Cloak and Dagger have gone their separate ways, slowly drifting apart as a crime-fighting duo. What could bring them back together? Your Major Spoilers review of Cloak and Dagger #1 awaits!
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Penciler: David Messina
Inker: Elisabetta D’Amico
Colorist: Giada Marchisio
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Editor: Devin Lewis
Publisher: Groupname Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: July 18, 2018
Previously in Cloak and Dagger: Tandy Bowen and Tyrone Johnson met as teenage runaways in New York City. Preyed upon by an amoral chemist, Tandy and Tyrone were forced into an experimental drug trial which triggered latent mutant genes and gave them super-powers. With Tandy able to generate and manipulate light-force and Tyrone as a conduit to the Darkforce dimension, they use their abilities to fight crime together!
Or at least they used to…
“WE WERE NEVER SUPER-HEROES…”
This issue starts in an unexpected place for me: With our heroes separated. Then again, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, this is the age of deconstruction in story-telling. In any case, Tandy “Dagger” Bowen is working with the LAPD as a special super-powered investigator, while Tyrone “Cloak” Johnson is working as a celebrity bodyguard. Dagger spends most of the first chapter of this story (which is to say, the first digital-release issue) worrying about her co-dependency issues and insisting that their separation is necessary for her to get her feet under her, which makes it even more terrible when she discovers a body… A body that seems familiar from her past. For his part, Cloak is NOT happy with the breakup, so when Dagger starts blowing off his calls, he angrily confronts her, only to have her accuse him of multiple murder, reminding him of a memory that just came back to her: The death of their old friend Grey at Cloak’s hands. We get some strong back-and-forth angry confrontation, but the Cloak and Dagger #1 ends with a pretty shocking scene that implies there may be more to their fogged recollection of the past and Cloak’s status as murderer than Dagger remembers…
TWO ISSUES FOR THE PRICE OF… WELL, TWO ISSUES
The good things about this book struck me immediately: Dagger has a new look, including a costume that doesn’t require spirit gum to cover her nipples (the trademark Dagger cutout has been moved to the back, neck details have been added and she has a trendy new haircut), and it looks really awesome. Messina and D’Amico actually make everything in this issue look really good, from Tandy’s ballet fighting style, to Cloak’s new textured darkforce suit, all the way to Tandy’s white VW dune-buggy (which for some reason makes me really happy.) The story has strong moments as well, establishing a strong voice for both Cloak and Dagger and providing some subtle dialogue moments to underline why they have split. He says they were never heroes, she explicitly calls herself one. He compares their split to a breakup sarcastically, she treats it as 100% an ex-boyfriend who can’t keep his distance situation. The downside for me comes in how angry and shrill Dagger’s interactions with Cloak come across in the story, an unmotivated anger that makes things less enjoyable for me. I’m also torn on the “Hey, remember this new guy?” plot point and whether it works, but I shall have to reserve final judgement on that until the entire thread is revealed.
BOTTOM LINE: I LIKE THIS
The best thing this issue does, though, is provide a concrete timeline and age for Cloak and Dagger: They were 15 when they got their powers and they’ve been adventuring together for about 10 years, making them both mid-twenties. It really helps to explain why they’re both acting the way they are and gives their thirty-year history with Marvel some grounding, even if it may not jibe with things like Spider-Man’s age or how long the Fantastic Four has been active. In short, Cloak and Dagger #1 is occasionally predictable and has a couple of plot elements bordering on cliche, but gets by on the strength of its excellent art and really solid character work on our light-and-darkness duo, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. This issue provides some solid and well-thought-out updating to the characters to make their 80s sensibilities work in the 21st century…