The Small Lebowski:
Cloak and Dagger #3
Issue(s): Cloak and Dagger #3
Dagger is 16. It says so in this series. Peter Parker has graduated high school, college, and attended grad school. We're well beyond even that grey area where an 18 year old might date a 16 year old. Now, i guess you can't control a guy's thoughts, especially when a girl is wearing a skin-tight outfit with an arrow pointing at her crotch, but things are going to get even weirder than that stray thought.
It's a really cool sequence of Spider-Man changing out of his costume, though.
In this issue, Cloak and Dagger attack some drug dealers operating out of an abandoned church and disguised as priests.
And after taking out the dealers, they get information on a large shipment of drugs coming into New York. The police had been bugging the dealers, so Cloak and Dagger are stepping on their case.
In the meantime, Peter Parker is a photographer on a story involving runaway kids, and while he's at a halfway house, he sees Phillip Carlisle in a support group talking about his daughter, who Peter recognizes as Dagger (note also the reference to Father Bowen).
So he decides to go let Dagger know. This is when things get weird.
Umm, was that a dream sequence? No, not the part with Peter and Tandy dancing, anyway. Did Spider-Man just let Dagger de-mask him and then make out with her? Seems to be!
After this, Spider-Man gets ahead of Cloak and Dagger and tries to bust up the drug import before they do, out of a sense of preventing these young kids from getting mixed up in crimefighting (as he's tried to do when they've appeared before in his books). But what he doesn't realize is he's actually only attacking the greeting party; the shipment of drugs is actually still offshore, and thanks to his interference, Cloak & Dagger are unable to learn which boat it's on. And thanks to all of their interference, the police were unable to complete their operation.
Throughout this, Cloak & Dagger continue their debate about whether this is the sort of life they ought to be living.
The thing about Spider-Man's kind of paternalistic instinct here (trying my best to overlook the make-out scene) is that he has the opportunity to give the police the location of Cloak & Dagger's hideout, but he doesn't.
If he really wanted to stop them, that's how he could do it. But i guess it's more about trying to convince them to come to the "right" conclusion themselves.
There's a lot to like here. Nice art, and some interesting stuff happening in terms of Cloak and Dagger's relationship. A very atmospheric book. But i'm really weirded out by the Spider-Man scene. Not just because of the age difference, but because it happens in such a strange surreal way. Again i make the Ann Nocenti comparison. And it's an especially hard jump to make when the story is going in a normal straightforward way prior to that; there's a sense of "wait, what's happening here?".
A follow-up on Cloak & Dagger's powers: Cloak's victims again are subjected to their worst nightmares.
Meanwhile, we see here that Dagger's light dagger attacks make people feel "what might have been".
Both therefore have a kind of quasi-mystical or religious aspect to them (as we also know from the church trappings). Just thinking about that in light of tying Cloak in with the Darkforce dimension.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places this between Amazing Spider-Man #270-271.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Black Mamba's dark force powers are similar to Cloak's, but the opposite: her dark force shows victims what they desire rather than fear.
This C&D series must not last long. I never even knew there was an ongoing between their limited series and their Strange Tales gig.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | August 20, 2013 8:13 PM
Only 11 issues.
Posted by: Chris Kafka | August 20, 2013 9:18 PM
Mutant Misadventures ran 19 issues.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | August 20, 2013 10:32 PM
OK, while I'm entirely sure it wasn't intentional on Mantlo's part, I'm a bit disturbed by the subtext that's emerging from these Cloak & Dagger issues, where various characters go on and on about how the skeezy black dude (Cloak) is forcing the innocent white snowflake (Dagger) into morally dubious actions, depriving her of a normal life that she (and only she, apparently) deserves. Again, it's probably not intentional, and it's still rendered in subtextual form, but this aspect of the overarching plot just reeks of Lifetime-movie-of-the-week sensationalism.
On another note, Spiderman is surprisingly nonchalant about Dasgger just ripping off his mask. And yeah his inexplicable lust for Dagger all of a sudden is just weird (with the only slight defense that C&D are teens that are rarely drawn as such).
Posted by: Jon Dubya | June 18, 2014 7:00 PM
Since, as Jon Dubya points out, Dagger is drawn as if she is older, it begs the question: Does Peter have an idea of how old she is? If he doesn't, that makes a big difference. I'm not saying it makes it okay, but it does make a difference.
Posted by: Erik Beck | June 2, 2015 7:21 AM
I don't recall them telling their exact ages to Spider-Man, however Spidey repeatedly refers them as 'kids' and attempts to protect them because of their youth, so clearly he's aware they're teenagers.
In the dance scene, it looks like it's Dagger who makes a move on Peter. Though he probably should have stopped before things get that hot...
Posted by: Zartan | June 12, 2015 5:56 PM
Wow, the art on some of these pages seem almost as forward-looking as Art Adams on Longshot or something...
Posted by: George Lochinski | November 12, 2016 3:54 AM
I had no idea Dagger was 16. Sheesh why do they make these characters so young? It just invites the creepiness.
Posted by: MindlessOne | May 8, 2017 10:10 PM
Their youth was part of their character concept, corrupted innocence and all that. It also gave Spider-Man some extra motivation in trying to help them, entirely believable as such. Sure enough, they were drawn with quite adult physiques.
OTOH, when Black Cat got jealous over Dagger, Spidey dismissed the concern with "She's just a kid", so maybe not, or at best it was some very long burn design.
Posted by: Zartan | May 10, 2017 7:12 PM
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