Likely planned to release off the heels of the Black Widow movie, Marvel finally gave Taskmaster another mini-series. The mercenary has had two previous mini-series, with the one from 2010 featuring what I consider to be the modern interpretation of the character. When I saw that one of my favorite Marvel villains was receiving another series, I could not wait to read it. Spoilers for the first issue of Taskmaster ahead.
Maria Hill, former director of S.H.I.E.L.D., has been murdered and Taskmaster has been framed for it. Black Cat writer Jed MacKay takes on the ultimate copycat for this five-issue mini-series that is full of the witty humor that was prevalent in the 2010 series.
Taskmaster is a silly character. A man who can copy the movements of any person just by watching them closely, Taskmaster seems like he would be the ultimate opponent. His skeleton face and incredible skill may make him seem intimidating, but in reality, he is just a goofball who is really good at his job. The story itself, a mercenary known to murder people trying to clear his name for a murder he didn’t commit, is interesting.
The way he plays off of the characters around him in this issue tells you everything you need to know about him. His banter with Bullseye is especially hilarious. However, it is his chemistry with Nick Fury (the Samuel L. Jackson one, not the one that is currently the Watcher) is fantastic and I enjoyed every moment the two had together.
The art from Alessandro Vitti and Guru-eFX is vibrant, particularly during the fight between Taskmaster and his unknown assailant. The bright greens and blues of the golf course during a sunny day mix well with the abrupt violence taking place in the area. It is also clear that Taskmaster, while skilled, is no match for this mysterious attacker. The facial expressions given to Taskmaster are hilarious, showing how carefree he is about his abilities until he realizes he is outmatched. While it is nothing super special, the art allows the story to flow nicely and makes the action easy to understand and follow.
The first issue of Taskmaster is intriguing. It sets the tone for the overall story, paints a clear picture of which version of the character they will be pulling from, and features some solid art. I am excited to see what the creative team has in store for the next few issues.