- I got this...memory thing. I pick up anyone's moves just by seein' 'em. That's a lotta data. More'n my brain's got room for, I guess. So I...forget things. Things that ain't about combat, about survival. People, places...I can't remember what I did last week. By Monday, I probably won't remember this conversation. I wanted ta fight you 'cause...I thought if I remembered your moves, I might remember you.
- -- Taskmaster src
Tony Masters gained an ability known as "photographic reflexes" during a mission as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. This ability enabled him to watch another person's physical movements and duplicate them without practice, no matter how complex. It was only limited by the fact that the memories he gained by watching others overwrote his personal memories. He was previously a naturally gifted athlete who trained himself to superb physical condition. He committed the fighting styles of Captain America, Black Panther, Daredevil, Elektra, Hawkeye, Punisher, Tigra, USAgent, Spider-Man and Wolverine to memory, as well as many others.
He trained his body to be in peak physical condition and engaged in intensive regular exercise. His strength, endurance, stamina, reflexes, and agility were on the level of an Olympic athlete. He was nearly the physical equal of Captain America. In addition to his ability to copy the fighting techniques of others, he had mastered hundreds of forms of unarmed combat and had created some of his own original techniques as well. The Taskmaster was skilled in the use of all conventional weaponry. He was an unerring marksman as a result of the skills of various champions he committed to memory. These skills included most present-day and many historical martial arts, boxing, wrestling, swordsmanship, archery, marksmanship, gymnastics, aerial acrobatics and sleight of hand.
The Taskmaster had scientists duplicate versions of a variety of weapons used by super-humans which he could use with nearly as great facility as their respective owners. He had a copy of Daredevil's multipurpose billy club, Hawkeye's trick arrows and bow, the Black Knight's sword, and a shield designed like Captain America's (but it was not indestructible; it was only an osmium alloy). He also sometimes carried a .45 caliber Colt automatic, which he could use in the style of the Punisher.
Eventually, the Taskmaster considerably changed his appearance. He wore a costume apparently modeled after tactical body armor, replacing his previous pirate-themed garb. The Taskmaster also ceased carrying an arsenal of duplicate weapons. Instead, his armament consisted primarily of a pair of semi-automatic handguns and a katana (which he wielded using the fighting style of the Silver Samurai). The Taskmaster also carried a prototype wrist-mounted device, stolen from S.H.I.E.L.D., which could spontaneously create simple shapes out of solid energy, saving him the trouble of weighing himself down with many weapons. He used the device to create duplicates of Captain America's shield and Spider-Man's webbing.
In addition, the Taskmaster gained new abilities. First, given observation and practice (with the aid of a voice-match recognizing device) he could duplicate the voices of others. He also displayed forms of photographic memory. More importantly, after watching video footage of fights filmed in double-time, he learned how to perform actions in double-time as well. Since the Taskmaster did not have a superhuman physique, he could only use this ability to provide short bursts of superhuman speed lasting a few seconds, or he risked seriously injuring himself.
Taskmaster came to blows with Deadpool a number of times, but the two became friends when Taskmaster started dating Sandi Brandenburg, who had been Deadpool's Personal Assistant when he ran DP Inc. Both were employed by Agency X at the same time.
He was eventually hired by the Committee to take out Moon Knight. He raided Spector's apartment, but was unable to kill him. Spector piloted his Moon-chopper to the Committee's Manhattan headquarters and flew it directly into their office. Miraculously, all of the Committee members survived the attack.
He was briefly one of the Thunderbolts detainees, later being released and assigned to Camp Hammond to serve as a trainer for the Initiative recruits while their former drill instructor, Gauntlet, recuperated from injuries sustained from one of his trainees. During this time, a formerly deceased Initiative member, Michael Van Patrick acquired a weapon called the Tactigon and began assaulting everyone at the camp. The Taskmaster had little interest in participating in the fight, preferring instead to sit by the sidelines with one of his charges, Ant-Man.
Taskmaster then took over training for the entire initiative and participated in the siege of Asgard. He joined in the fight against Thor, since it would help him become a more reputable assassin. He fought both Captain Americas at the same time with unexpected success. Able to see that his side was not winning the fight, Taskmaster fled with the Constrictor to return to mercenary work. He taunted Norman Osborn with the knowledge that he had earlier assisted Deadpool.
After losing his weapons in Tokyo, Tony began a quest to attempt to remember some of the things he had been forgetting. On this quest, his former handler, The Org, seemed to put out a billion-dollar bounty on his head. Many of the teams he formerly trained, including AIM and HYDRA, attempted to collect the bounty by killing him, but only succeeded in tracking him on his quest. It was during this memory quest that Tony temporarily learned his true past, that of a married, former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who mistakenly took a Nazi serum that granted him his abilities. He also briefly met his wife and handler, Mercedes Merced. Ultimately, he was forced to learn the new fighting skill of Redshirt, the man who put out the fake bounty, which erased all of his knowledge regarding his past. Apparently this had happened repeatedly in the past.
Taskmaster is asked to become a member of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Avengers team after being rescued by Nick Fury Jr. from the criminal nation of Bagalia. His first mission was to join A.I.M.'s High Council as a double-agent.
Age of Ultron
After Ultron's sudden take-over of Earth, Taskmaster was in Chicago working along Black Panther and Red Hulk in order to survive from the robot's sentinels. When trying to retrieve a piece of one of the sentinels, Red Hulk wasn't quick enough and caught their attention to Taskmaster and Black Panther. When trying to escape, the building where they were collapsed, and T'Challa's neck was broken in the fall. His corspe was left behind by Taskmaster, who decided to continue his path after mourning him. Red Hulk found Taskmaster, who was trying to get out of the city with an Ultron's head. Not trusting him anymore, Ross killed the mercenary.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
The Taskmaster's only superhuman abilities were that of his photographic reflexes. He was able to duplicate almost any physical act he sees after seeing it done by someone else only once. Due to these reflexes, he can do things which border on superpowers. For instance Taskmaster has discovered that after watching martial arts movies on fast-forward he is able to briefly duplicate the moves at a greatly increased velocity, effectively giving him a limited form of super-speed.
However, as he does not have any sort of enhanced endurance, this puts a great strain on his body and he is only able to fight in this manner for short periods of time. He can also copy the subtle muscle movements of others so precisely that he can at times do things such as copying another persons voice so precisely as to fool voice recognition software.
He can also do things such as figuring out the sleight of hand techniques of a master poker cheater simply by watching them. He can even duplicate the nearly superhuman abilities with thrown projectiles which Bullseye exhibits, or approximate the agility of someone like Spider-Man, at least up to a point that doesn't require superhuman effort. He is also capable of using this ability to master complex gymnastics routines and play difficult pieces of music. However, he typically prefers to use this ability to copy the combat skills, both armed and unarmed, of costumed crime-fighters and expert martial artists from around the world, typically seen through watching videos of them in combat situations.
He has often shown the ability to actually predict an opponents next move before they make it if he has studied their fighting style enough. Opponents who are skilled at improvisational fighting styles, or who have a more random unpredictable style are less likely to have their moves predicted by Taskmaster. Taskmaster is a master strategist and tactician (seen particularly in combat with Iron Man and against both Captain Americas during the Siege of Asgard).
The Taskmaster was an Olympic-level athlete and was possibly among the most formidable armed and unarmed combatants in the universe. Beside his photographic reflexes, he possessed photographic muscle memory that allows him to instinctively, instantly, and completely learn and acquire new skills and abilities. While not having any superhuman physical, mental, or energy manipulative abilities, the Taskmaster was able to routinely battle super-human powered foes with an impressive degree of success.
Taskmaster learned meditation techniques in Tibet, he also claims to have learned forensic methods from CIA Agents and Mossaid Operatives.Fighting Styles Studied Characters: Taskmaster learned personal styles of these individuals from watching videos or from combat: Ant Man, Batroc, Black Widow, Boomerang, Bushwacker, Blacklash, Black Knight, Black Panther, Captain America, Genis-Vell, Cable, Daredevil, Deadpool, Elektra, Falcon, Fatale, Firestar, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, Justice, Libra, Machete, Moon Knight, Oddball, Power Man, Puma, Punisher, Razorfist, Shockwave, Silverclaw, Silver Samurai, Spider-Man, Shatterstar, Swordsman, Tigra, Tumbler, US Agent, Warbird, Wolverine and Zaran.
Strength levelThe Taskmaster possessed the normal human strength of a man of his age, height, and build who engages in intensive regular exercise. The Taskmaster was strong enough to lift at least twice his body-weight, meaning he was able to lift at least 440 lbs.
- The Taskmaster was not capable of duplicating a physical feat if the effort to do so requires superhuman effort. For instance, while he could view an opponent lifting a car, he could not do so because his body can't duplicate the superhuman strength required to do so.
- He also cannot duplicate any energy manipulating or projecting capabilities for the same reasons.
- His abilities were also limited in that they did not grant him an innate understanding of underlying disciplines. For example, as a child, he nearly drowned after imitating a dive because while he was able to mimic the dive, he did not know how to swim.
- Because of this, he has a fear of drowning.
- Taskmaster was unable to copy the moves of Alex Hayden for unknown reasons.
- When Taskmaster copies something new, it pushes old memories out of his brain in a form of amnesia.
EquipmentTaskmaster often kept DVDs and tapes of individuals he wished to mimic. He has at times been known to use a wrist device stolen from S.H.I.E.L.D. which created weapons out of pure energy. These weapons apparently had substance even after he let go of them, at least for a short time.
TransportationCustomized Quinjet, van.
Taskmaster used a number of weapons, often determined by the abilities he was using. - Known weapons include: Energy Shield, Energy Claws (like Wolverine), Energy Webbing (like Spider-Man), Katana, Bow & Arrows(sometimes using "trick" arrows like Hawkeye), Sword, Broadsword, Pair of .45s, Rope, steel round shield (used in the manner of Captain America), Moon Shaped Shuriken (Like Moon Knight) and a multi-purpose Billy Club (in the same sense of Daredevil).
He has also been shown sticking to walls suggesting that he has special gloves and perhaps boots which can approximate Spider-man's wall crawling ability. Although he may at any time have any of the above weapons on his person (and it should be noted that he usually does carry at least some portion of these weapons), there are 3 items that he is shown to almost always carry on his person. A sword (usually a broadsword, but occasionally a Katana), A round Shield which approximates the design of Captain America's modern round shield (generally depicted as being pretty tough, but no where near as resilient as Captain America's almost indestructible shield), And a handgun.
An exception to him carrying these three primary weapons was during his miniseries in 2002, when he was first shown to have his S.H.E.I.L.D energy weapon device...which created various weapons from pure energy. None the less even then he would still carry one or more guns (it can be assumed that a gun was too complex mechanically for the device to create), and sometimes a sword (usually a Katana in this series) Why he did not simply create an energy sword instead of using a real one is not revealed...perhaps there are some advantages of a real sword, compared to the kind he could undoubtedly create with his device, or else he preferred to have at least one real weapon not made by the device, to free up his other hand to use the device for something else (for instance; using the real sword in one hand and an energy shield in the other). This is of course assuming the device could only create one weapon at a time, which seems a reasonable assumption considering how it was used.
- The Taskmaster's character was considerably revised in a 2002 UDON-created miniseries.
- Although Taskmaster's real name has been hypothesised being "Tony Masters", Marcus Johnson dismissed it as probably not being his real name.
- Daredevil once saved Taskmaster's life when the Punisher threw a knife at his heart, Daredevil deflected it with a shot from a pistol then applied pressure to his wound until help arrived, one of the few times the hero has ever picked up and used a firearm.
- Taskmaster wore a skull mask as inspired by Santa Muerte, Saint Death "The Lady of Shadows" in honor of her solidarity. He picked up this mask on his first mission for .Org while re-training Mexican Special Forces.
- He was only able to retain a total of eight languages. That is all he can recall due to his failing memory.
- Taskmaster was an ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent.
- In the edition in which he had been wounded by punishing, Taskmaster had mastered an art that involves killing the "ki" to observe a warrior how to stop someone's heart with a single blow. He learned in ten minutes, something that the fighter took ten years to master.
- 148 Appearances of Tony Masters (Earth-616)
- 55 Images featuring Tony Masters (Earth-616)
- 7 Quotations by or about Tony Masters (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Tony Masters (Earth-616)
- Fan-Art Gallery: Tony Masters (Earth-616)
- Characters killed by Taskmaster
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- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Taskmaster Vol 2 #4
- ↑ Moon Knight Vol 3 #3-6
- ↑ Avengers: The Initiative #9-10
- ↑ Age of Heroes #3
- ↑ Taskmaster Vol 2 #1
- ↑ Secret Avengers Vol 2 #2
- ↑ Age of Ultron #3
- ↑ Age of Ultron #4
- ↑ Taskmaster #1
- ↑ Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #11
- ↑ Battle Scars #2
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Taskmaster Vol 2 #2