By Jim Beard
The Taskmaster plays no favorites.
Dispensing with common super villainy, the masterful mercenary who can inhumanly match his opponents move-for-move aims to train the next generation of criminals. And where better to do so than at Camp Hammond, the new breeding ground for Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers? Taskmaster takes on the ultimate job of shaping young minds for evil deeds in the pages of AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #26, on sale July 22, and his pupils would be wise to stay on their toes—this professor knows his stuff.
Who represents Taskmaster's greatest foes? Everyone
! Don't believe us? Read on!
AVENGERS #196 (1980)
Enter the Taskmaster! Claiming to be "just a simple teacher…an educator," Tasky proved his mettle by capturing Yellowjacket, the Wasp and Ant-Man, then taking on the entire Avengers line-up. Only the android Jocasta, an unknown quantity, managed to rattle the poor "teacher," but still he made his escape.
MARVEL TEAM-UP #103 (1981)
Spider-Man cracked the Taskmaster's latest training "academy" with the help of Ant-Man, but fell prey to the mercenary's mastery of the web-head's own moves. But one foiled heist of nuclear material later, the two heroes watched Taskmaster beat another hasty retreat.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #334 (1987)
Captured by the US government, Taskmaster found himself with an offer he couldn't refuse: train a new Captain America. That Cap ran under the name of John Walker, later the U.S.Agent, and the whole mess proved to be orchestrated by none other than the Red Skull. Taskmaster went free afterwards.
DAREDEVIL #293 (1991)
In a criminal contest involving the terrifying Tombstone, the Taskmaster confronted not only the Man Without Fear, but the Punisher too. His battle against Daredevil raged through the city streets but ultimately the mimic mastermind tangled with an oncoming cab and lost. A hospital then beckoned.
MOON KNIGHT #5 (2006)
His schools dismantled and living the life of a "simple mercenary," Taskmaster's hired by the Committee to kill Moon Knight. A fierce, bloody battled ensued, unbalanced by Moon Knight's friends, and Tasky ran back to his bosses. Then the Knight blew everything up and demanded vengeance. Uh oh!
CABLE & DEADPOOL #36 (2007)
With a wounded reputation in need of mending, Deadpool picked a fight with Taskmaster. Both hands tied behind his back, the Merc With a Mouth actually tromped his nigh-unbeatable opponent but then endured Taskmaster's assessment of his skills. Deadpool's report card? "Complete lack of professionalism."
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