Issue(s): Daredevil #78, Daredevil #79
These issues begin an unusual and sometimes incoherent story that mainly runs in Daredevil but also affects Iron Man and Sub-Mariner and has a post-script in Captain America. So while it's not that good a story, it's of interest to this project since it's an early version of a cross-over.
Daredevil defends a hippie couple against a group of thugs who are looking for guinea pigs for a scientist's experiments. Failing to bring anyone home, the thugs themselves are used in the experiment, and the thug leader, who happens to call himself "the bull", gets turned into a Man-Bull.
The Man-Bull has an oddly distorted and inconsistent appearance from scene to scene.
It's weird and oddly sloppy for a Colan/Palmer pairing.
The man behind-the-scenes who is funding these experiments is called Mr. Kline. He's also extorting money from Foggy Nelson. It's not clear yet what he has on Foggy.
Karen Page is a movie star at this point. And yes, it's ridiculous that Matt is mooning over a movie poster. I don't care how sensitive his fingers are; he can't 'see' that poster.
She's unhappy with her new career, and misses Matt (she says her problem was "refusing to see things his way"), so she returns to New York, where she finds Foggy sweating over the extortion issue.
We don't learn much about Mr. Kline...
...and based on the little we do see, and knowing where we end up, i have a feeling Conway was making it up as he went along rather than having the whole thing plotted out from the beginning.
Highlighting the messy feel of the book, here's a "humorous" caption exchange between Conway and Stan Lee (or probably just Conway impersonating him).
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Cross-over: Mr. Kline
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
Outside of adding the Black Widow, Conway's run on Daredevil is mostly inconsequential. His "Mr. Kline" epic story is basically a dry run for his Spider-Man/Jackal saga--it starts out with some throwaway details, gets creepier and more interesting, and then utterly poops out with a rushed, unsatisfying conclusion that doesn't adequately explain all that went before and contains stupid bits that make no sense.
It's possible that Gary Friedrich was going to take over for Conway from #79 on, but that plan got reversed. Gary has said in interviews that he created the Ghost Rider about this time as a villain for Daredevil, but Roy Thomas said he was deserving of a book of his own(plus the fact that Daredevil already had a motorcycle villain, Stunt-Master). It doesn't make much sense for Gary to be creating major villains if he was just pinch-scripting for Conway. That would also explain why Kline's information kept changing:if Gary was taking over, Conway wouldn't be taking up the Kline story again. However, Conway stayed and had to refill blanks as best he could.
I thought there was an interesting thing with Bull here, the way he accepts responsiblity for failing and that he has to be the test subject. Gave me the impression there was more character to him but this was lost and he was just a two-bit antagonists later on.
It's not too often you get a mob boss who takes responsibility and becomes a monster in the process. But unfortunately he becomes "the big muscle who rampages around...and once controlled cows against a future catgirl". He's no Kingpin but it would have been neat to have a super-powered mob boss like him with a moral conscious.
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