Writer: Jed MacKay
Artist: Alessandro Vitti
Cover Artists: Valerio Giangiordano & Arif Prianto
Let’s recap: Taskmaster has been framed for the murder of Maria Hill and Black Widow’s after him. But Nick Fury (the second one) believes him and now he’s trying to clear his name. He’s went toe-to-toe with Phil Coulson and Hyperion, infiltrated South Korea’s N.I.S. Tiger Division. Taskmaster #4 takes the infamous mercenary to Wakanda of all places. Let’s see how well this goes.
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The comic starts with Taskmaster entering Wakanda, and comes with a bit of comedy to start off, of course. During this part, you’re given a solid recap by Taskmaster that transitions to displaying more of his mercenary code and pondering on who set him up. From the get-go the comic doesn’t waste time in getting to the main point: Taskmaster is in Wakanda. Thankfully, how he gets there isn’t too complicated and neither is how he meets Okoye and Wakanda’s soldiers.
Taskmaster #4 thrusts the mercenary right into danger as he finds a way to get the Wakandan military not to kill him. His method is pretty classic as it draws on his strengths as a mercenary and overall comic history. The comic even references other events he was involved in. MacKay excels in Taskmaster’s narration, displaying his analytical side, resourcefulness, dirty fighting, and ruthless pragmatism yet also showing his own code of conduct when dealing with others. Especially when he’s not getting paid for it.
Of course, there’s the inevitable fight between Taskmaster and Okoye herself. Personally, I was worried how this fight would turn out and if it would make Taskmaster look weak to show how strong Okoye is, despite his comic history and well-established skills. Surprisingly, it’s very well-balanced as both get more than their share of shots in each other, showing them both as great fighters. There’s even some good banter between them.
In the end, Taskmaster completes his mission and the comic wraps up with foreshadowing of a future confrontation this series set up from the beginning.
One thing that I really liked Taskmaster’s beginning narration while he’s being dropped into Wakanda via a Halo jump and he’s thinking back on his conversation with Bullseye in the first issue. In the conversation, Bullseye mentioned how he killed Daredevil’s girlfriend and how this gives villains like him an edge over the heroes. Taskmaster reflects in the narration about how it does the opposite and motivates heroes even harder, more than he liked. Which is why he adopts a no girlfriends, no wives, and no mothers policy, which is pretty smart actually.
But MacKay manages to connects this train of thought to Maria Hill’s death and how someone is manipulating him and motivating the Black Widow through her death. Sadly, this comic doesn’t make much progress in building up hints or details on who is behind it all. But the cover for the final issue may have either given it away or it’s misdirection. We’ll see.
If you’re not a fan of this comedic take on Taskmaster, it’s understandable. But Taskmaster #4 will surprise readers in how it commits to showing Taskmaster as a skilled fighter and mercenary. If you’re already reading the series then definitely check this out.
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If you’re interested in TASKMASTER #4, click HERE to get a copy! If you’re interested in past trades or volumes related to the man with photographic reflexes, click HERE for the very best on TASKMASTER. And finally, if you’re looking for something else to read, check out my Amazon Online Comic Shop by clicking HERE. Thank you all for checking out the Taskmaster #4 Preview as well as your continued support. Stay safe and stay healthy.