CLOAK & DAGGER: Page 5 of 8

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


Dagger believed Cloak was dead, and mourned him along with her Uncle Mike. They held a small funeral, where Cloak's garment was buried on a hill. At his gravesite, Tandy finally had the opportunity to respond to the "I love you" Tyrone gave her before 'porting off to confront Mr. Jip, and she admitted that she loved him too. Dagger moved on with her life as best she could, working with a therapist to improve her mobility and independence now that she was blind.

In the meantime, Cloak's cape of darkness returned to Rene Deladier in his absence, causing the reappearance of Ecstasy. Believing Dagger to be a potential threat to her criminal empire, Ecstasy traveled from France to confront Cloak's former partner. This led to a complicated confrontation, for Ecstasy assaulted Dagger when she, Father Mike and Rusty Nales were captives of the bank robber the Crimson Daffodil, and they all in turn were attacked by the Disciplinarian, an operative of the Kingpin who was hired to eliminate Ecstasy for interfering with Fisk's European drug trade. [The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger #5-7]

Tyrone Johnson, however, was not dead. Finding himself in a fantasy world where Billy never died and he grew up to marry his high school sweetheart, Ty still felt like something was amiss. Although he didn't remember Tandy, he still began to see her face everywhere. Eventually, he pulled himself out of his haze and discovered he was abandoned and alone inside the Dark Dimension. Ecstasy had found him inside the cape when it appeared to her. She kept him alive with vitamin and nutrient supplements, and docile with her own concoction of hallucinogenic drugs. Shaking off the drugs' effects, Tyrone emerged from the cloak of darkness and fought Ecstasy for control of the Dark Dimension's gateway. He reclaimed the identity of Cloak and expelled Rene back to where she came from. Remarkably, Brigid O'Reilly also returned during these events to help take down the Daffodil's gang. She was sporting a new eye patch but otherwise cured of her Mayhem identity, and not very forthcoming about how.  [The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger #8]

Although they were reunited, Cloak and Dagger did not speak of the love between them. Cloak's silence is understandable, for he did not think Dagger returned his love and was content not to speak of his confession again. The reasoning for Dagger's hesitation is less clear, but perhaps she simply couldn't find the words. The rift between them led Cloak to seek out Dr. Tyrone of the "Save Our Society" clinics, who claimed to have a miracle cure for drug addiction. Cloak hoped the cure could translate into helping his need for lifeforce, but all was not as it seemed. Dr. Tyrone was actually Tyrannus, an agent of the Elder God Set whose cure was turning addicts into a new incarnation of the ancient and infamous Serpent Men. Tyrannus used his hypnotic power to enslave Cloak, forcing him to retrieve relics of great mystical power. While Cloak escaped Tyrannus's influence, Dagger was also marked as one of the Seven Brides of Set. She was kidnapped by Ghaur and Llyra of the Lemurian peoples, and her living light was used to stoke the fires of life inside a fragment of Set, leading to the Serpent God's resurrection on Earth. Fortunately, a coalition of Avengers, the Fantastic Four and other heroes prevented Set's full return, and Dagger's connection to the Elder God was severed as well. [Atlantis Attacks crossover]

As Cloak and Dagger trained a series of maneuvers to guide Dagger blindly through combat, they were approached by the Jester to join his Assembly of Evil. Because of their mixed press, Jester believed Cloak and Dagger were enemies of Spider-Man, and he had been charged by Doctor Doom to assemble a team of villains to attack the Avengers during the Acts of Vengeance. Cloak and Dagger went along with his scheme to warn the Avengers and prevent anyone from getting hurt. They joined forces with the heroes and succeeded in defeating the Jester and his strange collection of foes. [The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger #8-9]

As Tandy worked up the nerve to confess her feelings to Ty as he did to her, a new wrinkle developed as Rusty Nales showed an interest in Cloak. Tyrone was still in love with Dagger, but had come to believe it would be healthy to move on from a love that would never be. Before things could progress with Rusty, however, Cloak and Dagger learned the truth of how Brigid O'Reilly had cast off her Mayhem identity. Her humanity was returned to her by Mr. Jip, who hid one of his eyes behind Brigid's eye patch to monitor Cloak and Dagger and control Brigid when he needed her. Dagger's light was able to purge Jip's influence over Brigid temporarily, and so the four of them decided to retrace Brigid's steps and confront Jip at his seat of power. Dagger's involvement was waylaid when Father Mike revealed an eye care specialist in Europe had been found who could potentially restore her sight. Learning of this, Cloak and the others insisted Dagger remain behind to accompany Father Mike and Francis Delgado to the doctor.

Of course, this was all part of Jip's plan. He allowed Brigid to reveal their secret in order to lure Cloak to his abode, while the specialist was a lie provided by his puppet Delgado to capture Dagger. Mr. Jip intended to exchange Dagger and her font of living light to Doctor Doom in Latveria for an ancient tome in Doom's possession. Doom arranged for a Latverian airplane to meet them at the airport, complete with a host of Doombots programmed to sound like normal people to placate Dagger. Mr. Jip then killed Delgado and assumed his likeness in order to accompany Dagger to the airport personally. He struck down Father Mike as well to ensure their privacy.

Dagger was blind, however, not a fool. She recognized inconsistencies in "Delgado's" story about Father Mike's absence and uncovered the existence of the Doombots on the flight. Cloak, also, had sensed something was wrong and returned to the Holy Ghost Church soon enough to find the dying Father Mike and get him to the hospital. At the airport, Cloak enveloped the entire plane into the Dark Dimension, intending to leave Jip and the Doombots to the mercy of his dimension. Mr. Jip offered a trade: the return of Dagger's sight in exchange for his life.

At Mr. Jip's fortress, the mystic revealed it was his servant Night who removed Dagger's sight, leaving behind small packets of pure darkness in her optic nerves at the time Dagger was possessed. By removing these packets, Jip indeed restored Tandy's sight. In his place of power, Jip betrayed Cloak and Dagger to regain the advantage, but Night chose to betray him as well after he was responsible for the death of his last two minions, Day and Francis Delgado. Night forged a bullet of pure evil from the darkness purged from Dagger and, through sleight-of-hand, Brigid and Rusty were able to catch Jip off-guard and shoot him, seemingly killing the fiend. In order to escape the fortress as it collapsed without Jip's support, Cloak, Dagger and the detectives fell through a mystical portal that led into an empty apartment in Dagger's building. They reasonably concluded Mr. Jip had been monitoring Dagger from this mystery apartment for months. [The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger #11-13]

As they readjusted to their partnership, Cloak and Dagger started to assist Brigid and Rusty on a case involving runaways being impaled on obsidian spikes throughout the city. This led to an underground Neo-Nazi survivalist cult which Tandy was able to infiltrate. During the investigation, Cloak found his powers changing in ways he could not explain. He once again found himself capable of transforming back to fully human when properly nourished on Dagger's light. His "darkform" -- the essence of his body in its shadow state -- even broke off as an independent entity briefly before re-merging with him. Cloak also continued to feel drawn back to the mystery apartment, and came to doubt their conclusion that it had anything to do with Mr. Jip. The Neo-Nazi investigation came to involve Spider-Man and Ghost Rider, dimensional doorways and a decades-old lie perpetrated by Mephisto to torment living souls. Of more importance, however, was a runaway named Anna that Cloak and Dagger rescued from being a human sacrifice to the Nazis, and a curious comment by Mephisto that Cloak and Dagger were already "claimed" by another demon. [Cloak and Dagger (3rd series) #14-18]

[Note: Although never discussed openly, Anna's inner monologue revealed she recognized Cloak as Tyrone Johnson on sight. And while she thought he had "no way of recognizing her," she was actually his long-lost twin sister. Cloak and Dagger apparently never learned this, and Anna disappeared with their ongoing series, never to readdress this mystery.]

In returning from Mephisto's realm through a dimension of "otherdark," Cloak and Dagger once again found themselves in the mystery apartment, only this time it was occupied. The Fear-Lord known as D'Spayre greeted his honored guests with delight. Or rather D'Lite, the street name of a mystically enriched drug called Darklight he had set loose on the streets of New York. D'Spayre had also kidnapped Philip Carlisle and Rusty Nales, subjecting them to D'Lite's effects, while transforming Brigid back into Mayhem.

A captive audience, Cloak and Dagger listened as D'Spayre explained his deep and surprising history with each them. According to the demon, he intervened in their origins just as the chicken-hawks first approached the runaway duo. D'Spayre claimed the unique interaction between their latent mutant abilities would have triggered their powers before Ellis Island, giving Tyrone natural light powers and Tandy natural darkness powers, a reverse Cloak and Dagger. Instead, D'Spayre mystically suppressed their mutant manifestations until after they were tainted by Simon Marshall's drug. And, as the teenagers swam the Hudson from Ellis Island back to Manhattan, D'Spayre altered their drug-tainted mutant abilities even further, imbuing the pair with a demonic Lightform and Darkform. These pieces of D'Spayre's own demonic essence acted as storage batteries, soaking up all the anguish, torment and despair felt by Cloak and Dagger up until the present. In this manner, their every negative experience was being cultivated in reserve for D'Spayre to one day step in and claim.

Still reeling from D'Spayre's revelations, Cloak and Dagger struggled against the demon and his Darklight drug trade. Rusty Nales conquered her D'Lite addiction in Cloak's darkness, but Philip Carlisle could not survive the stress on his system, and Dagger's stepfather died in her arms. Weakened when Cloak and Dagger stood strong and defiant against him instead of succumbing to despair, D'Spayre attempted to reclaim his demon emotion batteries from the couple. He reabsorbed the Lightform -- although Dagger's purity made it nearly unpalatable -- but the Darkform resisted assimilation. The unstable D'Spayre was forced into the Dark Dimension by Dagger, where the insane Darkform turned on its creator and destroyed them both.

With the Lightform and Darkform gone, Cloak and Dagger were freed from the suppressive demon influence over their abilities, but the unstable power caused by the drugs tainting their mutations caused their powers to grow out of control. One more time, Cloak and Dagger purged each other of overwhelming light and darkness, finding a stable balance between the two forces. Their excess energies were gone, leaving new and well-adjusted powers in their wake. Dagger no longer possessed a supernatural purity, and so while her light-daggers could now affect inanimate objects, she could not purge the taint of drugs from others. Cloak did not feed off of lifeforce anymore, for his connection to the Dark Dimension was severed. The ebon void he still contained could act as a sensory deprivation chamber to rattle his foes in its weightless darkness, but it would not expose people to their greatest nightmares or leech their light away. [Cloak and Dagger (3rd series) #19]

[Note: This new origin severely complicates Cloak and Dagger's history, and can be considered suspect, given that it comes from D'Spayre. It also sidesteps any discussion of Cloak's Predator demon, who nonetheless never appears again after the Darkform is destroyed here. This leaves open the possibility that the Darkform and Predator were somehow one and the same. Finally, the various minor changes done to Cloak and Dagger's powers in this issue would be continually ignored as time went on. In particular, Cloak's hunger for light and Dagger's healing and purifying powers would return shortly without explanation. By the Marvel Knights series, any changes to their abilities were completely gone, and they were back to their classic powers.]

Cloak and Dagger briefly searched for Anna after the Neo-Nazi case but, while they crossed paths during an adventure with Spider-Man and Firebrand, she evaded them again. As Anna clearly didn't want to be found, they gave up the search, with Cloak uncertain why he felt so strongly about finding her in the first place. [Web of Spider-Man (1st series) #77-78] More family was lost as Father Mike recovered from Mr. Jip's attack weeks earlier. It was revealed that Jip cast a spell on Mike as he struck, turning Mike into a new host body for Mr. Jip after Rusty Nales succeeded in killing him. Father Mike and Mr. Jip became a Jekyll/Hyde persona, striking out at people on the streets until Cloak and Dagger uncovered the situation. Dagger's light purged Jip from her Uncle Mike's body, but the priest did not survive the experience. [Marvel Comics Presents (1st series) #115]

With Father Mike, Delgado and Dagger's stepfather dead, Cloak and Dagger returned to living in the again-abandoned Holy Ghost Church. They continued with their mission against drug dealers and on behalf of the runaways and the lost of the city. The duo sought out Mayhem in an attempt to reach their friend Brigid O'Reilly, but this time the police detective seemed lost completely in her assumed identity. [Web of Spider-Man Annual #9] Dagger was among the heroes murdered by Thanos when he seized the power of the Infinity Gauntlet and wiped out half the population of the universe. Cloak fought alongside the survivors against the Mad Titan, only to be killed himself when he tried to contain Thanos in the Dark Dimension. They were both eventually restored when Adam Warlock seized the power of the Gauntlet and Thanos' actions were mostly reversed. [Infinity Gauntlet (1st series) #2-6]

Whatever happened to Cloak when he lost his Darkform and was disconnected from the Dark Dimension and its light-feasting demons still left him linked to the Darkforce Dimension and its inanimate darkness. As a result, he was targeted subconsciously by Henrique Gallante, a mutant whose drug abuse and mental problems caused his access tap to the Darkforce Dimension to rage out of control. Cloak and many other Darkforce wielders were absorbed into the dimension and turned into Gallante's puppets in his new identity as the Darkling. Dagger joined forces with the New Warriors and many other heroes in Manhattan to free Cloak from his darkness. In the aftermath, Night Thrasher of the New Warriors encouraged the duo to begin working with the team on a more regular basis, but Dagger abided by Cloak's anti-social tendencies and the two declined. [New Warriors (1st series) #32-35, New Warriors Annual #3]

In a stray encounter outside the Holy Ghost Church, Cloak and Dagger gave Spider-Man sanctuary after he was brutally beaten by the followers of Carnage. The insane serial killer and his symbiote had broken out of Ravenscroft Institute to wreak havoc on New York City, and worse he had picked up an entourage. The trio of heroes were located by Carnage's twisted "wife" Shriek and the Spider-Man Doppelganger left over from the Infinity War. The Holy Ghost Church became one of the first battlegrounds in the media-dubbed "Maximum Carnage," and a personal one for Cloak. Shriek was identified as a former drug dealer who lost her grip on sanity when Cloak exposed her to his Dark Dimension months earlier. She was eager for revenge against him, using her newly-explored sonic and psionic powers. Shriek proved immune to further exposures to the darkness, and the arrival of Carnage himself badly turned the tide. Dagger tried to protect Cloak with her new light-shields, but Shriek blasted through and struck Dagger, overloading her with energy. In an eruption of light, Tandy exploded before the helpless eyes of Cloak and Spider-Man.

Driven by an unquenchable need for vengeance, Cloak joined forces with Spider-Man's uneasy allies Venom, Black Cat and Morbius to pursue Carnage, Shriek and their insane "kids" at any cost. Several encounters only led to more innocent deaths and no resolution to the serial killers' reign on New York. Spider-Man regrouped the band of vigilantes to pursue leads on the symbiotes' two main weaknesses: sound and fire. While several of them retrieved Reed Richards' sonic disruptor cannon from Four Freedoms Plaza, Cloak teleported to the New Warriors Crash Pad to recruit Firestar.

The next battle proved as frustrating as the last. Cloak confronted Shriek again, but she was still resistant to his powers. Shriek had become a metaphorical echo chamber of both sound and emotion, soaking up the feelings of others near her and reflecting them back into the environment at an amplified degree. Her relationship with Carnage gave her a ready source of madness that she broadcast throughout New York, causing riots and upheaval among the citizens. Shriek laid all this at Cloak's feet, empathically showing him how his cloak of darkness awakened her powers to begin with, making him responsible for everything she did, including the murder of Dagger. Overwhelmed by this psionic onslaught, Cloak fled from Shriek and his own guilt.

Too weak physically and mentally to continue the fight, Cloak returned to the Holy Ghost Church seeking absolution. As he looked inwards for light and hope, he rather unexpectedly found it in spades. Dagger emerged, hale and hearty from within the Dark Dimension. Although Shriek's assault did cause her to explode into living light, her soul remained a part of that light. It sought sanctuary in Cloak's darkness, slowly reintegrating itself through their love and symbiotic connection to one another. Dagger's return was a beacon of hope in a quest that had turned the heroes down darker and darker paths to eliminate the threat of Carnage. When Dagger not only forgave Shriek for her actions but attempted to purge the madness from her murderer with her light, it gave Spider-Man the hope he needed to conceive of the alpha magni-illuminizor. Working off of Dagger's living light and Iron Fist's chi expression of inner peace, the heroes were able to create the means of stabilizing alpha wave patterns, temporarily ending the madness of their opponents and bringing the entire Maximum Carnage affair to a conclusion. [Maximum Carnage crossover]