Deadpool and Taskmaster - Marvel's Greatest Battles

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

Ridureyu is back with a look at a great combo pack - tell us all about them, R!

Hasbro has really hit it out of the park with their comic packs.  originally a way to sell G.I. Joes that wouldn't do well single-carded (as well as drum up some interest in the comics), they did the same for Star Wars, and it's so successful that other toylines have followed suit - even Ben 10!  Thus, it was only a matter of time before they started doing this with their Marvel toyline.  Marvel's comic packs tend to include one reused or slightly altered sculpt with one brand-new character.  The "new" one could be obscure (Marvel's Wrecker) or in high demand (Dr. Doom).  This particular one includes two high-demand characters - one minor resculpt and one brand-new character (although made mostly of older parts): Deadpool and Taskmaster.  Deadpool originally had a 3 3/4" figure for the Wolverine movie line,  That was a few years ago, and the figure is pretty high on people's want lists, so getting a new one is awesome.  Taskmaster has gotten a lot more exposure in the comics lately, has a history with Deadpool, and this release even coincides with Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, in which both are playable characters.

Deadpool (Wade Wilson) started out as a blatant rip-off of DC's Deathstroke (Slade Wilson), who in turn was fairly obviously inspired by Taskmaster.  Crazy, huh?  Wade Wilson was part of the Weapon X project, and has a healing factor similar to Wolverine's.  Unfortunately, he also has pretty extensive cancer, which for some reason makes him look like Freddy Kruger.  It also drove him insane - and one of Deadpool's defining features is that he's so crazy, he knows he's a fictional character.  "The Merc With the Mouth" has spent the last twenty years breaking the fourth wall, lusting after Bea Arthur, lusting after Cable, using Thor's hammer to play baseball, dressing up as Marvel Girl, using Street Fighter moves on Kitty Pryde, kicking Captain America in the nuts, and just pretty much being the funniest thing alive.  He's had a few video game appearances, all of them funny (You have to see him in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3!), and two movie appearances.  He was in the animated Hulk Vs. Wolverine, and the less said about his role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the better.

Taskmaster (real name unknown, sometimes "Tony Masters") only has one super power: He has a photographic memory for reflexes.  This means that if he sees something done, he can imitate it so long as it's humanly possible.  Taskmaster can imitate all of the best fighting styles with ease, and has mixed it up with practically everybody - the fact that he can take out Cap in a fair fight and even hold his own with Thor is pretty amazing.  He uses (slightly inferior) copies of other Marvel heroes' weapons, and for some odd reason dresses like a pirate.  Taskmaster is a smart enough guy to know that robbing banks just isn't a good use of his skills, so he has spent his time training villains and henchmen, training heroes, and doing mercenary work for good and bad guys alike, though he's usually a villain.  He hasn't shown up in any cartoons or movies, and only has one video game appearance to his name - Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, which does a pretty good job in capturing both his skill as well as his sarcastic Brooklyn personality. He has a few other toys, such as a pretty good specimen in the Marvel Legends line.  Also, he predates Skeletor by about a year.

Packaging - ***
I opened mine before remembering to take a photo, so you can tell how I hastily repacked it for the picture.  Sorry!  The packaging is standard for any comic packs - it protects the comic and the figures while showing both off.  There's also a brief bio on the back for the characters.  Both figures' accessories are held in the tray pretty snugly - too snugly in the case of Taskmaster's bow.  Be careful working it out of the package, as mine developed a tiny stress mark when I tried, and I didn't even bend it that much!  Other than that, there aren't very many problems with this, although any packaging that potentially breaks the figure loses a star.

Sculpting - Deadpool: ****, Taskmaster: ***
Deadpool is mostly a rehash of his X-Men Origins toy.  Mostly.  It's got a few differences - the head is better-shaped and has smaller eye marks, and his harness is completely different (which allows for better articulation).  He also has a different right hand, in his characteristic "pinky" pose (He holds out his pinky finger when wielding a gun. To be polite, you know).  Overall, he's more comic-accurate to most of Deatpool's Appearances than the old one.  The pinky finger is just a hilarious touch.

Taskmaster is mostly pretty good, although the majority of his body is made up of reused parts.  His head seems less removable than most Marvel Universe figures, and I didn't want to stress the joint, so his cape and quiver might as well be part of him instead of accessories.  The cape is an original sculpt, although the quiver is a reuse from Hawkeye.  Both are great, and the cape curves nicely over his quiver.  The cape also serves as a good anchor for taskmaster, which keeps him standing in a lot of really goofy poses.  His head is a new sculpt, and looks good.  Complaint-wise, there are two issues I have with Taskmaster's sculpt - his neck is too long, and his head hovers above his cape.  It's a hard problem to mask, and just looks awkward.  The other is that his hands are way too wide-open for most of his accessories.  He can hold the bow just fine, but his sword is fairly lose (although manageable), and his pistol is just impossible.  The pistol absolutely will not stay in his hand unless you force him to awkwardly grab it from the side, which is a shame.  Those problems are both bad enough for a star, with the hand issue far worse than his head.  What's the point of a weapon nut if he can't hold his weapons?

Paint - Deadpool: ****, Taskmaster: *** 1/2
Deadpool's paint is great, with no slop on my figure.  He's mostly cast from red plastic, which some people might find too "toy-ish," but I don't have a problem with that.  Deadpool would WANT his toys to look like toys!  He'd also take them out of the packaging.  In front of collectors.  Before force-feeding them meatloaf.
You know, I should have written his part of the review in first-person narrative.  It's what Deadpool would have wanted.  Let's try it.
"Hey, it's me, Deadpool!  Don't listen to this idiot.  He's a grown man and he plays with TOYS! What a loser, huh?"
...Never mind.

Taskmaster's paint is also mostly good, matching up white, blue, and orange with only one real problem - a half-star of a problem.  Mine has a pretty big paint slop on the skull, which makes Taskmaster look like he's got a runny nose.  Bah!  But yeah, if you can find one without that problem, he'd be worth four stars.

Articulation - Deadpool: ***1/2, Taskmaster: ***1/2
Both figures have Marvel Universe-characteristic hyper articulation.  And yet, since both are kitbashed from completely different figures, they vary.  Deadpool has ball-joint hips while Taskmaster has "pin" hips, for example.  Tasky's wrists are a little harder to pose dynamically than Deadpool's, whereas Deadpool does not have proper ankle articulation.  Overall both are really good, but both have tiny little flaws in them.  But you can do what matters - you can pose Deadpool in all manner of whacky (or cool) situations, although you can't make him Shoryuken Kitty Pride, because his hands are open.  Sorry!  Taskmaster is likely pretty good, and the cape does not inhibit his articulation very much.  It actually helps him stand, so you don't have to snag a base from another figure, like I did for Deadpool.

Accessories - Deadpool: ***1/2, Taskmaster: ***1/2
Both have a good number of accessories (more than most Marvel figures, more than most Star Wars figures, less than any G.I. Joe figures), but both also miss a few things that would have perfectly sealed it.

Deadpool comes with two katanas, a dagger, and a pistol.  They all fit pretty well in sheathes on his costume, and are pretty good either way.  They also fit very well into both hands, and are great for a wide variety of poses.  So, what's missing?  The older Deadpool figure had an out-of-scale sai, so I'm not asking for that.  But Deadpool never really goes anywhere without hand grenades, and an automatic weapon would also fit him, too.  Just tossing in a single grenade would have lifted this to four stars - it's that close!

Taskmaster comes with a lot of his copied weapons:  Captain America's shield, Hawkeye's bow, Black Knight's sword, and Punisher's machine pistol.  That's pretty much his "standard" array, except with one exception: Taskmaster always carries around a copy of Daredevil's billy club.  Always.  If this figure had the club, it would have been perfect.  But that aside, the bow is the same as Hawkeye's - decent, good for what it is, and he can hold it well or slip it under his quiver strap to store it on his back.  The shield is the same as Cap's, except without those elastic bands.  it snaps nicely on his wrist, although the slots for the missing bands do look a little ugly.  The sword fits well into a sheathe on Taskmaster's hip, is well-sculpted and painted, but just seems a little small.  It's kind of short, and the hilt is too thin to comfortably fit in his hand.  That's too bad, as it was almost perfect.  The pistol fits great into its holder on his belt, looks good, but he can't hold it, as I said.  He holds Deadpool's gun better, oddly enough.

And the final accessory is also the biggest: The comic!  Deadpool and Taskmaster have kind of a hate-hate friendship going on (they are buddies and work together, but they hate each other's guts way more than is healthy), and have fought a few times.  The comic here chronicles Deadpool's attempt to rebuild his reputation after Civil War by taking on Taskmaster in a fight.  It's okay and it has some of Deadpool's signature humor (such as storming Marvel's offices!), but honestly, it's not the best showdown the two have had.  Taskmaster got beaten without any real chance to show off or any explanation why, which makes him look weak.  In their first major fight, Tasky still lost, but he looked cool - and Deadpool was hilarious, beating Taskmaster purely because he was so random and goofy that Taskmaster couldn't predict his moves.  It's too bad that we didn't get their more iconic fight, but I can't  really complain that much about this one.  It's fun, and it's more recent than the older one, I guess.

Value - ****
$15 for two figures and a comic book is pretty good, considering that single Marvel Universe figures will run you $7-$8.  Expect to pay double online at a bare minimum because both characters are insanely popular, and Taskmaster has never gotten a good figure in this scale before.

Fun Factor - ****
Yeah, they're worth four stars.  Both characters manage to combine "cool" and "hilarious," and they're a great addition to any Marvel Universe display.  Also, they can both carry all their weapons AND leave their hands free!  Isn't that awesome?

Overall - ***1/2
They're not perfect, but they're pretty good.  Both have a few minor flaws in articulation and accessories, and some things about Taskmaster's sculpt are wonky - particularly his wide-open hands.  But overall?  I'm not just glad I got these figures, I'd do it again!  I'm not the biggest comic fan in the world, but I absolutely love both characters.  And of course, I play them a lot in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3.  Here's hoping they make toys for the rest of the cast - I for one would love a Dormammu or Shuma-Gorath, myself!

Where to Buy
Try all the big box stores before breaking down and going online.  Your wallet will thank you.

This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Ridureyu.

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