Taskmaster #1 Review

Early review of the upcoming comic Taskmaster by Jed MacKay, artist Alessandro Vitti, colorist Guru-eFX, and letterer Joe Caramagna.

Taskmaster #1 (2020)

I’ll be honest.  I’ve never read a Taskmaster story.  Not even once.  I know who the character is and what his abilities are, but that is due to different video games and Marvel cartoons.  I’ve never really read a Taskmaster story or arc involving the character.

For those of you that do not know much about him, Taskmaster is the alter ego of Tony Masters.  He is a super villain, mercenary, and anti-hero.  He first appeared in Avengers #195.  He has the ability to mimic any persons movements, fighting styles and mannerisms which makes him a very formidable opponent. 

Taskmaster #1 starts with him in the middle of doing odd jobs to make ends meet.  In the middle of the job, he is suddenly attacked.  With no weapons and no time to react he is forced to run.  Only to be helped by an unlikely accomplice.

I think the premise that the writer sets up is pretty genius and lends to the situational humor I found throughout the book. We find out that Tony has been framed for something he didn’t do, and must now set out to clear his name or die. Writer Jed Mackay, builds an arc that looks to be part buddy cop, one part fugitive on the run and one part murder mystery. 

Alessandro Vitti’s art is really well done.  There was quite a bit of action in the pages and I think it was well handled.  Also the supporting characters are all well known Marvel characters and are very well drawn with subtle nods to make them his own.  

All in all, I very much liked this first issue and will put this on my pull list to see how this first story arc plays out. 

Rating 3.5 / 5  

Written by Adrian Harry co-host of the Next Issue Podcast
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Late to the Party Review #1 – Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

It has been one hell of a year so far.  Because 2020, I have not read or watched too much of anything.  It is something that is missing in my life and I’m about to remedy that. Books, comics, TV shows and movies all make up what I’ll being doing for the next several months.  I’ll consume the material and give you my thoughts and review.  First up to the plate will be a review of the book Lovecraft Country, by Matt Ruff.  With the first couple of episodes of the HBO adaptation out I decided to read the book first.
Thanks for going on this journey with me.
Your brother in nerdom,
Big A

Lovecraft Country (Book)

By Matt Ruff

I remember seeing the first trailer for the show, Lovecraft Country, back in the beginning of this year.  All I had to know was that it was a period sci-fi, horror show produced by Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams.  I had my calendar marked and was ready to roll or so I thought.  What I got in that first episode blew my mind so much that I had to get the book the show is based upon.  

Published in 2016, Lovecraft Country is a bunch of interconnected short stories set in 1950’s Chicago.  Atticus, who is a black man, his immediate and extended family are all main characters. Tick, as he is called, has come home from fighting in the Korean War.  Tick returned to Chicago after receiving an urgent letter from his father.  Upon arriving, it is discovered that his dad has gone missing.  So he, his uncle George, and his childhood friend Leticia, set off on a road trip to find him.

I think this book sets itself from a lot of others in the genre,  Ruff does an amazing job of showing just how getting in the car and driving across country could be for a black man in the ‘50’s.  We’ve been led to believe that racism stopped at the Mason/Dixon Line.  That was far from actuality and the author brings it home. 

Lovecraft Country does a unique job of shining a light on bigotry. It tells the story from the perspective of a 1950’s black family.  The Turners where an educated, middle class family, with all the same interests and desires as white Americans.  And to see that juxtaposition against how everyday white people saw them, was nothing new, but done with great sensibilities.  Ruff was able to show that everyday life could be a horror show.  I personally found a real connection with Atticus and his love of reading sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.  It also is a love letter to those genres weaved with the dark history of this country.  Ruff thoroughly researched and drops little Easter eggs, throughout the book.  From mentioning other works of literature, to weaving historical events throughout the time period of the book, each story is a tribute to a different genre of writing.
They all connect so beautifully.

So with that being said, I highly recommend this book. I hope Mr Ruff can take us back to Lovecraft Country again soon.