Cloak and Dagger are more accessory than actual team at this point in comic continuity. Certainly, their current place in the Marvel Universe is a far cry from the paling around with Spider-Man that I remember so vividly from my childhood. Hell, Cloak and Dagger are the team that I remember most vividly from my youth, but have read nearly next to nothing from in the prevailing years that I've come back to reading comic books.
Out of the void (the Darkness Dimension one might say) comes a Cloak and Dagger mini-series for the Spider Island event. Is this dynamic duo worth investing your money in?
Cloak and Dagger have fallen on some hard times. Not being on a team, and not being the "go to" heroes in New York City, they find themselves on the verge of eviction. Even worse, unbeknownst to one another, their extremely different personalities have them thinking of very different plans for the future. With the Spider Island outbreak, Tandy and Tyrone are pulled into the fray, but only time will tell where they wind up after the dust has settled.
Nick Spencer pencils this off-kilter mini-series. His writing of Cloak and Dagger, not as heroes with a strong sense of duty, but as people with super-powers who are having just as much trouble skating by as anybody else, is absolutely brilliant. In-particular, Tandy's interaction with a building inspector trying to get them to leave the building is both hilarious and entirely believable. Splitting the team's inner-monologue also helps distinguish them as individuals rather than the joined at the hip pair they're often passed off as. In fact, this monologue allows Spencer to show that not only do they not agree on everything, but there's also a ton of tension between the two. Of course the two don't completely shirk their heroic qualities, but it's fun to see a superhero book in which the strife the heroes face just trying to get by and get along is the focal point.
The Beauty of Contrast
Spencer's script is great, but since I was a kid, the draw of Cloak and Dagger was their visual style. The team's perfect contrasting look is among the best in comics. That was my thought before laying eyes on the gorgeous artwork of Emma Rios, but if anyone had a doubt to my claims, they need only look at the first few pages of Cloak and Dagger #1. Rios has a beautifully penciled style combined with imaginative use of panel space. Her portrayals of heroes are unique, if not always fantastic, but the way she nails both Tandy and Tyrone is beautiful. Her style is somewhere between a comic book artist like Marcos Martin and contemporary video game artist Ayami Kojima.
It's amazing and can sell the series all by itself. When bolstered with Nick Spencer's smart writing, it's almost impossible not to suggest or recommend this series to everybody. Okay, maybe it's not for those expecting an extremely tight connection to the rest of the Spider Island stuff, but for people who just want a beautifully drawn book about one of the most underutilized duos in Marvel, this is it.
Cloak & Dagger #1 easily gets a 5 star rating.