'Black Widow #1' Preview: Tony Masters aka Taskmaster's skills showcased in new issue penned by Christos Gage

The famed Marvel comics villain made his first appearance in ‘The Avengers’ #195 (May 1980), created by writer David Michelinie and artist George Pérez


                            'Black Widow #1' Preview: Tony Masters aka Taskmaster's skills showcased in new issue penned by Christos Gage
(Christos Gage and Michele Bandini/ Marvel Comics)

'Black Widow' may have been delayed amid coronavirus concerns but fans will have every reason to celebrate, as the latest comic featuring the titular super spy will see her on one last mission before she joins the Avengers. 

Written by Christos Gage, the 32-page action-packed comic also sees the introduction of Tony Masters or better known as Taskmaster. He made his first appearance in ‘The Avengers’ #195 (May 1980), created by writer David Michelinie and artist George Pérez. 

"In the comics, Tony Masters, better known as Taskmaster, was a mercenary hired as a training instructor by various criminal organizations such as HYDRA and A.I.M., who had the uncanny ability to mimic the fighting moves of his opponents. Some of the people he has copied include (but are not limited to) Ant-Man, Black Knight, Black Panther, Black Widow, Bullseye, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Daredevil, Elektra, Falcon, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, Iron Man, Moon Knight, Punisher, Shang-Chi, Spider-Man, and U.S. Agent. He also trained Crossbones, Red Skull, and U.S. Agent," Fandom's description of Masters says

In 'Black Widow #1's preview pages (via CBR) we see Natasha Romanoff being introduced to Masters by Nick Fury. The pages open with Romanoff taking on a squad of SHIELD's best agents in close combat training. Given her extensive Red Room training history, Romanoff aces the training session without breaking into a sweat. The final page sees Fury introduce the Russian agent to Masters who Natasha attempts to flip over when he holds out his hand, but sees the agent mimic her exact move. 

The preview pages all but establish that Masters will eventually go on to be one of her biggest foes. The timing of the comic release is perfect considering the upcoming 'Black Widow' film starring Scarlett Johansson as Agent Romanoff also sees her take on Taskmaster. While the identity of the villain has been a constant topic of debate, the comic will surely see Masters' transformation to the famed marvel baddie. 

Preview page from 'Black Widow #1 (Christos Gage/ Michele Bandini for Marvel Comics)

The other fact that can be observed from the pages is the way SHIELD  still referring to Romanoff as an enemy while also outlining some details of her past. The notable points include:

(i) Romanoff has been training since she was five

(ii) She sticks to her Russiam call sign 'Black Widow' instead of taking up a number after joining the ranks of SHIELD. 

(iii) A key lesson she learned in the Red Room: Trust no one.

'Black Widow #1' hits stands on March 26, 2020. 

Written by: Christos Gage

Artist: Michele Bandini 

Cover: STONEHOUSE

Variant Cover: Greg Land

Official synopsis: "THE SUPER SPY STARS IN THE FINAL ADVENTURE BEFORE THE LAUNCH OF MARVEL'S AVENGERS!
Former Russian spy Natasha Romanoff has joined SHIELD, but when a spectre from her past resurfaces, where do her loyalties really lie? And what is the source of her deadly feud with the villainous TASKMASTER? Solve the mystery in this adventure leading up to the upcoming MARVEL'S AVENGERS video game as we explore a key episode from the dramatic saga of the woman called BLACK WIDOW!"

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