Although its movies have been consistently great and massively successful, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) television output has not quite been as consistent in terms of quality or success. There have been great shows like Jessica Jones, Agents Of SHIELD, Daredevil and The Punisher, and some not so great ones like Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and (worst of all) Inhumans.
Happily, Cloak And Dagger is a show that deserves its place in the former category, alongside fellow teenage superhero flick Runaways.
The teen superhero duo of Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen made their comic book debut in 1982. The pair of runaway teens got their powers after being forcefully subjected to a synthetic drug experiment in New York. Tyrone became a being of absolute darkness who has to contain his shadowy form with a cloak, which he uses to teleport or “capture” people within his shadow. Meanwhile, Tandy became a being of light who could create “light daggers”.
While their powers remain pretty much the same, almost everything else has been altered for the TV show.
For one, instead of New York, they are relocated to New Orleans (which is probably a good idea, considering how the Big Apple is over-populated with superheroes within the MCU).
The pair’s origins have also been changed; as children, they were exposed to a strange explosion at a drilling rig run by the sinister Roxxon Gulf corporation, which gave them their powers.
At the exact same time, they both went through a traumatic event – Tyrone (played by Aubrey Joseph) witnessed his brother being shot and killed by a cop (which was later covered-up), while Tandy (Olivia Holt) was involved in a car crash that killed her father, the scientist working on the Roxxon rig who is later blamed for the explosion.
Eight years later, both Tandy and Tyrone’s lives have gone on very different paths.
Tandy is now a street thief living in an abandoned church to avoid going home to her alcoholic mother while Tyrone goes to a posh upper-class school where he is the star of the basketball team.
However, a chance meeting (and touch) triggers the dormant powers in them, and soon their lives start to change in ways they never expected.
Tandy begins to investigate the rig explosion more closely to clear her father’s name, while Tyrone discovers that his brother’s killer is now a corrupt undercover cop, and decides to bring him to justice.
While the duo spends most of the first season exploring their newfound powers and working on their individual quests, the show really comes alive each time they get together, which doesn’t happen as often as I’d like.
They are also still in the initial stage of discovering their powers, which means there isn’t much superhero action most of the time.
Still, Cloak And Dagger manages to make up for that by focusing on building up Tandy and Tyrone’s characters instead.
Joseph and Holt have pretty good chemistry together – theirs is a relationship that starts reluctantly before slowly growing into mutual affection (a more respectful rather than romantic sort), culminating in a finale that really gets you excited for the second season.
For fans of the MCU, there are hints of the inter-connectivity between this show and the rest of the shared universe (listen up for a mention of Luke Cage’s Misty Knight), but nothing that threatens to overshadow what the showrunners are trying to build here.
Like Runaways with Los Angeles, setting Cloak And Dagger in New Orleans gives it a self-contained environment and allows it to flourish unburdened by superheroic events taking place in other parts of the world.
That said, considering the similar vibes between the two shows, I would love to see a crossover between Runaways and Cloak And Dagger in the future (both teams cross paths quite a fair bit in the comics).
Now that would REALLY help make the TV corner of the MCU even more exciting.
Cloak And Dagger is currently available on tonton.