Cloak and Dagger are two mutants certainly more well known now that they have a TV show, but did you know they had quite a run in their own series from 1988 to 1990? Dubbed The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger, the series featured the two losing each other and finding their way back to one another, fighting Doctor Doom, and teaming up with the likes of Ghost Rider and Spider-Man. Issues #5 through #19 were recently collected and there are a lot of crazy ideas afoot here. Here are four big reasons why this series should not be missed.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
From despair to D’Spayre! With Tyrone Johnson dead and buried, a blind and grief-stricken Dagger deals with the agony of loss – while the villainous Ecstasy wears Cloak’s cloak! But rumors of Ty’s death have been greatly exaggerated – does he have what it takes to reclaim his mantle? He’d better hope so, because when the Acts of Vengeance hit, our reunited duo will encounter the Avengers! Meanwhile, the evil Mr. Jip has been scheming for months – and his multifaceted plans will soon come to fruition! But what does Doctor Doom have to do with it? Plus, Spider-Man and Ghost Rider help Cloak and Dagger take on…Mephisto? And can our heroes cope with the demonic D’Spayre, who bears shocking revelations about their origins?
Is it easy to jump in?
You might want to pick up Cloak And Dagger: Predator And Prey (it came out September 2018) which features a bevy of Cloak and Dagger stories, as well as the first four issues of Misadventures not collected here. Generally speaking, it’s not too hard to jump into the story, although it’s a bit odd that the very first page has Dagger screaming that she’s lost Cloak, without a lot of detail as to why.
Reason 1: Surprisingly helpful details on how to navigate if you’re blind.
The first three issues collected here focus heavily on Dagger thanks to Cloak “dying” and being out of the picture. Terry Austin wrote the majority of these earlier stories and he spends quite a bit of time walking us through how Dagger learns to navigate the world around here. It gets quite in depth, including a schematic of her apartment hallway that she walks, concepts about trailing your hand behind you to feel where you’ve been, and other tips. I can’t say it’s helpful for everyone to learn these details, but it’s kind of fascinating to get the nitty-gritty and learn with Dagger. It also matters that Dagger learns these things even when she gains her sight back later in the collection, as it’s an explanation for why she’s so attuned to her surroundings and better at fighting going forward.
Reason 2: Villains of all shapes and sizes pop up, like Ecstasy, Mister Jip, and the Crimson Daffodil
Early on we find out Cloak is out of the picture due to Ecstasy drugging him and giving him a perfect life after stealing his powers. She soon uses them to create chaos everywhere, she goes and plans to kill Dagger so she can rule the world. If you take a look at her costume it’s all shadows and is quite revealing. She’s loud, proud, and willing to bare it all. Seeing as she has to steal Cloak’s powers and has none of her own she’s kind of basic, but we learn she’s a rich brat who has an evil streak. She pops up in the last chapter collected here and it requires Doctor Strange to stop her presumably for good.
If you’ve read earlier issues of Cloak and Dagger, you know they mostly faced off against drug dealers and street-level threats. They’re young kids after all, but as creator Terry Austin recounted (which you can read on Wikipedia too) “readers had obviously gotten tired of seeing Cloak and Dagger endlessly go up against drug dealers, who, let’s face it, would never pose much of a challenge to them.” Thus, Mister Jip has created a magical force that could take over host bodies and had incredible strength. He pops up for a short period in this collection by teaming up with Doctor Doom, which certainly raises the stakes.
Then you have the Crimson Daffodil who is a regular Casanova (or thinks he is), with the powers to reduce the level of fear in a single person and reroute the signals to the pleasure center of their brain, making them cooperate with his demands. He’s a wacky character who tries to rob a bank, but is embroiled in a battle between Dagger and Ecstasy. It’s a fun low-level supervillain power that could be quite fun to see pop up again.
Reason 3: Cloak and Dagger save the world from Neo-Nazis, Mephisto, and more!
Later in the collection, Cloak and Dagger take on a Neo-Nazi group who brandish a swastika flag with an eye at the center. Spider-Man gets involved early on, and things really heat up when the Neo-Nazis open a portal, letting in an army of demons. This brings Ghost Rider into the fold as well as Mephisto. You can tell writer Terry Kavanagh was trying his best to open these heroes up to the bigger universe and raise the stakes. In a surprising turn, we even get a prelude page of Thanos prior to the Infinity Gauntlet that’s quite fun albeit a bit silly. The story continues to evolve later on with Ghost Rider even turning tail at one point. Long story short this is an adventure for the ages and it’s cool to see how Cloak and Dagger can fight with the rest of the big name heroes.
So is it worth a read?
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this collection, but I’m glad I read it. Yes, it certainly can drag, especially when Dagger is getting robust multi-page lessons on how to properly act as a blind person, but there are a lot of colorful villains that pop up and dramatic beats for Cloak and Dagger to triumph over together. It’s very clear the creators were doing as much as possible to make these heroes stand out, and for the most part they succeeded. Now, when do they enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe?!
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