Taskmaster is a Marvel Comics villain who can read and copy his enemies' moves, thanks to his "photographic reflexes". In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Taskmaster's real identity is Antonia Dreykov, the daughter of General Dreykov.
Taskmaster was created by David Michelinie and George Perez.
Antonia is the daughter of General Dreykov, the overseer of the secret Russian Red Room Academy. As a young girl, she was used by the rogue Black Widow Natasha Romanoff to track down her father. Determined the bring the evil man down, Natasha ordered Clint Barton to detonate the explosives and take out Dreykov despite his daughter being in the range, collapsing the entire five-story building they were in. Natasha believed them both to be killed and spent years dealing with the guilt of killing an innocent, agonizing over whether the ends justified the means.
Neither of the Dreykovs was killed however, and although the general remained unscathed, Antonia was severely injured. Her face was badly burned and her cerebral cortex was damaged, causing her mobility loss. Dreykov saw this as an opportunity and subjected her to extensive experimental enhancements. An external device was fitted to the back of her head that restored her mobility, but also enabled Antonia to remember and perfectly replicate the fighting styles of others by observing and studying their movements. Like the other Red Room Academy graduates, she was subjected to chemical conditioning developed by Melina Vostokoff which made her a prisoner inside her own body and allowed Dreykov to remotely control her every action. Designated as "Project Taskmaster", she was deployed to the field only in very extreme situations.
In 2016, Dreykov send the Taskmaster after rogue Widow Yelena Belova who was in possession of a rare antidote that could counter his mental control over his victims. Taskmaster tracked the package down to Norway and engaged Romanoff, Belova's sister, who was in possession of the antidote and was able to escape. The two rogue Widows reunited in Budapest and Taskmaster and the other Widows chased them through the streets of the city, eventually losing them in the underground rail station.
Determined to bring Dreykov down, Belova and Romanoff teamed up with their "mother" Melina and "father" Alexei Shostakov. Melina pretended to betray them, allowing Taskmaster and the Widows to take them prisoner to the floating Academy that served as Dreykov's headquarters. There, Dreykov revealed to Romanoff that the Taskmaster was in fact his daughter whom Romanoff intended to kill as a collateral. Distraught, Natasha let Alexei fight the Taskmaster while she was dealing with Dreykov. Shostakov fought to a standstill and eventually was able to trap his opponent, with the help of Melina, inside a secure cell meant for himself. Melina had destabilized the structure, forcing everyone to make a frantic escape in which Dreykov was killed for good. Romanoff refused to let Antonia die and freed her from her cell, even though she was immediately attacked for it. After both made it safely to the ground, Natasha managed to douse Antonia with the antidote, freeing her from the mental control. Antonia was only able to gasp "Is he gone?" (referring to her father) before her fellow Widows, likewise no longer mind-controlled, took her away to avoid being captured by the forces of State Secretary Ross.
Taskmaster is hired by Doctor Octopus to find if one of the Midtown High students is Spider-Man. He infiltrated in the school with the alias of Coach Yaeger and tested the students to see which one's athletic abilities qualified to be Spider-Man. The three best fits were Danny Rand, Flash Thompson, and Harry Osborn, so he told them to come on Saturday.
On Saturday, Taskmaster faced the three subjects. Danny fought off him, but Taskmaster copied his moves and defeated the young man. When Taskmaster's options were reduced to Flash Thompson, White Tiger, and the actual Spider-Man faced him. Taskmaster offered Spider-Man to work with him instead of giving him to his employer, but the wall-crawler refused. Spider-Man and Tiger fought Taskmaster in the dark, exchanging equipment so he confused them and couldn't read their moves. He was unmasked as Yaeger, but it turned out to also be a mask and Taskmaster escaped. He told Octopus he didn't find Spider-Man, as he had his own plans for the web-slinger.
Taskmaster appears, portrayed again by Clancy Brown. He appears in the episodes "Show Your Work" and "The Night Has Wings".
- In the comics, similar to the Marvel Animation, Taskmaster is a male and is named Anthony "Tony" Masters. He has no relation to Black Widow or the Red Room.
- The mask Taskmaster in the MCU wears bears similarity to Blue Senturion from Power Rangers Turbo.
- Taskmaster is the ninth character to be gender-swapped, following Jeri Hogarth, the Ancient One, Fenris Wolf, Ghost, Mar-Vell, Morgan Stark, Gabriella Rosetti, and Karli Morgenthau.