REVIEW: Cloak & Dagger On Freeform
Last night, Marvel's newest television series Cloak & Dagger premiered on Freeform. The series is based on the comic book characters created by Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan who first appeared Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #64 in 1982. Throughout its history, Marvel has tried to tackle the issues of the day. In the 1980s, everybody was talking about the proliferation of the drug trade. So, Cloak & Dagger in the comics was a statement on this issue with the two heroes developing their powers after being forcibly injected with a synthetic heroin.
With that, I think the new television series captures the spirit of wanting to capture some of the zeitgeist of the time by addressing issues such as corporate greed and race relations. Instead of gaining their powers through drugs, it is through some kind of mysterious energy that emanated from an oil rig explosion. We don't know what it was, but, it couldn't be good. The oil rig is owned by the Roxxon Corporation which is known not only in the comic books, but, has been causing problems in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since, at least, the 1940s when Agent Peggy Carter when she blew up a Roxxon refinery suspected of producing a dangerous chemical compound called Nitramene.
I liked how they flipped the script on the backgrounds of the main characters. Instead of Tandy Bowen (Olivia Holt) being from a privileged background and Tyrone Johnson (Aubrey Joseph) being from a disadvantaged one, its Tandy who lives on the wrong side of the track and Tyrone attending a prestigious Catholic school. The characters are also taken out of their native New York in the comics and put into New Orleans which, I think, was a smart idea so that they can stake out their piece of the Marvel Cinematic Universe without having to deal with the Avengers or the Defenders.
But, the best thing about this series is that the characters don't just gain powers and know how to use them right away. And, we don't see them as a team for the first two episodes, although, their meeting does activate their powers after Tandy tries to steal Tyrone's wallet and they touch. As comic book fans, we want action now in the same style that we see it in the movies, but I have come to appreciate that television just can't give us everything right away or there would be no series. I appreciate that they are trying to develop these characters so that we can get to know them.
So, we see Tyrone's power suddenly teleport himself to the dirty cop that killed his brother. He desperately wants to be able to use his new teleportation power to find justice. I liked how they hint around to his trademark cloak without actually giving it to him yet. On the other side of town, Tandy, who has been running scams since the accident and the Roxxon Corporation took everything from her family, finds herself in a situation where one of her targets tries to seek revenge. She suddenly generates a light dagger which impales her attacker. She is scared of what is happening and wants to run away.
The characters have been given two new powers that they didn't have in the comics. Tyrone can see other people's fears while Tandy can see other people's hopes. I think its interesting because fear is all that Tyrone has and hope is something Tandy does not have. And, when they develop their powers, its Tyrone that feels hope that his will lead him to finding justice while Tandy feels fear of her powers. So, it will be interesting to see how they use these powers in the coming episodes and how it impacts who they will become as heroes and people.
The other thing that I'll be curious to see is what happens when they do come together. We saw when they touched that they repelled each other. We also saw this in the trailers. In the comics, they are almost dependent on each other with Cloak feeding off her light. I have a feeling they won't incorporate this into the series, but I'm dying to see them come together. I'm all for a slow build, but I really want to see them together.
So far, the two episodes I've seen were a great start. The series contains enough teenage angst to be palatable to Freeform's demographic while have enough of the super powered heroics to satisfy the Marvel fan. I'm looking forward to the next episode and the rest of the season!