This is a little odd for me but I actually can’t remember the first comic book I read that featured Cloak & Dagger. The pair was first introduced in Spectacular Spider-Man issue 64 which came in 1982. I started collecting comics in 1986 and my first issue of Spectacular Spider-Man was 119. Which, by the way, is a fantastic issue that featured the Black Cat vs Sabretooth. I could go on and on about that particular issue but seeing as Cloak & Dagger aren’t in it, it’s a little off topic.
Amazing Spider-Man has always been considered the “flagship” Spidey title but in my early days of comic book collecting Spectacular Spider-Man was my favorite of the various Spider-man titles. I bought up all the recent back issues that I could find on grocery store spinner racks and during my first visits to official comic stores (Wilkies, Odyssey 2000). The stories that took place in the one hundred and teens of Spectacular Spider-Man remain some of my favorite Spidey stories to date. They featured character like Black Cat, Jack-O-Lantern, and the Sin Eater. I’m guessing it was in one of those Spectacular back issues that I was first exposed to Cloak & Dagger. They appeared in the series regularly around that time.
I had mixed feelings about them at first. I liked Dagger right off the bat. What’s not to love about a sexy blonde with a giant knife shaped hole in the front of her white spandex unitard? But I wasn’t sold on Cloak so easily. I found his costume boring and the character seemed like kind of a jerk. I felt that way for a long time. C & D spun out of Spidey into their own 4 issue mini-series in 1983 and then they got their on on-going series in 1985 which only lasted 11 issues. I missed out on both of those series since they were published before I got into comics. The duos next shot at the big time came in Strange Tales, a book they shared with Doctor Strange; each of them getting a half length story per issue. That book launched in 1987 but I still wasn’t interested enough in the characters at that time to give it a chance. I didn’t start collecting Cloak & Dagger until their third on-going series launched in 1988. I would’ve rather collected a Dagger solo book at that time but the two characters are so closely intertwined that it seemed unlikely that they’d ever be separated. At first I tolerated Cloak to get my Dagger fix. But over the course of Cloak & Dagger volume 3 Cloak actually grew on me. Sadly that series only lasted 19 issues.
The duo haven’t been able to get another on-going book off the ground since that last series ended in ’91 but they’ve hardly faded into obscurity. They’ve guest appeared in a multitude of books and they even became members of the X-Men for a while. Most recently they starred in their own 3 issue mini-series that tied into the Spider-Man event “Spider Island”.
There have been very few Cloak & Dagger figures released over the years. That probably has to do with the fact that they’re far from being household names but also because of the cut of Dagger’s costume, it’s a bit provocative for toy stores. The only Cloak & Dagger figures that I owned, prior to acquiring the Marvel Universe versions recently, were the Marvel Select versions that came in a 2-pack a few years back. In that set Cloak was really more of an accessory than a figure; just a disembodied head in a rubbery cape with no arms or legs to speak of. Even though the lack of body was clearly done as a cost saving measure it was still accurate to how the character often appears in the comics. Cloak’s entire body is made of darkness. His primary attack is enveloping bad guys within his cloak where they get lost in the dark dimension and go insane. Often time he’s shown to open his cape wide and there’s nothing but a large dark void inside. So in that sense the Marvel Select figure is comic accurate, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that its a good figure.
This new Marvel Universe release is a much better example of a Cloak action figure. In the comics when Cloak isn’t in “void mode” he’s rendered with a solid black body completely devoid of detail; just a black human body shape. Despite his body’s transformation Cloak’s face always remains that of his teen alter-ego Tyrone Johnson. However when Cloak’s hood is up he seems to go through a slight facial transformation as well; his eyes go solid white and dark shadows conceal his features. The face is very well done on this figure and the black paint actually looks like shadows being cast across his face. The MU designers previously tried a shadow effect on Magento’s face and it was an utter fail. This attempt is much better. The literal cloak worn by Cloak is really nice. It’s sculpted with a nice flow to it and it has a realistic texture etched in. There’s a nice sheen to the paint job as well. Cloak’s body is well proportioned but like most skinny Marvel Universe figures it’s awkward and doesn’t pose realistically. Despite its flaws this is probably the best Cloak figure ever produced and I’m glad this pair made it into the Marvel Universe line before it wraps up. 6 out of 10.