Avengers: How Marvel Predicted Black Widow’s Taskmaster Twist
The reveal of Taskmaster’s identity was one of Black Widow’s biggest surprises, but the film’s villain was predicted by a few Marvel villains.
WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Marvel’s Black Widow, now playing in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access.
The latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe has brought its greatest super spies into the limelight alongside the titular Black Widow. While the likes of Yelena Belova have risen to prominence thanks to Black Widow, another fan-favorite from the comics has finally been given their own chance to shine in the form of the Taskmaster. Tony Masters has spent decades bothing battling against and fighting alongside some of the Marvel Universe’s greatest heroes on the comic book page, but the MCU has a decidedly different take on Marvel’s most dangerous mimic.
While Tony Masters has been Marvel’s primary Taskmaster since 1980’s Avengers #195 by David Michelinie and George Perez, the Taskmaster of Black Widow is Antonia Dreykov, the brainwashed and cybernetically augmented daughter of the film’s villain. As tragic and shocking as Antonia’s story is, she is far from the first woman to take up the mantle of Taskmaster, or at least lay a claim to it.
TASKMASTER’S DAUGHTER FINESSE
Jeanna Foucault aka Finesse first appeared in 2010’s Avengers Academy #1 by Christos N. Gage and Mike McKone, as a student of the titular superhero school. Much like the Taskmaster himself, Jeanna is capable of mastering any skill and replicating any physical feat simply by witnessing it. While this doesn’t put her in the same league as some of her more superpowered classmates, it, coupled with her parents’ questionable pasts. led Jeanne to believe that Tony Masters was her real father. Finesse finally got her chance to find out when trouble at the school sent the students home for some time and she decided to seek out the Taskmaster instead. With Quicksilver’s help, Jeanne found and faced off against the villain before sharing a moving moment with one another.
In the years since, she has taken up residence with groups such as A.I.M., only to find her true calling alongside Nadia Van Dyne’s G.I.R.L. initiative in 2019’s Unstoppable Wasp #10 by Jeremy Whitley and Gurihiru.
DEADPOOL MAX’S TASKMASTER
The world of 2010’s Deadpool MAX by David Lapham and Kyle Baker isn’t all that far off from the one that Marvel fans know and love, but it includes a few key changes, including an alternate version of Taskmaster who is a woman. The unnamed soldier became the most important person in Wade Wilson’s life at an early age when she kidnapped him along with the rest of his scout troop to be tormented and trained as the perfect assassins. Their relationship came to an abrupt end when the woman Wade had long considered his mother came close to abusing him, driving him away.
Years later, the two would cross paths once more during Deadpool’s time as a CIA assassin, their interaction spurning the Taskmaster to overtake Hydra and use it to amass her own fortune while discrediting Wade and his associate Bob. The mantle of Taskmaster has never been a heroic one, but this version of the character was arguably more despicable than Tony Masters ever was.
Directed by Cate Shortland, Black Widow stars Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian, O-T Fagbenle as Mason and Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff. The film is now in theaters and available on Disney+ Premiere Access.
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