Darkness and Light make a script with might
Marvel Premiere Classic: Cloak & Dagger: Child of Darkness,
Child of Light TPB
Writer: Bill Mantlo | Artist: Rick Leonardi | Inker: Terry Austin
September 24, 2019
by Avi Green
One of the most surely underrated Marvel creations of the 1980s
would have to be Cloak and Dagger, the aliases for Tyrone Johnson
and Tandy Bowen, two teens, possibly mutants, from different
backgrounds and statuses, who wound up being experimented on by drug
traffickers, and gained superpowers they put to use for battling the
illegal drug market. They originally debuted in The Spectacular
Spider-Man #64 in March 1982, and this trade collects the 4-part
miniseries leading to their origin stories in 1984.
Cloak's power was control over a form of portal within his body that
he could use to suck people into, with the exception of Dagger,
whose power was lightbeams shaped as blades, and her power helped
keep her partner's health stable, as he needed energy to maintain
his own strength.
The plot here involves the duo pursuing drug traffickers of the sort
who'd victimized them in the first place. Here, it includes a crazed
lunatic planting poisoned pill containers in valid drugstores so
that anybody who buys the cursed forgery of the product will end up
falling ill and possibly dying from the venom.
C&D ask NY-based Catholic priest Father Delgado for guidance,
and police detective Brigid O'Reilly serves as the dissenter with
their approach who initially goes after them for seemingly getting
rid of one of the suspects in a drug trafficking case. The duo's
origins are the focus of the last part, where we learn Tandy was
disillusioned daughter of a wealthy model from Ohio who spent too
much time on her career and not enough with her kid, and Tyrone was
the son of a Boston couple who'd tried to get into sports and higher
classes, but suffered a speech impediment that proved problematic
for him, and sabotaged his ability to tell the police a friend was
innocent of a store robbery, for which they shot him as he fled.
Both teens ran away to New York City, where they met when a mugger
tried to steal Tandy's bag, and Tyrone stopped him. It was at this
point they were soon lured into the clutches of a drug baron who
wanted to use them for experiments, and this wound up triggering
their mutant powers.
For its time, it's well scripted, and one of the reasons I consider
C&D one of Mantlo's stronger works is because it actually
respects religion, and in addition, sheds light on an important
subject like drug trafficking and abuse.
Though C&D's subsequent ongoing series (there were two, plus
some features in a 2nd volume of Strange Tales and later Marvel
Comics Presents) were never the success I'm sure Marvel's executives
at the time were hoping for, they do have excellent value, and I
think it's a very worthy creation, one of the best ideas from
Mantlo's career back in the day.
Copyright 2019 Avi Green. All rights reserved.
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