Real Name: Anthony Masters
First Appearance: Avengers #190 (May, 1980)
Powers: Photogenic Reflexes. This means that Taskmaster can perfectly duplicate any action he sees. As such, he is extremely proficient in hand-to-hand combat and has fought many of Marvel’s greatest superheroes.
Affiliation: Secret Avengers, Frightful Four, Cabal, Shadow Initiative, A.I.M., Thunderbolts
Did You Know? Taskmaster has trained many of Marvel’s criminals, including Crossbones.
A Little History
Created by George Pérez and David Michelinie, Taskmaster made his first appearance in Avengers #195 back in 1980.
Growing up, the man who would eventually become Taskmaster knew that he was a little different from other children. While watching a cowboy on television perform tricks with his rope, he picked up a rope of his own and started to duplicate what he had seen. As he aged, he learned to become more proficient in what he was duplicating. This, however, doesn’t mean that he was perfect at it…
In one such instance, he watched a man do an extremely difficult jump off of a diving board. While he was able to perfectly replicate what he had watched, he was unable to swim. As a consequence, he nearly drowned in the water. This occurrence established cause for concern for his mother and she immediately called a psychiatrist who told her that he had “photographic reflexes”.
His photographic reflexes served him well in school and life. In fact, during high school, he became the star quarterback for his team after watching only a singular football game. Unfortunately, even though the world could always use more crimefighters, he decided that committing crimes could earn him more money.
Now set on a path of villainy, he began watching and studying superheroes. With enough time and training, he began committing crimes, each one landing him more money than the last. As his significant wealth grew, he decided that confronting the law head–on wasn’t the life he desired. This meant that rather than continue committing crimes, he opened a “school” where he would teach aspiring criminals what he knew.
He and his school were exposed after Pernell Solomon of the Solomon Institute for the Criminally Insane (a clever front for a Taskmaster School) used the school to create himself a clone. Solomon wanted the clone because he had contracted a rare blood disease. What he didn’t foresee, however, was that the Clone contacted the Avengers and told them what was happening.
As the Avengers invaded his school, Taskmaster, knowing what he knew about the team, was able to hold his own against them. This was so much that he was able to capture Ant-Man, Wasp, Yellowjacket and stand tall against Captain America and Iron Man. This, however, wouldn’t last. As Jocasta made her way into battle, he quickly realized that he was unable to replicate the robots moves, thereby leaving him at a disadvantage. With no choice left, Taskmaster was forced to flee the battle.