Sunday, 4 September 2011

Taskmaster: Unthinkable Review

Taskmaster. Another C-List Marvel Villain who has now had a graphic novel of his own. Taskmaster's first major appearance was in #196 of The Avengers back in 1980 as a villain who can learn and counter fighting styles and techniques in a matter of minutes, he's popped up from time to time ever since - most notably in this year's Marvel vs Capcom 3.

This book tells the story of Taskmaster, fresh from the Siege of Asgard, currently living in Tokyo, and being confronted with the fact that a rumour is spreading from the Org (a major society that unites all the evil super communities e.g. A.I.M, Hydra etc.) that Taskmaster is now working for Steve Rogers. Not good if your a villain. Thus a bounty is put on his head for $1 Billion.

The problem is Taskmaster can't remember much at all - not even his real name! He has absorbed so many fighting styles over the years that his actual memories are being replaced. Luckily he has a technique called a memory palace that's going to help him remember how he got his powers, who the Org is, and then find out who framed him, and we're with him for the duration.

Then and Now
The story really is excellent. Fred Van Lente does a great job of making this relatively short story mysterious, gripping and absolutely insane! Van Lente is very good at making you feel something for the characters in the book. I hardly knew Taskmaster before reading it, and now I actually feel something for him! Then there's the second main character Mercedes Merced who from the beginning Lente makes a likeable, relatable character. When the story gets particularly crazy, Mercedes is a good way of giving the reader something to relate to in all the madness.
And it does get crazy! Somehow though, Fred Van Lente manages makes a tale involving a town full of Nazis and a ruthless Mexican mob who also play in a rock band surprisingly emotional, while still throwing in some funny pieces of dialogue throughout so to not forget the craziness of the situation.
Plus, the ending is phenomenal. There's a shock reveal near the end of the story that left me picking my jaw up from the floor, meanwhile the ending itself is surprisingly sad and really makes you feel for Taskmaster.

Jefte Palo is just another reason why this series was awesome. His art looks absolutely stunning in many places throughout the book. He draws Taskmaster and co. with great style and it really makes the series a joy to read. His style may not be for everyone, but I know that I really enjoyed it.


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