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 Friedrich and Stan Lee (or probably just Friedrich impersonating him).
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Crossover: Mr. Kline
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: 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.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 13, 2011 1:33 AM
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.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 10, 2011 6:52 PM
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.
Posted by: David Banes | November 2, 2013 4:08 AM
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.
Posted by: Ataru320 | November 2, 2013 7:48 AM
Don't worry. I'm sure Matt was just imagining that was a poster of Karen. In reality he was probably fingering a Burger Chef ad.
Posted by: kveto | February 21, 2016 3:05 PM
Leafing back through Daredevil it's so bizarre to remember all this nonsense. How the character survived long enough to get reinvented by Frank Miller is one of the great miracles of comics.
Makes me sorry in a way that it never got the Gerber treatment in the 1970s. He would have done an awesome job on what was, when you look at it, not only about a hundred times worse at any given time than an equivalent Spider-Man story, but also quite a surreal and trippy book.
It almost helps to imagine that the whole of Daredevil is actually based on what the blind man himself is IMAGINING going on, rather than accepting the comics as written as canonical.
Posted by: Flying Tiger Comics | March 12, 2017 12:18 AM
Surprisingly considering the weird stuff they put Daredevil through, the Man-Bull is probably one of the more sane ones (drugged out criminal become evil bull monster; with the time and place in the Marvel Universe, that just sounds plausible for a blind super-hero to deal with...compared to aliens and transdimensional beings). Sure it was part of the Mr. Kline mess, but not sure if this is particularly the place to state how weird things had gotten.
Posted by: Ataru320 | March 12, 2017 7:28 AM
Flying Tiger: Gerber did write Daredevil later on, in the 70s.
It wasn't very good, interesting or memorable.
Posted by: Karel | May 20, 2017 8:57 PM
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