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Taskmaster
Real Name: Tony Masters
Search for 'Taskmaster' on Amazon


Powers:
Taskmaster has photographic reflexes. By watching an action, he can execute that action perfectly. He can also, after much practice, mimic voices.

Bio:
The man who would become the Taskmaster first demonstrated unusual abilities during childhood. After watching a cowboy show on television, he found himself able to duplicate the sophisticated rope tricks he had just watched the cowboy perform. Psychiatrists, called in at the mother's request, termed the boy's rare ability "Photographic Reflexes". He realized the limitations of his abilities the hard way by learning you must first learn how to swim before you learn how to dive as he nearly drowned. He employed his talent several times during his youth for professional gain, most notably when he became a star quarterback of his high school football team after watching one pro football game. Upon graduation, he briefly considered a career as a crime fighter, but opted for becoming a criminal, which he perceived to be more lucrative.

Taskmaster then began a program of observing the fighting techniques of a large number of superhumanly powered adventurers through archival television news broadcasts. He initially used his fighting skills to execute several successful grand larcenies, but he had not properly anticipated the dangers involved. He decided to use his stolen capital to establish a center for training aspiring criminals to become polished professionals. His goal was to become a supplier for criminal organizations around the world. Designing a costume, he took the name Taskmaster and began to train a large number of thugs at this criminal academy located near the town of Southampton on New York State's Long Island.

It didn't take long for Taskmaster to get noticed by the criminal community and he was soon hired by the international terrorist organization known as Hydra to train Spider-Woman, who had become Hydra's latest operative. Taskmaster began to test Spider-Woman's powers and abilities until he thought she was ready to begin her true training in advanced martial arts to become a perfect weapon for Hydra. The training continued until Spider-Woman believed she was ready to be sent on assignment.

When Spider-Woman failed her mission to kill Nick Fury and learned the truth about Hydra, she fled into hiding. Once Hydra was able to track her down, they sent Taskmaster in to bring her back. Underestimating her skills, Spider-Woman was able to defeat Taskmaster by stabbing him with a sword and using him as a conductor to channel her powers through to effect all Hydra agents surrounding them.

This crime college was forced to cease operations when its front organization, the Solomon Institute for the Criminally Insane, was exposed by the Avengers. Taskmaster's chief business administrator, Dr. Pernell Solomon, afflicted with a serious heart condition, had forced the academies scientific staff to generate a clone of himself, with the purpose of using its heart for a compatible transplant. The clone, artificially aged to adulthood, escaped and alerted the Avengers to the existence of the criminal institute. Although the Avengers apprehended most of the Solomon Institute's personnel, Taskmaster managed to escape.

Taskmaster established a new academy in a warehouse on Manhattan's lower west side, but the crime fighters Spider-Man and Ant-Man, following separate leads, discovered the place and thwarted Taskmaster's plan to rob nuclear material from a scientific supply house. Taskmaster was again forced to flee, claiming to have established technical institutes for criminals across the country.

Taskmaster went into hiding and continued to train various recruits. During this time he trained and recruited Brock Rumlow and Blanche Sitznski to be instructors at one of his warehouse academies in Pennsylvania. Shortly afterwards Rachel Leighton and Sheoke Sanada would become members of Taskmaster's recruits to receive training at this location.

Taskmaster was next observed at the Carson Carnival of Traveling Wonders, a small company that happened to have given Hawkeye his first job as an archer as a youth. Taskmaster was using the carnival as a traveling front for his operations until Hawkeye and Ant-Man (Scott Lang) compromised it. Again, the Taskmaster managed to escape custody.

Taskmaster would later be hired by Black Abbott to recruit a group of street gangs from various neighborhoods together to train at one of his academies. This gathering would be interrupted by Spider-Man and Nomad. Already paid in full for recruiting the group, Taskmaster would soon flee instead of taking the chance at being captured.

Taskmaster teamed up with Wizard, Constrictor and Deadpool to become the newest version of the Frightful Four. The Frightful Four attacked the Fantastic Four at their home located in the Baxter Building. The Thing and Franklin Richards where the only members there at the time. The Frightful Four captured the Thing, but Franklin Richards proved to be more trouble than planned. The Fantastic Four soon arrived home and Taskmaster, Wizard, and Constrictor would leave Deadpool behind to face the rest of the team alone.

Deciding to further explore the use of a circus as a front for his academy, Taskmaster took over yet another small outfit, and used it for many months to great success. However, while it was playing a small town in Ohio, the Thing and Vance Astrovik assisted a government agent in foiling Taskmaster's activities. While escaping the Taskmaster was captured by a group of FBI agents and taken into custody, but there is reason to believe that the Red Skull was behind the Taskmaster's capture since a group of normal men were able to capture him.

Sometime later, Justin Hammer hired Taskmaster to train a new Spymaster Taskmaster gathered a small group of his best students and put them through a rigorous program of training including a dangerous course as well against themselves until only one remained alive. The student known only as "Number One" survived and deemed worthy of the name "Spymaster". Taskmaster charged the new Spymaster to retrieve the golden angel ornament from atop of the Christmas tree at Stark Enterprises as a field test in order to graduate before sending him to Justin Hammer. Iron Man decided to let Spymaster walk away with the prize instead of endangering the lives of children in the area.

Taskmaster didn't take it too kindly when a student of his named Tyrone McQuaid decided to quit. Taskmaster sent other students of his out to kill him. Not knowing where to turn, Tyrone went to the local social services office in Harlem to find the Falcon. Tyrone told the Falcon the location of Taskmaster's academy where he was trained. The confrontation between Taskmaster and the Falcon didn't last long due to the interference of Tyrone and the Police. Taskmaster once again escaped capture.

Through Douglas Rockwell, the head of the President's Commission on Superhuman Activities, Red Skull, who used the identity “Mr. Smith“, arranged for the Taskmaster to train John Walker to become the next Captain America in order to disgrace the image of Captain America. In order to conceal the Red Skull's involvement, Douglas Rockwell had the Commission work out a deal to have years taken off Taskmaster's sentence for training Walker. After Taskmaster successfully trained Walker to be the next Captain America for the Commission, the Red Skull had it arranged for the Taskmaster to escape from the Commission's detention center so he could continue training lackeys for the Red Skull.

Taskmaster would next set up a new academy at an unknown graveyard mausoleum in Brooklyn, New York. Spider-Man believed Taskmaster to be responsible for kidnapping his wife Mary Jane and interrupted Taskmaster's plans while searching for her. Using his magnesium flare, Taskmaster managed to escape Spider-Man's wrath as well as capture.

Shortly after Taskmaster’s arranged escape, the Red Skull (Johann Schmidt) hired Taskmaster to train sparring partners for him in order to get his newly cloned body of Captain America in physical fighting shape for a confrontation with The Captain (Captain America, Steve Rogers) and Captain America (U.S. Agent, John Walker). It is also possible that Taskmaster even trained the Red Skull himself.

A faction group of the Hand hired Taskmaster and Tombstone to kill numerous people for them. The Hand created a contest between the two as to who could kill the most according to rules set by the Hand. This lead to a confrontation with both Daredevil and the Punisher as well as between the two. Taskmaster was hit by a car during the battle between all four men. Punisher then tried attempted to throw a knife at Taskmaster's heart. Daredevil deflected the knife by shooting it using a gun and instead caused it to stab Taskmaster in the ribs. Taskmaster would be taken to the hospital by the paramedics. Daredevil would later pay Taskmaster a visit at the hospital as Matt Murdock to get information about the contest. Taskmaster asked if he was Daredevil and Matt Murdock replied indicating that Taskmaster was correct in knowing his secret identity. Taskmaster's face would be seen for the first time, but it is unknown if this was Taskmaster's true face or not and believed to be a holographic image.

Taskmaster would next be seen as one of the Red Skull's (Johann Schmidt) Division Chiefs. The other Division Chiefs consisted of Watchdog Prime (Watchdogs), a Scourge, Crucible of the Resistants, Sin, Power Broker, Number Seven of the Secret Empire, Arnim Zola, Baron Von Strucker and Minister Blood.

The Red Skull (Johann Schmidt) had Mother Night search for a replacement for Crossbones when he took a leave of absence from the Skeleton Crew. She found Cutthroat to be the best candidate for a replacement. In order to look good for the Red Skull, Mother Night told Taskmaster that the Red Skull himself put in a special request for a private training.

Spider-Man's (Peter Parker) path crossed with the Red Skull (Johann Schmidt) when he was searching for answers about his parents. The Red Skull contacted Taskmaster to take care of Spider-Man for him. Taskmaster seen this as an opportunity to try out new recruits he had trained to be versions of Captain America, Hawkeye, and Spider-Man himself. The anti-terrorist known as Solo was also searching for the Red Skull at the time. Spider-Man and Solo decided to team up together to find the Red Skull. Blood Spider, Deathshield and Jagged Bow were defeated due to Solo's interference. Taskmaster fled once again escaping capture. Taskmaster contacted the Red Skull afterwards to inform him of his failure to stop Spider-Man. The Red Skull told Taskmaster that he expected him to make up for it in full.

The Chess Set contacted Taskmaster and other villains in order to sell energy saturated corpses of Silver, Auric and Hedison. This lead to a confrontation with Alpha Flight, Spider-Man and Wolverine.

Taskmaster overheard discussion about restaurant grease worth half a million dollars while walking through the New York fair. Taskmaster decided to go after the grease only to find others after it as well. This lead to a confrontation with Daredevil, Stilt-Man, Tatterdemalion and Wild Boys. Taskmaster was unable to escape capture this time as the police arrested him along with the rest of the villains.

When the Trapster took the Tinkerer to court for consumer fraud, Taskmaster was called as a witness on behalf of the Tinkerer. A fight erupted during the trial causing many super-villains to be captured, but Taskmaster once again escaped.

After the Avengers and Ultraforce defeated Nemesis, Siren was transported into one of Taskmaster's academies. Taskmaster auditioned Siren for his school soon afterwards. When Diamondback appeared during the audition the two of them began to fight to prove themselves worthy to Taskmaster. Taskmaster informed them that he had a job for the both of them and assigned the two of them to kill the former Avenger War Machine, knowing that they would be unable to complete the mission. Taskmaster hid the true task from the two of them, which was that Taskmaster was hired by an unknown person to gather information on War Machine. Unknown to Siren and Diamondback, Taskmaster placed a device to record information on War Machine's new armor. Taskmaster misinformed the two of them that the mission was to kill War Machine so the two of them would test the armor in order to record the needed information. During Diamondback and Siren's mission a young boy by the name of Kyi stowed away on the quinjet in hopes of becoming one of Taskmaster's students. Taskmaster refused to allow a child into his academy until he found out that Kyi had potential and power of teleportation. Kyi would eventually take the name Jolt due to his powers.

Taskmaster began to develop a relationship with Siren. Taskmaster soon found out that Diamondback double crossed him by planting explosive devices around his headquarters. Jolt accidentally started one of the devices when he removed one of the diamonds attached. Taskmaster had Jolt open a teleportation hole large enough for Siren, Jolt and himself to escape the explosion. During the journey through the portal Siren was sent back to her own dimension while Taskmaster and Jolt teleported to an unknown location.

When a being from another universe entered the Earth-616 universe to learn how the universe was created, he met the Elders of the Universe known as Grandmaster. This universal traveler explained to Grandmaster that he planned on learning from this universe or would destroy it. Grandmaster talked the traveler into playing a cosmic chess game using the inhabitants of each other’s universe as their pawns. However, the traveler instead attempted to merge two cosmic universe together and enlisted the aid of many foes of both the Avengers and the other universe’s champions by mentally enthralling them to help his plans of universal domination. Taskmaster teamed with Shockwave, Whiplash, Crossbones, Zaran the Weapons Master, Tumbler, Razor-Fist, Machete, Conquest and a martial arts expert from the other universe to fight Black Widow, Black Panther and two caped urban knights from the other universe. It is unknown how long the battle took place, but it ended with Taskmaster’s team defeated. Once the Avengers and the other universe’s champions defeated the traveler, both universes and their inhabitants were returned to their rightful place in their respective universe.

When the Avengers began to change their tactics to a more proactive stage and kept themselves updated on all major dangers at large to become more effective. They started by searching for Taskmaster in order to put a stop to his operations and denying criminals, terrorists and super-villains a valuable resource. However, Taskmaster continued to elude them with each academy they shut down.

Due to the Avengers shutting down a vast majority of his academies, Taskmaster decided to make up his lost profit’s with more lucrative jobs and doing work-for-hire. One of his first job was to help out his old friend Jonesy in Las Vegas by stopping a small-time hustler that has been pulling a big-time scam at his casino. It took only three winning hands for Taskmaster to figure out the scam. On his way out of the casino Taskmaster met a woman by the name of Sandi Brandenberg, whom he decided to take a chance with and asked her out to dinner.

The next day Taskmaster was hired by Sunset Bain to sabotage Stark Enterprises’ research and technology in developing a new semiconductor and put a stop to the Chinese Triads’ plan to steal the same technology. Taskmaster succeeded with the industrial sabotage of Stark Labs, but was confronted by Iron Man in the process. Knowing that he could not defeat Iron Man in hand-to-hand combat, he used his skills to evade and keep him off balanced enough to escape. When he went to claim his payment, he found himself set up by Sunset Bain.

Sunset Bain’s betrayal did not go over too well with Taskmaster and he began planning payback. Using his skills he set Bain and the Chinese Triads against one another, making them believe each other had betrayed the other. However the Triad found out that it was Taskmaster that killed one of their members and not Sunset Bain. Sunset Bain and the Triad called a truce and allied with each other. The Triad’s first gesture of good faith offered to capture Taskmaster for Sunset Bain. The Triad managed to catch Taskmaster off guard and interrupted a date with Sandi. The Triad managed to capture Taskmaster and brought him to Sunset Bain only to be betrayed by her and killed by her men. Sunset Bain had her men torture Taskmaster within an inch of his life, stuffed into a weighted body bag and thrown off a bridge into a river. Using the skills he discovered while at a Buddhist school in Tibet, Taskmaster used meditation techniques to slow his breath and heart rate down, which allowed him to survive underwater for an extended period of time without oxygen, Taskmaster escaped and made his way to the surface. Knowing that he would need more experience in order to take on Sunset Bain’s entire group of henchmen, he began to watch kung-fu movies fast forwarded in order to move at a faster speed than normal. Using his new skills, Taskmaster stormed Sunset Bain’s New York office and easily made his way to a face to face confrontation with Sunset herself after defeating Sunset’s personal bodyguard Mr. Isley. Taskmaster was interrupted by a helicopter outside Sunset’s window before he could deliver a killing blow. While on his way out of her office he reminded Sunset that his vendetta against her wasn’t over.

When the Superhuman Registration Act went into effect, Taskmaster reluctantly decided to help the government. Soon after, the Committee contracted Taskmaster to kill Moon Knight. The Profile told Taskmaster that Moon Knight would be friendless, alone, with no fight left in him and ready to die. Expecting this to be easy money, Taskmaster accepted the contract while also contacting the CSA about Moon Knight returning to being a costumed vigilante again. Unfortunately for Taskmaster, everything the Profile had told him was incorrect. While Mark Spector was indeed ready to die at one point, he received a sudden urge to continue living after one of his closest friends was nearly beaten to death. This lead to a short fight with Mark Spector and his friends, which resulted in Taskmaster being shot in the chest with a musket gun and falling out of a window. Upset over the fact that he was lied to, Taskmaster confronted the Committee demanding compensation for lost equipment and time. During this confrontation, Mark Spector flew his Mooncopter into the building, seeking vengeance.

It is unknown how or when, but at some point Taskmaster was once again captured and like last time, was offered a deal to work off his sentence. Under the Fifty State Initiative, he joined the Thunderbolts who were now a group of villains working for the CSA in a work release program. Their assignment is to capture both renegade heroes and villains that have not registered. Not taking any chances, Mister Fantastic chipped and tagged each member with nanobot technology to monitor their actions.
Due to recent events, it is unknown if Taskmaster continues to train criminals at various academies across the United States. However as history has shown, once he is free again, he will continue his training of others so that he does not have to get personally involved in battle in order to make a profit.

Notes:


First Appearance: The Avengers (1963) #195

Favorite Characters:
Taskmaster is a favorite character of 41 users

View a chronological listing of this character's appearances

Issue Appearances:
AAFES 10th Edition [New Avengers: X Exchange] (2010)
Age Of Heroes (2010)
Age of Ultron (2013)
Agent X (2002)
All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z (2006)
Alpha Flight (1983)
Alpha Flight (2011)
Avengers (1998)
Avengers Academy (2010)
Avengers and Power Pack Assemble! (2006)
Avengers Arena (2013)
Avengers Unconquered (2009)
Avengers: The Initiative (2007)
Avengers/JLA (2003)
Avenging Spider-Man (2012)
Battle Scars (2012)
Black Panther (2005)
Black September (1995)
Bullseye: Perfect Game (2011)
Cable & Deadpool (2004)
Captain America (1968)
Captain America (1998)
Captain America And Crossbones (2011)
Captain Marvel (2008)
Civil War (2006)
Civil War Chronicles (2007)
Daken: Dark Wolverine (2010)
Daredevil (1964)
Daredevil (2011)
Dark Avengers (2009)
Dark Reign Files (2009)
Deadline (2002)
Deadpool (1997)
Deadpool (2008)
Deadpool (2013)
Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe (2012)
Die Spinne (1980)
Elektra (1996)
Elektra (2014)
Essential X-Men (1995)
Hämähäkkimies / Spider-Man (1980)
Harley-Davidson/Avengers (2012)
Hawkeye: Earth's Mightiest Marksman (1998)
Heroic Age: Villains (2011)
House of M: Avengers (2008)
Infinity: Heist (2013)
Inhumanity: The Awakening (2014)
Iron Man (1968)
JLA/Avengers (2003)
Marvel Apes: Grunt Line Special (2009)
Marvel Apes: Speedball Special (2009)
Marvel Comics Presents (2007)
Marvel Team-Up (1972)
Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (2011)
Marvel vs. Capcom: Official Complete Works (2012)
Marvel-Comic-Sonderheft (1980)
Moon Knight (2006)
Ms. Marvel (2006)
New Avengers (2005)
New Avengers Finale (2010)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z (2008)
Ramos art-n-out Hip Sketchbook (2010)
Sarjakuvalehti (1990)
Secret Avengers (2010)
Secret Avengers (2013)
Secret Invasion (2008)
Siege (2010)
Siege: Captain America (2010)
Siege: Storming Asgard - Heroes & Villains (2010)
Siege: The Cabal (2010)
Siren (1995)
Spider-Woman: Origin (2006)
Taskmaster (2002)
Taskmaster (2010)
The Amazing Spider-Man (1963)
The Astonishing Spider-Man (2009)
The Avengers (1963)
The Exploits of Spider-Man (1992)
The Marvel Encyclopedia (2006)
The Mighty World Of Marvel (2009)
The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (1983)
The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition (1985)
The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Master Edition (1990)
The Sensational She-Hulk (1989)
The Thing (1983)
Thunderbolts (1997)
What If? 200 (2011)
What If? Secret Invasion (2010)
What If...? (1989)
Wolverine (1988)
Wolverine and Deadpool (2004)
X-Men and Spider-Man: Time's Arrow (1998)

Group Affiliation(s):
A.I.M. (Marvel)
Cabal (Marvel)
Frightful Four (Marvel)
H.A.M.M.E.R.
Hydra (Marvel)
Initiative (Marvel)
S.H.I.E.L.D. (Marvel)
Secret Avengers
Shadow Initiative
Thunderbolts (01 - Masters of Evil)

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