MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“An expert in mimicry, Taskmaster copies the stunts and skills of his opposition to beat them at their own game.”
To paraphrase Jeff Goldbloom “Uhhh, Hasbro, uhh, finds a way.” What does that mean? I’m glad you asked. See, with long-running lines such as Marvel Legends, you will run into the need to update characters as the line’s style and quality improves. Toy Biz went pretty deep with their original line-up, but 15 years after the fact, a lot of them are starting to look out of place. The trouble is, that while some of the heavy hitters are an easy sell for re-do, it can be tricky to get retailers on-board for new versions of second and third-stringers. So, Hasbro’s doing their best to tie-in with more current media, and get us new figures of old characters that way. The trouble is, this often results in those characters wearing more recent, less fan-favorite costumes. And if you’ve *just* gotten a figure of a lower tier character, it’s unlikely you’ll get another shot. Right? Well, Hasbro doesn’t seem to think so, if the two Taskmasters in the space of three years are anything to go by.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Taskmaster is figure 4 in the Thanos Series of Marvel Legends. He’s the third, and final, comic-based figure in the assortment. Where the last Taskmaster was based on his up-to-date-iest look, this one goes for Taskmaster’s classic design, which is sensible, seeing as he’s spent most of his career with it. The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. He’s built on the Bucky Cap body. There was some campaigning to get him on the Reaper body instead, but I don’t mind this one, and it matches what was used for the last Taskmaster figure. Taskmaster uses the flared boots and gloves like we saw on Zemo (amongst others), which are as good here as they have been all the prior times. He’s also got a (partially) new head sculpt, and add-ons for his cape, belt, and leg straps. So, how’s the head only partially new? Well, the actual head part is new (though, as a few others have pointed out, it does appear to be at least patterned on the head from Red Onslaught, which, coincidentally, was the piece included with the last Taskmaster), while the hood is re-purposed from the skull-styled head from the first Taskmaster. I’m honestly a little surprised that they didn’t just straight re-use the last figure’s head, but I can’t say I’m upset. While the belt is re-used from the prior figure, the cape and both leg straps are new to this particular figure. The cape is a very nice piece, and I’m not going to be at all surprised to see it show back up later down the line. The right leg strap finally gives us a new leg holster for the Bucky Cap bod, so we can retire that one with all the pouches, while the left matches perfectly with the weird studded thing Taskmaster had in his first appearance. The color work on Taskmaster is a fairly typical Legends offering. The molded colors all work well enough, and the paint’s application is mostly pretty clean. There’s some slight slop on a few of the edges, but he mostly looks pretty solid. The most impressive paintwork is definitely on his head, which makes use of the printing technique to get the gradations in shading on the skull down just right. In a somewhat accessories-lite assortment, Taskmaster makes out pretty well, getting a sword, shield, and pistol. All re-used pieces (the shield is the standard comic Cap shield, and the sword and pistol come from Zemo), but a nice selection nonetheless. Taskmaster also includes the right leg of Thanos.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Taskmaster was nearer the top of my list of wants for this assortment. This appears to have been the case with other collectors as well, since only Iron Spider was harder to find than Taskmaster. On one of my many recent TRU runs, they had just put out a case of this set, and fortunately Taskmaster was still on the pegs. I was quite a fan of the last Taskmaster, so this one had a high bar set for it. The two are actually kind of hard to compare; they appeal to separate versions of the character, and each offer their own awesomeness. But, for classic Taskmaster, you can’t do better than this guy.