The man who would become the Taskmaster first demonstrated unusual abilities during childhood. After watching a cowboy show on television, he found himself able to duplicate the sophisticated rope tricks he had just watched the cowboy perform. Psychiatrists, called in at the mother's request, termed the boy's rare ability "Photographic Reflexes".
After the original Thunderbolts became a success, Hawkeye attempted to continue to help other villains reform. He would soon realize that it isn't as easy as he thought it would have been and decided to force villains into reforming. Hawkeye had the Ringmaster hypnotize Taskmaster and other villains into joining his new Thunderbolts.