The Taskmaster has the superhuman ability to duplicate the physical skills or abilities of individuals as long as the skills are not superhuman in and of themselves and he has time to study the individual in question.

  • Have they ever explained the mechanic behind his ability beyond calling it "photographic reflexes?" Have they ever said how much time was needed before he could copy an individual?

Examples of such copied abilities include:

  • The ability to throw and catch a shield (Captain America)
  • Marksman level archery (Hawkeye)
  • Multiple martial arts techniques (various masters)
  • Throwing mastery (Bullseye)
  • Swinging and billy club use (Daredevil)

Is there a limit to the number of individuals he is able to copy?

  • Are there people whose abilities or skills he cannot copy?
  • Could he acquire the fighting skills of advanced masters such as Shang-Chi (master of kung fu) or the Black Panther (acrobatic fighting style)
  • Is his duplication of these skills perfect, so that he is indistinguishable from the original?

1 Answer 1


He does indeed have limits, although he frequently forgets such limits. Basically, every time he learns a new skillset, he loses memories, sometimes skillsets and sometimes personal memories. He's learned this multiple times, but always forgets that because he learns something new that pushes it out of his head. This was explored at length in Taskmaster #1-4, volume 2, written by Fred Van Lente and drawn by Jefté Palo where he learns that he has a wife, Mercedes, who is also his Mission Control from time to time. Sadly, by the end of the arc, he's been forced to pull in one more combat skill and he forgets her, again.

In answer to some of your other questions, he gained his ability to copy abilities after injecting himself with a Nazi serum (I don't know exactly how they explain the earlier memories of copying skills as a child, leading to the diving/drowning incident) while he was an agent of SHIELD. I believe he has duplicated the actual fighting styles of Shang Chi and Black Panther although the writers have waffled on whether he can copy the Shang Chi's mastery of chi. He has definitely used his abilities to flawlessly imitate heroes and villains, so I'd argue them as pretty indistinguishable.

  • 1
    It should be mentioned that the origin that he gets his abilities from a Nazi version of the Super Soldier Serum and that he loses his personal memories to make room for new skills is a recent retcon, and before volume 2 it was never explained how he got his photographic reflexes, but it was assumed he was a mutant.
    – Monty129
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 12:38
  • {nods} Which, since Marvel really doesn't do reboots per se, means they just have to find a way to slot it in. In his case, I assumed that it's some combination of implanted memories (typical among these spy sorts) and ones he's made up to make sense of his life (surprisingly common IRL when people think they should remember something).
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 12:47

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