The Taskmaster

Real Name: He's never mentioned it. And as for his real face...well, presumably that skull bit is just a mask, but what lies under it is anyone's guess. (Hey, DareDevil wasn't sure what he "saw" under there; you think I have a clue?)
First Appearance: Avengers 195
What's His Problem? Oh, Tasky has no hang-ups. Zero. Zippo. He recognized his capabilities early on and simply picked a career most likely to allow him to capitalize on 'em.
Powers: Taskmaster has photographic reflexes; if he sees anyone in action even once, he can exactly copy their movements without any special training. Part of this unusual talent appears to be the ability to counter the attack of anyone he's ever studied; he can either move like their exact double (which has got to be disconcerting for the hero he's fighting), or he can instantly use the styles of others to formulate a defense. He even carries accruements associated with heroes he mimics, like duplicates of Captain America's shield and Hawkeye's arrows, so that he can use their fighting techniques more efficiently. You might want to close your eyes during the battle, however; he has a thing for magnesium flares.
Favorite Quote: "Sure, I talk tough, but I set up my academies so I could make good money without facin' jokers like you!" (Amazing Spider-Man 308; an annoyed Taskmaster chastises Spidey for disrupting classes at his school).
Heroes He Keeps Running Into: Taskmaster actually avoids heroes when he can, as he has no interest in being a professional super-villain (this makes his appearance in a super-assassin contest during Elektra 7 pretty incomprehensible; but I digress...). Taskmaster has found job security by training those who aspire to be professional henchmen. After years of peaceful obscurity plying his trade, he was discovered by the Avengers. That began a series of run-ins with them and with individual members like Jocasta, Captain America, Ant-Man and Hawkeye; these contests often ended in a draw, as did several encounters with Spider-Man. Taskmaster has been less fortunate in his more recent encounters: he was confused almost out of his wits when confronted with the insane antics of everyone's favorite Merc With A Mouth, Deadpool; and out-and-out clobbered when he met up with Elektra, although he did throw her off for a bit by copying DareDevil's fighting style.
People Who Think He's Not So Bad: One assumes his pupils have a healthy respect for him. The U.S. Government hired him to train the new Captain America after Steve Rogers left the job. And, obviously, super-villains like the Black Abbot pay him well to train hapless flunkies not to drop their weapons and head for the hills when they meet up with super-heroes, so Tasky is well respected by his evil peers.
Most Despicable Act: Despite his insistence that he is only a teacher, Taskmaster is as ruthless as they come. He blackmailed Hawkeye's friend Marcy so he could use her circus as a cover for one of his schools (Avengers 223); another time, he stood by and let the Black Abbott incinerate one of his pupils as an object lesson to the others (Marvel Team-Up 146). And he flunks his students outright if they bolt during raids by super-heroes; how ruthless can you get?

(And now presenting, in the swimsuit category...)


Tasking Mug Shots!


Avengers 196
1980

Marvel Team-Up 103
1981

Elektra 7
1997


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