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Taskmaster

Avengers: Infinity War
by yo go re

Stop copying me!

An expert of mimicry, Taskmaster copies the stunts and skills of his opposition to beat them at their own game.

It seems like we just reviewed a Taskmaster not that long ago, but that was his modern costume (sort of - it was more cartoon-based than comic-based), and Taskmaster is one of those characters who don't absorb costume changes well: you can't just go with "skull face and a hood" in any combination at all and expect fans to embrace it; when the original costume is as striking and distinctive as Tasky's is, any change needs to pass the squint test. Deadpool doesn't wear the same costume in 2018 that he wore in 1992, but one is still recognizable as a version of the other.

This, though, is not a redesign. It's the classic, first appearance look, with the dark blue body suit, white trunks, white gloves and boots, and blocky orange shape on the chest. You can probably guess without us telling you which body he uses, and you may even be able to surmise where the boots and gloves originated, but the white cape with the orange lining is new, he has a brown holster on his right leg and a single brown strap around his left. His belt is the same one the last Taskmaster was wearing, but being done in a rich brown rather than in grey makes it look like an entirely different item.

Something else that's been taken from the last figure is the hood - it may have been permanently attached to the head, but it wasn't a sculpted part of it, so Hasbro was able to reuse that portion of the mold while slipping a new, more skeletal face inside it. The skull's teeth are a lighter shade than rest of the face, but there's no line between the uppers and lowers, and there's something about the facial proportions that feel very "Skeletor" (as opposed to a real skull).

The figure's paint is worthy of praise. When ToyBiz made this costume, in ML11, the paint was sloppy, the coverage was incomplete, and the white sections were all covered in the heavy blue shadows ToyBiz loved so much at the time. Hasbro manages to fix those problems. His blue is dark, without straying too close to black, while his whites are their whitest. The orange thing on his chest would be better served by being a separate piece rather than painted (it usually appeared to be some sort of armored plate held on by straps, not just a colored patch on his costume), but its edges are painted very crisply. The only issue we have is the orange chosen for him is a fairly dark one. Wait... navy blue, burnt orange, and white? Is Taskmaster a fan of Da Bears?

Taskmaster gets all the usual articulation, though of course his long cape will be in the same position no matter how you pose him, so don't expect a lot of deep squats or kneeling in his future. (Oh, and for best results, try tucking the front of his hood under the cape's clasp; it makes the two look like one seamless piece.)

What's disappointing, however, are the accessories. He gets Baron Zemo's sword and pistol, and a completely smooth shield painted with his T symbol. That's it. Releasing a Taskmaster toy should be an excuse to bust out all the accessory molds you want to get a little more useage out of. Give him Daredevil's billyclubs, Hawkeye's bow... just load him down with extras. Punisher should always have more guns, and Taskmaster should always have more hero weapons.

Then again, if they'd given him a big arsenal, there probably wouldn't have been room in the budget for his BAF piece, Thanos' meaty right "thicc daddy" leg.

Taskmaster would be a superb villain for one of Marvel's TV shows to utilize. His abilities wouldn't blow the special effects budget, and since Chris Brewster is already the stuntman behind Captain America, Daredevil, Aldrich Killian, Star-Lord, Punisher, Black Panther, Thor... well, you get the idea. If you want a character whose claim to fame is copying the abilities of superheroes, just hire the stuntman who performs all those heroes' abilities in the first place. Give him some Deathstroke-style armor (in blue and orange with a few white accents), a skeleton bandana and a light hood, and you're all set: a cool, budget-friendly supervillain! Hasbro's previous Taskmaster toy wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but this classic look even puts ToyBiz's effort to shame.

-- 10/29/18


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