As Marvel Studios has once again postponed Black Widow‘s release, it gives us some time to brush up on our comic history. The film will focus on Natasha Romanoff’s history with the Red Room. It is a top-secret Soviet institute that turned young women into elite assassins. Of course, Natasha was once a member before joining S.H.I.E.L.D. at an unknown point. The upcoming film will dive deep into the various characters from her past who all may have deep ties with the secret organization. So, let’s use this opportunity to dive deep into the various characters in 400 words or less.
Rick Mason is a mercenary who specialized in non-lethal combat against superhumans. His father was the criminal inventor Phineas Mason, who is better known as the Tinkerer. He was briefly part of S.H.I.E.L.D., MI-6, and even the Russian intelligence. Mason’s freelance work is under the codename The Agent, where he works for the highest bidder. We first got introduced to the character in Marvel Graphic Novel #57 back in 1990. Since, he was hired to kill a CIA mole, take on renegade China agents, and even took out a quintet of powered mercenaries. Mason even took on The Corporation as his father was forced to work for them. This job led to him fighting alongside Luke Cage and another agent, Dakota North, who was sent by his own father to take down the organization. In reality, he sent them to save his son.
The character will have a role in the upcoming Black Widow film, who seems to have a romantic interest in her. He will be played by O-T Fagbenle and is currently the frontrunner to be Taskmaster’s secret identity. Mason might be the furthest departure from the comics. We saw the Tinkerer in Spider-Man: Homecoming, so he won’t be his son in this incarnation. He was mentioned as an agent, who has some history as part of S.H.I.E.L.D., which would fit the depiction of Taskmaster in various media. He was a member of the spy organization in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series and the recently released Marvel’s Avengers. There is also a good chance that these loose connections are a red herring to keep us guessing on who the iconic villain may turn out to be. He hasn’t been featured in trailers so far, so anything is possible.