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|Gilbert D. Stern|
Gilbert D. Stern and his partner Roslyn Krantz.
Gilbert D. Stern is a federal agent from the Mega Man comic series by Archie Comics. He and his partner Roslyn Krantz first appeared in issue #5 in the story arc "Time Keeps Slipping" to question Dr. Light. Stern then accuses Dr. Light of helping Dr. Wily escape from the police convoy. Since then, he and Roslyn have been the go-to contact for help with situations beyond Mega Man's control.
On the surface, Stern is a bit of a grump. He's a bit harsh on more idealistic concepts like trust and love and has a hard time letting others in. He also has an inherent distrust of machines of all types, particularly robots, which causes him to sympathize with the Emerald-Spears group to a degree, though not enough to condone their methods.
However, just past his grumpiness lies a good heart. He's a good cop and genuinely believes in the ideals of truth and justice. Once someone breaks through his harsh exterior, he's willing to show genuine concern for them in his own way. In a sense, it's this concern in his fellow man that contributes to his harshness towards robots, as his belief in the human spirit to stand on their own is a contributor to his robot bigotry, as he feels they make things too easy. While he doesn't fully change his opinion, working with Mega Man shows him that like people, robots can be either good or bad, depending on their choices.
At some point in Stern's past, he attempted to locate and presumably shut down the X Corporation for unknown reasons, doing so long enough that he was reputed by his office for "chasing ghosts and conspiracies" as a result.
Stern and Krantz first approached Dr. Light while he and his Robot Masters were helping clean up the city following Dr. Wily's initial attempt to take over using the Robot Masters. Stern questioned whether or not Wily and Light may have been working together, especially given that Light was able to upgrade Mega Man in a way that enabled him to defeat Wily's reprogrammed Robot Masters. Krantz broke in, taking the interview in a new direction with an inquiry about the missing robots Time Man and Oil Man. The two then accompanied the convoy transporting Dr. Wily to prison, only for Wily's forces to free their master. Ever suspicious, Stern accused Dr. Light and Mega Man of conspiring to free Dr. Wily. Though no proof of his guilt existed, Light submitted himself to police custody.
Later, after Mega Man determined that Time Man and Oil Man had helped Wily escape, Stern provided aid to him and the other Light Robot Masters to apprehend the renegades, with Krantz accompanying the team of robots on their mission. Upon Mega Man's success in defeating the renegade robots, Stern arrived to take Time Man and Oil Man into custody after releasing Dr. Light. Though he admitted that he still didn't trust Mega Man, he also revealed that he didn't truly trust anyone, and complimented the heroic robot on his efforts. He then noted Dr. Light and Mega Man embracing, something he found both "sweet" and "creepy." Not long after, Stern and Krantz would be called in by Roll and Kalinka Cossack with regards to the attack of the Emerald Spears on the A.R.T.S. convention. After the danger had passed, Stern and Krantz spoke with Dr. Light about the incident, informing him that all but three of the Emerald Spears operatives had been apprehended. When Mega Man questioned whether Stern still disliked robots, Stern responded that-as with humans-it depended on their choices.
Stern and Krantz would continue their pursuit of Emerald Spears, calling upon Mega Man for help on New Year's Eve after interrogating former Spears leader Harvey Greenleaf about current renegade Xander Payne. Upon learning that Mega Man and the other robots didn't have a gut instinct to rely upon, Stern expressed gratitude that he wasn't quite "obsolete," as his feelings indicated that the Emerald Spears were present despite the high security measures. Stern later faced off with Payne, who attempted to sway him to his side, but upon failing attempted to kill him. Gil managed to survive, and took Xander and his associates into custody after Mega Man subdued them.
On Valentine's Day, after learning that Krantz had made reservations for the evening and been stood up by her date, Stern offered to accompany her. Much to their surprise, the pair found Light and Dr. Noele Lalinde at the same restaurant, and the four decided to share a table. The conversation turned into a debate when Krantz remarked that she couldn't understand how the Emerald Spears considered Light as great a threat as Wily, only for Stern to remark that he did. Despite Stern's suspicions, the evening ended pleasantly, and he advised Krantz to find a date more worthy of her. Krantz countered by remarking that such behavior might get people thinking he had a heart, though Stern felt that nobody would believe the idea.
Stern and Krantz would be caught up in the Ra Moon crisis, and found themselves facing a dilemma when they learned that Dr. Wily had returned and was at Dr. Light's lab helping repair the badly damaged Mega Man. Recognizing that arresting Wily was their duty, the pair decided to allow him to remain at Light's, which was easy to do given the cleanup from the crisis. However, eventually they came to apprehend him, having bent the rules as far as they could. Wily accused Light of selling him out, but Stern informed him that they had known about Wily's presence for some time and chosen to let him stay where he was so he could help Mega Man. Much to their surprise, Mega Man reactivated and volunteered to verify Wily's claims of being under Ra Moon's control.
Dr. Shou Kouin of the Chronos Institute later called upon Stern and Krantz to inform them that a recently hired employee was none other than escaped prisoner Xander Payne. The agents and Payne became engaged in a brief firefight, with Stern taking a hit to the shoulder, before Payne disappeared into the the future. He soon returned-from the agents' perspective-ranting insanely about his journey. Stern and Krantz took him into custody, and then took Stern to the hospital to be treated for the injury. Krantz called Dr. Light as they were leaving to inform him of Payne's capture, though Stern gave her a chastising look for talking on the phone while driving.
Stern and Krantz later attempted to investigate Wily Castle 3 Island to verify whether Dr. Wily was indeed dead. However, they weren't able to enter the area to investigate, especially with the presence of a mysterious organization having already taken the island, because they lacked a search warrant. The group's suspicious nature was such that even his partner Krantz ended up buying Stern's paranoia about them, something she implied had not happened before.
Stern appears in several of the Short Circuits humor strips featured in the comic, beginning in issue 7 where a history of Stern's dislike of advancing technology is showcased. He would next appear in Issue 11's "Crash Master" after Crash Man crashes the Skull Machine XX from Mega Man: Battle & Chase. He did not appear in the Worlds Collide arc's story, but he and Roslyn Krantz does appear in the Off Panel (Sonic's equivalent to Short Circuits) for Sonic the Hedgehog #249 where he is watching over Marine the Raccoon, of which the latter's chatterbox nature quickly got on Stern's nerves.
- Like many fictional inspectors, such as Bob Copper, the Inspector, and Dick Gumshoe from Capcom and older characters like Jules Maigret and Dick Tracy, Gilbert D. Stern wears an overcoat.
- His green overcoat, loose red tie, and asymmetrical hairstyle in particular seem to reference Dick Gumshoe.
- Stern's appearance, personality, trust and attitude towards Mega Man is similar to Harvey Bullock as well as his relationship with Batman.
- Stern and his partner, Roslyn Krantz, are named after Guildenstern and Rosencrantz from William Shakespeare's work Hamlet. The characters also appeared in the title role in Tom Stoppard's absurdist stage play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.
- In Issue 22, Gil says he likes to read and mentions Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" and "Hamlet".
- Gilbert D. Stern (or rather, a younger version of himself) made a cameo appearance in Issue 17 while Dr. Light had Blues learn about human civilization.
|Mega Man series|