Saturday, September 15, 2012

Taskmaster - Redemption Road Revisited - Ray Wonsowski

Ok, I have to apologize here, since this is an odd continuation - I humbly ask for your indulgence....

Way back in March, when I was sending tryout scripts during the Avengers months, I sent this one for Hawkeye.  It's an idea that I've been bopping about for almost 2 years now, that I've called Redemption Road (skip ahead if you read it already or just want to get to the Taskmaster part...):

The Premise: Electro finds out he has a daughter, and when he gets out of prison, he really tries to go straight after his baby girl's mom dies. Desperate, he goes back to his old ways and gets caught by Spider-Man and Hawkeye during an armoured car heist. Hawkeye secures him, and instead of calling the authorities, offers to make Electro an Avenger.  Spidey and Hawkeye are now standing on a roof for some privacy. Electro is bound and sitting.

Panel 1:
SPIDEY (incredulous): What?!?
HAWKEYE: I'm serious, Max. Position's yours if you want it. We could always use someone with your firepower...

Panel 2:
SPIDEY (pleading with Hawkeye): Dude! Do you know how many rounds I've gone with this jamoke?!? He's a career criminal!
HAWKEYE: So was I.

Panel 3: Hawkeye squatting down on his toes, so that he's eye to eye with Electro.
HAWKEYE: I was a two-bit thief with a third rate gimmick who thought he could go toe-to-toe with Iron Man. I was an idiot.
HAWKEYE: And then one day, when him and Thor and Ant-or-Giant-Man all cut and run, Captain America came to me and asked me to save the world.
HAWKEYE: Me, and Magneto's kids.

Panel 4: Electro's face - he looks torn.
HAWKEYE: You think about that for a sec. The trust, the faith that took. To look at an Olympic-sized failure and two budding terrorists, and ask them to be better.
HAWKEYE: You think of the fecal matter I had to swallow from the press, from old punk buddies, from my probation officer, until I had proved myself not just as a hero, but an Avenger. Big Time.
HAWKEYE: Think about your daughter. Do you want to see her taken by Social Services, visiting you from the other side of a plexiglass window? Or do you want to be a real father?

Panel 5: Hawkeye leans in on Electro closer. Electro is beginning to break.
HAWKEYE: You remember when you realized your mom didn't want you, when she left you, first from the heart, then the room. I went through that same thing. Your baby's an innocent. It's your responsibility to protect her.

Panel 6: Hawkeye from Electro's POV, towering over him.
HAWKEYE: That's what we do. We protect the innocent. If we can't, we avenge them.
HAWKEYE: I believe in you, Max. Like Cap believed in me.
HAWKEYE: Except I don't want you to prove you're a hero. I want you to prove to me you're a man.

So, here we are an issue later. Electro (Max Dillon) has turned down the Avengers gig (for now), and has decided to be a metahuman "skip tracer": when a supervillain goes fugitive and misses their court date, Dillon goes after them, bounty-hunting. Picture a cross between Dog and deNiro in "Midnight Run". After his first trace goes really, REALLY wrong, he goes to get professional help from Hawkeye, who sends him...THE TASKMASTER.

Panel 1: TASKMASTER and MAX (Electro) sitting in Max's apartment. It's run-down and humble, with the Clinton (Hell's Kitchen) skyline in the window. They are sitting at a folding card table in plastic patio chairs. The floor is matte black. Between them are two chipped mugs of coffee, a pile of restaurant sugar and creamer packets, a dishtowel, and a jar of Nescafe instant coffee. A pot of boiled water sits steaming on a hotplate. There is also a folding playpen set up behind MAX. TASKMASTER is in full costume. MAX is barefoot, in blue jeans, and wearing a dark green bowling shirt with two wide yellow stripes down the front (reminiscent of his old costume). His head is shaved, and has the scars on his face that he got in "the Gauntlet" storyline:
File:Electro Scars.jpg
He also has his baby daughter, TESS, cradled in his left arm, feeding her a bottle of formula with his right.  His body language should be self-conscious and uncomfortable, but more assured in what he's doing with his baby.  The baby's hands should touch Max's hands, not the bottle.
TASKMASTER has a manila file of photographs in front of him, with a USB stick drive on top of it.  He is resting his coffee cup on the table, gesturing to the file and drive.

TASKMASTER: after talking with Barton and your attorney, Mr. Murdock, I went over your material.  You are quite possibly, Max, potentially as powerful as Magneto.  You pack a tremendous amount of power...

MAX:  Thanks.

Panel 2 - Same as Panel 1, except TASKMASTER leans back on the chair's back legs, pointing a gloved hand at MAX.

TASKMASTER:  You're also absolute crap in a fight.  Spider-Man has, more often than not, knocked you out in one punch.  You've got a glass jaw.

TASKMASTER:  Daredevil has also put you down quick.  In groups like the Sinister Six, you're likely the first to be getting the ten-count.

Panel 3 - Same as above, but MAX is looking down at TESS, who is pushing the bottle out of her mouth.  MAX is trying not to look ashamed.

TASKMASTER:  PowerPack beat you up once.  And your weakness is water.

TASKMASTER:  Water, Mr. Dillon.

Panel 4 - Same as above, but MAX is putting the baby bottle on the table as TASKMASTER passes him the dishtowel, his skull mask looks like it's smiling good-naturedly.

MAX:, yeah, well...

TASKMASTER:  Oh, no, no - please!  Believe me, I've trained worse.  You should see some of the lulus Hydra sends me.

TASKMASTER:  All things being equal, I think we can...

Panel 5 - Same as above, but MAX is putting the towel over his left shoulder while propping TESS up a little bit.  TASKMASTER is putting the stick drive in one of his pouches, while he opens the file.

MAX:  What are you thinking, fighting styles?  Kung-fu?  Boxing?

TASKMASTER:  Actually, I'm thinking the opposite.  I'm gonna teach you to fight dirty.

TASKMASTER:  I'm talking schoolyard dirty.  Eye-poking, ear-clapping, kick'em-in-the-yarbles dirty.  Three Stooges on a bender dirty.

Panel 6 - Same as above, but MAX is patting TESS's back, trying to burp her.  TASKMASTER's arms are wide in a gesture of explanation, as he leans further back on the rear chair legs.

MAX:  I dunno, man.  I mean my rep is low enough, do I wanna add "girly-slap" to my resumé?

TASKMASTER:  Look, you got a dangerous felon to bounty out.  That's not a criminal to you, or a wanted man.  That's your paycheck on its feet.  College tuition on two legs.

TASKMASTER:  Don't worry about trying to look all John Woo.  You need fast takedown, and stay-down, so you can get power-dampeners and cuffs on.  Before he finds a garden hose.

Panel 7 - Same as above, but...TESS burps, causing her to discharge a fair amount of electricity around her.  A lot of it feeds into MAX, who looks completely unfazed, but some knocks TASKMASTER off his chair, and his hood off his head.

TESS:  *bra-a-ap*


Panel 8 - TASKMASTER is on the floor, eyes wide, his chair is skidded into the corner, and he is looking at, and running his hand over, the floor.  MAX is smiling/smirking crookedly at TESS as he cleans her mouth with the towel.  She is giggling.

MAX:  (to TESS) ...and that's why we don't go to children's birthday parties.

TASKMASTER:  I was wondering about the rubber flooring.

MAX:  (to TESS)  Papa's little joy-buzzer...

TESS:  *grggl* be continued...


  1. I really love that panel at the end, and the page, while a bit packed, is pretty good.

  2. Excellent character piece (albeit more for Electro than Taskmaster) with some great ideas in there, all building towards that happy little finale.

  3. Nice character work that builds to a funny last panel.

    My only gripe with this would be that some of the panel descriptions are perhaps too long/detailed.

    It'll be cool to see where this goes if you do any more.


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