In the latest issue of Taskmaster, the titular villain creatively adapts a deadly movie attack used by Professor X and gets spectacular results.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Taskmaster #3 by Jed MacKay, Alessandro Vitti and VC’s Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
After a nearly fatal encounter with Hyperion, the latest issue of Taskmaster follows the mercenary as he and Nick Fury Jr. continue their investigation into who killed Maria Hill. With the mercenary still on the run from the lethal Black Widow, the duo heads to South Korea, hoping to infiltrate Tiger Division headquarters, home to Korea’s government super team. To do so, Tony convinces a death squad he can give them superpowers by injecting them with a solution.
Before they can see results in Taskmaster #3, Tony uses a black market Pym particle rig to shrink down just as Taegukgi from Tiger Division shows up. Taking them all into custody, Tony hitches a ride with Taegukgi to the headquarters, unseen in his miniature size. As Tony’s plan begins to go south, he shows why he is also known as a master tactician, mimicking a maneuver that changed the X-Men movie universe after Charles Xavier unleashed it in the film Logan.
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Created by David Michelinie and George Pérez, Taskmaster first appeared in 1980’s Avengers #195. Tony Masters is a former S.H.I.E.L.D agent with the ability to replicate or mimic any physical movement he sees. He is also a brilliant strategist and possesses an arsenal of weapons that he can utilize by way of his photographic reflexes. As a mercenary, his services go to the highest bidder, regardless of the target.
In his latest series, Taskmaster has been working with Nick Fury Jr. to clear his name after being framed for the murder of Maria Hill. As they investigate Maria’s last assignment they learn that there are three kinesic signatures needed from Phil Coulson, Okoye, and Ami Han to access the intel. The latter is the head of Tiger Division in addition to being the superhero White Fox. After registering her signature, Tony’s bootleg Pym particle rig starts to glitch, bringing attention to his location and causing him to revert back to normal size. As he tries to escape, White Fox confronts him which leads to a battle demonstrating Taskmaster’s extensive database of moves he’s learned from other heroes.
The tide turns when Black Widow shows up, demanding White Fox hand over Taskmaster. Knowing he’ll most likely be killed by Black Widow, Tony pulls out a detonator and activates his plan B. Similar to how he was prepared for Hyperion, Tony had planned for a worst-case scenario and uses the death squad held in custody below as a weapon. While they thought they were being injected with a super serum to give them strength, Tony had collectively turned them all into a psychic bomb. When they are detonated, everyone in the building other than Tony is incapacitated for a short period of time, giving him the chance to escape.
This attack is very similar to one seen in James Mangold’s film Logan. With Charles Xavier no longer in full control of his mind, Logan has to keep him heavily medicated to avoid Xavier losing control of his powers. When they are attacked by the Reavers, Xavier inadvertently triggers a psychic attack which debilitates the attackers and gives Logan the opportunity to take out the hunters. In Taskmaster’s case, the maneuver was no accident, and he uses it to ensure his escape before Black Widow regains consciousness. In both cases, the range of the attack is extensive enough to affect everyone in an entire building.
With his second kinesic signature locked in and still out of Black Widow’s grasp (for now), Tony and Nick Fury Jr. head to Wakanda for Taskmaster’s last kinesic target: Okoye. It will be interesting to see how he fairs against the warrior and what kind of weapons and strategies he’ll have up his sleeve to ensure the completion of his mission.
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