Taskmaster is on the trail of the Rubicon Trigger, but is he up to the (you should excuse the expression) task? Your Major Spoilers review of Taskmaster #4 from Marvel Comics awaits!
Writer: Jed MacKay
Artist: Alessandro Vitti
Colorist: Guru e-FX
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Chris Robinson
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 10, 2021
Previously in Taskmaster: The Rubicon Trigger is a doomsday device that the world’s greatest superspies thought they had locked away forever… until someone murdered Maria Hill to get to it! Taskmaster’s next stop to prevent global destruction? Sunny Wakanda, of course! Home to Okoye and the feared Dogs of War!
We open with Taskmaster having serious second thoughts about his plan, as Nick Fury encourages him to follow through. Of course, if your plan was to parachute into the most technologically advanced country in the world to try and get your eyes on the Black Panther’s personal right-hand woman, you’d have second thoughts, too. It’s only a few minutes until he’s captured and thrown in a cell by Okoye herself, leaving him to think about what he’s done, but he manages to mock the members of her personal guard, the Hatut Zeraze, causing their lead man to pull him out of his cell and put his prowess to the test. Taskmaster easily dispatches several of them, bringing Okoye into the fray… and then, things get intense. They battle long enough for him to get her kinesic signature, but he doesn’t want to just give up. He doesn’t win, but doesn’t exactly lose, and ends up back in jail.
And then, they turn him over to U.S. Intelligence services…
“I KNOW HENCHMEN.”
From the beginning of this series, I’ve found myself drawn in, appreciating McKay’s take on Taskmaster, combining wry humor, a bit of Deadpool-style savviness and a very down-to-Earth attitude for someone in the Marvel Universe, making him feel like a regular guy in extraordinary circumstances. This issue’s confident assessment that he knows henchmen better than anybody is a moment of pure cool, and I even appreciate the competitive aspect of his battle with Okoye. Vitti cleverly uses sixteen-panel grids that show us the long and arduous battle while making great use of the page space, and the last page reveal makes it clear that the hard part isn’t over yet. The entire arc of this limited series has been full of clever uses of existing material, making Taskmaster into a point-of-view character, the man-on-the-street whose abilities give him a special window on the world of superhumans, and it’s quite cool.
BOTTOM LINE: MAKES ME LIKE TASKMASTER
When you break it all down, Taskmaster #4 is mostly about the clever plan and the fight sequence, but it works well, thanks to some well-done art and a story that delivers on the Jason Bourne-style spycraft antics in a very unusual setting, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. It’s a story that feels like it could only be told with Taskmaster, even with all the artifacts and continuity tied to him, and that’s a big job, done extremely well.
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This issue is good, almost good enough to make me forget how much I used to hate Taskmaster. That's some heavy lifting, done very well.