Black Widow is scheduled for release in November this year and will see Scarlett Johansson reprise her role as the ex KGB agent Natasha Romanova. There will be several new characters introduced in the movie but let’s take a closer look at the film’s villain, Taskmaster.
Taskmaster first appeared in The Avengers #195 and was created by writer David Michelinie and artist George Perez. He usually appears as a Supervillain but is sometimes an antihero and sleeper agent. He featured in many Marvel titles predominantly as a mercenary hired as a training instructor by various criminal organizations.
Who is Taskmaster?
Taskmaster is a mysterious character called Tony Master from Brooklyn, New York City. He has some incredible abilities (covered below) which were enhanced by an inferior version of the super-soldier serum that created Captain America. The serum enhanced his current abilities but affected his memory meaning that every time he learns something new he forgets something else.
Master’s first demonstrated powers when he was a child. He found he was able to copy the intricate rope tricks of cowboys after watching them perform on a TV show. After seeing a psychiatrist, it was discovered he has a form of photographic memory called “photographic reflexes”. He made use of this ability several times throughout his youth, most notably as a quarterback on his high school football team after watching only one professional game. After graduating, he considered becoming a crime fighter but decided that life as a professional criminal would be the more lucrative option.
Taskmaster would replicate the fighting styles of costume-wearing heroes and villains by watching archival footage. He went on to set up an academy training criminals and turning them into polished professionals and also to be used as cannon fodder, with the intent to supply them to criminal organisations around the world. He spent several years on the run from the U.S government and at one time was captured by S.H.I.E.L.D and even trained some of their soldiers including U.S Agent. (Who we may meet in Falcon and the Winter Soldier)
Powers and Abilities
Taskmaster had trained his body to be in peak physical condition to the same level as an Olympic athlete in regards to his strength, speed, stamina, and reflexes. Due to his innate abilities, combined with the serum, he has been able to master various combat styles. Taskmaster has mastered Martial arts by mimicking Iron Fist and Shang-Chi among others. He is a skilled swordsman like Black Knight and Silver Samurai. Taskmaster is also a deadly marksman with a Bow (Hawkeye), Firearms (Punisher), Shield (Captain America). He has demonstrated the ability to use every fighting style at the same time. Once he has mastered an opponent’s physical movements, he is able to predict his enemies’ next move.
The only person capable of negating his abilities is Deadpool. Due to Deadpool’s manic personality, he is impossible to predict.
Taskmaster is able to view a video in fast-forward and replicate human movements at near-human speed. This puts his body under immense tension, however, meaning he can only accomplish this for short periods of time. He has also mastered the ability to control his vocal cords allowing him to mimic the voices of others. He has learned to reduce his breathing and heart rate so much that he can survive long periods of time. This allows him to go without air whilst appearing to be dead to the untrained eye. In exceptional circumstances, he is also capable of utilizing Chi.
As Taskmaster can replicate so many fighting styles, he carries a large variety of weapons including a sword, shield, bow and a quiver of arrows as well as a club, nunchaku, various firearms, and darts.
His abilities are restricted to those that his body can replicate. He cannot perform feats that are beyond the ability of a human to perform without superpowers. Therefore he cannot imitate Scarlet Witch’s ability to project energy blasts.
Appearance in Black Widow
Taskmaster is the main antagonist in Black Widow and has taken control of the Red Room where Black Widow was trained. There has been no actor confirmed as playing the part yet, but from the Black Widow trailer, we can see that Taskmaster has been doing his homework, watching Black Widow’s previous fights and also a scene where he is imitating the fighting style of Black Panther.
Black Widow is due to hit theatres on November 6th in the US. The film will release a week earlier in the UK, on October 28th.