Cloak and Dagger #3
Issue(s): Cloak and Dagger #3
However, Shadow guy is taken away before Cloak can ask any more questions about the Dark Dimension, like what about the Predator that lives there.
But we do get an explanation for what's going on with the aliens. I'm going to hit you with a bunch of weird names, so brace yourself. The creatures in charge of the ship - the upside-down mouth guys, are the Byan'natandu. They have charged themselves with traveling the galaxy, collecting dangerous objects to prevent lesser races from destroying themselves or the universe with them. But they've gotten old and are now bound to the life-support systems on their ship. So they've recruited the Grunds and the Darbians (lobotomizing the latter) to act as their instruments. The Byan'natandu have a book that tells them where the dangerous objects will show up.
It also disappointingly turns out that the guys on flying motorcycles with planets for heads from last issue are really just Grunds.
To get the immature Grunds to work for them, the Byan'natandu have to pretend like it's a scavenger hunt, and since the Grund with the Earth-mask cheated in getting the device, the Byan'natandu have decided they have to blow up the Earth as punishment.
I liked all this better when it was completely incomprehensible.
Cloak refuses to give up the device, and the Byan'natandu's technology is unable to force him. So they tell him instead that he'll be allowed to roam freely on the ship, since Earth is too far away for him to teleport, and as long as they have him, the device is safe. But it's actually a ruse; they send a Darbian to start a fight with him, hoping that Cloak will swallow the Darbian into his Dark Dimension where the device can be retrieved. However, he resists the temptation to feed on the Darbian's light.
And beyond that, the Byan'natandu still intend to destroy the Earth.
Back on Earth, Dagger is not adjusting to her blindness. That's in part thanks to her stepfather, who has taken her out of the hospital where she might have gotten care and training. But even when her uncle, Father Bowen, shows up with a specialist, she's not interested (good thing she can't see that creepy grin).
Cloak bargains with the Byan'natandu, saying he'll give back the device if they'll let him project himself to Earth to say goodbye to Dagger. She's too wrapped up in her own problems to listen to him...
..but she gets so angry that she starts blasting her light daggers, which come through the projection and damage the Byan'natandu ship.
It also turns out that Dagger is a "begetter of the living light", and it's forbidden for them to destroy planets that they occupy - and they find it odd that there was no mention that such a begetter was in their book of prophesy. So they decide to spare the planet. However, Cloak is still stuck on the ship. The Byan'natandu is damaged and they're not able to send him home properly. But he insists that they try, so he winds up floating in a bubble in space.
We also find that Byan'natandu cloned him before he left.
What a weird issue.
As with the first two issues, there's a long note from Terry Austin in the lettercol. In this one he addresses the "Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger" title of the book. While acknowledging that the title is unwieldy, Austin says that for (unspecified) legal reasons the book couldn't just be called Cloak and Dagger volume 3, and it's the same reason the new Doctor Strange book has the "Sorcerer Supreme" tagline appended to it. But no easy adjective was found for Cloak & Dagger. As for why they are calling them mutants, Austin refers us to New Mutants #23-25 where it's said that the drug they took "interacted with the children's DNA matrix... triggering a gradual ongoing mutation in their fundamental structure. A mutagenic substance interacting with mutant genes". Austin also fends off complains that the mutant label and the recent X-Factor guest appearance is all just about increasing sales, which, i mean, of course it was. In the meantime, since Cloak is in space and Dagger is blind, they shouldn't be appearing elsewhere.
It's more clear in these full length stories that Terry Austin's impulse is to be more cutesy that the dark angst that Cloak & Dagger are known for. I'm not saying it's a terrible idea (and i guess the "misadventures" part of the title was a clue that it was going to be this way), but it's a weird and sudden shift. The aliens are weird enough, and their mannerisms are wacky on top of that. Both the Grunds ("oh mighty boss-dudes") and Byan'natandu ("Your pal almost fried our hash") use slang. We're really into Gerberian levels of wackiness here. Even our formerly dark and serious villains are funny now.
It's a whimsical kind of fun in its own way, but the lack of transition is hard to take, especially when we still have more serious stuff going on, like Dagger's blindness. It's a very odd way to start off a new series.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: X-Factor's appearance in issues #1-2 takes place between X-Factor #29 and X-Factor annual #3. But issues #1-2 end with Cloak trapped in space, and this issue ends with him still stuck out there. But next issue is an Inferno tie-in that takes place towards the end of that event, i.e. at least after X-Factor #35-36 if not later. So we have to assume Cloak was held in space for a long time. I suppose this issue could either have been appended to my entry for #2 or #4, but since Cloak has to be stuck in space for a while, it's probably good to have a standalone entry to show what he's up to in the meantime. It's mentioned that Julie Power will come look in on Dagger (since the Powers live in the same building as Dagger's dad), but she doesn't appear in this issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showCloak, Dagger, Dennis Fiedler, Father Delgado, Father Michael Bowen, Mr. Jip, Phillip Carlisle, Rebecca 'Rusty' Nales, Yipyap
Just to let you know, Dagger doesn't get her sight back until issue 12-13 and she makes a few appearances in other titles (during Atlantis Attacks and Acts of Vengeance) before she finally gets her sight back.
Posted by: Michael | August 18, 2014 7:39 PM
Yeah, thanks, Michael. I just mean any generic appearances can't go in between these issues.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 18, 2014 9:25 PM
Considering the Grund who worked with Korvac, I would have expected them to be a bit more powerful. But I guess that's the Grunds of the GotG universe.
Posted by: Ataru320 | August 19, 2014 8:17 AM
I strongly suspect Marvel actually slapped "Mutant Misadventures" on the cover to trick less intelligent X-fans into picking it up.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 19, 2014 5:45 PM
Mike Vosburg's art reminds me of some of then contemporary work on the Shadow from other publishers, so a Shadow homage stands appropriate.
Posted by: PB210 | November 8, 2014 7:44 PM
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