Thursday, September 17, 2015

Anything You Can Do...


Name This Marvel Villain??

When the Avengers track the missing Wasp to an estate in Southampton, their destination turns out to be the Solomon Institute for the Criminally Insane--and does that hit the nail on the head when describing the Taskmaster, our formidable-looking and composite villain who has established a number of such under-the-radar compounds as fronts for training academies for recruiting and distributing hired help to super-villains in need.

But what makes the Taskmaster qualified to head up training for all of this muscle-for-hire? His outfit and accessories provide a clue, but let's let him explain his special talent.

But instead of becoming a villain in the field, he turned his talents in a more lucrative direction and went into business for himself, setting up a string of academies where he could train crooks and misfits as hirelings for A-list villains with ready cash. As for his teaching credentials, he's only too happy to demonstrate to his captive audience.

Sure, sure, I know what you're thinking--"It's the Super-Adaptoid 2.0!"  Fair enough, though in this case, none of the "super."  Eventually, the Avengers crash in to rescue their teammates. The Taskmaster's trainees give the team problems enough--but the Taskmaster himself makes a respectable showing against Iron Man and Captain America before deciding to choose the better part of valor and withdraw in an effort to even the odds. In doing so, he reveals his one weakness: facing a brand new foe.

In a perfect world, a combined attack from both Yellowjacket and the Wasp (the latter costumed in one of the most truly awful fashion misfires to cross the desk of artist George Perez) would drop an opponent with no super-powers and only the strength and stamina of a normal man. But since we seldom see either or both of these two drop anyone without the help of their teammates, the Taskmaster isn't due to be captured this day.

Since we didn't see super-villains in other mags begin to suffer any shortages of manpower, we can assume the Taskmaster returned to the much-preferred status of being off the grid at his hidden academies and putting his students through their paces. The Taskmaster and his schools may have looked good on paper, but we never saw any of his efforts pay off; after all, you have to wonder why his future hirelings didn't give any of Marvel's heroes more trouble, since they'd been trained by someone who knew how to counter any of their moves or tactics.  Perhaps there's more of a learning curve to becoming a goon-for-hire than you'd think.


Anonymous said...

I liked the Taskmaster! I thought it was a pretty cool concept. Great costume, and I thought it was amusing that he talked like a goon, even though he was highly intelligent.
Good opponent for the Avengers. Didn't have the raw power of a Kang or Ultron, say, so he simply out-foxed 'em or out-maneuvered 'em.

Anonymous said...

p.s....I thought it was great to see Jocasta. Another great character, woefully underused.

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