"Thanks for the moves. Now get out of my face!"
—Taskmaster's victory quote.
Tony Masters aka Taskmaster is a character from the Avengers and Deadpool franchises.
Tony Masters was a former SHIELD Agent who injected himself with a sample of supersoldier serum he stole during a raid on a secret Nazi laboratory. This supersoldier serum gave him the abillity to perfectly imitate any sort of technique just by watching someone perform that technique, whether a martial arts move, learning a foreign language, or playing a musical piece flawlessly (although it didn't automatically give him the ability to read sheet music).
Unfortunately, this also gave him bouts of amnesia every time he learned something too complex, such as the martial arts style of the alien Kree race. To counteract this, SHIELD Director Nick Fury assigned Masters' wife, Mercedes Merced, to act as Tony's agency Handler as part of a secret operation designed to exploit his new ability. Mercedes then gave the amnesiac Tony Masters a new identity, assigning him missions that seem morally questionable, but ultimately benefit the interests of the US Government and its citizens. That new identity is the Taskmaster.
Taskmaster has since received his own comic series. Along with his mercenary profession and his main role of training recruits of various villain and hero organizations, Taskmaster has also become good friends with Deadpool, coming to Deadpool's aid during some of his wacky antics. In particular, he has helped Deadpool with his nonsensical scheme to charm Black Widow by acting as a diversion, attacking the Thunderbolts head-on while Deadpool teleports to Black Widow's location and flirts with her. To Taskmaster's surprise, the scheme was eventually successful. However, he was clearly disappointed when Deadpool paid him with cash withdrawn from several ATM machines using Norman Osborn's stolen credit card.
Powers and Abilities
The Taskmaster's only superhuman abilities were that of his photographic reflexes. He was able to duplicate almost any physical act he sees after seeing it done by someone else only once. Due to these reflexes, he can do things which border on superpowers. For instance Taskmaster has discovered that after watching martial arts movies on fast-forward he is able to briefly duplicate the moves at a greatly increased velocity, effectively giving him a limited form of super-speed. However, as he does not have any sort of enhanced endurance, this puts a great strain on his body and he is only able to fight in this manner for short periods of time or risk injuring himself.
He can also copy the subtle muscle movements of others so precisely that he can at times do things such as copying another persons voice so precisely as to fool voice recognition software. He can also do things such as figuring out the sleight of hand techniques of a master poker cheater simply by watching them. He can even duplicate the nearly superhuman abilities with thrown projectiles which Bullseye exhibits, or approximate the agility of someone like Spider-Man, at least up to a point that doesn't require superhuman effort. He is also capable of using this ability to master complex gymnastics routines and play difficult pieces of music. However, he typically prefers to use this ability to copy the combat skills, both armed and unarmed, of costumed crime-fighters and expert martial artists from around the world, typically seen through watching videos of them in combat situations. He has often shown the ability to actually predict an opponents next move before they make it if he has studied their fighting style enough. Opponents who are skilled at improvisational fighting styles, or who have a more random unpredictable style are less likely to have their moves predicted by Taskmaster (such as Deadpool). The Taskmaster is a master strategist and tactician (seen particularly in surprisingly successful combat against both Iron Man and two Captain Americas simultaneously during the Siege of Asgard).
The Taskmaster is an Olympic-level athlete and is possibly among the most formidable armed and unarmed combatants in the Marvel universe. Beside his photographic reflexes, he possessed photographic muscle memory that allows him to instinctively, instantly, and completely learn and acquire new skill and abilities. While not having any superhuman physical, mental, or energy manipulative abilities, the Taskmaster was able to routinely battle super-human powered foes with an impressive degree of success.
However the Taskmaster was not capable of duplicating a physical feat if the effort to do so requires superhuman effort. For instance, while he could view an opponent lifting a car, he could not do so because his body can't duplicate the superhuman strength required to do so. Although he has already proven to be able to manipulate chi to watch a martial artist showing him how to stop the opponent's heart accumulating chi wrist.
Taskmaster has at times been known to use a wrist device stolen from S.H.I.E.L.D. which created weapons out of pure energy, usuall to mimic the powers or equipment of others such as Captain America's shield or Spider-Man's webbing. These weapons apparently had substance even after he let go of them, at least for a short time.
The serum wasn't without side-effects however, although it allowed Taskmaster to copy the fighting styles of others, it had an adverse effect on his personal memory (e.g. he couldn't remember his past).
—Legion Arrow quote
Taskmaster is a very versatile character, able to play rushdown, zoning and defensive. His Guard Master allows him to punish many rushdown characters, and his Aim Master is very fast, complementing his zoning. Both his Spidey's Swing and Shield Skills can be chained/cancelled in normal attacks, as they're not essencially special attacks, making his combo's very versatile. Taskmaster is a defensive-minded all-around-character most suited to keep-away strategies and counterattacks, punishing any careless opponents who would rush in too quickly. In particular, his Guard Master attacks and Aegis Counter are useful counters to brutal rushdown characters like Wolverine or Zero, allowing Taskmaster to counter brash overhead or low-aimed attacks.
Against other keep-away characters, the Guard Master can also deflect projectiles or negate beams (like M.O.D.O.K.'s Psionic Blaster) entirely, allowing Taskmaster to hold his own against said keep-away characters. Also, the Shield Skills attack can nullify many standard projectiles (like Ryu's Hadouken) while pushing Taskmaster forward, allowing him to safely close the distance and seize the initiative as the situation warrants.
Due to this, he's very versatile and can adapt into different battle situations, increased by his high combo potential combining good speed, melee range, projectiles and defensive skills, which can turn the tide of the fight.
- Aim Master: Rapidly fires arrows at the opponent similar to Hawkeye, in the air or on the ground. Each attack button changes the trajectory; you can fire straight ahead, upward 45 degrees or straight up while on the ground, or straight ahead, downward 45 degrees or straight down while in the air. While fired up, arrows will rain down a few seconds later. Can be charged to fire up to three arrows.
- Spidey's Swing: Incorporates Spider-Man's famous web-swinging skill. Due to this move being a command normal, it can be comboed into and out of.
- Shield Skills: Rushes his opponent with his shield in the style of Captain America with less range but like Spidey's Swing, acts as a command normal. Like Cap's Charging Star, Taskmaster's can block projectiles of all sorts. Can be canceled into a launcher which uses a similar function.
- Guard Master: Enters a counter state which will activate when attacked. Can counter high or low attacks and projectiles depending on the button used. All can be cancelled into hypers if connected at close range.
- Sword Master: Attacks using an overhead swashbuckling move. Has slow startup but can be followed up with six different attacks if blocked by an opponent, starting with an unblockable headbutt that allows for further attacks, enabling a powerful onslaught of mixup.
- Sting Master: New move in UMVC3, Taskmaster charges forward for a stab, lifts the opponent up with his sword, and shoots them, similar to the finisher of his Sword Master series and the attack portion of his L and M version Guard Master.
|α||Aim Master (Horizontal Shot)||Shot||Front||Legion Arrow (Horizontal)|
|β||Aim Master (Parabolic Shot)||Shot||Tilt Up||Legion Arrow (Parabolic)|
|γ||Aim Master (Vertical Shot)||Shot||Upward||Legion Arrow (Vertical)|
- Aegis Counter (Level 1): Unleashes a flurry of slashes at the opponent, backstabs them (in the style of the Black Knight) and shoots them at the back of the head with Punisher's Colt. Though this is a counter move, it does not appear to work against projectiles.
- Legion Arrow (Level 1): Aims for the opponent anywhere in the screen and fires a hail of blazing arrows at them. The move can be used in the air as well. The direction of the arrows is determined by the buttons used. All versions can OTG depending on where the opponent is on the screen and where the arrows are fired from.
Changes in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
- j.H. floats higher.
- Decreased minimum damage scaling on his normal attacks.
- Web Swing can be canceled.
- Charging Star causes opponent to fly to the side.
- Charging Star floats lower.
- Damage for Aim Master decreased.
- H. Aim Master floats lower.
- j.H. Aim Master floats lower.
- Added new move "Sting Master".
- Decreased minimum damage scaling on his Hyper Combos.
- Legion Arrow damage will properly scale in combos (total damage remains the same when used by itself).
- Number of hits in Legion Arrow (ground and air ver.) can be increased through rapid button presses.
- Taskmaster was announced with Akuma on January 17, 2011 to join the ranks of MVC3.
- Taskmaster references Avengers member Hawkeye and Masters of Evil member Black Knight when he emulates their moves.
- Taskmaster's alternate colors are based on his original appearance, his UDON costume, and his Frightful Four costume. For Ultimate, he loses his UDON color scheme and gets color schemesbased off Deadpool (from when he used his costume in Deadpool #9), Dane Whitman/Black Knight and Mr. Fear. His DLC alt is his UDON costume, complete with an energy shield
- In his win quote against Iron Man, he says "Looks like Tony Stark needs a bodyguard", referencing the fact that back when Stark's identity was secret, he claimed Iron Man was his bodyguard.
- In his win quote against Captain America, he says "Maybe I should show you how to use that shield!" When John Walker became Captain America, that's exactly what he did.
- In-game, Taskmaster is known to incorporate moves such as Spider-Man's, imitating his Web Swing, Captain America's, imitating the use of shield in combat for defensive and offensive measures, Hawkeye's archery and accuracy skills, Black Knight's sword-based attacks and Punisher's Magnum .45. He uses a grappling hook to imitate Spider-Man's webbing, and an energy cufflink to produce the arrows but in the comics he has been known to use real arrows and energy arrows.
- When pitted against Hsien-Ko, both Taskmaster and Hsien-Ko can tell that they're both interested in hidden weapons.
- It is possible that Legion Arrow is based on another aspect of Taskmaster's photographic reflexes, if he fast forwards a recording of something being performed, he can perform that action at a much faster rate for a short time (any longer and he risks injury as he doesn't have superhuman stamina or strengh).
- His theme song is somewhat the same as the 2010 December trailer, in that it contains almost the same beat before moving onto Wolverine's theme.
- He is one of four unlockable characters in the first Marvel vs. Capcom 3 along with Sentinel, Akuma and Hsien-Ko. To unlock Taskmaster, players must obtain 8,000 Player Points through playing any of the game's modes.
- Curiously, his in-game profile states that his identity is unknown, although Marvel resources indicate that his true name is Tony Masters. In fact, his true name and backstory were revealed a little after the release of the original MVC3.
- One of Taskmaster's alternate colors resembles Skeletor, the main villain from the 1980's cartoon He-Man and The Masters of the Universe, though with a black mask instead of yellow.
- Taskmaster learned to master the "chi" just observing a technique killer of a fighter who took ten years to master, Taskmaster took just ten minutes to learn. Source: 1° http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/3/30767/1416206-tasky_super.jpg and 2° http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/3/30767/1416207-tasky2_super.jpg
- Taskmaster's ending was one of the many redrawn for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. In the vanilla version, he had an assortment of female fighters from the game promote his line of products (Trish, She-Hulk, Chun-Li, Crimson Viper, Phoenix and Felicia). In Ultimate, the artwork was changed to other male mercenaries from the Marvel Universe: the Trapster (a.k.a. Paste-Pot Pete), Orka (a C-list rogue of Namor), Stilt-Man (only seen in the picture by his long mechanical legs), the Porcupine, and Batroc the Leaper.