WHO IS TASKMASTER?!

Taskmaster is making his MCU debut in Black Widow.


Listen to The Geeky Gentleman Podcast Episode 25: Who Is Taskmaster & Bringing Tweed Suits Into Spring here!


Taskmaster first appeared in The Avengers #195 back in May 1980. He was created by writer David Micheline and artist George Perez. Although he's normally a supervillain, he has on occasion been an antihero and is most notably known for being a mercenary for hire.



Taskmaster, otherwise known as Tony Masters, was born in Brooklyn. He has the ability to mimic the physical movements of anyone he witnesses. Writers have differed on whether or not this counts as a "superpower."



He first demonstrated this ability during childhood. After watching a cowboy on television, he found himself able to duplicate the intricate rope tricks he had just seen the cowboy perform. His mother was bewildered by this and called some psychiatrists. They determined Tony had a form of photographic memory which they called photographic reflexes.


As Tony grew up he continued to use this ability for personal gain such as becoming a star quarterback for his high school after watching a pro-football game. When he graduated, he briefly considered becoming a superhero but instead opted to become a professional criminal because he thought it would be more lucrative.



Tony began observing the fighting techniques of numerous heroes and villains by using archival footage. He executed several large larcenies but wasn't prepared for all the dangers involved. Eventually, Tony set up a training center for aspiring criminals where he would tutor them into becoming professional criminals. His entire goal was to become the main supplier for criminal organizations around the world.



He designed a costume with a white cowl and skull mask and began using the codename Taskmaster. One of his most notable students is Crossbones.



Now, what abilities does Taskmaster have?


Taskmaster's photographic reflexes have allowed him to become highly skilled in various forms of combat. He's an exceptional martial artist after studying Elektra, Iron Fist, and Shang-Chi.



He's an expert swordsman mimicking Black Knight and Silver Samurai.



He's a deadly marksman after seeing Captain America with his shield, Hawkeye with his bow and arrows, Punisher with his firearms, and Bullseye.



The reason why his photographic reflexes make him so lethal is that after he has mastered an opponent's physical movements he's able to predict their next move. In the comic books, Taskmaster has even been able to watch a video in fast-forward and then replicate the movements at near-superhuman speeds. However, this puts an intense strain on his body and can only be used for short periods.


Listen to The Geeky Gentleman Podcast Episode 25: Who Is Taskmaster & Bringing Tweed Suits Into Spring here!



With his numerous fighting techniques, Taskmaster carries an array of weapons such as a sword, shield, bow and arrows, nunchakus, throwing darts, and various firearms.


What superhero ties does Taskmaster have?



Taskmaster has plenty of run-ins with the Avengers throughout the years. He's been able to hold his own against Captain America and Iron Man. He's found against other heroes such as Ant-Man, the Wasp, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Punisher, and the Fantastic Four.


What can we possibly see from Taskmaster in Black Widow?



In the trailers, we've seen Taskmaster wielding his iconic sword and shield so he's studied Captain America.



We see him with a bow and arrow so he's studied Hawkeye.



In the final trailer, we see him with retractable claws so he's studied Black Panther too.



The biggest thing fans are waiting to see is who exactly is under the Taskmaster mask?


Although Taskmaster has an already established identity in the comic books, fans are expecting a much larger reveal in his - or her - true identity.


We know Taskmaster has taken control of the Red Room and thus has control over all the new widows they've trained. Yelena mentions the widows are fully conscious but have no free will.



In the comic books, Yelena was initially a foe to Natasha but later reformed and they became allies. It could be revealed Yelena is one of these unfortunate widows who have no choice in their actions and is being controlled by Taskmaster unbeknownst to Natasha.



Therefore, this could be extended to Melina who is portrayed by Rachel Weisz. Much of the speculation by fans is that Melina is Taskmaster.



In the comic books, Melina was constantly in the shadow of Natasha and because of this grew an intense hatred for her. To this day, she remains a villain in the comic books known as Iron Maiden.



So could we see Melina willingly betray Natasha in the film?


Well if Natasha is staying dead in the MCU it would be easy to have Yelena fill in the role of the new Black Widow as she's done in the comics. So it would be easier and a deeper betrayal if Melina is Taskmaster and is revealed to have willingly betrayed Natasha and her "family."



What do you guys think? Who's Taskmaster?


Comment below!


Listen to The Geeky Gentleman Podcast Episode 25: Who Is Taskmaster & Bringing Tweed Suits Into Spring here!


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Images courtesy of The Walt Disney Company.