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The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – So The Taskmaster Got His Powers From a Nazi Super Serum?

by  in Comic News Comment
The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – So The Taskmaster Got His Powers From a Nazi Super Serum?

In this feature we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today we take a look at the origins of the Taskmaster’s superpowers.

The Taskmaster debuted in Avengers #196 (after a one-page cameo in #195), created by David Michelinie and George Perez (in one of the best-designed costumes Perez ever came up with) and along with his first appearance, we also learned his origin…

Over the years, he was such a cool character that he got used a LOT (especially by Michelinie), but his personality often seemed to go all over the place, from a total villain, like his escape plan in Avengers #223…

to an almost amoral character in other instances, like when he helped train John Walker as Captain America…

to nearly a hero (albeit a mercenary) in Agent X…

So 2010’s Taskmaster mini-series by Fred Van Lente and Jefte Palo sought out to explain Taskmaster’s various personalities and in doing so, they also abandoned and forsaked his original origin.

First off, we learn that Taskmaster’s new learned skills override his past memories for every new ability he learns, as shown here in a page from Taskmaster #1 (which also included an awesome visualization of his powers by Palo)…

And finally, the kicker, in issue #3, we learn the real truth, that Tony Masters is a SHIELD agent who was working on a mission years ago to take down some Nazis when things went wrong…

Who his handler is is a big part of the mini-series but not really important for this article, so I’ll skip it.

Anyhow, as you can see, this retcons his origin severely. The mini-series was quite good, but in the five years since, it hasn’t been brought up that often, although at the same time I don’t believe it has been re-abandoned either.

As reader lil noted, it was referenced by Christos Gage in Avengers Academy #9 a year later…

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