Of all the Spider Island tie ins; the one that surprised me most was Cloak & Dagger. I was a huge fan of the original run of the teen superheroes, but had largely tuned out once they somehow became part of the X-Men. I picked up Cloak & Dagger Spider Island #1 with serious reservations, I was afraid I’d get more of the X-Men era work that I didn’t care for. Cloak & Dagger are gritty and street level crime fighters and that’s what I wanted to see. Thankfully this Spider Island tie in returns them to a bit of their former glory.
All is not well for the two, heroes. They’re being evicted out of the church they live in, they have no further connection with the X-Men and the tension between the two is reaching critical mass. Cloak is in love with Dagger, Dagger loves Cloak but not in the way he wants. To top it off, Dagger is keeping her return to school a secret and her actions are causing an already jealous Cloak to become suspicious.
Writer Nick Spencer does a first rate job of keeping the banter between the two fast paced and funny, but also showing how dependent they are on each other. It’s not just that she helps feed his darkness and he helps her control her light, they have a bond as friends that neither can live without.
The tie in for Spider Island comes when the Avengers ask the team to help in a fight against all those with spider powers currently tearing up Manhattan. In lesser hands, the sudden battle might have seemed clunky, but Spencer makes it seems like a distraction, something they both need in the midst of their current string of bad luck. He also brings them out of it quickly and returns to the story at hand.
The surprise here is the appearance of Mr. Negative and the prophecy that a woman of light will destroy him. Pitting Cloak & Dagger against Mr. Negative is perfect. Two heroes that are dark and light against a villain that is made up of both, there couldn’t be a more perfect match.
I was particularly impressed with Emma Rios’ art. Her work has a fine art sense to it, almost like a high-end children’s book. Imagine a mix of Harold And The Purple Crayon, a classic illustrated version of A Christmas Carol and then layer it into a comic book. Every panel is a small work of art and yet Rios never loses momentum or movement during the action. Besides that she does a superior version of Mr. Negative.
While not the gritty art I’m used to for Cloak & Dagger, Rios style meshes with the heroes in a way that you can’t explain with words but clicks visually in an instant. With Rios’ art and Spencer’s words, Cloak & Dagger seem poised to do great things in the Marvel Universe. I’m just hoping this leads to a monthly series for one of my favorite comic book teams.