Feature Article

Cloak & Dagger: Everything You Should Know About The Marvel Comics Adaptation

Cloak & Dagger are finally ready for the spotlight.

The comic book TV landscape is about to get even more crowded with the premiere of Freeform's Cloak & Dagger. The series, based on a Marvel comic book of the same name, follows two teenagers that don't know each other but are linked by a mysterious power that brings them together.

It's entirely possible you aren't all that familiar with Cloak & Dagger. Though the characters have been in the Marvel universe since first debuting in a 1982 issue of Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man, they've yet to attain the kind of popularity Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and Captain America enjoy. Still, even Iron Man wasn't the mainstream favorite he is now before being adapted into a live-action movie. Perhaps this show will do that for Cloak & Dagger.

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Now Playing: Marvel's Cloak & Dagger - 'Answers' Trailer

Before you dive into the TV series, though, GameSpot wants to get you caught up on who, exactly, Cloak and Dagger are. After all, though they've been around for over three decades, chances are you've never heard of them.

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Who are these people?

Tyrone Johnson (Cloak) and Tandy Bowen (Dagger) are a pair of runaways that met in New York City--not to be confused with Marvel's Runaways, though they do have a connection to that story. They couldn't have been raised more different; Ty from a poor Boston neighborhood, Tandy from a privileged life in Ohio. Still, the two become fast friends and are ultimately taken captive by an evil chemist.

While being held captive, the chemist uses them as test subjects for a synthetic heroin he's developing. What he doesn't expect is it giving them superpowers. They get away and with their new abilities, become vigilantes.

Truth be told, their origin story in the comics is pretty severe. It should come as no surprise that the Freeform version of Cloak & Dagger is going to alter how, exactly, they get their powers--along with other aspects of the story. Thankfully, the characters remain largely the same, as do the superpowers. You just shouldn't expect to see a crazed scientist shooting them up with heroin.

What are their powers?

This is where things get bizarre. The two have different powers, for some reason. Tandy is able to emit daggers of light from her hands. In the comics, she can control where they are thrown, for the most part. It makes for a powerful weapon at her disposal. She also has the ability to purge a person of drugs and toxins using her "living light," which is made of her lifeforce.

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Ty is connected to the Darkforce Dimension, another universe of energy that has popped up a number of times in the Marvel universe. For instance, X-Men member Nightcrawler uses the Darkforce Dimension as a means of teleportation. In the comics, Cloak has a similar ability and can also engulf those around him in Darkforce energy.

What's their comic book history?

As previously mentioned, the two characters first appeared in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #64, which was released in 1982. It was a year later when they finally got their own four-issue limited series, before getting a regular bi-monthly comic in 1985.

From there, the duo appeared in a number of their own comics, as well as the Strange Tales series, which was shared with Doctor Strange. Cloak and Dagger have also appeared in a number of Marvel video games, and even the animated series Ultimate Spider-Man.

However, they never attained the mainstream popularity of a number of Marvel's characters--and never got a movie. However, that almost happened in 2006. Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe launches, Cloak & Dagger was one of the properties Paramount Pictures wanted to adapt into a live-action film. Sadly, that never came to pass.

Who is the big bad?

Cloak & Dagger isn't your typical comic book in that way. While they have gotten involved in bigger Marvel stories against more notable foes--including roles in the Civil War and Secret Invasion events--for the most part, they are street-level heroes. They fight for those in need around them, taking on drug dealers, gangs, and anyone who threatens those on the streets.

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It seems as though the Freeform adaptation will be similar, as the two come up against street crime, social injustices, and other decidedly non-supervillain problems.

What other MCU characters do they connect to?

Everyone pretty much knows everyone in the Marvel universe. Cloak and Dagger have been affiliated with everyone from the Dark X-Men to the Secret Avengers during their three decades of history. However, it's the Runaways that pose the most interesting connection.

Cloak and Dagger had a comic book crossover with the Runaways that see them attempting to join forces to defeat the Pride--the chief antagonists of Runaways--that never quite came together. However, this could be something the MCU rectified.

It's not going to happen anytime soon, sadly. Speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour in July 2017, Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb made it clear he wants the show--and others in the MCU--to find their footing before worrying about crossovers. "You'll see things that comment on each other; we try to touch base wherever we can," he said of Runaways and Cloak & Dagger at the time (via THR). "It's very much like real life--things that are happening in L.A. are not exactly going to be affecting what's happening in New Orleans, or what's happening in New York isn't on the minds of everyone living in Chicago. It's being aware of it and trying to find a way for it to be able to discuss in a way that makes sense."

Cloak & Dagger premieres Thursday, June 7, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform.

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Chris E. Hayner

Chris E. Hayner is an entertainment editor at GameSpot. Prior to his work at GameSpot, he contributed to a number of outlets including The Hollywood Report, IGN, Mashable, CBS Interactive, Tribune Media, and Nerdist. Beyond writing about TV, movies, and theme parks, Chris co-hosts and produces GameSpot's wrestling podcast Wrestle Buddies with Mat Elfring. Chris loves all movies, but especially Jaws and Paddington 2.

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