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San Diego Comic-Con may have had a few familiar studios missing from Hall H this year, but with Marvel announcing its long-awaited Phase 4 lineup, that more than made up for it. Among the scores of movie and television announcements that were unveiled, attendees were also treated to some Black Widow footage. The trailer showed a brief glimpse at a well-known Marvel villain comic fans have been waiting to see for a long time in the MCU: Taskmaster.
Unfortunately, that footage is under lock and key and was only seen within the confines of Hall H. The good news is that there's plenty of existing Marvel comics, shows and animated features that have featured Taskmaster, so we presumably know a fair bit about his character. Here are some of the major things to know about this villain, and why some of the hardcore Marvel fans are thrilled to hear he's going to appear in Black Widow.
Like Captain America, Taskmaster Is "Just A Kid From Brooklyn"
Taskmaster, or Anthony "Tony" Masters, is believed to have hailed from Brooklyn, New York. From there, he gained a good deal of notoriety at a young age for his ability to achieve professional level skills simply by watching others do it. This included becoming a star quarterback on his high school football team after watching one professional football game. If only we could all be so lucky!
Masters knew his abilities were unique, and there was once a time he believed he could be a solid crime fighter. He ultimately decided he could make more money being a criminal, and thus became Taskmaster. It's hard to say whether or not that move worked out for him financially, although it does seem villains tend to live far more luxuriously than their heroic counterparts.
He Can Replicate The Abilities Of Anyone He Sees
As previously alluded to in the prior post, Taskmaster is able to perfectly replicate the abilities of anyone he's seen. This was shown in the Black Widow footage that only a select few at San Diego Comic-Con were able to see. That power will be on display given a brief scene that was shown, in which he copied Natasha Romanoff's moves perfectly.
For that reason, Taskmaster can be a tough customer to take on in hand-to-hand combat. He's at least as good as anyone he's fighting, and can even tap into the skillset of past warriors he's seen that may be a superior fighter. With that said, he can be bested, and has been before in the comics by the likes of Deadpool and heroes he wasn't all that familiar with. So he's not perfect, but pretty close.
He's An Expert With A Lot Of Weapons
Another perk Taskmaster's special ability affords him is that he is skilled with a lot of weapons. Though he can use just about anything, he is typically shown with a sword and a shield that is similar to the one used by Captain America. He even has displayed a proficiency with his shield just like Cap because, again, he has a photographic memory.
With that being said, it remains to be seen what skills Taskmaster will have in Black Widow. The movie takes place between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, so there's a chance he's witnessed the Avengers in action. Take that, and his proficiency with just about any weapon, and he's one tough customer. Chances are he'll elevate his projectile abilities drastically watching Natasha and Hawkeye (if he's around in the movie), which would make him a force to be reckoned with.
Taskmaster's Iconic Skull Face Isn't His Real Face
Many Marvel fans are familiar with Taskmaster, mainly because he looks like the brother of Red Skull wearing a hooded cape he stole from Doctor Doom's ruined laundry (I'd take the cameo if the movie isn't happening). It's easy to assume his face is supposed to be a skull, but it's actually been shown in several Marvel comics that the iconic skull face is merely a mask.
For the record, that iconic skull mask isn't quite the direction the MCU is going with in Black Widow, as evidenced by a recent first look at the character. That's really the only major change so far, as the general color scheme looks to be the same even if the cape is missing. Overall, it's a solid re-imagining of Taskmaster, though I'd understand if other fans felt differently.
He's Not Always A Bad Guy
Taskmaster certainly looks to be on the other side of our heroes in the brief footage we saw in Black Widow, but that doesn't mean things will stay that way. Taskmaster has certainly worked for both sides of the aisle, and has trained numerous heroes and villains throughout Marvel Comics. Some of his notable students have included U.S. Agent, Crossbones and Spider-Woman.
Given that history, and the fact that Black Widow takes place in the past, it's possible Taskmaster may be working behind the scenes for the good guys in the present day. Maybe S.H.I.E.L.D. has him squirreled away somewhere training future operatives? It's possible, though it'd be weird to think he hasn't been shown to this point. Of course, we're assuming Black Widow doesn't mark Taskmaster's final appearance, which could always happen as well. I'm hoping that's not the case, but we've lost a fair amount of MCU villains over the years.
Taskmasters Abilities Allow Him To Impersonate Other Characters
Should Taskmaster manage to escape Black Widow intact, it would be interesting to see how he is utilized in future MCU features. His ability to mimic other characters means that he can become them with the right disguise or costume if he happens to have one. Wouldn't it be crazy to think a classic Marvel character has appeared, only to realize it was Taskmaster in disguise?
It'd be a cool gimmick, though there aren't many heroes Taskmaster could effectively pull a switcharoo with. It would really only work on a character who often wears a mask, so guys like Spider-Man or Iron Man would be fair game. Imagine how dark it would be to think Iron Man made a surprise return and it's just Taskmaster pulling one over on everybody? Let's hope he sticks around following his appearance in Black Widow.
Black Widow is slated to hit theaters Friday, May 1, 2020. Stick with CinemaBlend for updates on it and the MCU in the meantime, and other news regarding movie and television news.