Characters Appearing: Cloak, Dagger, Energizer, Gee, Jim Power, Lightspeed, Margaret Power, Mass Master
Cloak and Dagger and Power Pack: Shelter From the Storm
Issue(s): Cloak and Dagger and Power Pack: Shelter From the Storm
This would be Marvel Graphic Novel #56 if we were still counting. And just to be comprehensive i'll note that on the cover this story is "Power Pack & Cloak and Dagger Shelter From the Storm" but the team names are reversed in the indicia (and "and" is spelled out) and that's what i follow when there's an inconsistency.
Since this story has Power Pack with their original powers despite coming out in 1989, this seems to be another graphic novel that had been in the works for a long time. Although given that it's drawn by Sal Velluto, who was (on and off again) the regular penciler for Power Pack circa 1989, it seems like maybe the plot sat in a desk drawer until Carl Potts decided to just get it out the door already, as opposed to, say, Velluto having been working on it in his spare time since 1985. If that was the case, you may wonder why the plot wasn't altered to fit the kids into their current powers. And i guess it's because there are some specific points around Katie dreaming about Dagger...
...and then offering to feed Cloak her light when Dagger is missing.
It's a little creepy, but it might have been even more odd if it was Alex in that role.
The story is about two runaway kids. The boy is the more typical ethnic minority running from an abusive home, but the girl's story is a little weirder because it seems like her father was deliberately setting up a co-dependent relationship.
The girl had actually been offered full scholarships to a couple of Ivy League schools, but she runs away to New York instead of accepting one of the scholarships behind her parents' backs. In a parallel with Cloak and Dagger's origin story, the two runaways wind up together and getting preyed upon by a gang that takes advantage of runways.
Cloak and Dagger step in to protect them, but Dagger winds up getting injured and getting amnesia, and the two runaways take her along as they go to a shelter for runaway kids.
Cloak thinks through the people he might reach out to in order to help him find Dagger, and he settles on Power Pack.
Note the comments about Father Delgado in the image above. See the Considerations regarding that.
There's a rivalry between the shelter that Dagger and the runaways are at and another shelter. The idea originally put forth is that some of the less reputable shelters raid the others so that they can claim more funds from the state, but the actual reason will turn out to be much weirder than that.
Power Pack help Cloak figure out where Dagger was taken and then try to get into that shelter, but by the time they do so Dagger and the two other kids are taken to the other shelter. And it turns out the real reason for the kidnappings has nothing to do with funding; that shelter is run by an apparent relative of Mojo's named Cadaver who drains the "light" from the kids that go there.
And of course Dagger is a great find for him.
Cadaver's origin makes it sound like someone stumbled upon a drug similar to the one that created Cloak & Dagger.
Anyway, Power Pack and Cloak eventually make it to the other shelter, and of course Cloak can drain all of Cadaver's light.
And then we get a little PSA message from the two runaway kids...
...followed by the number for the Covenant House.
Power Pack (and Spider-Man) had previously been used in a (non-canon) public service comic about sexual abuse, and it's commendable for Mantlo and Marvel to want to do more with the characters along those lines. But unlike the free sexual abuse comic, this is a high priced ($7.95) book in Marvel's Graphic Novel line, not something that i think would find its way to the hands of kids that might need it. And as a Graphic Novel, it's the latest in a tradition of those books that in no way deserve the prestige format. It's not an innovative story, the characterization is poor, it takes the cheap route of having a super-villain monster be behind the bad shelter, and treats Dagger like a non-entity victim. And being years out of date it can't have any long term impact on the characters involved.
Alex's costume is colored yellow throughout the issue.
It's definitely a mistake and not meant to take place after Power Pack eventually switch costumes; all the other kids' costumes are the right colors, and they all have the right symbols.
I find the dialogue of all the kids to be way off. I can't imagine Jack even being conscious of the fact that he looks too clean cut to get into a runaway shelter.
One additional oddity is that the Power kids were out of the house on the pretense of shopping for a birthday present for their mom. And since they didn't actually go shopping, Dagger has the idea of giving them the gem from Cadaver's bioharness, which she fills with her light power.
Happy birthday, mom! Here's a weird gem we pulled off some creepy guy's head filled with a strange, seemingly magical light. What is it? Where did we get it? Don't worry about it!
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place while the Power Pack kids all have their original powers, and we'd want to place it while their mom isn't hospitalized due to the attack from Kurse. Beyond that it is context free except that it should take place after Power Pack first met Cloak and Dagger in Power Pack #6-8. I've actually placed it soon after that arc, in part because Katie is shown to be idolizing Dagger in this story as she was at the end of PP #8. One potential problem is that Father Delgado is referenced as having turned against Cloak and Dagger and gone mad. That may have been meant as a reference to the events of the Cloak and Dagger: Predator and Prey graphic novel, which takes place circa Strange Tales #3-4 for Cloak and Dagger, with Jun-Jul 87, but there's no way that can take place before Power Pack's power swamp in Power Pack #25 (Aug 86). However, Delgado had been giving Cloak a hard time for a long while prior to that, so it may not be meant as a specific reference.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
Cloak says he can't go to the New Mutants because the distance is too great. What's supposed to be the maximum distance Cloak can teleport? Westchester is only about 30 miles from New York.
Posted by: Michael | September 13, 2014 7:43 PM
A couple of references to Dazzler. Did you mean Dagger?
Posted by: Luis Dantas | September 13, 2014 8:38 PM
Man I remember being given this graphic novel as a kid and it freaked me out.
Posted by: david banes | September 13, 2014 8:45 PM
Thanks, Luis. I did of course mean Dagger.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 13, 2014 9:51 PM
Sal Velluto confirmed in Amazing Heroes #181 that this started out as 2 issues of a regular comic(probably Power Pack), Potts changed it to a graphic novel, and Velluto expanded to to 60 pages because the plot was so dense.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 29, 2015 8:35 PM
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