Comic Book Review – Cloak and Dagger #4 (January 1986)

Marvel Takeover month is drawing to an end…for now. I decided to end January with two of the hottest characters of the mid-80s, Cloak and Dagger. The cover of this issue drew my attention while dollar bin diving and it’s interesting to see two street level superheroes face off against a being with the power of a god.

Cloak and Dagger continue their crusade to clean the streets of New York City from drugs and crime. On a stakeout, they spy the Beyonder on the street talking to a group of drug dealers. The Beyonder is seeking an answer to one’s desire and happiness. The dealers invite their mark into their den. The men are about to inject the Beyonder with some of that “sweet stuff”, just as Cloak and Dagger teleport inside the rundown apartment where the gathering takes place.  Cloak and Dagger take care of the criminals, but soon come face to face with the omnipotent being. Cloak, Dagger, and the Beyonder each learn a valuable lesson before the night is over and no one will be the same once they part ways.

For those of you reading along to Marvel Comics – The Untold Story, Jim Shooter wanted every issue published at the time to crossover with Secret Wars II. This particular issue does a great job including the Beyonder, without hindering the story or narrative established in the previous three issues. There is one page that is written in red lettering that clashes with the coloring of the art that I was unable to read or decipher. The Beyonder was injected with heroin by the drug dealers in an attempt to make him overdose so the group could rob him. This page is meant to show the Beyonder letting the drug affect him and the consequences of this decision. I’m not sure if the page was a printing mistake or if its a way for the reader to understand the trip the Beyonder is taking.

By 1986, the Regan Administration’s War on Drugs would start to seep into pop culture. Cloak and Dagger (Tyrone and Tandy) were both transformed into their superhero alter egos by drugs and their sole mission is to ensure that runaways and other homeless people living on the street aren’t harmed the way they were. Mantlo does a great job tackling a sensitive subject, without coming off heavy handed. He wasn’t afraid to shed some light on an epidemic that was starting to spiral out of control with the spike in crack cocaine use during the 1980s. The War continues today, but there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

I had a friend that was trying to track down every Secret War II tie-in comic a few years ago. Some aren’t worth your time, but this one definitely is and if you come across it for cheap, pick it up. Cloak and Dagger is available on Marvel Unlimited. At only eleven issues, I might try to track down the rest of this run on the cheap.

Next Issue – Cloak and Dagger unknowingly help create a superhuman who is not only extraordinarily powerful, but very vengeful. Introducing Mayhem!