Cloak and Dagger Early Impressions
The golden age of nerdom trudges on showering us with gifts to excite fans of all stripes. The slew of Marvel IP shows like Agents of Shield, Inhumans and Legion have run the gauntlet of connection to film events and quality, each of them falling on different spaces on that spectrum. With New Mutants setting up to be another tone shifting exploration of Marvel Characters the way Legion was everyone seems to have forgotten about a little tidbit from 2016. Two years ago it was announced that ABC would be creating a television series revolving around the comic book duo Cloak and Dagger. Well it's 2018 and this almost forgotten project is set to hit TV screens, so let's take a look at what to expect.
Originally introduced in 1982, the Cloak and Dagger comics followed teen runaways Tyrone and Tandy on the streets of New York as they run afoul of street-level drug dealers resulting in their powers. For Tyrone, it was a connection to a dark dimension which manifested in abilities of teleportation, portal creation, and intangibility. People trapped by him in this dark dimension would be subjected to their nightmares and Tyrone had a constant hunger that was only satiated by devouring people into this dark dimension or by being near Tandy's light powers which he could feed upon. Tandy was able to create daggers of pure light that she could control remotely and would siphon the life force of others into her. Her powers ran the risk of overwhelming her and by remaining close to Tyrone she was able to offset both of their problems as he devoured her light powers. The two have had a patchy publication history since their inception but have mainly revolved around vigilantism and dealing with the drug trade and helping other runaways.
The core of these character traits come across well in the ABC adaptation. Taking place in New Orleans, shared tragedy see both Tyrone (Aubry Joseph) and Tandy (Olivia Holt) lose a family member during a major accident relating to Roxxon Energy which also gives them their relational powers. Skipping ahead we see the effect this accident had on both of their lives. Tyrone, a gifted but deeply troubled young man who cannot stomach the injustices he sees around him and Tandy, a thief living on the streets seeming to have given up hope. Circumstances push them to their major breaking points while at the same time drawing them closer together but also push them to find new solutions to their cycles of problems.
Let's start off with what I love about the show. The changeup of location and expansion of their powers makes for some truly great expansion on the lore. This is especially true for Tyrone as the show presents his internal struggles alongside and paralleled by the troubled racial history of the city. Tandy also got a fair expansion with some new powers to better showcase the pair as reflections of one another that have what the other needs. Overall a show that could have been a basic, New York drug war by powered teens is instead a well presented and mature look at deep-rooted societal problems and how a new generation is inheriting them.
On the downside is this feeling that the show doesn't hold strongly enough to a central storyline to feel like it's progressing. The central focus is on Tyrone and Tandy learning and attempting to grow despite their flaws but also the wider cover-up by Roxxon Energy and seeking justice for themselves. Because of this the show feels like it's often just treading water. Enjoyable but stagnant where little appears to happen despite lots of things happening.
Well acted, well presented and more than a little daring, Cloak and Dagger may not be an edgy show, but it's an enjoyable show and I find myself thinking about it hours later.