It’s time to throw down in Wakanda as Taskmaster snags the final thing needed on the road to proving his innocence.
In his quest to prove his innocence, Taskmaster has already had to take on the likes of the superpowered Hyperion and White Fox, narrowly escaping with his life each time. Now this quest takes him to one of the most impenetrable, dangerous, and advanced places in the Marvel Universe: Wakanda.
While there is plenty of action, Taskmaster #4 begins to unravel some of the mysteries behind Maria Hill’s murder. Jed MacKay continues to hone his version of the skull-wearing mercenary that is both easy to hate and like at the same time. Despite being innocent in the death of Hill, Taskmaster is still a murdering mercenary that is beyond rough around the edges, with small glimpses of conscience now and again. Yet, an ongoing book, or another mini, that pairs him and Nick Fury going around the Marvel Universe doing spy-related stuff would be quite welcome to see.
Alessandro Vitti and Guru-eFX put on another showcase as they get to really stretch their legs with all the action scenes this book provides them. There is no shying away from focusing on and showcasing just how brutal the fights are between Taskmaster and the members of Hatut Zeraze and ultimately the one with General Okoye. These are seasoned warriors that fight to protect their kingdom and their people up against a seasoned mercenary who is able to call upon moves he stole from other fighters. Not only are they visually brutal, but Joe Caramagna’s seasoned lettering adds a whole new level to the brutality as it’s not hard to actually hear the breaking sounds he adds in font.
One really neat trick I noticed on a second read is how the first pages with just Taskmaster have an almost grittier feel to them, through the colors and style. That fades away the moment that he’s within the glimmering technological wonderland that is Wakanda. There is a slightly smoother-looking quality to things there, which is replaced by the grittiness again at the end when Taskmaster and Fury reunite.
There is another moment within the story that needs to be pointed to. During his attempts to sneak into Wakanda, Taskmaster internally monologues about the far too often used trope of a villain offing a woman in a male hero’s life in order to harm or spur a hero in some particular way. Through the cynical and warped view of Taskmaster, MacKay is able to point a finger at the big ‘Women in Refrigerators’ issue that comics (and other media) have had far too often. It entirely fits Taskmaster’s character to have a policy of not attacking women to get to the men he targets, while also proving to be a clever way to do some commentary about the comic book industry.
Taskmaster #4 is now on sale from Marvel Comics at local comic shops and digitally through ComiXology.