight crime at a young age. His father Philip owed money to a usurer. When he couldn’t return the money, they hired a hit man to kill Philip. When the killer entered his home, Christopher tried to stop the assailant, but was turned away, unable to do anything but watch his father get killed.
This had a profound impact on Christopher, who vowed not to let anyone suffer like his father did if he had the power to stop him. The experience also left Christopher unable to feel fear, which would be helpful to his future endeavors.
He began training extensively in martial arts, weaponry, and impersonation. When he was ready, Christopher started a business posing as people whose lives were in danger, putting himself in danger to protect them. He had become the Human Target, capable of posing as someone so thoroughly that even professional assassins were fooled. He even worked alongside Batman, posing as Bruce Wayne long enough for the two to team up and defeat Deadshot.
However, this lifestyle had consequences for Christopher’s sense of self. He became addicted to taking on the lives of his customers, even the least tasty. He immersed himself so deeply in their personalities that he sometimes forgot his own, leaving him unable to distinguish between what feelings and thoughts belonged to him and which ones were simply what his clients would feel.
This had the unintended consequence of affecting their ability to form meaningful relationships. He couldn’t tell if what he felt for an individual was his own feelings or someone else’s. So with each person Christopher learned to impersonate, his ability to separate from his client became less secure. This loss of self is very similar to what Taskmaster experiences each time he uses his photographic reflexes to acquire new skills and abilities.
As useful as your talent is, it comes at a cost. Whenever Taskmaster learns something new, an implicit memory, he loses more explicit memories, specifically his personal experiences. So each time you acquire a new skill, your own personal history becomes less clear, making it difficult to determine if your original self would have even wanted this life.
Share this loss of self with Human Target. They are both heroic and villainous sides of the same coin, people who can imitate others so thoroughly that it is as if they are that person, but at the cost of their own personal identity fades as they immerse themselves further in the lives they copy. . The only difference between the two is that Taskmaster has no choice when this happens. Every time he uses his gift, he automatically loses part of his memory.
Christopher, on the other hand, retains his memories, but it becomes difficult for him to distinguish between what belongs to him and what he took from someone else.
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