Taskmaster – The Rubicon Trigger
Writer – Jed MacKay
Artist – Alessandro Vitti
Former S.H.I.E.L.D agent Maria Hill has been murdered. The culprit – Taskmaster! The only problem is that Taskmaster is innocent of this horrendous crime. To clear his name, he will travel the globe to Washington D.C., Seoul, and Wakanda to gather information and evidence to solve the riddle of the Rubicon Trigger.
Taskmaster is one of my favorite supervillains in the Marvel Universe. At best, he is a B-level character that is usually the henchman of a far more superior villain and never really gets a chance to shine on his own. Jed MacKay delves into what makes Taskmaster tick and his motivations as a mercenary for hire. Taskmaster has a multi-layered personality, and we learn who the man behind the mask really is over the course of this five-issue miniseries. By deconstructing this bad guy, MacKay elevates Taskmaster to the upper echelon, where I hope he stays going forward.
MacKay does a perfect job balancing humor and thrills throughout the story. Taskmaster is a wanted man and ends up getting some help from an unlikely source. These interactions remind me of buddy cop movies like Lethal Weapon and 48 Hours. The superhero that stops at nothing to help bring Taskmaster to justice reminds me of The Terminator. They can’t be bargained with and no matter how much ol’ Tasky tries to plead his innocence, these words fall on deaf ears.
My favorite issue was the second one. Taskmaster must travel to Washington D.C. to interrogate Phil Coulson. However, the mission goes awry when Hyperion is summoned to put a hurting on Taskmaster. This first matchup was a page turner and made my heart pound with fear and excitement. Each mission gets progressively harder, and I enjoyed how Taskmaster approaches each one differently and how he must improvise a solution if Plans A, B, and C don’t work.
This mini-series flew under the radar and came out during the start of the pandemic so you might have missed it when it was originally released. It’s worth reading if you are a fan of high-octane spy thrillers. I had an inkling about who really killed Maria Hill, but the final two pages leads to a great ending that will leave you shocked and gain renewed respect for Taskmaster.