How Is Freeform’s ‘Cloak & Dagger’ Different From the Marvel Comics?
While many think the name Freeform was a bad change from the previous ABC Family, the cable channel has proven itself in maintaining its image with quality programming.
One of those is taking on a Marvel show in Cloak & Dagger, based on the popular comic book. It’s just one part of the top-tier dramas the network has now post-ABC Family years.
Freeform was smart to dip into the Marvel waters. Despite many Marvel shows biting the dust on Netflix, it’s possible they’ll start up in earnest again on Disney+. Cloak & Dagger is quite different from any Marvel product anyway, including having an important cast.
How different is it from the comic book? It’s closer to MCU than the comics world.
Freeform’s ‘Cloak & Dagger’ belongs to the Marvel Universe
One thing to keep in mind if you’re new to Cloak & Dagger is the TV version is meant to connect to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, meaning there’s always the possibility they could appear on the big screen down the road.
Cloak is otherwise known as Tyrone Johnson (played by Aubrey Joseph). Dagger is aka Tandy Bowen (played by Olivia Holt). These names are retained from the comic book series, including Cloak being an African-American boy and Dagger a white girl.
The interracial aspect was already unique when they first appeared as guests in a 1982 Spider-Man series of comic books. Popularity of the characters led to them having a brief comic book series, yet ultimately appearing as guests in many other Marvel comic book tales.
Of course, an interracial superhero romance on TV seems long overdue compared to their debut in comic book form 37 years ago.
Both characters share their power like in the comic book
To lend the love side of this story, Cloak and Dagger both share their superpowers to fight villains and save the world. This was one of the concepts from the original comic book as well. Where it differs on TV is what they initially use their superpowers for in fighting crime.
The comic book edition had Cloak and Dagger teaming up to work as vigilantes to fight the proliferation of drugs. In that series, they were both drugged by mad chemist Simon Marshall with a specialized dose of heroin, hence giving them their secret powers.
As you might remember in the early 1980s, there was a renewed crusade on the war against drugs.
For the TV show, it’s more about Cloak and Dagger sharing a tragedy from their childhoods. Freeform essentially opened the door to a more interesting chemistry since couples (even superheroes) linking from something personally emotional is far more compelling.
The TV show looks at their interracial romance as a natural part of life
It’s still amazing to think an interracial romance was considered something unusual in 1982 when debuted in comic book form. Nowadays, Cloak & Dagger looks refreshingly normal thanks to more interracial romances on various TV comedies and dramas.
Freeform’s edition makes it look like a natural part of our culture without making it obvious. Even so, it’s a good thing to have it on a cable network for teens so latter never forget what year we’re living in.
During a time when those opposed to such relationships are rearing their ugly heads again, having it a logical part of an influential superhero series quashes any attempts at making it political. At the same time, it also examines white privilege to note social differences.
Cloak and Dagger work alone without teaming up with other Marvel characters
Because they were teens at the time, having Cloak and Dagger appear with Spider-Man in the comic book edition seemed like a logical way to introduce them. Unfortunately, many ensuing comic book tales with Cloak & Dagger had them working alongside other Marvel superheroes as assistants rather than stars in their own right.
While some later comic book incarnations fixed this problem, the TV show is entirely about them without other Marvel characters intervening. This isn’t to say we might not see the two show up in other Marvel properties someday.
We’ll have to wait and see if they’ll lead the way or just become supporting characters only because of their young age.