Tyrone “Ty” Johnson (Cloak) and Tandy Bowen (Dagger) met in New York City as runaways. Tyrone was a 17-year-old boy from Boston, Massachusetts with a debilitating stutter and ran away to New York City when his speech impediment prevented him from stopping his friend from being shot by police, who mistakenly believed he had just robbed a store. Tandy was a 16-year-old girl from a privileged upbringing (born in Shaker Heights, Ohio) who ran away because her multi-millionaire supermodel mother was too busy with her career and social life to spend time with her daughter. When they met, Tyrone considered stealing Tandy’s purse, but before he could, a thief stole the purse and Tyrone retrieved it for her.
Afterwards, they had dinner and became fast friends. When naïve Tandy accepted an offer of shelter from some strange men, wary Tyrone went along to protect her. The two teens were soon forcibly delivered to criminal chemist Simon Marshall developing a new synthetic heroin for Silvermane and the Maggia, testing it on runaway teens with fatal results. Johnson and Bowen somehow survived injections of the drug, and they fled.
During their escape, the drug turned them into superpowered beings Tyrone found himself engulfed in darkness and seized by a strange hunger which eased in the presence of Tandy glowing with a brilliant light. Trying to hide his newly shadowy appearance in a makeshift cloak, Tyrone began absorbing Marshall’s thugs into his darkness while Tandy struck them down with daggers of light. The two teens dubbed themselves “Cloak & Dagger” and declared war on drug crime in combating drug-dealers and helping runaway children.
At the end of this first issue you get a good sense of Cloak and Daggers power set. Dagger displays Olympic level gymnastics skills by jumping over a charging thug, evading gunfire and taking out a room full of armed men. And Cloak shows off his dark force by sucking in the bad guys and terrorizing their souls.
Another important scene shows that Tandy’s light has a pleasing effect on Tyrone, calming him and keeping the dark dimension at bay.
Powers and Abilities
Tyrone acquired D’Spayre’s Dark Form, which gave him the ability to create an aperture into the darkforce dimension and to dispatch people into the dimension. He also gained the abilities of intangibility and the teleportation of himself and others through the darkforce dimension. Being intangible appears to be a partial act of will, as when Cloak was rendered unconscious in a fight, his opponents were able to kick him, rather than pass through him. Cloak feels a constant “hunger” which can only be assuaged by “feeding” either on light projected by Dagger or on light consumed from victims dispatched to the dimension of darkness. He later develops better control of his “hunger”.
Tandy had the ability to create psionic “light daggers” which travel wherever she wills them, and which drain living beings of vitality when struck. Her “light daggers” also have the capacity to cure certain persons of drug addictions, and can alleviate Cloak’s hunger for light (which simultaneously allows her to avoid becoming overcharged).
Cloak and Dagger both have moderate experience at street-fighting, and Dagger’s combat techniques utilize her light powers and ballet dance training, as well as her sense of spatial relations, which had been heightened by her temporary blindness.
Tyrone and Tandy swapped powers in Spider-Island, with Cloak using light powers and Dagger using darkforce daggers. When Parker Industries uses an antidote on Mr. Negative, the pair swap back to their original powers.
A little bit more…
This is the first issue out of a 4 part limited series that was released in October 1983. The duo originally appeared in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man and after their limited series run, Marvel launched and ongoing bi-monthly series in 1985.
The series coincided with then First Lady Nancy Reagans “Just Say No” advertising campaign with The War on Drugs which was prevalent during the early 1980’s through the early 1990’s.
When you are reading through early Cloak and Dagger issues, it’ll be very rare that you’ll actually see a costumed super villain as the series largely focuses on the duo fighting to end the drug trade in their city.
As the series progresses, you’ll start to see Cloak and Dagger team up with/and against Spider-Man numerous times, The New Mutants (it’s important to note that despite teaming up with The New Mutants, Cloak and Dagger are NOT mutants themselves, thier powers are the result of a drug injection) The Runaways, Captain America, Iron Fist, The New Avengers and The Uncanny X-Men. They have solo/joint appearances in The House of M storyline, Maximum Carnage, Civil War, Secret Invasion, Utopia and Spider-Island.
From: Cloak and Dagger #1 (out of a 4 part limited series), 1983
Created By: Bill Mantlo & Ed Hannigan
Story: Bill Mantlo
Pencils: Rick Leonardi
Inks: Terry Austin
Letters: Joe Rosen
Colors: Glynis Wein
Editor: Tom DeFalco
Chief: Jim Shooter