People who know me know that I am a huge Taskmaster fan. I “discovered” him years ago back when I was in high school. A friend invited me over to his house where he let me go through all of his old comic book stuff and suggested I check out some of his older George Perez Avengers books.
That’s when I discovered Avengers #196 – with George’s rendition of only Taskmaster on the cover. Only George Perez could design a costume as intricate as Taskmaster’s. And it was the costume that originally drew me to him but then I read his origin story and totally dug the concept of his “photo reflex” powers… I don’t know. Maybe it was the fact that, as a baseball player, I totally was jazzed about the fact that Taskmaster could, potentially, be one of the most formidable fighters in the Marvel Universe. But that never really came to be. For a very long time after that, whenever Taskmaster did appear in a story, he ended up being written as a lower tier, D-level character. But I still remained a fan. A frustrated fan because I always thought he could have been written as a much cooler and vicious character than he was.
It wasn’t long after that that I started to get into more modern stuff George was working on – mainly The New Teen Titans with Marv Wolfman – when they introduced Deathstroke the Terminator to their story lines. Now, here was a villain that totally kicked butt and – almost immediately – I thought “Now THAT’S how Taskmaster should be written”. I always thought Taskmaster should be Marvel’s version of Deathstroke… a nearly unbeatable physical villain.
It’s only been in the last couple of years that a lot of the most recent Taskmaster story lines have written him in such a way that he’s no loner a sad, pathetic D-level character.
But just remember… I knew that was the case way back when!