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Mister Kline the Assassin (Marvel Comics) in the shadows

Mister Kline the Assassin


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Mister Kline the Assassin appeared in Marvel Comics in 1971-1972. It was a terribly mysterious story that involved the height of genre cool back then – killer robots, time travel, rewriting history, political manipulation, nothing being explained and characters called “the Assassin.”

This G. Conway story is also in some ways a precursor for the big annual crossover events that became a staple of Marvel’s schedule in later decades. Though back then the Marvel books were siloed, Conway was writing a half-dozen of them and used that to pull off a rare move – a story that took place across multiple issues of both Daredevil and Iron Man.


Background

  • Marital Status: Unrevealed
  • Known Relatives: None
  • Group Affiliation: Agent of Baal
  • Base Of Operations: Switzerland
  • Height: 6’2” Weight: 300 lbs
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown


Powers and Abilities

The Assassin is an android with superhuman strength, whose eyes can shoot energy beams. He’s pretty good at manipulating people, especially if one realises that he doesn’t quite grokk human beings, and is primarily a schemer and manipulator.

He has the skills and resources to build pretty sophisticated androids ; these androids will usually believe themselves to be human, and act in a rather psychotic way. It is possible that all templates for human personalities available in the era of Baal had psychiatric and faith issues, including Mister Kline. Three such androids — Mikas, Demitrius and the Slasher — have entries on WORG.

Alternatively, it is possible that all three were originally human beings who were rebuilt as robots or full conversion cyborgs so they could serve as agents – but were blocked from being aware of that.

In combat the Assassin tends to stay on a near-fanatical offensive (he will Press the Attack whenever he can), and favours his eyebeams over close combat despite the lower AV.


History

Circa the 120th century, the computer Baal was created to govern Earth ; however, after two millennia more, Baal was alone, humanity having either perished or abandoned its homeworld. Hoping to alter history to prevent this, Baal sent android MK-9 back over 12,000 years to set in motion events whose repercussions would affect Earth in a hundred centuries.

As “Mister Kline,” MK-9 worked with XXth century scientists to mutate superhuman operatives, including “Bull” Taurus, a ruffian Daredevil had prevented from abducting test subjects. Mutated into Man-Bull, Taurus attacked Daredevil, but Kline was more interested in Daredevil’s friend, D.A. Foggy Nelson, whom he blackmailed over a past impropriety to undermine his gubernatorial aspirations.

Robot attacks

Meanwhile, two Kline operatives, the clawed Slasher and the telepathic Demitrius, sabotaged buildings designed by industrialists Tony Stark and Ben Crandal, two more targets for discrediting, only to be foiled by Stark as Iron Man. When Stark testified in Washington, D.C., the two attacked the Capitol but were defeated by Iron Man.

Nevertheless, Senator Ernest McJavit (actually a Kline-created android replacement) used the fiasco to discredit Stark and Grandal.

Mister Kline recap panel

Back in New York, where he had carefully cultivated a reputation as a criminal mastermind, Kline entrusted Daredevil’s abduction to the Owl, who tried to kill his foe instead ; Kline then arranged for Daredevil’s rescue by the Black Widow, whom Kline hoped would romance Daredevil as part of his plans.

Returning his attention to Iron Man, he assigned the enigmatic Mikas of his “Mutant Sector” to abduct Stark’s girlfriend Marianne Rodgers, luring Iron Man into a trap. Kline hoped to make Iron Man his anti-military pawn, but Mikas, maddened by his own power, tried instead to kill the hero, who released his armor’s full energy to destroy Mikas’ base.

Machines and machinations

Kline fared better with an android Scorpion duplicate, who lured Daredevil and the Widow into battle, then fell to his “death,” implicating the Widow for murder. While Nelson, directed by Kline, prosecuted the Widow and Daredevil (as Matt Murdock) defended her, Kline sent a Night Phantom android to threaten Iron Man and Rodgers, then a Mister Hyde android to destroy the Scorpion android’s “corpse.”

With the “victim’s” body destroyed, the charges against the Widow were dropped, again at Kline’s orders, damaging Nelson’s career.

As anticipated, feelings developed between Murdock and the Widow, and when she vacationed in Switzerland, Kline approached as scientist Emil Borgdsky to tell her of a blindness cure. Thus Murdock also came to Switzerland, hardly imagining his proposed sight restoration would, thought Kline, lead him to end Daredevil’s career, which Kline felt was as influential as any political or industrial legacy.

Discovering Kline’s base, Daredevil approached as Kline consulted Baal (still in their home era). Kline then revealed his android nature and attacked his foe, but received a head injury.

As Kline struggled to repair himself, the empathic Final Sons of Man, two metallic, armored or robotic “new people” from the 170th century, arrived to guarantee that Baal’s future would lead to their own by destroying Kline and his base, then teleported Daredevil and the Widow to safety and departed.

Although Kline is no more, the full extent of his operations was never determined, and the ultimate effects of his activities upon the future cannot be predicted.


Description

Note that Mister Kline is a chain smoker, which is fairly unusual for an android. He uses a short cigarette holder.


Personality

The Assassin is a strange cross between a scheming organized crime type, making threats and alliances and moving is pawns around — and an android who knows relatively little about human nature. He eventually decided to build robots rather than use human criminals such as the Owl, due to the unreliable and unpredictable nature of humans.

Kline seems to have a near-religious reverence toward Baal ; when Baal was pleased with his successes and told Kline he was no longer a mere android but could wear the title of the Assassin, Kline did so with enormous pride.


Quotes

“You won’t make the Owl’s mistake —! You shall stay true and faithful — and obey — the law of Kline !”

“I’m afraid that thought is academic, Nelson… you can’t… and as long as you’re mine, you’ll never think on your own again. From this day forth — you are an agent of the Assassin !”

“Soon, the very shape of our future world will be changed, master… and the history that will make you the sole occupant of the Earth twelve thousand years from this date will be destroyed !”

“Speak all you will ! It was that kind of useless talk which caused the end of the human race. When men should have thought, the only spoke ; when they should have acted, they only wailed !”

“Your flight us useless ! Baal is supreme — and the Assassin is Baal’s sole and perfect agent !”

“The time for Stark to be removed — has now arrived. So speaks Kline. So speaks the Assassin ! Aye ! Now stands the master revealed. Indeed, I am an android — and the truest irony is yet to be given you, Mikas. Prepare yourself — and them — for the hour of Doomprayer !”


DC Universe History

The rather obscure Professor Menace, a early 1960s Wonder Woman and JLA foe, could be used as the base for a DCU version of the Assassin. He already has robot duplicates of contemporary villains that could be used – for instance Mikas the Soulfather could be an evolution on his Doctor Destiny android duplicate, based on whom Doctor Destiny will become decades later.

His 1960s forays against the Amazing Amazon and her friends as “Professor Menace” could have been but a stepping stone toward a more complex plan during the 1970s as Mister Kline, based on the Marvel story and targetting… Wonder Woman and Aquaman, or something along those lines.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

The Assassin

Dex: 06 Str: 08 Bod: 06 Motivation: Uphold Baal
Int: 05 Wil: 06 Min: 04 Occupation: Extratemporal operative
Inf: 06 Aur: 06 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 008
Init: 019 HP: 020

Powers:
Self-link (Gadgetry): 09, Heat vision: 09, Mind probe: 05

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Heat vision can also be used, as a Trick Shot, to invisibly heat metal objects, making them too hot to hold
  • Mind probe is limited to superficial thoughts

Skills:
Artist (actor): 06, Charisma: 07, Gadgetry: 06, Martial artist: 07, Scientist: 06

Advantages:
Expansive HQ, Genius, Scholar (androids)

Connections:
Underworld (Low), His own robots (High), Baal (Low)

Drawbacks:
Distinct Appearance (though he can disguise himself), Exile (the future)

Equipment:
Mister Kline developed some experimental remote mind control technology. This research did not quite work, but could send visions and images to the brain of people many miles distant. Those visions were too obviously unreal to have any APs in Mental Illusion, but could be used to make people doubt their sanity and as psychological warfare.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Old Marvel comics

Helper(s): Darci. It’s a somewhat unclear time travel story, so the chronology and storyline are hard to pin down. I’ve thus used the official ones appearing in the Marvel Legacy 1970s Handbook.

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