- 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 any practice, no matter how complex. He was previously a naturally gifted athlete who trained himself to superb physical condition. His power was only limited by the fact that the memories he gained by watching others overwrote his personal memories. As a result, Tony forgot his wife and field agent partner, Mercedes Masters, as well as his own history with S.H.I.E.L.D. Mercedes crafted an elaborate set-up to help control and guide Tony in his new guise as Taskmaster. Using a series of muscle memory and reflexive tasks, she linked Taskmaster to "the Org", his "handler" between jobs and a constant to keep him on task despite his frequently over-written memory. The Org was actually Mercedes herself, gathering intelligence and feeding it back to S.H.I.E.L.D. thanks to Taskmaster's reports. Tony therefore became the ultimate double agent in the super-villain underground -- one who didn't even know what he was.
Tony decided to use his stolen capital to establish a base of operations to train criminals. He took the the name Taskmaster and began training anyone that could pay. When Dr. Pernell Solomon used the Solomon Institute for the Criminally Insane as a front, he used the Taskmasters school's resources to create a clone of himself called Selbe. When he required an organ donation due to possessing an extremely rare blood type, the clone, learning of his fate, contacted the Avengers. Taskmaster captured Yellowjacket, the Wasp, and Ant-Man when they attacked the site. Taskmaster battled the Avengers, who exposed his front operation. He was defeated and fled after a fight with the Avengers newest member the robot Jocasta, whose lack of body language made it impossible for Taskmaster to predict her next move.
In addition to his training academies, Taskmaster also lent himself out as a mercenary or private instructor. He trained John Walker to be the new Captain America for the Commission on Superhuman Activities, then trained Cutthroat to fight Captain America on behalf of the Red Skull.
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. Taskmaster began operating as a more traditional mercenary instead of as an instructor. He first met Sandi Brandenberg after beginning this mercenary M.O.
Taskmaster spent some time around Wade Wilson after Deadpool became famous for the Four Winds hit and hired Sandi as his personal assistant. Wilson was not responsible for the hit, however, and the real assassin Black Swan came after him and his friends. Wilson and the Swan were seemingly killed in an explosion.
When Sandi found a stray amnesiac with super-healing powers, she brought him home because she thought he must be Mr. Wilson. Taskmaster reluctantly helped train "Alex Hayden" at Sandi's request, but thought such an inexperienced merc would just get her into more trouble. He tried to have Alex killed by setting him up on a job to steal the Punisher's .45s, and later reported to the surviving Four Winds that Hayden was Wilson. When Sandi was put in danger by this last act, though, Taskmaster chose to stand side-by-side with Hayden and his friend Outlaw against the Four Winds.
Alex and Sandi eventually slept together, which nearly drove Taskmaster nuts. Things got even more complicated when both Deadpool and Black Swan returned. In the end, Taskmaster and Sandi seemingly ended up together with Hayden and Outlaw reunited, and the entire group stayed together for a time as Agency X.
Taskmaster 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 Mooncopter 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 A.I.M. 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 extraordinary 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 was asked to become a member of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Secret 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, taking the role of Minister of Defense.
When he tried to free Mockingbird from A.I.M. captivity, he was attacked from behind by the TESS-One, and shot in the head by Mockingbird herself, who had been brainwashed by A.I.M. However, Mockingbird purposely missed any vitals and Taskmaster was revealed to be alive but left in a vegetative state. As they thought he was dead, the Secret Avengers left him behind, but his survival was discovered by Mentallo, who had developed a friendship with him. Mentallo kept his survival a secret and sought to cure him with with his nanobots.
All-New Captain America
Taskmaster had joined Hydra to defeat the new Captain America, along with Crossbones, Baron Zemo, Viper, and Baron Blood.
|Power Grid |
The Taskmaster acquired his abilities after ingested a "mnemonic primer", a chemical serum which altered his brain chemistry to make him hypercognitive in the area of skill observation and retention.
- Photographic Reflexes: 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.
Taskmaster can use 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 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.
- Near-Superhuman Mimicry: 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.
- Physical Movement Prediction: He can also do things such as figuring out the sleight of hand techniques of a master poker cheater simply by watching them. He has often shown the ability to actually predict an opponent's 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.
- Olympic-Level Conditioning: The Taskmaster was an Olympic-level athlete and was possibly among the most formidable armed and unarmed combatants in the world.
- Expert Tactician: Taskmaster is a master strategist and tactician (seen particularly in combat with Iron Man and against both Captain Americas during the Siege of Asgard).
- Other Skills: Taskmaster learned meditation techniques in Tibet, he also claims to have learned forensic methods from CIA Agents and Mossad 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, Crossbones, 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.
- The 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 is 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. In the same way, he cannot duplicate any energy manipulating or projecting capabilities for the same reasons.
- 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.
- For example, he is only able to retain a total of eight languages.
- Taskmaster often kept DVDs and tapes of individuals he wished to mimic.
- Energy Shield:' 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.
Customized 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's), Energy Webbing (like Spider-Man's), Katana, Bow & Arrows (sometimes using "trick" arrows like Hawkeye), Sword, Broadsword, Pair of .45s, Rope, Round Steel Shield (like Captain America's), Moon Shaped Shuriken (like Moon Knight), and a multipurpose Billy Club (like 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.
- The Taskmaster's character was considerably revised in a 2002 UDON-created miniseries.
- Although Taskmaster's real name has been hypothesized being "Tony Masters", Marcus Johnson dismissed it as probably not being his real name.
- Tony doesn't remember that he was married.
- While being Initiative Commander under the H.A.M.M.E.R., he was granted Security Level 4.
- 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.
- 180 Appearances of Tony Masters (Earth-616)
- Media Tony Masters (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 67 Images featuring Tony Masters (Earth-616)
- 16 Quotations by or about Tony Masters (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Tony Masters (Earth-616)
- Fan-Art Gallery: Tony Masters (Earth-616)
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- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Taskmaster Vol 2 #3
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Taskmaster Vol 2 #1
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Taskmaster Vol 2 #4
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Taskmaster Vol 2 #1-4
- ↑ Avengers #194-196
- ↑ Captain America #334
- ↑ Captain America #396
- ↑ Deadpool #69
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Agent X #1-6
- ↑ Agent X #13-15
- ↑ Avengers: The Initiative #9-10
- ↑ Age of Heroes #3
- ↑ Secret Avengers Vol 2 #2
- ↑ Secret Avengers Vol 2 #13
- ↑ Secret Avengers Vol 2 #16
- ↑ All-New Captain America #1
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Avengers #196
- ↑ Deadpool #2
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 Avengers: The Initiative #32
- ↑ Taskmaster #1
- ↑ Siege: Captain America #1
- ↑ Hawkeye: Earth's Mightiest Marksman #1
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 Agent X #1
- ↑ Battle Scars #2
- ↑ Siege #1
- ↑ Taskmaster Vol 2 #2
- ↑ Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #11
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