DEADPOOL versus TASKMASTER
Unfinished Business: Part One (Marvel comics)
Where: Cable & Deadpool #36 When: March 2007
Why: Fabian Nicieza How: Reilly Brown
The story so far...
Deadpool's career has been in something of a slump, and hanging out with Cable most of the time probably hasn't really helped that reputation of his. So what's a merc with a mouth to do? Score points off some more popular schmuck, of course!
Deadpool tracks down his old sparring buddy, Taskmaster, who still has a mess of cred in the world of warriors-for-hire. In return for freeing him from imprisonment, Taskmaster agrees to entertain Deadpool's insane request.
With the help of his ol' pal, Weasel, Deadpool organizes a showcase in front of an assemblage of those-that-would-need-mercenaries. To up the anti, Deadpool shackles himself as he steps into the field against the Taskmaster.
Insane, or truly, truly brilliant?... Probably insane, yeah...
Deadpool (#45): Deadpool successfully tangled with the Incredible Hulk!
Taskmaster (#193): Taskmaster was humiliated by Moon Knight.
Tale of the tape...
Strength: Draw 3 (Trained Athlete)
Intelligence: Taskmaster 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Deadpool 3 (Trained Athlete)
Stamina: Deadpool 5 (Marathon Runner)
Agility: Deadpool 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting Ability: Taskmaster 7 (Born Fighter)
Energy Powers: Deadpool 4 (Arsenal)
Taskmaster has the honor being the first repeat customer of 2007!
Let's all give it up for the Task-man! Yeah! Whooo!
Tricky thing about Taskmaster is, he's one of those guys who by the very nature of the character should be incredibly successful, but because of that, have become regular targets for defeat. Basically, he makes people look good.
It's said that he can master and duplicate nearly any fighting technique he witnesses, and has a photographic memory for such details. Thus, he is still often seen to carry around approxomations of Avengers weapons, like Captain America's shield, for example, and the Swordman's sword.
Because Taskmaster supposedly breaks down and understands the fighting techniques of others, his intellectual basis suggests he could know your own moves better than you do.
Daredevil remarked in a recent feature that he fights with a rage other fighters don't understand, and this alludes to the instinctive and personal nature of fighting stances and styles. Thus, Taskmaster could presumably pick and choose his way through an arsenal of moves, refining it to be pure and intelligent.
Of course, a wise villain once asked, "Think you can outsmart a bullet?"
For all his skills, Taskmaster is still a man, and there's nothing about his talent that says he couldn't overlook an opponent, or be on the unlucky end of a rocket blast, or something. Also, he could like, be totally in love and not even see the bus coming. See where I'm going with this?
While Deadpool does not carry a bus in his arsenal (as far as I know...), he is in many ways the anti-thesis to the Taskmaster. He has comparable ability to execute skill, but lacks consistent or coherrent thought process. Likewise, he is often completely unconcerned with the fighting prowess or strategy of others.
Deadpool also has a buff nerd for a friend, and kidnapped an old lady and held her hostage for nurturing.
Above all this, Deadpool is a master of obnoxious wit, and given enough time he would almost certainly realise that if you swap a couple of letters you get Masktaster! If Hulk had more letters in his name, even he would be felled by such a hilarious and clever insult.
Jokes aside, these two are actually incredibly evenly match, for many of the reasons listed. Deadpool's healing factor gives him a slight edge, but as a level headed and well executed fighter, it's hard to overlook Taskmaster.
Gosh. Decisions, decisions...
I guess in the purity of this section, this time I'm going to go with the following, but really, this choice could change at any given moment. Much like Rose McGowan's hair colour.
Oohhhh, come on! You totally got that!
Don't make like you don't watch Charmed and wonder about interior decor... Dirty pervert...
The Math: Draw (Meta Class)
The Pick: Taskmaster (Just cuz...)
What went down...
Having freed Taskmaster, bartered for his cooperation, and then sucker punched him out... Deadpool manacles up and enters the test ground of a special forces military training base, apparently outside Provo, Utah.
Armed to the teeth, Deadpool fires off a bazooka blast that narrowly misses Taskmaster and his stupid cloak hood/cape combo.
Spying his target through nightvision goggles, the bound Deadpool hops his way into the coures to make a more front-on attack.
Lurking in the shadows, Taskmaster makes eye contact, and deciding to move in for a more personal attack, he clutches his sword and charges in with the lamest battle cry you've ever heard -- gyaaaaaaaaah!
Pool spins around fast enough to block the hit with a bo-staff and rolls through, tossing the Taskmaster, who lands masterfully on his feet.
Perturbed by his immature, innuendo laden humor, Taskmaster charges at Deadpool with his sword, impaling the merc with a mouth!
Heartbreaking! Unless you've got a grade-A functioning healing factor!
Deadpool slides his way down the sword to come face-to-skull-face with his ol' bud, and twists his body to throw him off balance. The staff does the rest of the work, with a nice tap to the noggin.
Blood gushes from his wounds as Deadpool continues the staff borne thrashing, until Taskmaster is able to slice through the wood with his mighty sword. ... *snort*
DP hits the wall and ricochets back with a drop kick, following it up with a shackled Polish uppercut with the two-fist.
Then emusic.com offer you 25 free songs when you sign up via emusic.com/marvel, with the guarantee their MP3s work on any player including iPod! Neat!
Taskmaster nurses his jaw, refreshing his memory with just how hard Deadpool hits [and how low Emusic.com's prices are] when DP brings down a brick "George Perez city rubble" wall down where Tasky's kneeling.
Narrowly avoiding being crushed, Taskmaster takes pirsuit after the hopping mercenary, leaving behind the urban compound for forest territory.
Further showing off his combat abilities, Deadpool utilizes his surroundings in the whooping of Taskmaster. TM navigates a cascade of boulders, ducks swinging tree branches, and braves an inexplicable desert storm in his chase of Deadpool, until the Pool-man emerges from beneath the sands and tags him with a poison dart!
With that, Deadpool schlups Taskmaster's unconscious body back to the military base where he parades his victory before the [unwillingly] assembled panel of judges and would-be employers.
Unfortunately, they are none-too impressed by his MTV commercial tactics. Instead of stirring business, he has in fact only further reminded everyone how much of a liability he can be. BUT -- he still won. Nyah-nyah.
Two months in and Taskmaster's already heading to the bottom of the table, as Deadpool picks up his second Secret Earths victory.
I have to admit, as impartial as I try to be when it comes to selection, it felt like we'd been sorely missing Deadpool entries.
Find me a man who does not enjoy Deadpool comics, and I will show you a moron!
This is actually the first time I've picked up the Cable & Deadpool book, having been tied up with other priorities [and limited funds], and some reticence about the Cable side of things. This probably isn't an accurate way to sample it's flavours, but at the very least I can say this was a pretty satisfying purchase.
Nicieza may just be incredibly obnoxious, but with Deadpool sometimes it's hard to differentiate between obnoxious/bad comedy writing, and his character.
The continued relationship between Deadpool and Taskmaster is a joy to behold though, and I only wish the UDON designed costume [used in TM's mugshot] had stuck. It would've been nice for Deadpool's legacy of positives to extend beyond him. Alas, Taskmaster is back in the buccaneer boots and cloak. What a rube.
I wish I had some profound revelation to bestow upon you all, because I certainly enjoyed this comic. It's just... It's pretty much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kinda deal. This is a straight up fight comic, with a brief prologue that whole heartedly breaks the fourth wall (in a more blunt vein than "The Masked Marvel" or "She-Hulk"), and resolves a cliffhanger hook that promises more wacky fun next issue with the escape of the Rhino.
[Rhino, for those who don't know, infamously wound up a keychain at the hands of Deadpool. How humiliatin'. - Monolithic Mike]
I missed out on much of Gail Simone's work, but if I had to compare Nicieza's Deadpool to the defining work of Joe Kelly, I'd have to say there might be something lacking in the humor of the dialogue. As I mentioned, it's hard to break apart the character of Deadpool and really refine the good from the bad, but it did feel something was perhaps just a tad askew as far as the written gags versus the visual stuff.
That said, Reilly Brown, whom I don't know by name, has a pretty decent pencil line, well complemented by Jeremy Freeman's inks and Gotham colours.
It just perhaps feels a little less committed to story or comedy, teetering somewhere in between. It's good, but Nicieza seems to remain at the cusp of the big time as a jack of all trades, but master of none.
It is of course February 9 as I type this, which means I've fulfilled my Friday update commitment, even though I'm still a week behind. Hey, who knows? Maybe I'll catch up in the hour and a quarter left before midnight! [Not likely!]
Had a recent influx of hits, so it seems like we're finally getting the address into the right hands. Thanks to everyone who's joining us, and hopefully you're getting what you need. If you aren't, meet me in the alley behind the Sweedish deli and we'll see if we can't come to an arrangement.
The Fight: 4.5 The Issue: 4.5