Tandy Bowen is a young woman who was born in one of the richest suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio. Although her family is rich (her mother is a successful model), Tandy feels rather abandoned. Her biological father left abruptly to go to India, leaving everything behind to seek spiritual illumination. Her mother didn’t take long to get her life back on track, but Tandy at first doesn’t accept her new stepfather Philip and ends up turning her attention and affection towards her high school boyfriend Rob Daltry – the similarity to Roger Daltry of The Who is no coincidence for a series (Cloak and Dagger) made in the 80s. However, when he leaves for university, she feels that there is no one and nothing left that matters to her in Shaker Heights and without a word she takes a bus to New York.
The life of a young woman in the big city is not easy and only the intervention of Tyrone Johnson (Cloak), who has also run away from home, stops her getting mugged. They quickly become friends and they help protect each other in a city that, if they aren’t careful, will devour them. But they aren’t careful. The pair of youths are kidnapped by Dr. Simon Marshall, who is a drugs tester for the criminal organisation Maggia.
Against their will, the doctor injects them with a new type of heroine called D-lite, and somehow they survive. Not only that, but as a result of being exposed to this potent drug they gain powers. Whether this be because they already had un-activated mutant genes, or through magic – the explanation of their powers is by no means clear – Tandy becomes light and Tyrone becomes darkness.
Tandy can manipulate light and give it physical form, which she uses to throw daggers that she controls with her mind. And this light is the only thing that can calm the hunger for life force that intoxicates Tyrone and his shadows. If to this we add the fact that Tandy needs to periodically discharge her powers to avoid becoming delirious and exploding randomly, this makes them the perfect team, and under the pseudonyms Cloak and Dagger together they go after villains, especially those that take advantage of the misery of drug addicts and the homeless.
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Tandy is an innocent and vulnerable girl who has lived her whole life in a bubble, surrounded by things, not people. It’s very brave of her to break away from all of that and escape to seek her own life. She’s happy and cheerful, and awakening her powers only makes this grow and makes this personality even more necessary. In the end, she turns into Cloak’s only link with humanity, given how antisocial his powers make him.
Although to her it’s not clear that being a superheroine is her destiny and her obligation, she does like adventures and she’s not afraid of anything other than her own powers and the fact that Cloak can become a monster if she’s not there.
Friends and Enemies
After gaining their powers, Tyrone and Tandy become inseparable. On the one hand, they are united by their common experience of having left their families and homes behind in search of a new beginning, and on the other hand, their powers are so symbiotic that they need each other to survive. Despite sharing their lives, and despite Tyrone’s feelings, the relationship between them is more like that of brother and sister than of a couple.
This co-dependency between them means that they occasionally need the help of other superheroes like Spiderman to guide them and avoid their actions turning into acts of personal revenge. They have suffered a lot and Tandy has to hold Tyrone back to avert his activities becoming too similar to those of the Punisher. In the end, they are very powerful, even compared to some crime bosses like Kingpin.
This means that, despite it not being what they were looking for, they find themselves getting drawn into combat against enemies of the calibre of Thanos or the wild Scarlet Witch. They are so important in the Marvel Universe that they have played leading roles in Civil War – if it wasn’t for Tandy, everyone, superheroes and villains, would have been trapped in the negative dimension – and the House of M event.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
Cloak & Dagger will be broadcast on Freeform (previously ABC Family) in 2018. Since the project was announced it has been advertised as targeted at young people, like Twilight and the Hunger Games, which is something that didn’t previously exist in the Marvel universe. Tandy will be played by Olivia Holt and Tyrone by Aubrey Joseph. In the recently unveiled trailer, with quite some advance warning, we can already see that they are going to change some aspects of their origins – taking them from the Ultimate section of the Marvel Universe – such as their having run away from home and living in New York, given that the series takes place in New York. Even though we haven’t seen much of the series, what does appear in the trailer is her upbringing in a wealthy family and her daggers of light… and the danger that they entail.
Evidently, just as Guardians of the Galaxy or Ant-Man were in the past, Cloak & Dagger is an effort to diversify the MCU genres. As long as it doesn’t become a collection of teenage clichés and it respects the core material that is so well known and loved by Marvel fans, it is likely to be a worthwhile series. Who knows whether Freeform and Marvel TV can repeat the success of Netflix and the Defenders with their new connected series like New Warriors, but what is for sure is that with Marvel more does not usually mean worse quality.
Given the mystical origins of her powers, their limits are not clear. The light that Tandy emanates is really life force. This is something that every living being inherently has, but Dagger can access it in greater quantities and shape it – and her preferred shapes are pointy. Her light is also capable of purifying poisons and illnesses. However, these are not all advantages because Tandy accumulates this light within her and if she doesn’t discharge it safely she can lose control, becoming delirious and, if it were to come to it, exploding into a thousand pieces. Fortunately, Tyrone can and needs to absorb this life force to placate the Predator that lives in the dark dimension.
Light of Life
Cloak & Dagger are two powerful and very necessary characters in the Marvel Universe. On the one hand, both their personalities and their history make them easy to identify with for the public – especially for younger people. On the other hand, they represent a modern and interracial relationship between two people that need each other and, like it or not, know it. In this duo, Tandy is the light that we all carry within us. A light that can do harm but that also cures, especially those closest to us.