Miles Morales’s most recent encounter with an MCU villain should serve as a good reminder of just how dangerous Marvel’s supervillains really are.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Miles Morales: Spider-Man #31, now on sale from Marvel.
Miles Morales was gifted with the powers of Spider-Man, and has discovered additional advantages as he’s grown into a hero in his own right. Thanks to his Venom Blasts and natural ability to cloak himself, Miles has an entire array of abilities to throw at enemies. But that doesn’t mean he can necessarily keep up with every threat in the Marvel Universe.
Miles Morales just ran headlong into Taskmaster fresh off the character’s Marvel Cinematic Universe debut earlier this year in Miles Morales: Spider-Man #31 by Saladin Ahmed, Christopher Allen, Guru-eFX and VC’s Cory Perit — and the young hero could barely keep up with the mercenary.
Miles Morales has been through a lot lately, losing his Uncle Aaron in a battle with his evil Ultimate Universe counterpart, taking part in the Outlawed event, and even surviving his own version of the Clone Saga. But there have been some minor moments of happiness, perhaps best signified by his new romance with Sterling. The granddaughter of the classic Spider-Man villain the Vulture, Starling has quickly established herself in the young hero community, working with the Champions (and even openly questioning Ms. Marvel’s leadership of the team). But she and Miles have also been drawn to one another, sharing a kiss and even revealing their identities to one another. It’s on one of these date nights that Spider-Man and Starling end up enjoying a movie while sitting together on a rooftop.
But they end up interrupted by a sudden attack that Miles only dodges thanks to his Spider-Sense. A hail of bullets quickly forces the two young heroes behind cover, and it’s revealed to be the Taskmaster. The mercenary is one of Marvel’s most dangerous wildcards, capable of emulating the skills of anyone he witnesses in battle. Spider-Man had previously encountered the hero during the events of Spider-Men — and quickly proves just how deadly he can be when he wants to be. Sneaking around in the dark, he’s able to move fast enough to catch even someone as skilled as Spider-Man off-guard — landing an arrow through his leg and luring the pair into the path of an exploding arrow.
Taskmaster then quickly faces off with the pair and proves fast enough to keep up with both Spider-Man and Starling at the same time. Although Miles’ Venom Blasts come as a surprise to Taskmaster (and even casually admits to being impressed by the technique), he quickly readjusts and reveals technology that overwhelms their senses — bringing both Spider-Man and Starling to the ground with ease. In effect, Taskmaster has been toying with them and could have easily killed Spider-Man if he so chose. But instead, he completes his assignment — capturing Starling — and brings her aboard his transport for extraction. The battle ends with the Wall-Crawler falling to the ground while following after them, while Taskmaster more or less earns an easy victory and a likely impressive payday.
It’s a good showcase for Taskmaster and a reminder that the villain has gone head-to-head with entire teams of heroes in the past. His occasional defeats at the hands of someone like Spider-Man or Black Widow shouldn’t cloud the fact that Taskmaster is one of Marvel’s most dangerous and capable combatants. Even the impressive and varied skill set of a Spider-Hero like Miles Morales isn’t necessarily enough to keep up with someone who’s actually been able to duplicate the tactics and skills of Spider-Man in the past.
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