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Grey Gargoyle

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 17,810
In Reply To
Nathan Summers

Member Since: Fri Dec 26, 2014
Posts: 1,380
Subj: Re: Madame Masque and...
Posted: Mon May 04, 2020 at 08:27:02 am EDT (Viewed 72 times)
Reply Subj: Madame Masque and...
Posted: Sun May 03, 2020 at 09:18:18 pm EDT (Viewed 69 times)

    Another major unresolved mystery from Iron Man's first volume was from Gerry Conway's run, specifically the Kline Saga. Gerry spread it out over whatever books he was given, obviously Iron Man, Daredevil and Sub-Mariner. As I recall it, Mr. Kline’s mission was to a) discredit Tony Stark and b) keep Foggy Nelson from running for governor. From the way it turned out, a) was not successful as planned, but b) was. From Baal’s reaction, moreover, b) was the more important of the two (it’s possible that Stark was only supposed to be discredited temporarily, and that may have been accomplished). To make sense of the ending, it could be that Kline did, in fact, make Baal’s future happen – but enough off-centre that it allowed the Sons of Men to come into existence. They were able then to come back and destroy Kline – not earlier, because then they would destroy their own existence, but soon enough to prevent the complete destruction of humanity (The Sons of Man are, by their name, not humans; they may be, as everybody else is in this story – Mikas for example –androids of a different sort). I don’t particularly like these time travel conundra, but there’s a way to reconcile thus kind of tale with the many-worlds approach. Mark Gruenwald espoused that probabilistic distance from a certain past makes it fuzzy and hard to travel towpath any precision – as opposed to a world a single logical divergence away. A future whose crucial moment has been defeated, while it still exists, is far enough away in a different timeline dimension that an emissary would be lucky to arrive in the right century, let alone the critical point. It’s all pretty arbitrary, but the device makes all these parallel worlds stories read a little like real non-absurd stories. The fun part is the speculation that Mr. Kline turns out to be the cause of the death of Foggy Nelson and the collapse of Karen Page, and is therefore the proximate cause of Frank Miller’s Born Again storyline and, by stretching a point just a little, the Demon in a Bottle storyline for Stark. What might have happened if those two major canonical episodes not have happened? That’s of course very hard to say. However, taking one more step down the yellow brick road, the thing that might not have happened is The Civil War. Wait, no, hear me out! A less darkly cynical Tony Stark, not having faced the dark part pdf his own soul, might not have thrown his weight behind it – and Franklin Nelson, Governor of New York, aided and abetted by Matt Murdock, killer trial lawyer, might have raised a legal firestorm against the Registration Act and brought about a constitutional crisis (states’ rights, don’t you know) and decreed (a la ICE) that New York will not cooperate with the Registration Act and establish a sanctuary for superhumans. He might even go to the United Nations and get a vote condemning the Act. And THAT might be something that prevents Baal from coming into existence a thousand years later. Stretching it a bit, but I’d like to write THAT story.

Your story is way better than what happened in the 1970s books. \:\-\)

Mister Kline is probably one of the weakest main characters created by Gerry Conway and, paradoxally, it was his one of his most ambitious.

I was not born when the issues were released in the 1970s but, later, in the 1980s, I read a reprint of Daredevil #80-81. It had been published again because it was the first time that Black Widow appeared in the Daredevil book. So, it was already a milestone. In this issue, Mister Kline was clearly presented as a "Big Bad" and he worked for someone who was even more dangerous. So, you can imagine my disappointment when I learned, much later, the whole story about Mister Kline.

Regarding Mister Kline & Baal, it is obvious that Gerry Conway was heavily influenced by science fiction and, actually, the pitch was good.
Adam Warlock vs Magus, Days of Future Past, Terminator, Future Imperfect, Looper and Predestination are based upon the same concept. Unfortunately, it is more a matter of execution than idea. Even nowadays, I don't understand why Mister Kline needed to pose as a mobster, why he had a cigarette holder if he was an android or how exactly he was going to save future Earth from disaster... Also, paradoxically, Mister Kline himself was more fun than Baal & the Final Sons of Man. So, it was truly a disappointment when it was revealed that he is only a minion that can be easily defeated once his true nature is revealed.

Under different circumstances, Mister Kline could have become an interesting Black Widow archenemy. Much later, Natasha encountered a similar threat, the Prophet of Chaos.

Even now, we don't know who were the true sponsors of the Chaos organization but their methods are not different from Baal and the Final Sons of Man.

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