Issue(s): Daredevil #84
When i saw the note signed by Emil Borgdsky, i immediately started trying to figure out if i was supposed to recognize the name - maybe the Abomination? No, that's Emil Blonksy.
Borgdsky is really Mr. Kline (who is sticking with the "Assassin" moniker his boss gave him recently), and he's luring the Black Widow away as bait for Daredevil.
I've been noticing a problem in some books of this time period. It shifts from scene to scene with no transition. Not even a measly "Meanwhile...". When i first saw this scene i thought Daredevil was busting in on Natasha's dinner date!
Foggy levels with Daredevil about Kline's blackmailing, but he doesn't tell Daredevil what dirt Kline had on him. So Daredevil is prepared when the Black Widow invites him to Europe, although he doesn't realize that Kline is really an android until he gets there.
We are also finally introduced to Kline's boss, Baal.
Baal will be the sole occupant of the Earth "twelve thousand years from this date", and Mr. Kline is working to prevent a further disaster that will destroy the Earth completely. There's no explanation as to how Daredevil, twelve thousand years earlier, could be responsible for that, or Foggy Nelson as Governor of California, or what Tony Stark had to do with it.
Daredevil fights Kline...
...and initially defeats him but Kline rises to fight again. That's when the father/son android pair from the Sub-Mariner show up.
They say that they come from even further in the future, after the death of Baal, and they represent "the final sons of man". They destroy Kline and teleport Daredevil and Black Widow out of Kline's lair as it explodes. This is all within the last page and a half of the issue, and there's nothing in the way of wrap up.
There's a panel where we see pods containing the Scorpion, Mr. Hyde, and someone else.
We later learn in Captain America #151 that Kline was keeping the real versions of Scorpion and Hyde while he sent out the robot versions. I suspect that these were meant to be the real versions. However, in Cap #151, we see the two waking up in a slightly different location, and this lair is destroyed during this issue, so i think that's why the MCP doesn't list those guys as appearing here. They should definitely be considered "behind the scenes" for the majority of the Mr. Kline story, however.
There's definitely been a shift towards science-fiction in the storyline from Mr. Kline's earliest appearances in Daredevil #78-79. One letter writer published in this issue guesses that Kline might be Cornelius Van Lunt and also notes similarities to Jack Kirby's DC creation, Morgan Edge. Both are reasonable choices considering the cigarette smoking mastermind seen in silhouette in the earlier issues, ordering about low level thugs and corrupting politicians, before it turned out that he was a robot.
Some other inconsistencies (the changing plans for Foggy Nelson, the "did he or did he not want the Owl to rebel against him" question, the fact that in the early issues Kline was in the dark as to his boss' goals and was expressing dissatisfaction about all of the manipulation he was doing, but later he describes himself as "Baal's sole and perfect agent") and the haphazard way that the plot runs through the various titles indicates to me that this wasn't plotted out in advance.
Still, this turned out to not be as messy as i thought it was going to be. I still have some unanswered questions, especially about why Tony Stark was one of Kline's targets (and more nitpicky stuff, like "If he could make his own super-villains (Man-Bull & the Iron Man villains), why retain the Owl and build robots of Scorpion and Mr. Hyde?"), but i guess it's actually kind of a neat idea to not let the readers in on all the details. From Daredevil and Iron Man's point of view this was a weird situation involving robots from the future, and the details of the how the future evolves that caused the crisis Baal was trying to prevent, or how the "sons of man" evolved afterward, is something that they'll never know.
I'm covering for Conway here. This was a confused mess. But it could have been worse.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is the end of the Mr. Kline saga, so it should take place after Iron Man #44-45.
Crossover: Mr. Kline
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showBaal (Mr. Kline's boss), Black Widow, Daredevil, Foggy Nelson, Ivan Petrovitch, Mr. Kline
We never did find out what Kline had on Foggy, did we?
Posted by: Michael | December 7, 2011 9:05 PM
Cool info, thanks. I was wondering why Marvel didn't experiment more with crossovers after this and what i call the "Evil Alliance" crossover from a few years earlier. Imagine if the quality of these stories were better; we might have seen Secret Wars a decade earlier.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 8, 2011 9:13 AM
At least the Robot Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future wasn't involved.
That 3rd figure in the bubble with Scorpion & Hyde sorta looks like Spymaster.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 10, 2011 7:14 PM
The third figure in the tubes seems a bit like Spymaster to me.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | December 29, 2013 12:58 PM
What was the deal with main villain Kline ending up killed here yet never referenced in Iron Man despite all the trouble he was causing there?
Kline was a robot from either the future or some alternate future built by the master computer named Baal. Baal was the last occupant of Earth, and wanting to prevent his timeline from happening, sent Kline to the past to make sure his timeline never occurred.
Other robot/ androids/ humans in armour(?) known as the Final Sons of Man ala Terminator go back in time to stop Kline from altering the timeline, referring to themselves as Father and Son (who might that have been based upon). At this point Kline was pretending to be a Russian surgeon with a cure for blindness in an attempt to kill Daredevil.
What was the end result of this whole mess? Obviously Stark and Daredevil were two main targets in preventing Baal's timeline from occurring, but how, exactly? The future timeframes for Baal, Kline, and the Sons of Man kept being mixed up/ changed, either by mistake or on purpose, so whatever the heck Conway was thinking or planning with this storyline we'll never know...
All of this muddled storyline happened between the IM comics and Daredevil - #78-84 and a small cameo on the The Final Sons of Man in Sub Mariner #42.
I did like the battle with the fake Night Phantom, though - I loved that character.....
Thoughts people where Conway was going with Matt, Foggy and Tony's involvement?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 23, 2016 10:09 PM
I was really angry at this when reading this. Such a long and boring story, and the resolution are.... Just two dudes that I never saw before from Sub-Mariner or whatever.
Ok, not as angry as with Black Lama story from Iron Man. But similarly angry.
Posted by: Karel | May 20, 2017 8:24 PM
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