Cloak and Dagger are a pair of superheroes in the Marvel Universe
. Originally appearing in Spectacular Spider-Man
#64 (March, 1982), they were created by Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan. While never having been A-listers along the lines of The Mighty Thor
or Iron Man
, with their issues often getting canceled after a very short period, they have a distinct cult following, which is somewhat tinted by nostalgia due to their 1980s
background. They often team-up with other superheroes, namely Spider Man
, who is a good friend. Before the series was cancelled, they also had a brief membership in the New Warriors
. Their most memorable recent appearances were in Runaways
and Dark X-men
And now for their backstory and powers. Tandy Bowen and Tyrone Johnson, a pair of teenage runaways, are experimented on by the mob, who are trying to create a new drug substitute for heroin. It proves fatal to all they test it on but the pair, who gain superpowers from the event. Tandy can throw daggers of light while Tyrone's powers were originally
to suck people into a dark dimension where he would strip them of their light. Together, they battle the drug trade while trying to balance out normal lives.
Cloak and Dagger-Related Tropes:
- Absolute Cleavage/Bare Your Midriff/Cleavage Window: Dagger's costume is a bodysuit with a dagger-shaped cutout that manages to fulfill all three at once.◊
- All Encompassing Mantle: Cloak's doubles as a mode of transportation.
- As The Good Book Says: Their series started off each splash page with a paraphrased quote above the title. Psalm 139:12-14. "The darkness and light are both alike... I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
- Adults Are Useless: Subverted in their series. With the exception of Tandy's stepfather, who is more Played for Laughs than anything else, most of the adults who help the duo are capable and responsible. It comes full circle in Runaways when they are the only ones who get anywhere close to helping the teens.
- Badass Cape: Cloak, natch.
- Beast and Beauty
- Beauty Equals Goodness: It's mentioned by almost every male character who lays eyes on Dagger that she looks like an angel.
- Brought Down to Normal: This seems to happen on a regular basis if the writers think it will move the plot forward, especially to Cloak. One notable instance is when Tandy's father strips them of their powers in a Heroic Sacrifice after he has a What Have I Become? moment.
- Can't Live Without You: Mild example, but they need each other's powers to survive or they could die.
- Christianity is Catholic: Their base of operations is sometimes an abandoned Catholic Church. Tandy's Uncle Mike is a priest.
- Cleveland: This is where Tandy comes from, which is used to highlight her overly trusting nature in their backstory.
- Dance Battler: Tandy utilizes her ballet training when fighting.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Cloak, for all his broodiness, withdrawn nature and overall intimidating manner, is really a nice guy once people get to know him.
- Depending on the Artist: While Tandy gets drawn relatively consistently, the same can't be said for her partner. Cloak gets drawn looking like anything from a normal guy with his face in the shadows to a ghoulish monster that doesn't even look human anymore.
- Development Hell: Where the supposed movie or TV show Marvel is trying to create seems to be stuck in.
- Evil Costume Switch: When Tandy gets brainwashed evil, her entire costume, even the ring around her eye, turns black.
- Fanservice: There's some for both genders here. Tandy has a skin-tight costume with most of her navel and the sides of her breasts exposed. Tyrone ends up naked when he's depowered, which tends to happen a lot.
- Flip Flop of God: It has been stated at different times that the pair were mutants whose powers that hadn't developed yet got warped by the drug or that they are just mutates whose powers specifically came from the drug.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Especially in the duo's early days, blonde Dagger was the sweet and friendly counterpart to Cloak's harsher outlook.
- Horror Hunger: Cloak (or the being living inside his cloak, depending) has this for the "light" of human lives.
- Light 'em Up: Tandy's daggers are composed of pure light that can purge drug addictions.
- Like Brother and Sister: This is the best description of their relationship. They truly love each other but usually, it's specifically stated to be platonic.
- Living Shadow: Cloak's "body" is literally made up of one.
- Most Common Superpower: Dagger fulfills this trope, but she's surprisingly better proportioned than some of the superheroines in Marvel.
- Temporary Blindness: Dagger has a lengthy case of it which lasts over a year, creating one of the more interesting story arcs. She learns to readjust to being both a blind person and superhero, and once she is cured, her spatial awareness is left heightened.
- Salt and Pepper: Somewhat inverted, as Cloak is withdrawn and straitlaced, with Dagger being the one to get him out of his shell.
- Shown Their Work: The writers did a lot of research when Dagger was blind, using many techniques utilized by the blind in real life, and even printed the names of books and people they had interviewed in their letters page.
- Super Serum: They got their powers from being injected with drugs. Not the most family-friendly backstory, as was lampshaded in Runaways.
- Teleport Cloak
- Time Marches On: Looking at their old 80s issues, certain aspects of New York City like Times Square being a den of drugs and porn, seems almost laughable when comparing it to how it is today.
- Vague Age: Orginally averted, as Tandy and Tyrone were said to be 16 and 17 years old, respectively, and were around the age of the New Mutants. Now, it's a little harder to pin down exactly how old they are supposed to be, but a safe estimate is at least somewhere in their 20s.
- What Could Have Been: It was announced they were going to have a five part mini-series written by Valerie D'Orazio. It never materialized and instead they joined Dark X-men.
- Will They or Won't They?: It's been 30 years since the pair first appeared and they still haven't fully rectified their UST. Though, to be fair, Cloak's body seems to have Barbie Doll Anatomy when his powers are active, and when they aren't he and Tandy generally have more pressing matters on their mind.
- Woman in White: Tandy in costume.