CLOAK & DAGGER: Page 4 of 8

Publication Date: 7th Sep 2023
Written By: Monolith.
Image Work: Douglas Mangum.


As Cloak kept up the illusion of a haunted church by scaring off locals, Dagger tried to adjust to their empty surroundings and her guilt by association over Father Delgado's fall. As they prepared for the future, the couple discovered a new wrinkle in their abilities. Thanks to the changes they went through at the Lord of Light's hands, Dagger's power was now capable of restoring Cloak to Tyrone on a regular basis, so long as she kept him fed with her excess light at least once a day. Seeing a renewed chance for an odd but virtually normal life, Tyrone and Tandy were exhilarated at the idea of simple domestic activities like shopping for groceries.

Nightmare wasn't done with Cloak yet, however. He entered the mind of the exhausted Tyrone again, leaving him a dream that Nightmare was a benevolent entity caged in the Dark Dimension by the Predator, and Tyrone needed to seek out Doctor Strange to free him. The dream came to him whenever Cloak reverted to Tyrone, for the sleepless Cloak always resulted in an exhausted Tyrone when he manifested, vulnerable to Nightmare's influence. [Strange Tales (2nd series) #4-6]

Nightmare's subconscious impulses finally overwhelmed both Tyrone and Cloak when they were awake, pressing him to find Strange. With Dagger's aid, Cloak followed the pull in his subconscious until they found Doctor Strange and the Defenders in Tibet. Once the doctor was present, Nightmare reached out through Cloak's cape and pulled Strange through the Dark Dimension and into the Dream Dimension, bringing Cloak, Dagger and the Defenders along as well. Nightmare was almost supremely powerful on his home ground, tormenting Doctor Strange while causing Cloak's shadow to rage out of control, feeding on his own lifeforce. In a desperate feint, Strange struck a killing blow against Cloak, then instructed Valkyrie and the Defenders to carry the hero's soul into the afterlife. Dagger refused to allow Cloak's life to end this way, and followed Valkyrie into her portal. This was Strange's intent, because the living light found in the gateway to the afterlife was so intense it supercharged Dagger's abilities, making her powerful enough to defeat Nightmare temporarily. Cloak survived, and he and Dagger accompanied Strange and the Defenders back to the physical plane. [Strange Tales (2nd series) #7]

Although Nightmare was no longer an issue, Tyrone could not shake his exhaustion. While Tandy was enjoying her new domesticated life, taking dance classes and college prep courses, Tyrone's chronic exhaustion crippled his studies and kept him from enjoying or even experiencing his life with Tandy. He was either constantly falling asleep or zombie-like while trying to stay awake. Despite himself, Tyrone began to long for better days when he was Cloak, Dagger's great and powerful protector, and not Tyrone, Tandy's useless roommate.

Tyrone heard rumors on the streets about Mr. Jip's Shoppe of Wonders, a curio store where true magic could be found. Mr. Jip was waiting for Tyrone and offered him an obsidian cube able to grant his blackest desire. He bargained only for a favor in return, to be named at a later date. Tyrone soon gave in to temptation and used the cube, transforming himself back to Cloak. He had grossly failed to appreciate how Tandy would perceive this, however. Dagger was horrified that Tyrone would willingly return to his darkness. She furiously walked out on him, leaving him alone to starve without her light. [Strange Tales (2nd series) #8]

With his darkness stronger than ever, Cloak was unable to contain it as he leaked shadows over the city wherever he went. Even the mutant Dazzler's light was incapable of suppressing his hunger. Cloak eventually staggered back to the Holy Ghost Church, only to be met by Mr. Jip, the black magician in his true, grotesque form, and his servitors Night and Day, a twisted mirror of Cloak and Dagger. [Strange Tales (2nd series) #9] Meanwhile, Dagger spent an evening with the Black Cat and came to recognize that the ordinary, boring life wasn't really what she wanted anymore either. Cooling down enough to talk things out with Cloak, she returned to the Holy Ghost Church as well, only to find Mr. Jip, Night and Day manhandling an unconscious Cloak. [Strange Tales (2nd series) #10]

Mr. Jip went into full villainous monologue mode before the incredulous Dagger. He explained his history as an amoral seeker of knowledge and the first student of the Kamar-Taj mystic, known in later years as the Ancient One. Mr. Jip's quest for knowledge was hampered by his own mortal lifespan, so he concocted the means of moving his soul from one host body to the next. Such horrific black magic was involved, however, that each new vessel must already possess an innate darkness to host his spirit, and the vessel must be completely unaware of Mr. Jip and his existence. The merging was so vile that a prepared mind would create psychic blocks and reject Jip's possession at a fundamental level. Cloak was a perfect vessel for Jip, virtually immortal due to his transformation and of course filled with darkness. Mr. Jip therefore resolved to restore Tyrone to his Cloak identity and separate him from Dagger at the same time, leaving him vulnerable.

Dagger fought to free Cloak from the growing connection Mr. Jip was establishing between the two of them. Her fight with Night and Day stalemated, but the volume of living light she and Day emitted surprised Jip by drawing Cloak's Predator demon out of the Dark Dimension. The Predator badly wounded Day and forced Night and Mr. Jip into retreat. Dagger fed the Predator on light to force it back into Cloak's folds, and the partners were safely reunited. [Strange Tales (2nd series) #11]

Cloak and Dagger tried to apprehend Mr. Jip as he fled, but nearly died in the attempt. Back at the Holy Ghost Church, they found Father Mike Bowen had received permission from the diocese to reopen the church as a community outreach center. Furthermore, Philip Carlisle had finally left Melissa Bowen over her neglectful parenting, and so Dagger's stepfather had decided to move from Ohio to New York City to serve as a better parent to Tandy. A more mature Cloak encouraged Dagger's connections to her family this time, and Tandy began living with Phil in an apartment at the same building of the Power Pack siblings. Julie Power also began tutoring Tyrone, helping him push through the reading disability that held back his previous attempts to return to schooling. [Strange Tales (2nd series) #12-15]

Mr. Jip had not forgotten about Cloak, however, or the mystical pact they made and the favor Cloak owed him in return for restoring his powers. He summoned Cloak to a mountaintop and informed the vigilante that his sights now fell on Dagger. Mr. Jip instructed Cloak that their bargain would be fulfilled once he teleported Dagger to a specific location and then returned to the mountaintop for 24 hours before seeking her out again. Naturally, Cloak decided to defy Mr. Jip's wishes. He gathered Dagger and teleported her to what he believed was a beautiful, idyllic place. Knowing she was safe, Tyrone told Tandy he loved her to her face for the first time before teleporting to the mountaintop, prepared to battle Mr. Jip to the death to protect Tandy. Unfortunately, Mr. Jip had anticipated all of this. As a failsafe during their last encounter, Jip had woven a powerful suggestion into Cloak's subconscious while merging with him. This suggestion caused Cloak to teleport Dagger to the location Jip desired, while only believing he had brought her to safety. With Cloak now imprisoned on the mountaintop by Jip's magicks, Dagger was exactly where Mr. Jip wanted her to be, without protection. [Strange Tales (2nd series) #16]

Cloak was forced to watch through a mystical screen while Night hunted Dagger using the avatars of darkness she created out of the evil she harvested from men's souls. Night seemingly made a tactic error when she summoned the darkness of Dagger's own soul to add to her menagerie. A feeble avatar, the size of a house cat, removing Tandy's own darkness nevertheless augmented her light powers like never before, giving her access to the purest, most powerful living light she had wielded since her brief encounter with the afterlife against Nightmare. With a sword forged of pure light, Dagger thought she slew the dragon of darkness when Night merged all her avatars into one monstrous entity. Night then reversed her powers, however, causing all the darkness she had harvested from Tandy or others to enter Dagger's body. The shock transformed Dagger from a being of light to a being of darkness, overwhelming her mind with amnesia as she became a newborn woman of pure malice. Thus, the conditions Mr. Jip needed to possess her body were now met -- Dagger was a being of evil and darkness who no longer had any recollection of his existence. [Strange Tales (2nd series) #17-18]

[Note: With the launch of their new series, Cloak and Dagger were now explicitly and unquestionably referred to as mutants, everywhere from the masthead to recaps of their origin. This idea had only been previously floated as a possibility back in Marvel Team-Up Annual #6. In the letter's page, the writer claimed the vigilantes had been confirmed as mutants by no less than Professor Xavier back in New Mutants #24, quoting a line on how Simon Marshall's drug "interacted with the children's DNA matrix... triggering a gradual ongoing mutation in their fundamental genetic structure. A mutagenic substance interacting with mutant genes." In context, however, that line by Xavier actually referred to Sunspot and Wolfsbane's situation, not Cloak and Dagger's. A strong possibility exists of editorial insistence on this new status quo.]

In order to cement Dagger's turn towards evil, Night anonymously summoned the mutant heroes X-Factor to battle the newly-malevolent vigilante. If Dagger could be manipulated into killing innocents, she was truly ready to host Mr. Jip's evil spirit. Although she occasionally expressed confusion over her lost memories, the darkness within Dagger pushed her into attacking the heroes. Cloak eventually managed to escape from Mr. Jip's trap and confronted Dagger. He pulled her into his Dark Dimension and forced her to confront the Predator, reasoning that if Dagger was put in a situation where she had to access her inner light, it would restore her. Cloak was correct and Dagger instinctively released the light needed to save her from the Predator, purging the foreign darkness from her body at the same time. Unfortunately, all was not well when Dagger emerged from the cloak of darkness. She had been rendered blind. [The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger #1]

Tandy was hospitalized while her stepfather and Uncle Mike worked with the doctors to find a cure for her blindness. Cloak was distraught, but ended up making friends with Rebecca "Rusty" Nales, the former partner of Brigid O'Reilly, who was looking into her friend's alleged death (not knowing about her transformation into Mayhem). While talking with Rusty made him feel better, Cloak was unnerved by the return of Francis Delgado, supposedly sane again and released from the institution to help Father Mike around the Holy Ghost community center. Little did he know at the time that Francis was spying on them for Mr. Jip, whom he had come to worship as a living god.

Cloak had a bizarre encounter with a group of aliens who used his portal through the Dark Dimension as a short cut for their missions. When Cloak refused to reopen the portal after their first excursion used him as a door, he was swallowed up in a Bhontar energy bubble and transported to Earth's orbit by the aliens' masters, the Byan'Nantandu. Tyrone had a brief but shocking encounter with an old man from Nepal, who had also been swept up in a bubble by the aliens because he had previously been the guardian of the dimensional gateway now contained within Cloak. Realizing their information was out of date, the aliens dismissed the old man back to Earth before Tyrone could get any questions answered about the origin of his cloak and the dimensional nexus. The Byan'Nantandu's strange and draconian rules led them to threaten to destroy the Earth, and Cloak struggled to convince them otherwise. He succeeded by accident by revealing the existence of Dagger, whom the Byan'Nantandu identified as a Begetter of the Living Light, a sacred being in the universe whose presence made the Earth safe from their intervention. Unfortunately for Cloak, the damage he had caused to their ship before they relented meant the Byan'Nantandu lacked the power to transport him home before leaving the system. Looking for any way, Cloak agreed to be sent back to Earth in a Bhontar energy bubble even after the Byan'Nantandu warned him it might not have the power necessary. Sure enough, the bubble stalled in stationary orbit above the Earth, with Cloak trapped inside, as the Byan'Nantandu ship departed the solar system. [The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger #2-3]

Meanwhile, Tandy had grown despondent over her blindness after being told there was no cure. Cloak's absence and her stepfather's over-protectiveness was causing her to lose the will to live. Cloak and Dagger were targeted by Crotus, one of the few surviving demons on Earth after Nastir'h's recent invasion from Limbo. Using an incantation from Belasco's book of spells, Crotus intended to sacrifice Cloak and Dagger to reopen the portal to Limbo. The sacrifice worked best if the vigilantes took their own lives, so Crotus and his demon familiars planned to terrorize the duo into suicide.

The demons who confronted Cloak presented themselves as hallucinations caused by hypoxia, as he slowly ran out of air inside the orbital bubble. Shifting into the forms of Dagger, Rusty and his family, they tried to convince Tyrone he had betrayed or abandoned everyone who mattered to him. Cloak almost fell for their deception, but he tricked the demons into entering the bubble, allowing him to touch them and prove they were real. He then absorbed the demons into the Dark Dimension before passing out from lack of oxygen.

Tandy was confronted by Crotus himself, who pretended to be Cloak before "revealing" that Cloak had been a demon all along, tricking Dagger into feeding his appetite for light. Dagger didn't buy it, especially after Crotus was injured by her light-knives. The demon tormented Tandy by chasing her around her apartment, but the struggle actually reinforced her desire to live despite her blindness. Dagger released a massive discharge of living light that incinerated Crotus. Moments later, the New Mutants arrived seeking the last few demons from Limbo, and Dagger requisitioned their help to find the missing Cloak. She cast out her light-daggers to seek him through their symbiotic link, with Dagger and the New Mutants following behind inside Warlock's flying, shape-shifting form. Unfortunately, they found Cloak's energy bubble floating in the upper atmosphere, with nothing left inside it but Cloak's cloak. [The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger #4]