Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Reader's Diary #1604- Bill Mantlo, Al Milgrom, and Chris Claremont (writers), various artists: Cloak and Dagger Shadows and Light

Despite having a couple of degus named after Marvel's Cloak and Dagger, I didn't really know a lot about these characters except for some rather silly sounding powers. Cloak can capture bad guys in his cloak while Dagger shoots daggers of light at them. Still, someone clearly saw enough potential here to give them their own TV series and so, I figured it was time to familiarize myself.

I'll give credit to writers Mantlo, Milgrom, and Claremont for selling this idea. If they can make me suspend my belief for those superpowers, they must have done something right. Those daggers also chill the blood and have healing powers for addictions. That cape acts as a sort of portal into a black abyss that is extremely difficult to escape from, damaging the captives' minds the longer they are there. You have to admit, these abilities are rather unique.

Plus, while the action is great, these are really character-driven stories. In one early story, for instance, Cloak and Dagger find themselves between Spider-Man and the Punisher, determining the path they want their heroics to take. Like all superheroes they are vigilantes, which comes with its own set of moral dilemmas, but now they must side if they act merely as judge (as Spider-Man) or as judge and executioner (as the Punisher).

There's also some interesting angles that come from the "fact" that Cloak and Dagger need each other to provide balance. A yin-yang scenario. Most of their stories revolve around fighting drug dealers, yet interestingly Cloak hungers for "light" almost as an addict himself. Dagger is able to provide it or he can consume it from bad guys. And both wrestle with whether or not these want these powers; Cloak for the aforementioned addiction, Dagger because she misses having a normal life.

The art is less than stellar. It's largely very typical of 70s and 80s, outlandish but uniformed colours, and so on. The largest issue though is Dagger's ridiculous costume with its dagger cut-out to reveal her navel and top of her breasts and yet somehow it stays in place. If I'm not adequately describing just how silly it is, allow Kate Beaton to take it from here.

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