Bob Haney signifies the Squadron beast in zombie valley!

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The December schedule for Marvel Comics has arrived, and brought some big news for Taskmaster with it. Not only will the highly skilled mercenary be making his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in November’s Black Widow, but he’s also getting his own comic series… in which he will be trying to hunt down and kill Agent Phil Coulson.

Working as one of the best mercenaries in the Marvel Universe, Taskmaster is a master of combat thanks to his incredibly unique photographic memory, allowing him to perfectly mimic the fighting styles and techniques of any combatant he sees. It’s what makes him nearly unstoppable (in the comics and, apparently, the Black Widow movie fight scenes as well). Unfortunately, it looks like the job to kill Coulson will go south when he gets more problems than he bargained for. As in the entire Squadron Supreme of America backing Coulson up.

In the new Taskmaster series from writer Jed Mckay with art by Alessandro Vitti, the whole world believes that Taskmaster a.k.a. Tony Masters has killed Maria Hill, and spies from all over the globe will be trying to take him down. While it remains to be seen if Taskmaster actually did the deed, he’ll be headed to Washington to eliminate the one and only Phillip J. Coulson in the second issue, seemingly to continue his killing spree. Here’s the cover art from Valerio Giangiordano and synopsis from Marvel Comics:

The cover and synopsis reveals that Taskmaster is definitely going to be in over his head thanks to Coulson’s personal team of superheroes. For fans that don’t know, after Coulson was assassinated during Secret Empire, he was brought back to life by brought back to life by Mephisto, provided that he work for the demon lord and his interests on Earth. Coulson complies, having lost all faith in the superheroes of the Marvel Universe, deciding to take a walk on the dark side and built a new version of Marvel’s knockoff Justice League, the Squadron Supreme.

As a result, Coulson has brainwashed and programmed an entire team of superheroes under the U.S. Government that is secretly ready to be used as Mephisto wills. The heroes included are Hyperion, Power Princess, Nighthawk, the Blur, and Doctor Spectrum, and seeing that they’re completely loyal and obedient to Coulson, Taskmaster may have some significant problems. In the cover art the honor goes to Hyperion, Marvel’s version of Superman to hold Taskmaster by the throat high up in the air, so fans should be pretty curious to see how Taskmaster will survive this encounter.

The Joker has a flair for drama and a violent streak as long as Gotham itself, but fans might suppose that even the Joker would be no match for the combined power of the Teen Titans, many of whom have actual superhuman abilities. Unfortunately, if Detective Comics #1027 is to be believed, the Clown Prince of Crime once downed the entire Teen Titans roster!

The gaggle of sidekicks and young superheroes known as the Teen Titans first appeared in comic books back in the halcyon days of 1964. Created by Bob Haney and Bruni Primiani, the team of teenagers were introduced in The Brave and the Bold #54 before getting their own comic series. There have been many incarnations over the years, with characters differing between storylines and in different parts of the DC Multiverse. With cartoons and the recent Titans television show, the characters have only grown in popularity. Currently, the most recognizable members of the young superhero group are Robin, Starfire, Beast Boy, Raven, and Cyborg

In Detective Comics #1027, readers learn about the Joker’s disturbing game of leaving Batman “birthday presents” once a month, every month – never on his birthday. From balloons to bodies, innocent doodles to incendiary devices, the gifts always keep Batman guessing and the Joker rolling with laughter. In one panel, however, we see some familiar faces. Bound together with a heavy chain and adorned with ribbons, the Teen Titans are seen sunk to the bottom of a river. Bubbles drift from over their heads as the teen heroes presumably hold their breath. Above them, towards the sunlit surface, Batman dives off a pier and to their rescue.

Joker is a formidable villain. Famously clever and manipulative despite his insanity, the Joker has gotten the upper hand on both Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder on multiple occasions. However, fans are certain to be wondering how exactly five superheroes – including a cyborg and someone with actual magic – could be taken down by a lone villain with no innate powers. Crazy and violent or not, one against five is never good odds.